#41: The Neighbors
ABC: (December 1975 - April 1976)
In 1975, ABC was having a weird time with their games. In 1975, they cancelled Password after an ill-conceived attempt at making it an all-celebrity game with Password All-Stars, Split Second went by the wayside and so did another Goodson-Todman game in Showoffs, a decent enough pantomime game. So, to fill the voids left, they shuffled the new game, Rhyme and Reason to 1:30 and had The $10,000 Pyramid at 2:00pm. So, what they needed to fill out that slot, or so they think was a game so like the Newlywed Game that it would fool the people that actually watched the Newlywed Game to watch. Unfortunately, the idea that was on the books was more of someone in a pitch meeting saying, "Hey, you know that show Newlywed Game? Well, let's take that concept and have five 30-something women play a version of that game on one of the most horrific sets ever on TV. They'll spill their guts on each other and people will watch." Thus, the Neighbors was born. Unfortunately, they roped in one of the most talented people in history to do this.
That's right, that's Regis Philbin. How he got roped into doing this is way beyond me. Quite honestly, I don't even know what he's doing here. He's way too good to be here. I mean, out of everything, he's easily the most watchable person there. Not to mention, he isn't a giant eyesore, like the set.
Oh yeah, the set. This has to be one of the ugliest sets in game show history. It's supposed to look like some sort of backyard in a model suburb in California. What it does look like is a very cheaply put together neighborhood made for an elementary school play about bullying and other stuff that you need to tell your parents about. I'm assuming they spent more money on catering than they did on this set. What may be worse than the set is the theme song. It's horrendous. It sounds like 5 catty neighbors going, "Tittle, Toddle, pittle poddle, ching ching ching all the while" What also doesn't help is that they are completely off key. What happened is that ABC paid one group of contestants to say these words in a singing voice, put them together in 30 seconds to get ready for taping with bland, boring music.
I guess we should get into the game, if you can call it that. Two Neighbors play the game while 3 Neighbors act as the panel. It follows basic Newlywed Game procedures. The host asks a personal question, and you have to give who would fit that description. However, in The Neighbors, the questions are downright bad. One of the questions was, "What Neighbor has the most beer cans and bottles in their garbage?" Why should anybody care who has what in their garbage besides america's insatiable desire to know everything about everyone? Well, correct answers are $25. Yeah, lame.
Round 2 isn't much better in the originality department. It's pretty much a rip-off of various shows like To Tell The Truth and the old show, Oh My Word. Regis will read a statement regarding one of the contestants marriage or lifestyle or something to that effect that one of the three Neighbors said. Then the three Neighbors will give their reasons why they said what they said. The contestant would pick the neighbor that they think said that statement. The neighbor that was picked would receive $25 and if that was the person who said the statement, the contestant would get $50. Man, not only is this just bad, it's insanely boring to the average viewers. Nobody cares if one of the contestants neighbors said that their marriage could be described as "Good n' Plenty." Yawn.
The last round is basically like the first one instead it involves a buzz-in style format + more money. As if making this a speed round with more money would make this more entertaining. Actually, it's making me more sleepy. Anyways the twist is that there are 5 questions. The first one being $50, the second being $100, third $150, fourth $200 and the fifth one, if necessary is $300. The contestant with the most money wins and gets a prize package. Which should just be enough to build a big moat and fence around your house to get away from your neighbors for years to come.
In a word to describe this show, it's ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! The format is just a bad rehash of The Newlywed Game, To Tell The Truth and oddly enough, the old celebrity game He Said, She Said. It doesn't work at all. The set is the most ghastly thing and cheapest looking set in all of game show history, the music is this close to being just as bad, if not worse than The Better Sex theme & The payouts are ridiculously low for having your friendships with all of your neighbors tarnished for all eternity. Also, it's just boring. You honestly have no vested interest in any of the people & to be frank, I just don't care anymore.
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