The Black Box: “The Neighbors”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, I… I don’t even.

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So, I promised I’d review this, but I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. This thing is, on a technical level, the absolute worst show I’ve reviewed. “Heil Honey” may have been more offensive, “Allen Gregory” might have been lazier, and “H8R” may have been more morally despicable, but this shit is just baaaaaaad. As in, the absence of anything good. I have ALREADY put more effort into this review than went into the show’s production and I’m two paragraphs in.

“The Neighbors” was written, produced, directed by, and starring living wraith and answer to the D.B. Cooper mystery Tommy Wiseau. If you don’t immediately recognize that name, first of all welcome to the internet, and second, he’s the “visionary” behind 2003’s cult hit “The Room”, considered by many to be the worst movie of all time. Because of his “success” on that front, Hulu decided to give him a sitcom on March 16th, 2015. Yeah, this show isn’t exactly a failed one yet, but come on, how could I not review it? It’s too beautifully awful. You know, like the Hindenburg Disaster.

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                                                        Oh, the humanity!

What they did right: You… you’re kidding, right?

What they did wrong: The show starts with the famous 1812 Overture playing over the opening titles, which is like a beacon of crazy shining from the top of the lighthouse of lunacy that is this fucking show. If “The Room” was Wiseau trying to make a drama and creating an accidental comedic masterpiece, “The Neighbors” is Wiseau trying to make a comedy and creating a surrealist art installation. It’s so fucking weird. First off, I want to talk about Wiseau himself, who stars as Charlie, the superintendent of an apartment complex. Now, I don’t quite understand Wiseau’s clearly inhuman biology, but he doesn’t look well.

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In case you though he couldn’t have a worse haircut than he did in “The Room”

In fact, the term I would use is that he looks like he is in a perpetual state of dying all the time. Like, if he were to drop to the ground dead and cocoon into a husk in the middle of a scene, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest. I would say that this explains the god-fucking-awful dialogue on display here, but that’s par for Wiseau’s course. At one point, a character shouts “Stop doing vulgar language in here!!” and I gave up on humanity as we know it. Another character tells his enemy that he “crawled out of the chocolate river” because I don’t fucking know. And that’s not even getting to the weird shit.

Like this:

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No, this isn’t what it looks like.

This is from a thirty second clip of a man sobbing and screaming into the camera about his life sucking before wrapping that noose around his neck. He tightens it, and then takes it off and throws it to the  floor because he’s gonna be totally ok. WE NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN. Am… am I haunted for watching this? And that’s not even addressing the actual “characters” of this bullshit. All the characters are residents of the huge fuck-off apartment building Wiseau’s character owns.Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.06.07 PM

                                                                        This one!

And get used to that fucking establishing shot because THEY ONLY HAVE ONE. And they refuse to stop using it. When I close my eyes, I see this damn building. It haunts my dreams. Sorry, got off topic, the characters, right. First we have Philadelphia. Who looks like this:

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           Hmmmm, I feel like, if I used this as this review’s featured image, it would get more traffic than anything I’ve ever written.

And yes, she is always dressed like this. Always. And yes, it does make for an uncomfortable viewing experience. Her character is… pretty much just what you see there. I don’t WANT to say she was cast entirely based on her appearance but… well, I mean, it sure as fuck wasn’t for her acting ability. She seems, I dunno, nice enough, but all she does is walk around and talk at people. But then again, that’s all literally any of these characters do. Speakin’ of…Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.16.12 PM

Let’s talk about Pothead and Chicken Lady. Pothead is… well, what do you think? He has one defining character trait and that’s it. Chicken Lady owns a chicken which escapes out her window and she spends the entire rest of the episode searching for it. I swear to you, I watched this damn thing dead sober. I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true. This woman’s quest to find a goddamn chicken is the A-story of the episode. In this scene, Chicken Lady breaks into Pothead’s apartment because no one in this show locks their doors. The two of them get into a heated screaming match until she leaves.

Similar to this is the scene in which two residents of the apartment complex (one black and one asian-american) get into a shouty argument of racial epithets which eventually devolves into this:

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                              This is the third hug-iest fight I’ve ever seen.

And then they just sort of stop and go their separate ways. Also, the asian-american guy refers to the other guy as “the black guy” as if he’s the only black guy who lives in the building which, as we learn later, is not true. God dammit, at least have your racist characters make some degree of sense! Or have any character make any sense at any point, that would be good too.

Immediately after this scene, we are introduced to the maintenance guy as he gets right to work in a trademark Wiseau sex scene. Oh, and guess what’s practically stamped across his ass?

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                                         IT’S LIKE HE’S TAUNTING ME!!

Fortunately, before these two can find a spiral staircase to screw on, they get interrupted by Basketball Guy who has found something of note.

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                             HOW DOES THIS SHOW EXIST???!!

Yep, he’s found Chicken Lady’s chicken. Which he has developed an attatchment to. And may or may not be fucking. I don’t know, I’d believe anything at this point. He cares for it until the end of the episode, when Chicken Lady takes it back, leaving him heartbroken for the remainder of his days.

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Aww, and they were so cute together.

Let’s get this thing moving, we still have a lot to cover. Especially pizza boy Joe Spielberg (and yes that name makes me just as mad as it probably makes you). He is first introduced delivering a pizza to two women living in Wiseau’s building.

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Are… are we sure this isn’t just porn?

Seconds later, he has decided to move into the building and heads down to Wiseau’s office to do so. On the way, he takes off his shirt for some reason, I guess, I don’t know. And guess who he runs into on the way?

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In the next scene, Wiseau is confronted by one of his tenants, whom I will call Steven because I don’t remember his name and you don’t give a shit what it was anyway. Anyhow, Steven has cheated on his pregnant wife with some guy named Patrick, whose name I DID remember for some reason. And then, all of a sudden, his pregnant wife IS JUST THERE IN THE FUCKING ROOM WITH THEM. Also, her “pregnancy” is super obviously a volleyball shoved up her shirt because no child is that spherical.

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                  Are they gonna name the baby “Wilson”?

It’s towards the end of the episode when we are finally introduced to our final character. And he… is… a surprise.

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Gaaaah, they’re multiplying!!!!!

That’s right, Wiseau plays MULTIPLE CHARACTERS in this show!!! He is everywhere! This guy, whose name is definitely either Blake or Preston or some hideous combination of the two, has a girlfriend who wants to buy a shotgun. So they go over to Pothead’s apartment because he apparently has just so many guns. Blake-ston’s girlfriend uses sexy hypnosis (which is a thing, I guess) to convince Pothead to give her the shotgun for free. I’m not sure why she wants it, but her facial expressions and tone of voice make her sound as if she wants to fuck herself with it.

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                           I only hope that if she does, the rest of the characters follow suit.

Aaaaaaaaaand that’s the episode. If it sounds like I just repeated a bunch of jumbled, non-tied together bullshit, that’s because it is. Wiseau doesn’t know how to write a TV show. Well, I mean, he doesn’t know how to write movies either, but he’s worse at TV. There is absolutely no structure whatsoever and the characters, well, lack character. It is so so so so so bad and I fully intend to review every episode of this thing at some point.

Oh yeah, we ain’t done here.

Not by by long shot.


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