Friday, October 5, 2012

Neighbors Season One, Episode Two: Journey to the Center of the Mall

This episode opens with a dream sequence of the Weavers walking through the neighborhood and getting along with the  Zabvronians.  When they get to the driveway of Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, they discover that their children Max and Abby have been tied up.  Larry says, we got we came for and Jackie adds, by that we mean your children. When Max starts to scream for help, Debbie wakes up. Marty tries to assure her that the Zabvronians don't want their children, but she insists they head over to Larry and Jackie's house.

When the Weavers arrive at Larry a Jackie's, the Zabvronians make it clear that they don't want their children and are happy to answer any questions they have.  When Debbie brings up Max, Larry says again, that they would never abduct one of their children and certainly not Max, because he cannot do math. Jackie gives her word as a mother not to harm the Weaver children.  Marty then asks a series of questions, which are clearly getting on Larry's last nerve.

Back home, Debbie sees Jackie in the window and complains that the Zabvronians are always watching them.  Marty blows it off and says that neighbors are always weird. Debbie reminds Marty that not all neighbors are from another planet.  Marty asks Max and Abby if they are excited for school and they both say yes.  When Amber makes her appearance, it is clear that she is not happy and she is very sarcastic to her mother. When asked why, Amber says, "I don't know, I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I spent the last year trying to become friends with the popular kids at my old school and now I have to start over again, all while living next to the cast of district 9."  I don't understand why she is taking her frustration out on her mother, because it was Marty who made the decision to move there without consulting any one. It seems to me to be yet another trope promoting the idea that all teenage girls hate their mothers. 

Debbie goes back to the window and once again looks at Jackie. Jackie complains to Larry that the Weavers are always watching them. Larry replies, "ignore them, they're animals." Jackie is deeply concerned that the Weavers will tell people about them. Larry admits that he is not at ease with the Weavers and finds their names ridiculous.  He also points out that the Weavers "are always yelling at their filthy children." Jackie admits that the Weaver household seems chaotic.  Larry believes that the less time they spend with the Weavers the better, but Jackie feels that it is already to late because Reggie Jackson is swooning over Amber.  Larry then admits that Dick Butkus has started following Max and Abby around.  Jackie tells Larry that the children are starting to ask to go to school and this shocks him.  Jackie wonders if they had chosen more friendly accents, if they would be less wary of them. She then goes through a series of accents which Larry quickly declares are much too sexy or annoying.  I have to admit that this scene was cute for what it was.

Dick Butkus shows up at the Weavers in full golfing regalia in the hopes of enlisting their help to talk Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, into allowing them to attend human school. The Weavers decide to help out but they are rebuffed by Larry, who believes his kids are getting a good education at home. Jackie Joyner-Kersee says, "husband we may be here for a long time, I think socializing with children our age might be good for our loin fruit."  Debbie supports the idea of the "loin fruit" interacting in the belief that the better the Zabvronians know them, the harder it will be for them to eat them. Debbie reminds Marty of the year they got a live turkey and how hard it was to eat him. Jackie Joyner-Kersee announces, "like it or not, earth is our home now and like it or not, our children will attend school."  It seems that we have shifted from the first episode, where Larry Bird had the final say on everything. After a moment of celebration, Reggie asks if there is something they must do at school to avoid drawing attention to themselves, and Debbie suggests some new clothes.  Debbie asks if their clothing which is meant to make them blend into the golf community, makes them look like Zabvronians and Marty responds, "no, it makes them look like nerds." Dick Butkus cries out, "but I don't want to look like a nerd." Debbie promises to help but Marty says, "honey the little Asian one maybe, but the redhead, I think he's beyond help."  Debbie counters saying that this is what neighbors do, they help one another and they do not abduct each other.  This irritates Larry who replies, "get off it, we don't want your dumb children."   Debbie replies, "they're not dumb, a little slow, not dumb. This will be a bonding experience. We'll go shopping." Debbie encourages the kids to clap and Larry Bird tries to stop them, but the kid revert back to their natural form. Marty says, "you know what? They're going to blend right in."

The Weavers come out of their house ready to shop and Amber says, "if I'm going to the mall with my parents, you better believe I am walking out of there with some serious gear."  Abby and Max are yelling at each other and Marty yells, "Max everyone is miserable; it' called being a family, now get in the car." Larry Bird is surrounded by the Zabvronians and says, "My fellow Zabvronians it is with great displeasure that I must inform you that today my family will become the first among us to leave the safe confines of this community." Jackie tries to remind him that it is a short journey and asks him not to create a scene, but Larry Bird says that they are embarking on a dangerous journey to acquire clothing to ensure his children are not deemed nerds.  The Zabvronians say nerds repeatedly and they ask which mall.  Larry Bird leaves someone in charge should something happen to him. Larry turns to Marty and proposes that they travel together in the lead golf cart, but Debbie informs him that they cannot go to the mall that way.

They all end up in the Weavers mini van and the Zabvronians are clearly nervous. Marty tells Larry Bird to relax and so Larry suggests that they come for a ride in his space car and see how relaxed they are. The Zabvronians all start to panic with Reggie Jackson screaming, "we're all gonna die."   As they start to drive, Larry Bird points out that the mini van has no forcefield and no missile detection and therefore declares the mini van a death trap.

When they arrive at the mall, Jackie Joyner-Kersee declares, "it's like a planet onto itself."  Marty points to the door and says "ladies first," but Larry Bird pushes ahead answering, "don't be preposterous."  When the doors of the mall open, he is overcome. The  Zabvronians are in complete culture shock and hold on for dear life on the escalators. I was not particularly impressed with the food court scene because they had fat people eating huge burgers and onion rings and Jackie Joyner-Kersee holding onto Dick Butkus, as though trying to protect him.  This scene was clearly fat phobic with the implication being that the Zabvronians are right to be concerned because the fat people could potentially eat them.

Amber asks her parents to hand over the money and Marty passes her a credit card and instructs her to meet them there in one hour and spend no more than a hundred dollars.  Amber says that this is lame and Marty replies, "get a job."  Amber of course does not let this go and answers, "make more money." Jackie Joyner-Kersee is surprised that the Weavers let Amber go and Debbie says, "well, Jackie shopping clothes with your 16 year old is like a war you have no possibility of winning; it's like Viet Nam. Jackie, you may come out alive but you are not coming out with your sanity" Really? How about we not invoke something as serious as a war in which so many died as analogy.

Debbie and Jackie take Dick Butkus, Max and Abbey shopping.  Jackie Joyner-Kersee is shocked by with how fast Debbie is and Max warns her to just stay out of his mother's way.  Amber is looking through clothing racks with Reggie Jackson hot on her heels and he tries to charm her saying that she would look good in anything. Amber asks, "Reggie do you honestly think I'm pretty? I don't mean pretty on the inside like the fat Kardashian, I mean pretty pretty because I don't feel very pretty. I feel like a 7 1/2 maybe an 8 if I'm tanned but I want to be a 9 Reggie. I can't walk into a new school and become instantly popular unless I'm at least a 9 so, do you think that I'm pretty pretty like a 9 pretty or pretty on the inside like the fat Kardashian?"  Reggie starts to tell her that she is pretty but Amber cuts him off saying, "I'm going to need a number." If you're counting, that is the second instance of fat shaming in this short episode. Of course fat people don't have beautiful bodies, they cannot possible because their fat.

Dick Butkus is loaded down with clothing and wondering if Debbie is ever going to stop and Max assures him that she will and eventually choose four shirts.  Abby starts to scream again and this upsets Max, who promptly pulls his hand away.  Abby reminds him that they're supposed to hold hands and so Dick Butkus volunteers to hold her hand and Max leaves. Dick asks if she is sad because her brother was mean to her and if it bothers Max so much when she screams, why does she screams so much. Abby admits that she screams because that's the only time that Max notices her.  What neither of them realise is that Max is standing nearby and heard every single word.

Larry and Marty are shopping together and Larry says that he doesn't understand why humans work so hard to spend their money on unnecessary articles of clothing.  Marty assures him that it is not unnecessary. When Larry bumps into a mannequin and takes off the arm accidentally, Marty tells him to relax and try on this nice crisp jacket, because apparently nothing makes a man feel like a man, like a nice crisp jacket.  Larry tells Marty that he is not like Marty and that he doesn't want his kids to go to school or wander the mall alone because he likes them and likes being with them. Marty says that he likes his kids too, but that Larry needs to let his kids grow up.  Larry realises that Amber is only two years away from college and asks when this happened. Larry hugs Marty on the floor.

Amber is walking with Reggie Jackson following behind her. She encourages him to keep up and he calls out PI as her number. This does not impress Amber because she believes that he is calling her a three, but Reggie Jackson says that because PI goes on forever, he is saying that she is infinity.  Amber tells him that he is weird but walks away smiling.

Debbie is continuing to take clothes of the rack and Jackie Joyner-Kersee asks why. At first Debbie believes she is asking about the corduroy and says that she doesn't like Dick Butkus in denim because it's a little too children of the corn and Jackie Joyner-Kersee clarifies and asks why Debbie is helping them.  Debbie says that she needs to know that they are not dangerous and that she wanted them to know her family better so they wouldn't eat them. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is shocked and points out that they are the ones who enjoy finger foods and order kids meals. She asks if kids meals are made from kids.  Debbie then realises that she never thought about how hard this must all be for the Zabvronians.  Debbie assures her that kids meals are not made from kids and so Jackie Joyner-Kersee asks about baby back ribs. Jackie Joyner-Kersee then confides that she too had nightmares and sits awake in her pod at night. She want her kids to learn from the Weavers but is worried about exposure and her children fitting in and that she is doing the wrong thing.  Debbie says, "we're mothers, it's our job to worry." Jackie Joyner-Kersee replies, "I trust you Debbie Weaver and I hope that one day soon you will trust me to.  I hope that one day soon, we'll both be able to get some sleep." Debbie answers, "mothers don't sleep. They just worry with their eyes closed."

Max approaches Abby and Dick Butkus and apologizes to Abbey.  Marty approaches and tells Debbie that they have good kids and need to enjoy them more.  Jackie Joyner-Kersee notices that Larry Bird is missing.  When he appears, he is naked except for the jacket and says, "you were right about the jacket Marty, I feel much better."

Back in the community the Zabvronians start making plans because Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee have been gone for three hours. Larry stands up, his hands in the air triumphantly and says, "eat it Dominic Wilkins."