- Created By
- Jim Reynolds
- Running Time
- 22 minutes
- Number of Episodes
While film is a medium focused on stories, television is one of characters. The audience tunes in every week to see how these people they have invested potentially years of time into will deal with their current issues. The dramas of television still rely on their storytelling like a film would, but sitcoms hinge entirely on the personas and charisma of their ensembles. Unfortunately, as most sitcoms show, it can take more than a season to develop enough character to keep these ideas afloat.
The main story of The Neighborhood season one revolves around the Johnson family who relocate from Michigan to Los Angeles for Gemma’s (Beth Behrs) new job at a school. Her husband Dave (Max Greenfield) tries to befriend their neighbors the Butlers, but finds himself constantly the butt of jokes from the matriarch Calvin (Cedric the Entertainer). As Gemma and their son Grover (Hank Greenspan) start to befriend Tina Butler (Tichina Arnold) and her two sons Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney) and Marty (Marcel Spears), they all show Calvin and Dave that maybe they aren’t so different after all.
After New Girl ended, their hilarious cast was bound to find themselves hot commodities and Greenfield was one of the notable breakouts. Here he plays a slightly different character going from the douchey, over the top Schmidt to the overly optimistic family man. The change gives Greenfield a great character to work with that is complemented by his neighbor Calvin played by Cedric the Entertainer. These two characters are polar opposites and somehow the two actors have an innate chemistry that makes this odd couple scenario work and deliver some genuine laughs along the way. Outside these two, the ensemble around them is fairly entertaining with each having their own moment throughout the season. The scene stealer of the season is Arnold as Calvin’s wife Tina who embraces their new neighbors with open arms.
However, these characters and performances are only this good thanks to the longer first season. Coming in at 21 episodes, this freshman comedy gave itself enough time to flesh out each character and bring some quirky situations to the table. If this season had been cut short at 7 or even 13 episodes, the characters would’ve been less developed and ended up stereotypes of the commentary this show’s premise makes. Speaking of the storylines, they can be a bit dull and mundane at times as the on-the-nose cultural commentary feels less impactful than it could have been. Thankfully, this issue is not the downfall of this series as the storylines provide genuine family moments, friendship and underlying messages that further display the potential that this show and its premise could have for seasons to come.
What did you think of the first season of The Neighborhood? Let me know in the comments!