Happy Good Neighbor Day: Saluting 10 Great TV Neighbors
by Rich Keller, posted Sep 28th 2010 11:20AM
Today we celebrate National Good Neighbor Day by thanking those who live around us who watch our kids when we're sick, let us borrow the chainsaw to cut down that dead oak in the front yard, lend us money and comfort when times are bleak and look the other way when they saw our wives kissing the mailman right on the mouth (to keep the marriage strife-free, of course).
Ned Flanders of 'The Simpsons.' Good neighbors will still like you even if you wish nothing but death and destruction on them. Such is the case of the extremely good-natured Ned Flanders. While Homer Simpson has wished 99 ways of pain and suffering on Flanders, old Neddy just continues to trudge along. The reward: those times Homer relents for the briefest of moments and treats Ned like a human being.
Fred and Ethel Mertz of 'I Love Lucy.' Good neighbors are almost like family; and that's how the Mertzes were to Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on this classic 50s comedy. While Ethel would usually work with Lucy in whatever cockamamie scheme she concocted that week, Fred would grumpily commiserate with Ricky on the sidelines. Fred and Ethel were so close to the Ricardos that they relocated to the suburbs when Lucy and Ricky did the same towards the end of the show's run.
Rhoda Morgenstern of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' Good neighbors help to give you the confidence you need to turn the world on with your smile. Though adversarial at first, Rhoda Morgenstern became the shoulder Mary cried on as well as the person who gave Ms. Richards the career and dating advice she needed to make it after all through tough crowds of Minneapolis.
Ed Norton of 'The Honeymooners.' Good neighbors will take your verbal abuse because they know that, deep down, you're a good person. That defined Ed Norton, Ralph Kramden's neighbor and constant sidekick on 'The Honeymooners.' Despite being the focus of Ralph's constant ire, Norton was the bestest of buds with the New York City bus driver.
Barney Rubble of 'The Flintstones.' See the above comment on Ed Norton, since Barney Rubble was the animated version of the character. Though Barney, and his overly-petite wife Betty, may have been even nicer to Fred Flintstone than Norton was to Ralph. In fact, Barney was probably the most selfless animated neighbor besides Ned Flanders.
Ellie and Andy Torres of 'Cougar Town.' Good neighbors will share several bottles of wine with you on a nightly basis. And also complete in silly macho games, tolerate entertaining in your newly remodeled bathroom and endure all of your obsessive-compulsive quirks. Then again, Ellie and Andy Torres are there at a moment's notice when Jules Cobb is in need (wine bottle in hand).
'Steve Urkel' of 'Family Matters' -- Good neighbors will be there to pick up the pieces ... even if they're the ones who did the initial damage. Though he caused several hundred thousands of dollars of damage to the Winslow household, Steve Urkel always had his heart in the right place for all of the family members. He would be the perfect neighbor for anyone as long as he didn't touch anything.
Wilona Woods of 'Good Times.' Good neighbors will help when times are bad and ask for help when they need it. Wilona Woods did both during the fourth season of 'Good Times.' While watching the Evans kids as mom Florida moved away with her new husband, the Evans helped Wilona adopt Penny -- an abused girl who lived in the apartment building. That's the true nature of good neighbors!
Wilson Wilson of 'Home Improvement.' Good neighbors will be there in rain, sleet, snow, cold and heat. Wilson Wilson Jr., backyard neighbor to Tim Taylor and his family, was that type of person. With a wise pair of eyes peeking out from behind a tall fence, Wilson provided Tim, Jill and the rest of the Taylor clan with sage advice. Without it, the Taylors would have been divorced and the house would've been a smoking ruin.
And last but not least ...
Mr. Rogers of 'Mr Rogers' Neighborhood,' Good neighbors just want you to be good neighbors as well. This is all Fred Rogers wanted from the viewers of his show. While in today's cynical, skeptical world, a person like Fred would probably be labeled as a suspicious character, he made millions of good neighbors during the 33 season of 'Mr Rogers' Neighborhood' that still fondly remember him today.
Who was your favorite TV neighbor?