Posted: 06/07/2010

 

Neighbors From Hell, Premiering June 7 On TBS

(2010)

by Laura Tucker




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Most of us have had our share of Neighbors From Hell. In fact my sister used to tell me she thought the house my husband and I first lived in was built on an ancient burial ground because of the two suspected child molesters, 4-year-old boy that started a fire in his home, and the guy that was a tax insurance guy by day and a standup comedian by night. TBS has a slightly different take on Neighbors From Hell, though.

In this animated comedy, Balthazor Hellman (voiced by Will Sasso) works in Hell torturing people. On his breaks, he watches human television, which is forbidden. In what couldn’t be better timing considering current events, Satan finds out that an oil company is drilling right to the center of the earth and could expose Hell. He assigns Balthazor and his family to travel to Earth to find a way to stop the drilling.

The Hellman family need to blend in with the rest of the community as best as they can. They develop the SNORFIN rule – “Seem Normal and Fit In.” This is of course easier said than done, not only because they’re green and look different, but they act completely different as well, including having a penchant for eating cats. They do enjoy some of the finer things of Earth life, such as Balthazor’s wife, Tina (Molly Shannon) always drinking martinis. She also seemed to really enjoy a glass of Chardonnay she tried, but oddly enough, the glass of wine that was shown was red.

The value in Neighbors From Hell is in their social commentary. The regular jokes try too hard, such as Tina saying they are “E = MC Screwed.” But their look at Earth life from the outside is very exposing. Balthazor tortures people in Hell forcing them to listen to Britney Spears, and watches Two and a Half Men, asking the same question we do, if the Half Man isn’t so half anymore.

The people the Hellman family meet are even more representative of our society. One neighbor fawns all over her dog, to the point of almost being sexual, while the dog is constantly trying to commit suicide in an attempt to get away from her. Another neighbor is a strung out drug addict. But the biggest commentary is one they wouldn’t have known would hit that close to home at the time of the premiere. The CEO of the oil company is seen as as the most superficial, uncaring person, only caring if he strikes oil and makes money, and not caring about who or what gets hurt in the process. That speaks volumes right now.

Catch Neighbors From Hell June 7 on TBS.

Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.



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