TV Icons Celebrate Thanksgiving On 'The Neighbors'

By ZACH SEEMAYER

November 22, 2013

TV sitcom icons Reginald VelJohnson, from the beloved sitcom Family Matters, and Meredith Baxer, of the classic Family Ties, are playing parents once again on the ABC sitcom The Neighbors.

VelJohnson and Baxter play the extraterrestrial parents of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, played by the hilarious Toks Olagundoye, and they have come to earth to celebrate Thanksgiving with their daughter, and her husband Larry Bird (Simon Templeman), whom her parents dislike.

The Neighbors follows a family that moves into a gated community, only to discover that everyone else in the community are actually aliens that have taken human form to blend in. To seem human, they have also adopted the names of famous athletes. In this case, legendary basketball player Larry Bird and Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

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"I really actually am beside myself," Olagundoye told ET during a visit of the set. "Because Die Hard is one of my favorite films, and I grew up watching Family Ties. It was one of the only things my uncle used to record and send to me on VHS. So I'm really beside myself."

"It's always nice to have people who you can still learn from," Olagundoye added, discussing the two sitcom legends. "To have a little learning experience each day and watch what people are doing? They're such pros."

"They slot right into our show. They're fantastic," Templeman said.

Actors Lenny Venito and Jami Gertz star in The Neighbors as the human family trying to come to terms with the aliens surrounding them. They too were very excited about VelJohnson and Baxter's inclusion on the show.

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"I was a big Family Ties fan," said Venito. "It was a great family show."

And VelJohnson and Baxter are excited to be on the show as well, dipping their toes into the sitcom world once again. The only thing they are more excited about is getting to work with each other.

"I am personally a big fan of this lady right here," said VelJohnson, pointing at Baxter sitting next to him. "I have watched her for many years. When they told me I was working with her, my little heart started to beat, because I didn't know what to expect. Because I'm so enamored of her. I am so thrilled to be with her in this thing here. I'm excited. I'm like a little kid, ya know? I'm having a ball."

Check out the video from some more behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews from the show.

The Neighbors airs Fridays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.

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