Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Neighbors: Abby's Birthday, Alien Mating Season

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Marty's speech to Larry explaining why he works gave me goosebumps. Debbie going crazy planning Abby's birthday was also pretty amusing. The next episode, however, didn't feature the younger children for more than a minute (a pity because it would have been interesting to see their reactions to the "mating season") and was more of an "appreciate your spouse" storyline than anything else. Tell the truth, compliment, make the other feel good, etc... just isn't all that intriguing. It's also certainly not designed for a family to watch, which is what I thought was the purpose of this series. Maybe it should move over to Friday night to join Last Man Standing and Malibu Country as "quirky" family shows... though, that's a separate problem.

The Neighbors "Larry Bird and the Iron Throne" (S01E06): Debbie explains birthdays to Jackie and Dick, and Abby's is soon so they decide Dick will join in. [Debbie's point about birthdays being a yearly chance to make up for the things you didn't do during the year was a bit on-the-nose, if you ask me.] The Weavers are planning to go all-out this year because they have the space for once and because Abby recently moved from all of her friends. [um, who has a birthday party episode but doesn't say how old the person is turning?? I assume she's now seven or eight.] The party includes a magician/clown, a princess bouncing castle (though the wrong one shows up), Rapunzel (though Darth Vader shows up), and a unicorn cake (though the wrong one is in the box). Distraught, Debbie confides in Jackie that she grew up in a large family where she shared a birthday celebration with two siblings every year, so she vowed to make her own children feel special on their birthdays. Though Max had warned Jackie of Debbie's fierce attitude near birthdays, Jackie decides to help by rounding up the Zabvronians. 
Marty talks to Larry about how crazed Debbie gets over her children's birthdays, so Larry decides to spend the week with Marty at work (he had previously planned on just a day of doing so). Similarly, Max warns Jackie. Well, at Marty's office, Larry immediately acts weird around Marty's boss. [I thought that the mobility issue would come into play, but apparently not.] Larry finds the work meaningless, but when Marty makes a mistake in the inventory and may need to miss the party to finish a report, Larry finishes it for him. [one point for friendship?]

Also, Reggie gets Amber a birthday present - a historical tile that shows her life. She's not interested in it, though, so when she says she misses her old street, he paints a mural on her bedroom wall. [awww! loved it! though I didn't notice it in the next episode...]

The Neighbors "50 Shades of Green" (S01E07): Marty and Debbie celebrate their 17th anniversary with a frozen pizza because the kids disagree with the restaurant choices. They don't realize that "the spark" is gone from their relationship, however, until they learn that it's Zabvronian mating season, which disrupts power when the aliens look deeply into one another's eyes and make a connection by saying the same word at the same time. Debbie asks Jackie exactly how Zabvronian intimacy works, and she says that it's spiritual, not physical. She then talks about how intimacy works for humans. [anyone else see this becoming a swinger-type thing? I mean, not really, it's a family show, but still...] Debbie wants to have more romance with Marty, but he's happy with how things are going. Similarly, Jackie tries to be physical with Larry, but he just complains.

Then, Larry uses an alien filmstrip to teach Marty about Zabvronian puberty. [step 1 for Earth invasion is to kill all of the bees? oooook...] Larry decides to romance Jackie (though he wears feminine lingerie) and Marty tries verbal affirmation with Debbie. They get right to the truth-telling and try to say the same thing at the same time but it doesn't work. Plus, Larry and Jackie show up, as Jackie hasn't "achieved satisfaction" and the couple wants to know why that's the case. Luckily, they're cut off when Reggie arrives, looking for advice on how to create an emergency. See, he and Amber were at a party and she got uncomfortable and asked him to come up with a reason so they would have to leave. [sidenote, hasn't Reggie made any other friends yet?] The four parents go with Reggie to "rescue" Amber. [loved that Larry, Marty, and Jackie are in bathrobes!] She's humiliated but thanks her father for being there, and Reggie for coming through for her in his own way. [yeah, no. I don't believe that.] She and Reggie even say "loser" at the same time, making the lightpole about the van turn off. [oh yeah, there was an earlier scene where Marty and Debbie freak out because it's Reggie's first mating season, but having "the talk" with Amber results in her just telling them that she's well-informed. [typical teenager, you know.]
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