My neighbor is a puppet king

It has been said that good fences make good neighbors. I say good actors and good writers can make good neighbors. Many television shows have a neighbor character who never makes a lasting impression. While other shows include neighbors who add a lot to the story and the show. This article is about those neighbors. So get ready to borrow a cup of sugar and a cup of advice.

The Ochmoneks

We’re the Ochmoneks, and we’re eccentric!

Series: ALF

Who They Were:

The Ochmoneks, pronounced ahk-mon-ecks, were the older couple who lived next door to the Tanners. Trevor Ochmonek was your basic New Jersey goomba, kind of like Carl from Aqua Teen but less surly. Raquel Ochmonek was like Seinfeld’s mom, so much so they were even played by the same lady. Only Raquel Ochmonek dressed louder and was more obnoxious. The Ochmoneks would drop in on the Tanners usually at the most inopportune times. They were the kind of neighbors who had no real boundaries or sense of social norms.

Why it Would Suck To Be Them:

All the kooky crap and goings on next door caused by Gordon Schumway, followed by the nervousness and no straight answers from Willie Tanner. If you’re Raquel, then trying to deal with what you think you’re seeing, and wondering if you are paranoid. If you’re Trevor, dealing with a paranoid wife who won’t shut up about the “alien next door.”

Why it Would Suck To Live Next To Them:

Constantly making up lies as to what Raquel thinks she saw. Being under endless surveillance by a lady who wears brightly colored moo-moos. That whole personal space problem the Ochmoneks seem to have.

Why They Made This List:

The Ochmoneks are throwback to the Kravitz from Bewitched. The Tanners struggle to keep ALF a secret, but ALF doesn’t do a whole lot to help this task. Generally he’s concerned with his own agenda which leads Raquel to catch accidental glimpses. Raquel is not sure what she is seeing, but she knows something strange is afoot; much like Gladys Kravitz did as she peered through her window at the Stephens’. Raquel would try to tell Trevor what she saw but he never believed her. He was always more interested in his show, paper, beer, anything else other than the crazy shit his wife is talking about. I appreciate the way Ochmoneks emulate the classic characters but with a modern attitude.

Mr. Feeny

That’s right Mr. Matthews

Series:  Boy Meets World

Who He Was:

George Feeny was the principal at John Adams High in some suburb of Philadelphia. He was an older gentleman who would offer sage like advice to the Matthews family living next door and sometimes Shawn. Feeny often complained about living next to some of his students, yet he continued to live there. Corey complained a lot more about having a home next to his principal, but he did actually seem to benefit from all the advice, and thus continued to seek it out.

Why it Would Suck To Be Him:

You spend all week at school dealing with these little bastards, and then you have to see them in the evening and on the weekends. When is Feeny time? You would have to yell at them at school and at home. Then there is that fine line of where his authority ends. That could lead to a problem with the school board and possible job termination.

Why it Would Suck to Live Next To Him:

Because you would be living next to your principal! If you ever got in trouble there would be no way to hide it from your parents. And like above, once you leave the confines of the school you don’t want to see teachers or principals or anyone else associated with the learning process.

Why He Made This List:

One word: Fee-hee-heenay! Hearing Eric Matthews say that was always fun. Dagger and I watched what most would consider too much of this show during college, so much so that we have adopted and altered the “Fee-hee-heenay” to talk about Ryan Spilborghs, “Spill-hee-eey!” But aside from that, I enjoy the class and eloquence Feeny added to the show. He was a great comedic straight man and that was what a show with a bunch of goofball kids needed. Also Feeny was played by the guy who voiced K.I.T.T. and that automatically earns you cool points.

Wilson

Why don’t I ever show the bottom half of my face?

Series: Home Improvement

Who He Was:

Wilson Wilson, Jr. was the face less man who lived next to Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. Wilson could usually be found outside doing some weird shit that seems perfectly normal to him, like Ululating (look it up). Like Feeny, Wilson would over advice to his neighbors whenever they were seeking it. Though his advice usually came through old or obscure sayings that somehow relate to whatever is going on.

Why it Would Suck to Be Him:

You would be living next to Tim Taylor, which means you live in constant danger on your fence being destroyed, house burning down, or severe bodily harm. If you are able to avoid all that, then you have to deal with every little fucking problem this family has, and there a lot of them. Most of which could be solved if the people involved weren’t so stubborn.

Why it Would Suck to Live Next To Him:

Dealing with all the weirdo shit he does in his backyard. Between cooking and burning bizarre food and substances and using manure and dead animals for peculiar reasons, that backyard has got to have one of the most foul smells. I was going to say that it would be annoying to have him give advice in such a wacky way, but really they seek the advice so they should be happy with whatever they get. He doesn’t have to take time from his busy schedule of unusual behavior to help your dumbass, but he does and if you don’t like it, go elsewhere.

Why He Made This List:

I enjoy the different way he gives advice. I feel like I’m learning something. And when I was younger, it was always a blast to watch later in the episode and see how Tim mixed up the advice when he spoke it to someone else. I would love to live next Wilson just to pick his brain and learn about shit I would never think about researching on my own.

The D’Arcys

Sexy towel!

Series: Married…With Children

Who They Were:

The rich banker Marcy and her trophy husband Jefferson. They lived in a Chicago suburb next to what many would consider one the most vile families. The D’Arcys are upper middle class while their neighbors are upper lower class. Jefferson is a pretty boy who feels he doesn’t have to work, while Marcy works hard, and is rather controlling of Jefferson.

Why it Would Suck to Be Them:

Mainly because they have to live next to the Bundy family. Though the D’Arcys may not be as great as they seem, after all their best friends are Al and Peggy. Everyone else on the block avoids the Bundys like the plague, yet Marcy and Jefferson spend a lot of free time with them. Maybe all the neighbors drew straws and the D’Arcys lost. Whatever the case, their lives seem all around awful, except they do appear to have a great sex life.

Why it Would Suck to Live Next to Them:

Marcy is a bit of a bitch and Jefferson is a vapid excuse for a human being. They come over to the Bundy’s home mainly to make fun of them or lord over them how much better their lives are, even though they spend a lot of time at the Bundy house. Also you know that damn near everything you do will upset them and they will come over to complain. Then there is the possibility of seeing or hearing the freaky sex that the D’Arcys are having.

Why They Made This List:

The chemistry and banter Marcy and Al have is fantastic. They trade verbal blows like Holyfield and Dokes traded punches. It added more comedy to an already funny show. These two made the list rather than Marcy and her first husband Steve Rhoades, because I always felt like Jefferson was more of a friend to Al than Steve was. This dynamic that Jefferson offered gave more depth and dimension to the characters. Whereas Steve was just another person to rag on the Bundy family. The inclusion of Jefferson and the whole story arc of Steve running out on Marcy lead the Marcy character to grow and change. With Steve she was much more passive, but with Jefferson she is more dominant. This is a sign that Steve leaving affected her hard.

Hey it’s that dude from Love Boat!

These are a few of the neighbors I wouldn’t mind living next to. There may be a few more who exist only in the 2D world of cartoons, but let’s try to be a little realistic here for once. I’ll hold off on the Mr. Rogers total crazy of imaginary friends and neighbors for at least a little bit. But right now they all sound better than the upstairs neighbor who clop-clop-clop all over the damned place. Oh well, I guess until I write myself into a sitcom I’m stuck. Or I could move, but who wants to go through that hassle?

See ya at the block party…

lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com

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