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Series / The Neighborhood

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"Hey, Calvin!" "Hey, Dave."

Welcome to the block,
Welcome to The Neighborhood,
Welcome to the hoo-ood...

The Neighborhood is a comedy series about a white guy named Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield), who moves along with his wife Gemma (Beth Behrs) and elementary-school aged son Grover (Hank Greenspan) from Kalamazoo, Michigan to a Southern California neighborhood populated with mostly black people. Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer), his next door neighbor, finds him annoying, and tries to avoid him at all costs. Calvin's wife Tina (Tichina Arnold) on the other hand wants to get along with and is nice to them. A majority of episodes revolve around Dave trying to be friendly with Calvin.

The show premiered on October 1, 2018, on CBS.

Not to be confused with the American Alternative Rock band The Neighbourhood.

Welcome to the Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Marty's full name is "Martin Lawrence Butler", in reference to Martin Lawrence, with whom Tichina Arnold starred with in Martin and is good friends with.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Dave is providing his lame puns and jokes to compare himself to Dwayne Johnson, Tina sincerely laughs, much to Calvin's chagrin.
  • Ashes to Crashes: In “Welcome to the Surprise“, Calvin gets his father’s ashes from his mother. Dave decides that he and Calvin should go fishing at Monica Pier with the ashes, just like Calvin’s dad used to do. While casting a line, Dave accidentally hooks the urn and sends it flying into the ocean.
  • Badass Pacifist: According to Logan, Dave's friend from Michigan, Dave is such an effective mediator that he was once able to get feuding warlords to make peace and become friends just by talking to them.
  • Berserk Button: Gemma has hers pressed when a wealthy donor to her school indirectly referred to her as a so-called educator in “Welcome to the Mama Drama“.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Tina and Dave in the commercial for Calvin's auto shop. Tina overplays her part while Dave adds ridiculous motivations for his character.
  • Basement-Dweller: At the beginning of the series, Malcolm was unemployed and still living with Calvin and Tina. As time went on, he got a job as a security guard and finally moved out of his parents' home... and into the house next door with Marty, which they are renting from their parents after Calvin and Tina bought it from their grumpy former neighbor Walter.
  • Because I Said So: Calvin says this to Grover every time he refuses to do something in "Welcome to the Anniversary."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dave is annoyingly nice, but when pushed over the edge or attacked, can put the fear of God into someone. Justified, due to his military training, where he'd have learned hand-to-hand combat.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Calvin looking through his mail in "Welcome to the Standoff".
    Calvin: Junk. Junk. Save the Children.... Junk!
  • Black and Nerdy: Marty is an engineer who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Near the end of season five, he quits NASA to start an electric vehicle restoration business with Calvin.
  • Black Sitcom: Zig-Zagged. The Butlers are of African-American heritage, the setting is predominantly black, and many stories tackle social issues from a black perspective, but the Johnsons, a white family, get equal exposure and the growing friendship between the two families is explored.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • One of the magazines in the barbershop is News Profile, presented as a stand-in for the high profile publication News Week.
    • The arcade game Dance Floor Party in "Welcome to Bowling" is a stand-in for DanceDanceRevolution.
  • The Bro Code: Calvin and Dave each have a code, but the differences between the two codes cause conflict despite the two men having the best of intentions.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Malcolm used to be a professional baseball player, but a knee injury put an end to his career before he made it to the major leagues.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • The season 3 premiere "Welcome to the Movement" is a more bleak and depressing outing set around police brutality.
    • From Gemma's miscarriage up to the funeral, the series takes a darker, much more somber tone in "Welcome to the Porch Pirate".
  • Construction Catcalls: Subverted in "Welcome to the Foos Box". Gemma sees construction workers working on the sidewalk next to the house and worries that they'll catcall her. When one of them comments on her "cans", she confronts him, but it turns out he meant that Gemma had dropped a pair of cans from her grocery bag. Gemma then gets depressed when they call her "Ma'am", and Dave goes out to confront them. They tell him that they had just gone through sensitivity training and do think Gemma is hot... too hot to have married him, in fact, which depresses Dave.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Grover.
  • Dumb Jock: Malcolm is very good at baseball, but not very book smart.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Old Miss Kim is an elderly neighbor that is portrayed as lustful and wanting to grope a gentleman.
  • Everyone Is Related: In "Welcome to the Family", Dave discovers that he and Calvin are sixth cousins.
  • Extreme Omni-Goat: In "Welcome to the Ring", the Butlers have to get items for Marty's traditional Nigerian proposal, one of which is a live she-goat. They get them all with hours to spare, so Calvin decides to rest his eyes for a while. When he wakes up, the goat has eaten all the other items.
  • Fast-Forward Gag:
    • Used at the end of one episode when Calvin sees a snake in the hood of his car and runs away really fast, complete with dust cloud effect.
    • Used in "Welcome to the Challenge" to show how much faster Calvin can work on the engine while Dave is talking to him. To illustrate, Calvin's rapid pace is juxtaposed to Dave's standard speaking speed.
  • Fishing for Sole: Calvin remembers catching an old tire while fishing with his dad in “Welcome to the Surprise “. Later he catches a tire and thinks it’s a sign from his father. He then decides to sell the tire at his shop.
  • Flanderization: Dave gets more and more naive and intrusive with each passing season. And he was plenty naive and intrusive to begin with.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Tina addresses Marty as "Martin Lawrence Butler" when she's annoyed with him.
  • Genius Ditz: Dave.
  • Gut Punch: After Gemma's miscarriage, the show turned dark and grimly somber with season four's "Welcome to the Porch Pirate".
  • Halloween Episode: "Welcome to the Haunting", in which Calvin's house seems to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl. It turns out to be a prank planned on him after all the times he's pranked everyone else.
  • Hidden Depths: Dave is revealed to be an Army reservist who's served in the Middle East.
  • I Call It "Vera": Tina names her wigs, based on the persona she takes on when she wears them.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode after "Pilot" is named "Welcome to (the) [X]" with [X] being something related to the episode's plot.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Dave enjoys house painting and takes great pride in his abilities. Gemma, meanwhile, finds watching Dave paint to be a turn-on (and credits it with Grover's conception).
  • Innocent Innuendo: Dave really doesn't think about how he phrases certain things.
    Calvin: Look man...sorry if I hurt your feelings but...I just felt like your Dave-ness was rubbing off on me too much.
    Dave: Well, what's wrong with that? Why can't friends rub off on each other? Rubbing off on people is completely natural; I welcome people rubbing off on me.
    Calvin: *turns to the neighborhood* If anybody's listening, we're just neighbors!
  • Insult Backfire: In "Welcome to the Feud", Terrence repeats Calvin's remark that Terence's brother Jordan spends money like a third world dictator without the fun hats. Jordan angrily responds that he has plenty of fun hats.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Calvin and Tina are roughly 15-20 years older than Dave and Gemma. Calvin and Tina's sons Malcolm and Marty are only several years younger than Dave and Gemma.
    • Grover forms good friendships with Malcolm and Marty, both of whom are old enough to be his father, as well as Tina and, eventually, Calvin.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Calvin tends to be selfish and snarky, but in the end, he always pulls through as a person and does the right thing for himself and his family.
  • Ma'am Shock: In "Welcome to the Foos Box", Gemma gets depressed after construction workers, rather than catcall her, call her "ma'am". When Dave confronts them, they tell him that they had just had an HR seminar about being respectful and that they think Gemma is hot... and wonder how she got married to a guy like him.
  • Manchild: Dave.
  • Martial Pacifist: Dave, when he tries to have Grover apologize for beating up a bully, gets attacked by the bully's father. Dave subsequently kicks his ass.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In "Welcome to the Big One", Dave is scared by an earthquake and runs out naked holding a bag of emergency supplies that covers his privates. Gemma then covers him up with the doormat.
  • The Pollyanna: Dave refuses to let anything, least of all Calvin's constant putdowns, drag down his mood.
  • Only Sane Man: Subverted, Calvin usually thinks he is this, but comes to realize that he is overreacting in the end.
  • Police Brutality: The idea of your loved ones being victims of cop violence is a very real fear, as demonstrated through Calvin almost losing Malcolm and Trey.
  • Power Outage Plot: In "Welcome Back to the Neighborhood", Dave installs solar panels on his home and asks to be taken off the electric grid. That night, the power goes out in the neighborhood, implied to have happened accidentally when Dave was disconnected. With Dave's house the only one with power, soon the entire block gathers around, leading to a spontaneous nighttime block party.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The very first episode of Season 3, "Welcome to the Movement", wasn't released too long since the death of George Floyd and covers a situation involving Trey being a victim of police brutality and racial inequities. Even the motif of the transitions in this episode has a more downbeat tone than usual.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: When Grover signs up for Calvin's basketball team, he doesn't do very well playing, so instead Calvin has him knock down the other players. When he does it during the actual game he gets disqualified for personal fouls, and subsequently suspended for the remainder of the season.
  • Very Special Episode: Gemma suffers a miscarriage in season 4's "Welcome to the Porch Pirate". The show takes a more dramatic turn throughout the episode all the way to the funeral.
  • Vocal Evolution: Grover's voice matured as the series progressed before finally dropping real deep between seasons five and six.
  • Women Are Wiser: Tina and Gemma are shown to be much more levelheaded than their husbands.