Neighbors From Hell (Season One)

Posted: February 19, 2011 in TV & Webisodes

Ever lived next to a truly awful neighbor? Someone who does nothing but drive you crazy and make your life a living hell? Well, as it turns out, some people from Hell have the same problem. I liked Neighbors From Hell quite a bit, probably because the show makes no bones about being influenced by classic family sitcoms like Growing Pains, The Cosby Show and ALF, and at its core, it’s the same thing, except that there’s, you know, demons involved.

The premise is simple, but promising: A huge energy company called Petromundo has invented a gigantic drill that can burrow all the way down to Hell. Naturally, Satan doesn’t want anyone messing with his domain, so he sends working stiff Balthazor Hellman and his reluctant family up to Earth to try and stop it. In order to accomplish the mission and return home successfully, the Hellmans must hide their demonic nature and try to fit in with the neighbors. Thus the weird title, “Snorfindesdrillsalgoho”, or spelled out: Seem Normal, Fit In, Destroy Drill, Save Hell, Go Home. The irony is that the Hellmans soon discover people on Earth are far more evil than anyone they know down in Hell.

There’s a lot to like in this show because the jokes range from over-the-top sight gags to subtle “blink-and-you-missed-it” quips and the cast is very strong. It’s almost unfair to compare Neighbors From Hell to The Simpsons or Family Guy because those shows have had years of history, but there are some similarities as far as character types go. Balthazor Hellman (Will Sasso), like Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin, is kind of a dolt, but he has a good heart, even though he works for Satan. His martini-drinking wife Tina (Molly Shannon) is more posh than Marge Simpson or Lois Griffin, but like those characters, she seems to have loads of patience and understanding.

As for the rest of the family – daughter Mandy (Tracey Fairaway), son Josh (David Soren) and Uncle Vlaartark (Kyle McCulloch) – all are characters that are funny in their own way with their own distinct characteristics. Like Apu on The Simpsons, Neighbors From Hell has a resident Indian man, Chevdet Tevetoglu (also voiced by Kyle McCulloch), who is the engineer responsible for the Petromundo drill. The show-steaker for me was Pazuzu (Patton Oswalt), a demon who must pose as the Hellmans’ dog, stakes his claim as the family’s voice of reason, like Brian on Family Guy.

Much of the comedy in this series comes from the supporting cast. We’ve seen dozens of interpretations of Satan in mass media and in a sense, it’s one of the easier parts to play because there’s so much you can do with the character. That said, Steve Coogan (Night at the Museum) does a great job putting his own particular spin on the infamous role. Kurtwood Smith (That 70’s Show) plays Don Killbride, the CEO of Petromundo and perhaps the wickedest guy on the show. I’m sure that when creator Pam Brady was writing the character, portraying an energy company’s CEO as a vile human being was a fun little joke. However, as the BP oil spill destroyed the Gulf of Mexico, the irony wasn’t so subtle. Another favorite character on the show is Marjoe Saint Sparks (Dina Waters), the Hellmans’ bubbly neighbor who’s kind of like Ned Flanders, if Ned were also a racist gossip with a suicidal pet poodle. She is, in fact, the neighbor from Hell.

I suspect that if you’re a fan of animated family sitcoms, this show will work for you. Because it’s a short ten-episode season, they had to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, but the characters are well defined and they still get in plenty of jokes. Plus, they managed the difficult feat of poking fun at the lovey-doveyness that creeped into the later seasons of The Simpsons, while also showing that a family of demons aren’t completely demonic.

Neighbors From Hell aired last June and July on TBS. It is rumoured that the show has been cancelled, but even if TBS does not renew the series, I am confident it will be picked up by one of the more sensible, edgier networks (are you listening Comedy Central?)

Below are all ten episodes of 2010’s season one…

Episode One – Snorfindesdrillsalgoho: Download
Episode Two – Country Club Hell: Download
Episode Three – Gay Vampire Mexican: Download
Episode Four – Screw the EPA: Download
Episode Five – Family from Hell: Download
Episode Six – Guns for Mutts: Download
Episode Seven – Robert the Insult Weight Loss Robot: Download
Episode Eight – Wolf Power: Download
Episode Nine – Attila the Rascal: Download
Episode Ten – Fantastic 15: Download

Any expansion passwords required will be, who graciously hosted these links.

Wiki: Link | Official Site: Link


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