Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pilot Review: The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood (CBS)
Premiered October 2 at 8pm

At the start of some shows, it’s incredibly easy to tell where things are going. As soon as Max Greenfield’s Dave and Beth Behrs’ Gemma drove into a neighborhood and their son started counting the black people that he saw, it was obvious what this show was all about. Defining the difference between white people being racist and black people being racial is hardly going to be the last time that we hear a conversation like that, and pretty much every moment of this episode was devoted to breaking down the differences between their communities. There are a handful of recognizable faces from other TV shows here, starting with Cedric the Entertainer, Tichina Arnold from “Everybody Hates Chris,” and Sheaun McKinney from “Vice Principals” as the primary members of the Butler family. Greenfield played an overly self-assured businessman on “New Girl,” and here he gets to be the awkward white guy trying way too hard to impress his neighbors. I also like Behrs, who I recognized a few minutes into the episode from her role on “2 Broke Girls.” This is a great part for her, and I enjoy that, in her own way, she’s trying just as hard as her husband. While there’s some decent commentary about society today contained in the very blunt conversations these people have, like about why Dave is so nice to a man that hates him and how what Dave and Gemma do doesn’t count as real employment, but it’s an excessively familiar, repetitive, and tiresome show that just isn’t built to last.

How will it work as a series? Calvin is going to have to accept that the Johnsons are white and they’re not going anywhere, and I’m just not sure how long this continued punchline is going to be able to last. Having two sons live in the house with them could at least make it more interesting, and focusing on the two wives is probably going to be this show’s best bet.
How long will it last? The reviews aren’t great, which should come as no surprise, but the ratings, on the other hand, were considerably better. I’m not sure I would have pegged this as a CBS comedy but after watching it, it makes complete sense as part of their sitcom brand, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if this show holds on to its audience and ends up with a renewal.

Pilot grade: D

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