Monday, October 8, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Neighborhood' - Dave Asks Calvin and Malcolm for Help with Home Repairs in 'Welcome to the Repipe'

CBS' The Neighborhood - Episode 1.02 "Welcome to the Repipe"

When a water pipe bursts at the Johnsons' home, Calvin reluctantly agrees to help Dave repair the damage. Gemma discovers a surprising secret about her new neighbor, Tina.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of CBS' The Neighborhood.

"Welcome to the Repipe" was written by Erica Montolfo-Bura and directed by Mark Cendrowski

The second episode of The Neighborhood is not demonstrably better than the premiere. The only reason why I decided to keep watching the show after a dismal opener is because CBS made a screener available. The network has made a couple more available as well. So, coverage may continue moving forward. Again, I want great things from this cast. But right now, everything continues to break down on broad racial barriers with the show not being able to have a smart conversation about anything. It's still just a bunch of silly and lackluster jokes that would have seemed clever and insightful 20 or 30 years ago. Right now, Dave and Gemma are still only being defined as oblivious and white. To them, it's still radical and shocking to learn about other cultural experiences. Again, there is the desire to understand and appreciate. But it's all being presented as very special and meaningful. They are willing to reach out and accept even though their sheer presence offers a number of problems in this neighborhood as well. Moreover, there is really no sense of the two of them as a couple. The stories have so far always pushed Gemma to interact with Tina while Dave is dealing with Calvin. The women are able to get along and laugh about their differences while the men clash and are so annoyed by one another. But then again, it's easy to understand Calvin's frustrations towards Dave. He is just incredibly naive and protective. He wants to come across as a friendly and genuine guy. And yet, he has zero awareness of how his actions can be perceived. His relationship with Malcolm is much more natural. He actually encourages him to grow and accept that he is capable of getting this job done. The plot is so simple here as well. Dave just needs help fixing a broken pipe in his house. Again, it's still so confusing to understand what kind of neighborhood this is. Calvin and Tina seem wealthy and successful. Meanwhile, Dave and Gemma's new house is a complete disaster. It matches their personalities because they foolishly didn't think to have any organization when it came to packing their belongings. That's just completely silly and only appears as a quick joke. But at least there seems like growth with Dave and Malcolm. With Calvin, it's still just a one-dimensional confrontation between him and Dave. And then, Gemma and Tina are just having fun. That's the dynamic that should really be embraced more moving forward. Of course, they too are making everything about race. That's the way that things apparently break down when it comes to using a wash cloth. That seems a little far-fetched to just make blanket statements like that regarding who knows about that and who doesn't. The surprise that comes from the wigs has much more history along racial lines. And yes, the comedy from not knowing how Tina will react does come from what the audience should know about the situation. However, it mostly just becomes an excuse to laugh and have a fun time while the men are doing the hard work fixing a pipe and caring for the child.