Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pilot Review: Animal Practice

Animal Practice (NBC)
Premiered August 12 at 10:30pm

I can’t say that I expected much from this show, and it’s probably fair to say that it was about what I expected. A comedy series about a vet is a stretch to begin with, and having a monkey scrub in and place bets on animal races doesn’t help matters at all. Dialogue like “This is an animal hospital, not Chucky Cheese” and excessive animal metaphors are nauseating, as is the sight of a doctor being choked out by a snake. The two leads are affable, but these are hardly the best roles they’ve had. Justin Kirk has spent eight seasons of “Weeds” cracking inappropriate jokes and being ridiculous, and here he’s too serious in some ways, lacking a bedside manner and patting himself on the back too often about his seductive nature, and still goofy enough that it’s hard to take himself seriously. This is now the third series that JoAnna Garcia Swisher has anchored, after “Privileged” and “Better With You,” and it’s by far the biggest waste of her talents, not allowing her enough comic potential. It’s not a good sign when Tyler Labine of “Reaper” and “Invasion” isn’t the comic relief. The worst character by far, however, is Betsy Sodaro’s Angela, whose idiotic comments make this show infinitely worse than it otherwise would be. This show has no redeeming qualities, and there aren’t any laughs throughout the entire pilot. It’s just a shame that such talents are being misused and that this show inexplicably made it to air.

How will it work as a series? Now that George and Dorothy have managed to reconcile the awkwardness of their old relationship, they’re likely to butt heads professionally about how to run the animal hospital. Eccentric patients and excessive animal jokes are sure to follow, though I doubt viewers will for long.
How long will it last? Not long. Though the ratings for the premiere were decent, the broadcast infuriated many because it interrupted the Olympics. It also seems, not shockingly, that no one liked it, meaning that it’s not going to have ratings or viewer support. I think this one might make it to a second episode, but that’s probably about it.

Pilot grade: F

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