The Neighbors: ‘I Believe I Can Drive’ Recap

NEI_119_IBelieveICanDrive_episode_6b4f3a54-1d03-404b-a75b-a31c7fba9c76_5153844_220x124This week’s episode of The Neighbors saw the residents of Hidden Hills tackling yet another everyday, human activity — driving.

Well, sort of.

When Amber goes to her parents citing a need for money to take a Driver’s Ed course she turns down Marty’s offer to teach her, however, Jackie and Larry (who were listening in on the conversation) decide that maybe they should learn to drive.  What could possibly go wrong?

For Larry Bird — everything.  As fate would have it, Jackie is a natural-born driver, while he flounders, whimpering and panicking when he’s told to step on the gas.  He is even overly concerned about hitting a car hundreds of yards away.  Resigning himself to simply hate driving, Larry stages a protest against driving (claiming protecting the environment) —

– Jackie gets her license.

Though, driving turns out to be bittersweet for Jackie as well.  When Debbie learns of how she and Dick spend their afternoons relaxing, she concocts a plan, and tricks Jackie into running errands in her place under the guise of “freedom.”  So, while Debbie and Dick enjoy DVR’d episodes of Revenge and play Scrabble, Jackie is driving around Max and Abby and picking up chicken for the Weavers’ dinner.

Jackie ultimately figures out Debbie’s scheme and storms out — but not after asking if the chicken she bought was ‘okay.’

Meanwhile, similarly to the Larry/Jackie situation, Amber is having a less-than-successful Driver’s Ed experience, while Reggie soaks everything in, surpassing her in driving by miles — no pun intended.  And the Driver’s Ed teacher, guest star Sandra Bernhard, is not at all helpful.

Panicking that she’s going to fail the course, Amber finds Larry Bird sulking at the curb.  The two agree to practice driving together, in the Weaver mini van at two AM.  But of course, Larry wigs out, again, and knocks over a lamppost.  The incident forces the alien leader to admit his disappointment in himself and that he was practicing, though, this is only after Amber throws him under the bus.  She evades a confession of her own, but is talked into doing so by Reggie Jackson.  Surprisingly insightful for an alien, Reggie tells her that it’s not a crutch to have people around to ask for help — it’s a gift.

Amber finally gives in and tells her dad that she needs help.  She needs him to teach her how to drive, but not to baby her.  Marty flips the situation around on her, explaining how young he was when they had her and she will always be his baby.  And in the true fatherly way, he declares a seven AM driving lesson.

As usual, The Neighbors had an entertaining tag — this week of Jackie driving around Dick, Max and Abby, with all of them singing along.

Once again The Neighbors gave an entertaining spin on an everyday activity — driving.  I thought it was great that the show (purposely or not) continued along the theme that Larry Bird is far more “normal” than he believes he is, and saw him experiencing a relatively human challenge: learning to drive, and finding out it’s harder than you thought.

And of course, therein lies the core of the show — we can all relate to these characters.  Yeah, they’re aliens.  But haven’t we all had a moment of not fitting in?  Learning something new, and being frustrated by it?  The Neighbors has finally hit the point where the fact that the aliens are aliens is less of the focus, and more of a support for the larger stories.

Coming up on The Neighbors: Bethany Frankel, a musical episode with music by Alan Menken, and season finale guest stars Mark Hamill and George Takei!

The Neighbors airs Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.

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