NBC's Animal Practice may have started out on the wrong foot when the network made the controversial decision to air the pilot during the final moments of the Olympics Closing Ceremony. With some of the more cerebral comedies in the primetime lineup (Parks and Recreation, Community), NBC is definitely taking a turn toward broader comedy with this show. And if the pilot is any indication of how things are going to fare, we're not sure if that's the direction they should take.
It's OK, NBC. We only say these things so your veterinary comedy doesn't get put down before its time.
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: The Middle (ABC), Survivor (CBS), The X Factor (Fox), Arrow (CW)
Cast: Justin Kirk, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Tyler Labine, Bobby Lee, Betsy Sodaro, Kym Whitley
Status: We've seen the pilot episode.
Animal Practice tells the story of Dr. George Coleman (Kirk) and the Crane Animal Hospital he runs until his ex-girlfriend Dorothy Crane (Swisher) inherits the property. Crane immediately begins an overhaul of the place to help things run more smoothly, and Coleman isn't amused. A quirky supporting cast and the scene-stealing Crystal the monkey (The Hangover Part II, Community) round out the ensemble.
It's fortunate that Animal Practice boasts a cast with significant talent and potential. Justin Kirk (Weeds), JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba), and Bobby Lee (Mad TV) have all proven that they are comedic gold, but unfortunately the material doesn't give them much to work with. Kirk is forced to play a one-note womanizer whose "I love animals more than people" shtick gets old, while Garcia struggles to find depth outside her hospital director title.
Unfortunately, there are only two kinds of animal humor. The kind that adds to whatever you're doing and the kind that distracts. It's never more important to deliver on the human end than when our furry friends are present; otherwise, the audience slips into a coma of lowbrow humor. Note the medical pun. We try.
Our Review in .GIF Form:
Verdict: With some time and better material we're hopeful this show will get the makeover it needs. With competition like the CW's Arrow and a Britney Spears-filled X Factor we're afraid audiences may not give it that privilege.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)