TV review: The Neighbors

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From the September 27, 2012 edition

“The Neighbors” is by far the worst pilot I’ve seen this fall. It’s possibly the worst network pilot I’ve seen ever. Remember “The Playboy Club?” That was a stroke of creative genius compared to this. ABC is rolling “The Neighbors” out after the “Modern Family” premiere Wednesday to give it the best chance possible to earn good ratings. If I were ABC I wouldn’t want anyone to watch this junk because I’d be embarrassed by it.

The premise of “The Neighbors” — a family from Bayonne, New Jersey, moves to a seemingly normal suburb only to find out every other household is occupied with aliens — is as pedestrian as it is absurd. I doubt people are clamoring for an alien sitcom, but we shouldn’t be surprised someone came up with the awful idea to make one.

While the premise is bad, the execution is far worse. The leads, Marty Weaver (Lenny Venito) and his wife Debbie (Jami Gertz), make the Flintstones look like three-dimensional characters. Debbie whines and complains all the time, and Marty is the stereotypical bumbling sitcom dad who can’t do anything right. Well, really he’s not supposed to do anything without getting the OK from Debbie first. We’ve all seen this played-out dynamic play out before on sitcoms.

By far the worst thing about “The Neighbors” is the jokes. Attempting to get as much mileage out of “poop” and the name Dick Butkus as possible, humor on “The Neighbors” is something a 7-year-old might find funny, but I think even kids might be insulted by their inanity.

There is not one redeeming quality about “The Neighbors.” The sets are high-school musical cheap, the aliens are forgettable at best and annoying at worst, and even the attempted heartfelt moments are groan-inducing. Please, for the love of humanity, avert your eyes.