The Neighbors Season 1 Review “Journey to the Center of the Mall” – The Pilot, Part Two

The Neighbors (ABC) "Journey to the Center of the Mall" Episode 2 (6)

Before I begin recapping this episode of The Neighbors, let me add some things to my growing list of Zabvronian culture, since 1) I forgot to add one thing from last time and 2) we learn new things about Zabvronians at the beginning of the episode instead of throughout like last time:

  • The male Zabvronian bears the children
  • They are not interested in kidnapping Earth children (especially the Weaver kids)
  • Their planet has five rings as well as an atmosphere that isn’t breathable by humans (but they can breathe ours somehow)
  • Humans aren’t supposed to know about Michael Bay. I assume he’s an alien, too.
  • This episode is all about back-to-school stuff. I think it probably would have been more pertinent if this episode aired during August, the back-to-school month, but whatever.

    This episode feels more like the second part of the pilot, since the Weavers and our Zabvronian family are still learning about each other. Debbie is having nightmares about the Zabvronians kidnapping her children, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee is having nightmares about her decision to send her children off to human school. However, both she and Debbie agree that the Zabvronian children should go to Earth school with the Weaver children. Jackie Joyner-Kersee wants her children to learn about Earthly ways, while Debbie just wants her family to endear themselves to the Zabvronians so they don’t get eaten.

    Both families see that they have a lot in common when they decide on a joint trip to the local mall. The trip marks the Zabvronian family’s first trip outside of the neighborhood and their first time in a minivan. Once Marty switches the radio on to soft rock hit “Sailing,” they immediately calm down.

    The ensuing scene that showed the Zabvronian family taking in the crazy culture that is Mall Culture was probably the best part of the episode. Seeing things that go on in the mall abstracted–things that we generally take for granted, like people stuffing their faces at the food court and teeangers texting in groups–was really fun to watch and really showed that what we as humans do every day is actually really weird.

    I think the show should have focused more on that sort of thing; they went back to it a little when Jackie asked Debbie if Manwhiches, kids meals and baby back ribs were made from humans, but I think the whole episode should have been about those strange parts of American human culture instead of Reggie Jackson pining for an extremely abrasive Amber (I really don’t like Amber at all), Dick Butkus solving the differences between Max and Abby Weaver (Max realizes he ignores his sister too much) and Marty and Larry realize they should appreciate their children while they’re still young, since soon, they won’t be kids anymore.

    Overall, it was another fun, turn-off-your-brain episode, but I think the show should pick up from here on out, or The Neighbors might be on the Fall Season tightrope, if you know what I mean. I know it sounds like my tune has changed–to be fair, it has just a little–but I still think there’s some life in this show. It just needs to get the engine revved up to the maximum.

    About The Author

    Monique Jones is a freelance entertainment writer who also runs Moniqueblog.net, a site analyzing how race and culture are perceived in American entertainment. She has been published on ShockYa, Racialicious, Topless Robot and more.

    • ptjackson

      I enjoyed this episode. This program is perfect for me to watch while doing my strength exercises – don’t have to concentrate too much so I can keep count. 

      It did have me laughing several times, which is why I watch sitcoms. So, hope it survives!