The Neighborhood Season 1, Episode 11 recap: Welcome to the fundraiser

The Neighborhood -- Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
The Neighborhood -- Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express /

In the fall finale of The Neighborhood, Gemma recruited Tina and Calvin to attend a fundraiser for her school. Meanwhile, Malcolm and Marty babysat Grover.

The fall finale of The Neighborhood touched upon the racial education differences. At a fundraiser for her school, Gemma (Beth Behrs) tried to impress the board of directors. While Tina (Tichina Arnold) attempted to help, she caused a few problems. Calvin (Cedric the Entertainer) focused far more on winning an auction item, and Dave (Max Greenfield) acted as his sidekick.

Back in the neighborhood, Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney) and Marty (Marcel Spears) babysat Grover (Hank Greenspan). To an extent, the three males embodied their respective upbringings.

The fundraiser

More from CBS

As principal of the school, Gemma will make a speech at its fundraiser. She invited Tina and Calvin to attend it. To support her friend, Tina accepted. Calvin initially hesitated, but he accepted after learning there was an impressive dinner and bar full of good liquor. We also learned Calvin’s brother Curtis previously won the lottery, and Curtis threw money around to impress his mother.

At the fundraiser, the Butlers were the only black people present. Gemma worried about the lack of diversity in the school. She reached out to all local preschools and many parents, but her efforts were futile.

Tina interjected her reason why the school isn’t diverse. In the school, there are no grades, and black people want their children to receive grades. Tina remarked grades exist to determine who is stupid. Plus, competition can be a healthy part of life. Nobody likes losing, so grades can push people to do their best and work hard.

When several members of the board of directors spoke to Gemma, she introduced Tina. The board members assumed Tina was a prospective parent, and she went along with their idea. To boot, she claimed she knew Beyoncé, she knew other famous people, and she had a son named Chadwick Butler III.

The Neighborhood -- Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
The Neighborhood — Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS — Acquired via CBS Press Express /

As Tina tried to help Gemma, Calvin and Dave looked at the various auction items. Initially disinterested, Calvin jumped at the opportunity to see a show and meet Oprah. He wanted to impress his mother and best Curtis simultaneously. Rather than outbid by crazy amounts of money, he outbid by a penny.

Gemma grew more stressed about Tina’s false claims and promises, and it came time for her speech. She started to talk about how the school failed to appropriately reach out to other ethnicities, but she froze. Taking Dave’s advice, she quoted Billy Joel lyrics. Miraculously, she impressed the board of directors. Yet she felt disappointed.

Calvin discovered a doctor repeatedly outbid him, so he continued to one up the bids, still by one cent. Dave called him out on his desire to stoop to any level to beat his brother. Calvin argued why he deserved to be the favorite son, and Dave agreed to help him by faking to choke on food so as to learn which guest was the doctor.

Accidentally, Dave choked on food, and Calvin saved him. The doctor appeared, saw everything was fine, and then wrote the winning bid. Competitive, Calvin was upset.

Gemma disappeared into a classroom, saddened by her failures to make the school more diverse. Tina swooped in with a reassuring statement, telling Gemma her work was not in vain. She is trying to better children’s education, but it won’t be easy. Tina’s pep talk made Gemma feel better.

At the end of The Neighborhood, Calvin won the two tickets to Oprah. Dave talked to the doctor. After learning the doctor experienced some marital problems, Dave offered to be his marriage counselor. The doctor exchanged the tickets for marriage counseling sessions. What Dave received from Calvin was a silly picture together.

The Neighborhood -- Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
The Neighborhood — Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS — Acquired via CBS Press Express /

The fort

Malcolm and Marty babysat Grover. Grover initially wanted to play games on his iPad, but Malcolm wanted to do something together. Eventually, they settled on a game of kill the dragon, and they built a fort.

The Neighborhood -- Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
The Neighborhood — Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS — Acquired via CBS Press Express /

Grover loved the game. When Malcolm didn’t overly act after being killed by Marty, the dragon, Marty upped his antics. Grover slayed the dragon Marty, and Marty showed his flair for the dramatic. His performance came to a halt when Malcolm silenced his singing.

Credit Malcolm and Marty for having imaginations despite being older than Grover. For attending a progressive school, Grover lacked an imagination. Previously, he did not know the capital of Michigan, and he is lousy at baseball. How is the school helping him in contrast to the school which Malcolm and Marty attended?

Also, Grover needed some tough love. He acted bratty, and neither Malcolm or Marty made him clean up after the game. They should’ve used their father’s line when making Grover help them clean up if he asked why or complained, “Because I said so!”

Thoughts after 2018 fall finale

In my opinion, The Neighborhood ended 2018 with a dud of an episode. It didn’t celebrate Christmas, which surprised me. Unfortunately, there was a lack for legitimate laughter, and the storylines ventured off into awkward territory.

Eventually, the board of directors will learn Tina isn’t a prospective parent and Gemma lied to them. Instead of reconciling differences between the races for the school to become more diverse, The Neighborhood veered down a strange path.

Dave also needs to stop being paired with Calvin. An episode, like a Valentine’s Day episode, could see him paired with Tina when he asks for her advice. After the first 11 episodes, my biggest complaint about The Neighborhood is Dave is lame.

Thus far, The Neighborhood reminds me of The Odd Couple starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. In one episode, there is growth for the characters, then the next episode takes two steps backwards. For example, Dave and Calvin reach an understanding in one episode. Then in the following episode, Dave pushes the limit.

The Neighborhood has not fully displayed Beth Behrs acting skills. She finally gained a storyline in this episode, but Tichina Arnold stole her thunder. Tichina Arnold, Sheaun McKinney, and Marcel Spears have definitely stolen the spotlight in The Neighborhood. To reach its full potential, The Neighborhood should craft storylines around them.

25 best Christmas movies countdown #11: Christmas Vacation. dark. Next

The Neighborhood airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.