The Neighbors Season 1 Review”Bathroom Etiquette” – School Daze

The Neighbors Episode 4 Bathroom Etiquette

You might recall that last week’s review was titled “Bathroom Etiquette.” That was an error on my part–last week’s episode was actually called “Things Just Got Real.” My apologies.  Anyway, onto the review of the real “Bathroom Etiquette!”

Firstly, let’s talk about what we learn about the Zabvronians this time around:

  • They keep their gardens in their bathrooms
  • To teach their children, they provide them with the brains of their elders for consumption
  • They have three anuses (apologies for any NSFW-ness, but they talked about it in the episode)
  • The children and parents routinely profess their love for each other

All of this comes into play during this episode, the episode in which the alien children take in their first day of school. It’s without a doubt the storyline involving Dick Butkus (my favorite kid Zabvronian) was the strongest. Thanks to Debbie’s meddling (or, as she calls it, teaching the human ways to the Zabvronian family), Dick now thinks that he could be tormented by the other kids because he’s new and different. To counteract that, Dick hits Max in the stomach to prove he’s the stronger kid and not worth teasing. This, of course, lands both Max and Dick in the principal’s office. Larry,who has a simmering hatred for humans in general, thinks this proves that his child is the victor, but Debbie and Marty say otherwise.

The second time Dick and Max get sent to the principal’s office is when Max is being tormented by the school bullies. Like the classic television school bully, they are trying to get Max’s head in a toilet for a swirly, or whatever it’s called. Dick tells them to put his head in the toilet instead of trying to coerce Max, but when they don’t listen, Dick gets mad and transforms into his true self.

The undercurrent of this particular storyline is that Jackie and Larry feel offended by Debbie and Marty’s insinuation that they aren’t good parents simply because they aren’t teaching their children the “human” ways. Personally, as a human, I argue that what Marty and Debbie are teaching aren’t necessarily “human ways,” since I’ve never come in contact with such horrid behavior. But I digress–I’ve been seen as otherworldly by many of my peers in the past, so what do I know about humans, right? Anyway, the jist of it is that the second trip to the principal’s office–and the visit to the Zabvronian household to make amends–gets it clear once and for all that Debbie and Marty don’t think their Zabvronian neighbors are bad parents. They were simply trying to help. They both agree to accept each other’s help and learn from each other, a lesson they seem to be learning each week. We can’t keep coming to this same conclusion every week, otherwise, this show is going to get dull(er) FAST.

The other storyline concerns the high-school aged human, Amber,  and Reggie Jackson. Amber is insufferable as ever, ignoring Reggie for the cool kid in school. Reggie does help her get the cool kid by doing everything Amber said she did at her old school–pretend to have a celebrity love (Reggie yells to the kids in the hallway that Amber broke his heart by having an affair with Alan Alda), and make her be cruel to him just like she was cruel to her friends in an effort to be popular. She thanks him for his help, and for some reason, he still likes her. Ugh, Reggie. There are other human girls out there!

I say something like this every week, but while this show is quirky fun, it’s also getting a little…stale? I guess that’s the right word. It just takes one or two things to make this show a real success. Some suggestions:

Make the humans more of caricatures of humans instead of “realistic” humans: The aliens are caricatures of aliens, right? So let’s shake up the humans, I say. Make them really Ozzie and Harriet or Leave It to Beaver-esque. Make them as much of nostalgic pie-bakers as the Zabvronians. At the very least, make them a little more likeable–at this point, with the constant shows of affection and parent-child respect, the Zabvronian culture is looking more human-like than the actual characters  representing humanity on this show.

Make the Zabvronian culture have a bit more cohesion: I’m not sure if a Zabvronian bible of sorts has been written out, but the cultural tidbits about Zabvronian culture seem a little random. Like someone just made them up for the episode. Perhaps, if it seemed like there was a cohesive culture, the show might seem like it was going somewhere.

Make Amber more likeable: I don’t know if this will help the show overall, but it’ll make my viewing experience much better, for sure.

Anyway, there’s the review. I still find the show charming, but it’s got to really pick up the pace soon. Very soon.