The Neighbors ’50 Shades of Green’ Recap

That’s right, tonight The Neighbors went…there.  Tonight’s episode of the semi-supernatural sit-com showed us what happens when love is in the air in Hidden Hills.  Which would be what, exactly?

Well, to begin with, it’s the Weavers’ anniversary.  In their case, not a fancy affair, no night on the town, but rather, frozen pizza at home with the kids.  While the family is settling on their plans and preparing for the day the power goes out…again.  Apparently, for the third time in one morning.  So why the power surges?

It’s mating season for the Zabvronians.

When the Weavers come out of their house to investigate the issue, they find the aliens literally frolicking in the street — sculpting shrubs into hearts, dancing and throwing flowers.  Apparently, the energy from the Zabvronians mating causes electricity to short out.  Larry and Jackie seem unfazed by this, basking in the alien celebration, and seeing as it’s Reggie Jackson’s very first mating season, they are particularly excited.

All their excitement spurs the Weaver parents to panic and make the time-honored parental decision to have the sex talk with Amber.  Their daughter, however, in her typical fashion, shoots down their efforts, claiming that she already probably knows more than them after watching television and movies, and sitting through multiple health classes.  But don’t forget about this little chat just yet.

Mating for the Zabvronians is quite different from the humans.  Rather than physical expressions of love, the aliens connect spiritually, through compliments and shared truths.  When Debbie finds out exactly how the Zabvronian mating tradition goes, she’s more than a little jealous of the intimate nature of the act.  In an effort to rekindle the romance between herself and Marty, she sets the scene — candles and rose petals all around a bath for two — though it all comes to a screeching halt when Marty clams up over it all.  Things don’t go over quite so well for Larry and Jackie either, when Jackie attempts to seduce her husband as a human wife would and he turns her away — he has no desire to touch her at all and merely wants to compliment her as Zabvronians do.

With the help of an afterschool special-esque film, Larry tries to explain the process of Zabvronian mating to Marty.  While this film is awkward, as is the rest of the episode, it’s amusing to compare the aliens’ use of flattery as an aphrodisiac versus the humans’ more vulgar assumptions.

This particular issue surfaces after Amber and Reggie get invited to a party, where Amber suddenly panics that something will happen that she’s not prepared for.  Instead of calmly excusing herself, she instructs Reggie to fake an emergency to get her out of the party.

In his adorably misunderstanding way, Reggie runs into the Weavers’ asking how does one break up a ‘human sex party.’  Overlooking the fact that the Weavers are trying to move past their own uncomfortable attempt at Zabvronian connection and the alien couple is trying to inquire about human tradition, his panic sparks all four adults to rush out of the house (in various states of undress) to go rescue Amber.  The Weaver minivan carries the five crusaders right onto the golf course hosting the party, and Larry immediately begins to chase down the boy in question.

Instead of passing on the issues, this time Marty takes the initiative to talk to his daughter.  In a very heartfelt speech he lets her know that it’s okay to freak out about the idea of sex, because yes, it’s confusing.  As he explains to her, he still doesn’t have it all figured out, as we all saw.

The final moments of the episode are possibly a parent’s worst nightmare.  As Amber thanks Reggie for actually coming through for her, in his own strange way, their conversation begins to overlap, until finally they utter the same word at the same time…and the power goes out in the van.

This episode was awkward, no question, because it dealt with one of the most awkward topics of discussion for families — sex.  And yet, the show has consistently found ways to make normal family issues, like this, funny by comparing it to the alien take on it.  While this wasn’t a huge ‘laugh out loud’ funny episode, there were moments that were amusing — the featurette after Zabvronian mating is ‘Earth invasion,’ and Larry in a negligee is quite frankly…funny.   I enjoy the fact that the Zabvronian relationships are very honest.  They don’t have to deal with the emotional intricacies that the humans do, which contribute to the entertaining conflicts on the show.

I liked this episode.  There’s nothing overly spectacular about The Neighbors, but at the same time, it’s not miserable either.  It seems like many are surprised at the show’s pick-up for a full season, but obviously the network sees some potential in the show.  All in all, for a sitcom with an alien twist, The Neighbors is doing pretty well.

The Neighbors airs Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.

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