Best Episode of the Season: The Neighbors Season 2

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Season Analysis: In its formative stage, The Neighbors took a while to figure itself out, striking an inconsistent tone and quality level.  So how wonderful was it that in its second (and sadly final) season, it was the most consistent sitcom on television.

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“Family Conference”
Great episodes of shows with fine ensemble casts tend to be those that put every main character in a room together.  By its season 2 premiere, The Neighbors had figured out what each of its characters represented, and that was on display in the Weaver/Bird-Kersee conference for determining the viability of Amber and Reggie dating.  Sophomore debuts are often a time for shows to re-assert themselves, and “Family Conference” certainly took that opportunity, with everyone in the roundtable getting at least one moment to shine.  Larry’s pomposity, Dick’s officiousness, Abby’s preternatural fortitude, and a hologram Jerry Springer were all on display, but this being an Amber-Reggie plot, it was Tim Jo’s time to shine with lines like “put a little Mickey Mantle in my bewwy” and “just us, a little house, and 2.5 lizards … or orchids” (because Zabvronians are either reptilian or plant-based) wonderfully displaying his off-putting, but weirdly endearing, extraterrestrial sweetness.

Runners-up:

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“Supreme Like Me”
An exemplary episode for Larry, who is forced to get a job and in the process learns about the hipster barista lifestyle.

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“Close Encounters of the Bird Kind”
Dick forms a brain trust consisting of Joel Stein, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Bill Nye, and the fact that that could happen in the universe of The Neighbors is hilarious enough, but added to that is the fun revelation that they are Debbie’s three celebrity crushes.

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Best Episode of the Season: The Neighbors Season 1

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Season Analysis: It feels like The Neighbors slipped through a portal from the 80’s, looked around, realized it was the 2010’s, and decided to stay the same anyway.  After a rough start of inconsistent storytelling and characterization, it eventually figured itself out and utilized one of the best casts around (believe it or not) to become the most consistent comedy on television.

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“Halloween-ween”
Precocious children are a staple of television, and while precocious children also exist in reality, their small screen counterparts may sound just a little bit too much like adults.  But lack of believability can be okay as long as the hilarity is delivered in abundance.  In the case of Dick Butkus, The Neighbors easily takes care of the latter and actually may have an explanation regarding the former.  Dick is an alien, and perhaps it is natural for a Zabvronian to talk as he does at his age.  Perhaps he is even actually older than he appears to be, considering that his parents are apparently hundreds of years old.  Whatever the explanation for Dick’s precociousness, his Halloween costume of Debbie Weaver with Marty Weaver puppet was a perfectly clownish representation of his neighbor’s marriage.  Ian Patrick’s performance in “Halloween-ween” had me laughing more than just about any other sitcom moment from the 2012-13 season.