"Neighbors from Hell" – Episode 2 “Country Club Hell” Television Review

6/20/2010 Posted by Admin

"Neighbors from Hell" – Episode 2 “Country Club Hell”

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

After last week’s mind numbing episode of "Neighbors from Hell," I wasn’t too hopeful that the second one would be much better. Then, something miraculous happened: Tina, Balthazor’s wife, slammed the door on Marjoe, and the episode continued without her inane, racist ravings, and you know what?  It wasn’t so bad.

Well, let me clarify.  “Country Club Hell” is never funny and mostly boring, but anything that doesn’t include the sheer vexation of “Snorfindesdrillsalgoho” is a serious improvement.

Continuing with their base of sitcom parody, the Hellman’s spend this week within respective stereotypes: Balthazor must impress his boss with a confrontational round of golf; Tina spends the episode adjusting to her new surrounds by mingling with country club wives; and Josh, their son, speaks to horses as girls reject him. Josh takes a back seat to most of the action, leaving a majority of time to Balthazor so he can impress the animal hating Mr. Killbride by using his pet Pazuzu as his golf ball. Tina, on the other hand, befriends Mr. Killbride’s judgmental wife, whose personality reminds her of the human hating demons of Hell. Needless to say, things go awry for both situations when Balthazor decides Pazuzu has had enough, and Tina realizes Mrs. Killbride is a racist.

The plot sits firmly within sitcom convention (the boss/employee golf game is a classic trope), it’s just that the jokes get in the way of the actual satire. Neighbors depends on the recognition of sitcom stereotypes as the heart of the show, but the jokes are so over-the-top that their place in the plot simply gets lost in the shuffle. If the show wishes to parody these conventions then that should be its primary focus.  Unfortunately, it generally gets bogged down by its own insane characters talking in short about their bizarre pasts.

All in all, the show is improving--using the backdrop of sitcom convention is a great start for this type of satire, but it’s really the comedy that needs help. Until these characters have some semblance of a personality, everything they say will appear random, and I don’t think that’s the tone the show is going for.  Unlike "Family Guy," at the end of the day these are goal-oriented characters. That said, one improvement that I can’t praise enough is the removal of Marjoe – at least now I don’t leave the show with a headache.

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  1. Hrushi said...

    that's LOL