The Neighbors Season 1 Review “The Back Nine” – Race and Class Issues, The Zabvronian Way

The Neighbors Episode 14 The Back Nine (4)

“The Back Nine,” this week’s episode of The Neighbors, was very sneaky. I was pleasantly surprised it started bringing in one of the beauties of science-fiction; the ability to talk about arbitrary race and class issues.Now the show is really beginning to be what I thought it would be from the pilot.

This episode the Bird-Kersees got invited to a country club and they feel it’s because they are finally being recognized for being superior beings. They also think it’s because Earthlings finally accept them. The Weavers feel getting accepted into the country club could be their chance to finally feel accepted by others too, although they want the ritzy to want them to be a part of the hoity toity fold.

There’s a lot of surprisingly clever stuff going on in this script I think. Sure, I know this is a 30-minute episode, but there were a lot of cool things going on. The Weavers decided to tell the Bird-Kersees that the country club wouldn’t accept them because the stereotype of a country club is one full of rich, white people. But, the Weavers themselves try and get a leg up on the Bird-Kersees by playing into the idea that they’ll be easily accepted because they’re a white family.

Meanwhile, the Bird-Kersees look up racial stereotypes (because they didn’t realize perceived racial differences exist in America) and even though they think they must play into those stereotypes to be thought of as “normal,” they still get accepted into the club. The Weavers are bummed that their usual white privilege (a privilege they probably don’t realize they’re buying into) doesn’t get them what they want. Shocker! What is funny though, is that the Weavers–Marty, in particular–feel inferior due to being middle class.

The Neighbors Episode 14 The Back Nine (3)

But, even though the Bird-Kersees got into the club, is the club as altruistic as they seem? I mean, accepting what seems like only mixed-race families is admirable, but it also dips into a different type of stereotyping. What you start getting into is the “hipster” type of idealism. It’s hard to describe, but after a certain point, Benetton-esque inclusiveness begins to feel like a strange fetish or as if someone is participating in a trend. Inclusiveness shouldn’t be a trend, but it should also feel natural, if that makes sense. The fact that the club seemed to exclude other families simply because they might have consisted of the same race isn’t the goal of inclusiveness.

At the end of the episode, thanks to Dick Butkus realizing he’s not “pink” and wanting to the stereotyped, too, the episode makes the point that one shouldn’t be judged by how much money they make or what their race is. They should just be judged, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, by the content of their character.

This was a fun and slyly thought-provoking episode. The best part is that it was all done within 30 minutes.