The Neighbors Nerdfest Number 2: Merry Crap-Mas


An instant holiday classic, The Neighbors episode “Merry Crap-Mas,” originally aired on December 5th, 2012. Let’s take a look at some of the best stuff from this yuletide episode.

Contained in this episode is the best Christmas morning scene in television history. You may not believe me right now, but by the end of the post I’ll make a believer out of you.

The story begins at the end of the episode and then we rewind to see how Merry Crap-Mas came to be. The Weavers roll a wheel barrow full of gifts over to their alien neighbors, The Bird-Kersees, because they need to hide the kids gifts in their house in order to for them not to snoop and find them. Remember, the Neighbors are aliens and they are completely unaware of the Christmas traditions. What Larry Bird does know about Christmas is that he feels it’s an “…orgy of commercialism.”

“Christmas is about family and smiles and the joy of being together, the gifts are just one tiny part of it.”
“Oh yes, and there’s that fat slovenly burglar you call Santa Claus. Honestly, put on an apron for God’s sake fatso!”

Abby, instructing her parents on her letter to Santa:
“You should probably fax it, it’s getting pretty late.”

“I hated all three of them just now Marty, in that moment I hated all three of our children.” – Debbie Weaver, in reference to her “greedy little monsters”

“Can you remind me again why we want to be alone on an island with these children?” – Marty Weaver

“God what the hell? Is this the constitution? Who makes amendments to a Christmas list?” – Debbie Weaver

After being frustrated by their selfish kids who are all about the presents, The Weavers decide that they want to return all the gifts that they purchased and use the money to take the family on a tropical vacation. They decide on a time share in Hawaii. Marty is excited because this specific time share has that “tushy squirting thing.” Tushy squirting thing FTW.


Throwing a wrench into their new plan are The Bird-Kersees. At first, they just gazed at the tower of Christmas presents that were “hidden” in the middle of their house. It was mere moments before they tried to guess what was in all the wrapped boxes. Curiosity got the best of Larry and he started poking and ripping at one of the presents. Larry was overcome with the exhilaration of unwrapping a gift since he’s never done it before. Once he started ripping one open, the whole family joined in and triumphantly started tearing open ALL the gifts without realizing the consequences.

Larry’s sentiments of Christmas went into full reversal. Suddenly his feelings were incredibly positive as if he was Scrooge after encountering all the Christmas Ghosts.

(about little Abby) “…her teeth keep falling out of her face. What’s gonna fall off next? Her nose?”
“Oh Father, I love when you make fun of children!”

The Weaver’s dilemma now is that they can’t return the gifts because the neighbors and all the other aliens in their community are playing with the gifts that the Bird-Kersees tore open with glee. They are inadvertently destroying them, doing insane things like tossing a brand new iPad around like its a Frisbee!

“So, we really screwed your pooch on this one.”
“Oh Jackie, not only did you screw my pooch but you didn’t call her the next day either.”
“I admit it, I was wrong about Christmas. It’s a lovely holiday. The things, the trees, the snow…the things.”
“Christmas is magical father, magical!”

Larry reveals his adoration for The Muppets:
“Tell you what, let’s watch The Muppets a Christmas Carol again – The Muppets, I like. I can really get down with The Muppets…” followed by his Kermit impression.

*Heard in the episode is Kermit the Frog singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

“I have never been so wrong about anything in my life, I love Christmas.” – Larry Bird

“I’m totally joyous, I have sugar plums in my head…” – Larry Bird

Larry has a change of heart and realizes that The Weavers have been good to him and his family so he sets out to right his wrong and save their Christmas.


Larry enlists his son Dick and their mission to rectify the situation is engaged. This entire sequence is so completely haywire and I’m in love with every second of it. Larry and son slow-mo walk to the tune of “Christmas in Hollis.” With this kind of build-up you know shit is about to get real. First stop, Larry takes his son Dick to the strip club…to get some girls to play a role in his master plan. Then they buy some pigs and ride home on their golf cart adorned with a Christmas tree and strippers.

Dumbfounded, the Weavers woke up to see this on Christmas morning:

What a scene it was! Larry Bird went all out to make this day special as indicated by the giant Christmas tree he stole from a car dealership, a Tiki statue, Hula dancers, a Polynesian fire dancer and bongo players, some farm animals, Christmas carolers, and Dick Butkus (remember, the whole family is named after famous American sports icons) as Tiny Tim who even delivers the classic line “God Bless Us Everyone.”


After the initial shock of the visual that the Weavers woke up to, Larry Bird waltzes in dressed as the jolly old elf who he was wise cracking about earlier. I think they had all bases covered here. Larry recreated his neighbors would-be Hawaiian vacation and then some. I’d say he more than made up for what he and his family did.

In one of the funniest scenes, Larry opens a yet unopened package to find an Etch-a-Sketch which he mistakes for “the new iPad.” He asks the famous drawing toy, “Siri, did I really ruin their Christmas?” Siri does not respond. Later, after trying to speak to Siri again and growing frustrated, Larry claims that he’s “gonna go Kindle.”

The Neighbors Nerdfest Number 1: Thanksgiving is for The Bird-Kersees

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One of the themes of Thanksgiving is sharing your leafed-out dining room table full of intricately prepared foods and adorned with crafty centerpieces the kids made at school with all of your family and friends, and the occasional drunk uncle or nomadic cousin who tends to show up randomly, but only if it’s a leap year. I’m not much of a cook, so this year I’m serving up some nerdery as a gesture of thanks to a show that’s been cancelled by ABC, The Neighbors. Unfortunately, if that nomadic cousin does stop by, the chair you usually leave open for him will be occupied this year, so he’s S.O.L.

It’s only been a few months since it’s cancellation was announced, but The Neighbors deserves much more reverence than it received initially. I’ve been meaning to come up with a way to properly memorialize this wonderful show, one of my favorites of the past few years, and I’ve finally figured it out.

This post marks the first installment of a recurring column dedicated to random episodes where I’ll point out some of my favorite stuff from each episode. This could include favorite quotes, gags, jokes, scenes, and basically anything I found amusing.

And now a very brief explanation on why I was inspired to start this column. The sharp writing and likable cast on The Neighbors had a lot to do with how I got so wrapped up in it. After the first couple of episodes aired, I wasn’t hooked, but that’s so typical of me. It wasn’t until I continued watching my buildup of DVR’d episodes that I really got where they were going with it. The creator and writer, Dan Fogelman, is a Jersey guy and he’s damn proud of it, hence the alien neighbors in New Jersey plotline. What’s not to like? Originally I thought that this theme had been done before, but this show is influenced by tropes from all kinds of classic shows with a nice hefty dose of sarcasm and relevant pop culture references that impressed the hell out of me.
Would I have been as in love with this show if it weren’t for the New Jersey setting? I can’t say the Jersey aspect makes a huge impact on the show, save for a few license plates and mall mentions, and it’s not like the kids from Jersey Shore live next door, they’re actual aliens. What really makes a huge impression is the cast whose chemistry is a dream come true for the production. The casting director has to be commended. It sounds preposterous, but all the main cast members make me laugh. No exaggeration, Jami Gertz is brilliant in this role and she’s never been properly complimented for her versatility. Plus, she’s still a hottie. I had such a crush on her when I was a kid. F*ckin’ STAR!
There’s a lot more I could say about the show, but this is supposed to be a recurring column, so I won’t blow my load of commentary prematurely.
The Weavers upgrade from an apartment in Bayonne, NJ to a town house elsewhere in New Jersey. They come to find out their neighbors are aliens who have inhabited their gated community and taken on human bodies until they can get back to their planet. The alien family, The Bird-Kersees, are all named after famous American sports figures. With that out of the way, HERE WE GO!
Here’s my favorite stuff from EPISODE 8 
Originally aired: November 14th 2012
The Weavers are trying to weasel their way out of having Marty’s parents over for Thanksgiving because they always ridicule him and disparage his wife Debbie for making shitty Turkey. Marty tells his parents that “The oven is broken” and they want to cancel.

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After Marty gets offended that his dad is insulting him and calling his new place a “condo,” he feels the need to prove to his parents that he has a nice new town home. Ultimately, he reneges and re-invites them only to find out that Debbie has invited their neighbors, the Bird-Kersees, over as well so they can experience their first Thanksgiving.

This episode solves mystery of the crop circles:

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“We live in New Jersey I drive a mini van, I’m built for fine.” – Debbie Weaver (Jami Gertz)
Marty asks his Dad if he’d like to have a tour of the town house and his father looks around and replies, “I just took it, maybe a nice cold beer can take a tour of my mouth” – Marty’s Dad, Dominick is played superbly bitter by Stacy Keach.
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“AWESOME, I always wanted to wear genocide!” – Amber Weaver in reply to receiving the nifty homemade Thanksgiving sweater that her grandmother knitted for her

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Abby, The Weavers poor daughter astonished and disgusted expression upon seeing the turkey sweater her grandma gave her:

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The kids then take kitchen utensils and beat the hell out of the evil sweater: “We have to kill the sweater!”
“She’s in the car pouting and you’re eating Meersh-mal-ow out of a bag.” – Reggie Jackson’s pronouncing Marshmallows in the most awesomely wrong way possible.
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“Thanksgiving is HELL. The only good parts are the day before when everything is possible and the day after when everyone goes home. In between it’s just a feast of self loathing and gluttony with a side of shame and all you can do is just hunker down and accept it.” – Debbie Weaver

“Better crack a window Theresa it’s a long way home and that turkey’s going right through me” – Marty’s Dad as he and his wife depart another disastrous Thanksgiving.

When Glam Rock and Wrestling Ruled: THE WRESTLER (2008)

The Wrestler
Our featured writer and film buff Nick Holden is back! If you missed his last post check it out HERE! But now, read his insightful thoughts on one of the best Jersey movies ever: The Wrestler

The world of a professional wrestler, with the outfits, the personas, and the fans will always be a myriad of truths and fictions. Yes, the outcomes are preordained and the storylines scripted, but no it isn’t fake; they really get hit and injured (sometimes permanently) and do things that should only be tried on Jackass!. But underneath this world, for the ones that have left the limelight behind, it’s only one of memories and disappointments. And to look closer, it is also a mirror into the career of Mickey Rourke. Once considered the next Robert De Niro with legendary roles in such 80’s classics as Diner, 9 ½ Weeks, and The Pope of Greenwich Village, Rourke’s star soon faded in the 90’s along with his career, which led him to briefly take up professional boxing. But after a small resurgence in bit parts, Rourke slowly found himself in demand which lead to a breakout of sorts in the 2000’s, with prominent roles in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Sin City which brings us to The Wrestler. Upon first look, it’s easy to dismiss the movie as Rocky with wrestling in place of boxing. But after numerous viewings, it is an example of Rourke’s power as an actor as well as an excellent portrait of New Jersey in all its truth and grittiness.

Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke, who trained with real life wrestler Afa Anoai) is an ’80s wrestling star that has long since been out of the spotlight. Working on the independent circuit in gymnasiums and schools, Randy is a broken man in every aspect. His muscled body cannot stand the abuse anymore, and he keeps himself going with pain pills and steroids. Outside the ring, he makes ends meet as a stock clerk at a supermarket, constantly bullied by his boss, while trying to coax Cassidy, a stripper (Marissa Tomei, who bares everything and looks damn better than women half her age), to see him outside her work. He has long since lost contact with his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and longs to be back on top, which may happen by a chance rematch with his old nemesis The Ayatollah (Ernest “The Cat” Miller). But his wrestling career is put in jeopardy after an extremely violent “hardcore” match leads to a heart attack that nearly kills him. Now Randy must decide if a last chance shot at fame is worth everything, including his very life.

Director Darren Aronofsky perfectly captures the balance of a person and wrestler. One minute, Randy is larger than life in the ring, playing to the crowd and basking in the attention; the next, he is sad and pathetic at his work, doing menial labor and swallowing his pride to work the deli counter. Rourke disappears into the role from beginning to end. In addition to performing some of the wrestling scenes, Aronofsky filmed him waiting on real customers at the deli counter in order to keep the scenes as realistic as possible. Apart from Rourke, Marissa Tomei also scored an Oscar nomination as a woman who is much like the Ram; well past her prime to be working in a strip club (Cheeques, located in Linden if you’re interested), she struggles night after night, and well aware that she is being passed over for the younger entertainers. Both Randy and Cassidy live in an era that has long since passed; the ’80s, celebrating the music and clothing, trying to deny the current times around them. An excellent example is summed up during their meeting at a bar while RATT plays in the background: “Yeah, the ’90s really sucked.”

Along with Rourke and Tomei, another star is the state of New Jersey. With a short shooting schedule, Aronofsky filmed on location in Linden, Bayonne, Rahway, Roselle Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Garfield, Elizabeth, and Asbury Park while other scenes where filmed in Pennsylvania and New York. What really captures the spirit of the film is a scene in Asbury Park, where Randy has a brief reunion with his daughter. Asbury has undergone a complete renovation and transformed into a more glitzy, trendy affair of clubs, restaurants, and hotels. But at the time of filming, it was a forgotten, dilapidated boardwalk of empty venues and boarded up businesses. But New Jersey is kinda like that; most of the industries that populated Newark, Passaic, and Paterson (to name a few) had been outsourced and left the Garden State high and dry. Much like Randy, time has not been too kind to the state, but still everyone (me included) still remembers when good times were to be had and hope was not a lost word.

The Wrestler won numerous awards from every film festival from here to Toronto and, following two wins at the Golden Globes including best actor and best original song (courtesy of original NJ’er Bruce Springsteen) was expected to win big at the Academy Awards. But sadly, it came up short with Rourke losing out to Sean Penn and Tomei to Penelope Cruz, but it gave people around the world a new reason to consider Mickey Rourke a major talent again as well as showing New Jersey in a non-Jersey Shore light. Subtle, funny, and moving, The Wrestler is definitely one of the best films in the past decade.

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 40: Baldface Industries

newark,new jersey
Newark, NJ T-Shirt by Baldface Industries – only $15 bucks

Occasionally you must wonder to yourself, “What the f-ck possesses this guy to write about New Jersey related T-Shirts on a weekly basis?” If you’re one of those staunch sweater supporters, then you could never understand. We t-shirt lovers usually have an inordinate amount of them. These tees don’t just fall out of the sky, which is actually what makes them so great. All of them have a story, how you got it, where you got it, what concert you bought it at and then threw up all over it. There’s also the WHY part of the equation. I’m compelled to buy shirts that I don’t see many people wearing, for instance my Corey Feldman Center for the Arts tee which is already 10 years old. Aside from tees with pop culture references, there are so many that feature art and ideas that are independently created. Sometimes you don’t want to look like the generic retro guy with a Transformers shirt or if you’re a girl, Rainbow Brite. It’s too easy to go on a shopping spree at, but if you like to stand out and be more original, there are so many different options. One of them is Baldface Industries, a company that comes to you straight from Bayonne, NJ.

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In the age of online advertising we are inundated with ads for t-shirt stores. You may have noticed the relatively cute chicks that sites throw their t-shirts on to grab people’s attention. If you do click on one of their ads, you’ll probably be bombarded with a slew of shirts that have ironic quotes, Star Wars references, movie lines, and fast food propaganda, but if you’re always on the lookout for something fresh, you’ll be quite pleased at Baldface Industries. Their apparel offering isn’t massive, but that’s because they aren’t just t-shirt sellers, they also customize and print shirts for promotional purposes or just for the hell of it.

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Toddler
Baldface T-Shirt

Baldface doesn’t act pretentious and they don’t try to come off as too trendy for their own good. Their website is actually very entertaining to read, and it even includes the owners prom picture (go ahead…aww). The company history explains how they hand print their tees and treat each one like a unique piece of art. Baldface Industries has set themselves apart from the generic pop culture tee machine by aligning themselves with local artists as well as being environmentally friendly. Check them out here:

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol. 32: The Secret of the Ooze

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If you’re looking for toxic sludge in order to transform a wolf and a turtle into two monstrous mutants, then look no further than Bayonne, NJ! There’s plenty of ooze here thanks to the work of Techno Global Research Industries, or TGRI, a company who, for 15 years, has been dumping their noxious waste in Jersey no less. I guess they figured, “Why not dump it in Jersey? Oh sure, the state is filled with garbage anyway, so bury it over there!”

“…Reporting live from Bayonne, New Jersey, this is April O’Neil, Channel 3 News, back to you…”

This wasn’t just any ordinary waste, it was chemical ooze that could mutate anything into a jumbo version of itself. Unlike all the spam e-mails you get, this stuff could actually work miracles for a certain male appendage or even females with negative A cups. The only drawback is that after you lather up in it, you’d probably have to live the rest of your life ridiculously ripped and grow to 10 or 11 feet tall. If you’re cool with that and you have some sort of Guiness Book of World Records freak fetish, then by all means, go to Bayonne and find yourself some ooze! Just a warning though, you may have to dig through some of the alien carcasses that appeared in 2005’s War of the Worlds.


In an attempt to improve the company’s public image, TGRI tries to clean up much of the waste they have buried through the years of ecological incompetence. This ruise is not much different than some campaigns rolled out by many high profile companies in the last several years to “go green.” It’s common for companies to exploit the angle that they are being conscious of the environment to cover up a lot of their other shady operations. Just think, without this ooze, yeah maybe we wouldn’t have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but more importantly, we wouldn’t have Tokka and Rahzar!

At one point, as he’s being in interviewed by April O’Neil, Professor Jordan Perry (David Warner) even claims the sludge was non toxic! Oh yeah…of course. It was as non toxic as Crayola crayons! I don’t think so! Can you ever trust the man known as the voice of Ra’s al Ghul? I think not Detective…

Mutated giant dandelions, now do you understand why we’re called The Garden State?

Sandra Dee is June’s Garden State Playmate


We’re officially in the midst of summer so I’ve chosen a girl who exudes the qualities of the season. This month, I’ve named the original Gidget, Sandra Dee, as June’s GSP! I guess I never told you the little loophole I have in the Garden State Playmate stipulations: I never said they had to be living!!!


Before she became a pop culture icon, Sandra Dee was born Alexandra Cymboliak Zuck in Bayonne NJ. As a child, Dee began modeling and appearing in commercials, and in the late ’50s she became a household name thanks to starring in movies like Gidget, A Summer Place, and Imitation of Life.

Dee was married to singer/actor Bobby Darin from 1960 – 1967. They wed in a spur of the moment ceremony at the home of music mogul Don Kirshner in Elizabeth NJ. In Beyond the Sea, Kevin Spacey’s 2004 biographical film about Bobby Darin, Dee is portrayed by Kate Bosworth.


To many younger folks, Dee’s perhaps best known for the song named after her in the stage production and film Grease. In the film, Betty Rizzo (Stockard Channing) choreographs a whole performance of “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee,” for her friends at a slumber party, only to have the unassuming Sandy (Olivia Newton John) walk in to see them making fun of her prude behavior.

In a very different role, Dee starred in The Dunwich Horror based on an H.P Lovecraft story. For more, there’s a phenomenal write up on the film at Teleport City!


Real Ghostbustin’ in Bayonne


We Ghosbusters fans have lots to look forward to! Soon, The Ghostbusters will be released on Blu-Ray, the video game will hit stores, and the 3rd installment of The Ghostbusters will begin production! Back in November, I received my shipment of The Real Ghostbusters complete series on DVD and I was psyched. I was waiting for years to get a hold of the entire series since only a few episodes were released on DVD. I had to rely on old VHS recordings of random episodes I had. It was so much fun to get to watch these episodes again. There’s so many memorable episodes, especially those starring the Boogeyman who scared the shit out of me as a kid. There’s one episode that I had to watch as soon as I got the collection in my clutches, and that was “Citizen Ghost.” It’s possibly the most discussed entry of entire series. As a kid, I always looked forward to catching this episode on reruns because it was a true link to the actual Ghostbusters film.

In the episode, while the rest of the crew is doing an experiment, Peter Venkman is pursued for an interview by UBN news’ Cynthia Crawford. For a segment on the history of the Ghostbusters, Crawford talked with Venkman about how the team originated. Venkman tells the story as we follow along via flashback. If you were ever curious as to what actually happens after the Ghostbusters saved New York City at the end of the first film, then you should watch Citizen Ghost! Not only does Peter reveal how it all unfolded, but he also threw in a New Jersey reference in the beginning of the episode!
After a near explosion rocked their firehouse HQ during an experiment:
“Nice one Egon, I think you took out most of Bayonne with that one, would you like to try for the Bronx this time?”
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