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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
Bridget is a film student who looks deeper at television and film, providing reviews, insights, and more.
The Neighbors and Event Viewing
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By Bridget LaMonica

Bridget is a Media Communication and Technology grad from East Stroudsburg University. She is now continuing her education with a graduate program in Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Bridget loves television and ...

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On the Tube: TV Reviews and More

Bridget is a Media Communication and Technology grad from East Stroudsburg University. She is now continuing her education with a graduate program in Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Bridget loves television and movies, and is always annoying her friends when watching the tube because she frequently asks “How did they do that?” or making predictions on whether a TV show will live past its first season. In order to avoid this habit, she now keeps this blog.

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By Bridget LaMonica
Sept. 21, 2013 2:12 p.m.



I should have written about this television show beforehand, but as they say "better late than never." Or better yet, as they say in television: "You're fired."

Ahem. 

So in addition to my extremely nerdy TV passions (Doctor Who, Supernatural, Face Off, etc), a big thing in the LaMonica household is watching ABC's Wednesday night comedy lineup. It even trumphs Fox's Animation Domination on Sundays (which is saying something, because they've got a pretty good roster there too). 

Wednesday night begins with the adventures of the hapless Heck family The Middle at 8pm, then we also have Modern Family (needs no explaining, does it? An Emmy or two ago, we did have the "Modern Family Awards." If you don't know what I'm talking about, brush up on your Emmy history). Suburgatory, now in it's second season, is another favorite of mine, because it parallels the real life adventures of my Dad and myself (well, loosely speaking. It's TV afterall). 

The Neighbors

Then we have the newcomer, The Neighbors. Unfortunately moved to Friday night (the self-imposed death of television), it began with ABC's night of funny alongside those other established greats. And after an episode or two, I was hooked.

The Neighbors follows the life of the Weaver family who have moved into a lovely community--completely inhabited by clueless aliens with the names of sports icons. The Weaver's next down neighbors are Larry Bird, Jackie Joyner, Dick Buttkiss, and Reggie Jackson. The Weaver family is populated by a Debbie, Mom, who really wants to connect with her grouchy oldest child Amber, 

Pop culture references, the alien's inability to see the fault in how they interpret human culture (breaking a champagne bottle in the kitchen to celebrate an anniversary), and the Weaver's general annoyance with their alien cohorts contribute to making a bright, original comedy filled with surprised laughter.

All the characters have their loveable qurks. The Weaver parent's relationship is humorous in how awkward they really are. Larry Bird insists that he is in fact the prettiest. Young Dick Buttkiss is a dry-humoured genius, and teenage Reggie Jackson is hopelessly in love with human Amber. At this point I'm convinced Jackie can emulate any accent she darn well pleases.

It has even been nominated for an Emmy (Check out the Emmys, Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8pm). 

Event Viewing

The fact that my Dad and I always make a point of seeing these shows, religiously, is the very principle of event viewing. Back in the day (or, before DVR, TV on DVD, and Internet streaming), popular television shows were an event. Fans plan their lives around their favorite programs. Sure, I'll go to the Mall with you, but can we be back by 8pm so I don't miss Smallville and Supernatural?

Making TV an event is important to the network. The more eyeballs on that screen, the more money they'll rake in from advertisers who want their ads seen. TV Programs are just the spaces in between the advertisements--a way to sell to you. It's not devious or underhanded in any way, it's simply how making TV is possible. 

With the popularity of streaming and DVR viewing, skipping the commercials has become a national pasttime. And that's a problem for networks. Some still find dedicated viewers who must see the episode as it airs lest their friends blow the biggest twist on Breaking Bad for them, but others are cool to wait a little bit and fast forward through the commercials on the DVR or watch with "limited commercial interruption" on the network's website. Heck, still others prefer to wait for an entire season to be put on DVD.

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