Neighbors from Hell
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this cartoon is not intended for kids or tweens. The fact that the show’s title includes a four-letter word is a good indication of the mature content that exists here, including strong language (“damn” and “ass” are frequent culprits, in addition to “hell”), fairly graphic violence (gun use, strangulation, and a dog’s repeated attempts to off himself by hanging or fire), sexual innuendo (including references to beastiality), and frequent drinking. All in all, it’s an iffy choice for young teens, but adults will find the humor in the outsiders’ impression of human life.
What's the story?
When human engineers build a drill that can puncture the center of the Earth, Satan sends Balthazor Hellman (voiced by Will Sasso) up to the surface to sabotage the project and protect hell’s existence. The assignment isn’t unwelcomed by Balthazor -- who, despite being a demon, is intrigued by humans and welcomes the chance to mingle with them -- but his wife, Tina (Molly Shannon), and their teenage kids, Mandy (Tracey Fairaway) and Josh (David Soren), are decidedly less enthusiastic. Even the family dog, Pazuzu (Patton Oswalt), rails against the move, but the Hellmans soon discover that life amongst humans is more like home than they would have guessed.
Is it any good?
In the vein of edgy cartoons like South Park and Family Guy comes this little gem of a series, which packs a punch of irreverent fun that grown-ups are sure to like. Demonic though the Hellmans may be, the show’s skewed view of humanity casts them as the morally fibrous ones amid their eccentric neighbors and crass coworkers.
An unexpected plus to this comical series is the heartwarming substory of how the Hellman family is influenced by the positive aspects of human life, namely their relationships and responsibility toward each other. Balthazor especially takes this trait to heart and tries to make it a part of his home structure, and the result is a (mostly) happy, well-adjusted demon family. Warm fuzzies for adults, to be sure, but not for kids and tweens, as the message is lost amid strong language, sexual inferences, racial stereotypes, and plenty of violence.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about this show’s messages. What does this show say about human relationships, work ethic, and social equality? Do you think its impression of any of these issues is accurate? Why or why not? Do you think the show intends to influence people’s view of society?
What makes a show funny? Why is humor often rooted in mockery or stereotypes? What other shows have you seen that joke at the expense of people or groups of people? Who defines the degree to which this is acceptable?
What safeguards exist to protect kids from edgy content like what this show offers? Should more be done to make it safe? How have age-appropriate standards changed through the years? Is this change influenced by society or a reflection of society’s evolution?