Monday, March 18, 2013

The Unspoken Pact

Won't you be my neighbor?
Photo credit: Design by Zouny
Have you been watching the ABC sitcom The Neighbors? You really should. It's funny in a way that sitcoms haven't been in years. 

It's about The Weavers, a typical American family who buy a house in a gated community entirely populated by shipwrecked aliens who all dress alike (though differently each day) and have named themselves after famous athletes. The Weavers' next door neighbors are Larry Bird, his wife Jackie Joyner-Kersee and their sons, Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkis. They had me at the premise, and thank the comedy gods that it's for realsies funny and not hacky like Hot in Cleveland (seriously, why do I keep watching that show? Is Betty White really worth the bad writing?).

But I come not to praise The Neighbors (though, seriously, please watch it, so it doesn't get cancelled like Ben and Kate, which totally broke my little heart), but to discuss last week's episode (Sing Like a Larry Bird the ep. will start playing automatically when you click that). 

You see, I was always really glad that The Kid refused to watch The Neighbors with us because of Amber Weaver, the hostile teenage girl. The Kid didn't need any encouragement or new bad behaviors to model. This week, she staged a complete rebellion, refusing to be grounded, and encouraging her younger siblings to stop listening to the parents. 

Yeah, I lived that, although without the mini-revolutionaries gorging on ice cream. Clearly, I've recovered quite a bit because I was able to find the episode funny, but oh dear god, did I feel for the parents. They wisely decided to wait it out rather than play the "we're bigger than you" card, even though they could've easily tucked the little kids under their arms and carried them off to their rooms. In the end, they talked it out with the teenager (who was protesting an unreasonable parental decision) and talked down the little kids by explaining the unspoken pact.

The unspoken pact? To paraphrase, the kids obey and in return they get Christmas, birthdays, homework help, food, mommy's comfort and all the other good stuff like that.

Had I tried that on The Kid (or any trauma kid), the response I would've gotten would been something along the lines of "you're legally required to feed me and fuck that other stuff because I don't really trust or expect it anyway."

Good times.

Not sure where I'm going with this. Mostly just to talk about a moment when I actually had a moment of recognition. Wow, my life is reflected on this show.

It also illustrates what that study was saying a couple of weeks ago about how damaging it can be to let kids watch shows that are even a little above their age range. Imagine showing "Sing Like a Larry Bird" to a kid who has enough attention span to watch the offspring revolution and start emulating it, but not enough attention to watch how it ends. You'd be too busy talking the kid down off the chandelier to even watch the bit about the unspoken pact yourself, let alone use it on your own kid.

A plea for help: I recently installed IntenseDebate comments on this here blog.  But Blogger keeps going back to the old, default Blogger comment system. On Friday, I published a post, checked it immediately, and it was displaying the IntenseDebate comment system. Then an hour or so later, when someone left a comment, it was through the old, default system. If anyone has any idea what's going on and how to fix it, I'd appreciate advice.

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