‘Neighbors from Hell’, a new animated series on TBS, may have struck liquid gold with a plot that will have environmentalists on Satan’s side. But while the plot of ‘Neighbors from Hell’ sounds like a lot of fun, TBS might be trying too hard to find the next ‘Family Guy’ (and failing at it).
What is ‘Neighbors from Hell’ about?
‘Neighbors from Hell’ is an animated series created by Pam Brady (who has done work on ‘South Park’) that almost has an environmental message buried deep beneath its shallow crust in its steamy red-hot core (global warning will get us there eventually). When humans develop a gigantic drill (Sarah Palin is drooling) capable of making it to the center of the Earth, Satan has to come up with a plan to prevent his annoying neighbors from above from cutting into his torture time in their never-ending quest for oil. And so he sends chooses a demon family to Earth headed by guy who adores Earthly sitcoms (apparently a way of torture in Hell, although reality shows like ‘Pretty Wild’ and ‘The Hills’ would make more sense). The rest of the series then focuses on cheerful low-level torturer Balthazor Hellman and his family’s new way of life in a Texas suburb where they deal with Earthlings and try to find a way to destroy the drill.
‘Neighbors from Hell’ : Hell on Earth
But when the ‘Neighbors from Hell’ finally arrive and get to experience the beautiful blue of the big Texas sky for the first time, they soon find out that they aren’t actually the hellish ones, meeting some very disgusting and disturbing suburban neighbors (including a woman that is way too obsessed with her dog). After watching the humans of sitcoms for so long, the family is shocked to discover what ‘The Real World: Earth’ is actually like, and soon learn that their neighbors from hell on earth aren’t going to make their job or new life easy.
The Characters of ‘Neighbors from Hell’
Balthazor Hellman – Balthazor is an easygoing but clueless demon dad who dresses like Conway Twitty (or Unknown Hinson In brown; look him up). He also looks a bit like a big green owl. From what I can gather, his happy-go-lucky attitude, blissful ignorance, and knowledge of sitcoms will make him way too similar to Peter Griffin.
Chevdet Tevetoglu – Chevdet is not a demon from Hell like the Hellman family, but an earthly Turkish immigrant working on the drill project. So basically he’s in the show to be the butt of racist jokes.
Don Killbride – Balthazor’s boss is your typical wannabe Satan on Earth: a CEO who enjoys cheating on his wife, golf (go Tiger!), and killing animals (poor tigers).
Josh Hellman – Josh Hellman is yet another of the stereotypical characters on ‘Neighbors from Hell’. He’s the young son of the Hellman family, a hyperactive hellraiser into pyromania and playing video games. So he should fit in on Earth rather nicely.
Mandy Hellman – Mandy is another of the characters on the show who surprisingly adjusts well to life on Earth, conquering Earth boys (despite her green skin and demonic features) and wasting her time (and screen time) by constantly being on her cell phone.
Marjoe Saint Sparks – Marjoe is a typical Texas housewife with big hair and a big personality to match. She loves her poor suicidal poodle a little too much; forces her kids to do drugs in order to teach them to say no to them; suffers from sex addiction; and enjoys making racist comments about her neighbors. In other words, her character is way more outrageous and offensive than her neighbors from hell.
Uncle Vlaartark – He’s the immature and quirky Uncle of the family, an old codger who is always good for a bathroom joke or other cliché form of cartoon humor.
Tina Hellman – The Lois of the show. Tina seems to be one of the few members of the Hellman family not having the time of her life on Earth, as the hellishly hot housewife spends her days sipping Chardonnay and following celebrity gossip while counting down the days until she gets to go back to hell. She does make a great inspiration for a reality TV series, however; ‘The Real Housewives of Hell’ is something I’d love to see (hey, she does live in Texas now, which is pretty darn close). Molly Shannon voices the demonic diva.
Pazuzu – Pazuzu, the family’s talking goblin dog, actually sounds like one of the more interesting characters on ‘Neighbors from Hell’. With a love of Lady Gaga, heating himself up in the microwave, and ranch dressing and a hatred of being treated like an underling in his earthly disguise, the demonic dog’s kooky persona seems like one of the less predictable of the show.
So is ‘Neighbors from Hell’ worth giving a chance?
I kind of wish the ‘Neighbors from Hell’ were more like an Addams Family style bunch, a creepy and kooky familial unit that doesn’t mesh with their neighbors at all, instead of falling into Earthly ways so easily. And while the premise is great, why not just make an adult version of alien cartoon ‘Invader Zim’, a brilliant cancelled Nick cartoon with a similar story about infiltrating Earth and a major cult fan following? And if you want to see demons and other Earthlings behaving badly, why not just wait for the ingenious ‘Ugly Americans’ to return in October?
Okay, I’m done with the comparisons (it’s ‘Family Guy’, but with demons!). To me the characters just sound too typical and boring, and any clips I’ve seen of the show simply have not been funny. However, I guess since I’ve spent all this time writing about the darn series, I suppose I’ll have to give it a shot when it premieres on June 7th on TBS.
But if TBS wants to continue to bring the funny after saving Coco’s show, I just wish they’d have cut the cartoon and done the same for Sarah Silverman (now she’s an adorable spawn of Satan I know I would enjoy watching).