-Criminal Misuse of 3 talented and funny TV veterans.
-Overuse of an animal in absence of humor.
-No concept of what an actual Animal Hospital looks like
-I swear to God if I see another montage of a monkey mimicking a human, I’m going to drive down to where they film that show and just start swinging.
OPENING STATEMENT FOR THE PROSECUTION:
Good morning. It IS a good morning, isn’t it? You can smell the scent of new television wafting in weekly, and it’s so wondrous. Parks and Rec is back, always a pleasure to see them. The Walking Dead and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia rolling out soon. It’s a beautiful thing this time of year. Which is why it’s such a TRAVESTY that we are here to sit in judgment, wasting our precious television viewing time to recount and remember the horror we all experienced as a nation last Wednesday, when we watched an episode of Animal Practice for the first time.
Members of the jury I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Animal Practice is the worst thing to happen in the history of the television world. Celebrity Boxing? Animal Practice is worse. Cavemen? Animal Practice, comrades. Cop Rock? PFFFTTT. It is a holocaust on comedy and in this day and age we must ban together, as one people and say, “NO. YOU WILL NOT ASSASSINATE MY WEDNESDAY EVENING TELEVISION EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR BOMBASTIC DISREGARD FOR INTELLIGENT COMEDY!”
Members of the jury, I implore you. Look past the credentials, Look past the opportunity to see adorable animals on a weekly basis. Look past all of those things and what do you find? You find a show that egregiously and arrogantly offends the basic rules of comedy. We must punish this show, and all other shows that so criminally misuse a talented cast and 7pm time slot.
OPENING STATEMENT FOR THE DEFENSE
Ehh. Look, it was our second episode…. Did you see the monkey?
God, Animal Practice is bad. I’m a very forgiving person when it comes to new sitcoms. I want to laugh, I want to enjoy it. I understand the difficulty of setting up a concept, developing a theme, and making people laugh in 22 minutes. It has to be universal enough to connect to a wide audience but specific enough to have a voice and not be considered generic. I get it, I really do. That’s why I make a rule to give a show 3-5 episodes before completely ruling it out as something I am interested in. For example, Tyler Perry’s House of the Payne of Browns, or whatever that one show is on TBS. I’m not gonna rule it out, because I haven’t watched at least 3-5 episodes. I may not actually ever see an episode, but I will never call it a bad show. Because it hasn’t failed me at least 3-5 times. YET.
Ironically, Parks and Recreation failed this pretty hard. Some people will defend Season One but I completely disregard it. The exception proves the rule on this one. The only reason I came back was because Amy Poehler is just too funny, and I saw a diamond in the lump of coal that was Andy. But I digress.
Before watching Animal Practice, I hadn’t read any reviews, or synopsis, or cast interviews or anything. I simply saw one preview. And in that preview I saw the following things:
1. Andy from Weeds (my favorite character on a not great show).
2. BOBBY LEE!! Scene stealer extraordinaire.
3. Tyler Labine from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (hilariously great movie), Sons of
Tucson (favorite character on an underrated but still not great show) and on Reaper
(my favorite character on another not great show).
At this point, I am PUMPED. Finally, all of these really funny people have a shot on network television to just coalesce and explode in a fireball of hilarity. Also, eye candy-wise, they threw in Cheyenne from Reba (aka Mrs. Nick Swisher). She’s cute. So far so good. Wait, they’re also veterinarians? Oh, that’s awesome. I love animals, I’m sure anytime there’s a slow moment, they’ll just have an adorable boxer walk by in the background or something. And, wait, is that… Jackee from Sister Sister and 227? Oh, wait, no, okay, that’s not her. WHO CARES BOOM LET’S DO THIS.
So, all the ingredients are there. And you mix ‘em together, with a dash of office humor and pet pig subplot and…. I didn’t laugh once. I just sat there, waiting, my face tense, and ready to unleash the guffaws.
By the first commercial break, my jaw hurt, from almost laughing, from pre-laughing, from straining to maintain that position, so that when the laughs came, I would be the first, and I would be the loudest.
By the second commercial break, my jaw is relaxed, my lips on the come down, my almost smile contorting into a semi smirk.
By the third commercial break, my teeth are gritted, my cheeks burning, the vein in my temple throbbing. My brain hurting from the non-joke jokes, recycled jokes, Bobby Lee’s mustache, which you would think would be a huge winner but even that doesn’t work. EVEN BOBBY LEE’S MUSTACHE DOESN’T WORK, THAT’S HOW BAD THIS SHOW IS.
I wish I could explain how hard this show strains to be funny. Andy from Weeds, who is the hotshot big boss vet and whose character name I WILL NOT USE IN PROTEST, is set up as this arrogant, prick vet version of House. But his one liners are flat, his reactions are stiff. It’s just… I don’t… how can he be…. so bad…
Mrs. Nick Swisher is an upper crust wine-swilling Office Manager who just wants to be included in the office hangouts and be pals with everyone. WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY GETTING THESE PLOT POINTS, 1972?????
Don’t even getting me started on the monkey selling paintings. I can’t even type coherent things about it I’m getting so worked up.
It’s possibly one of the worst episodes of television I’ve seen in the past four years. I don’t know where we go from here Animal Practice. As much as I want to give new shows a chance, you were just that awful.
Members of the Jury, how do you find?
–ON THE COUNT OF “NO CONCEPT OF WHAT AN ACTUAL ANIMAL HOSPITAL LOOKS LIKE”, WE FIND THE DEFENDANT NOT GUILTY.
Animal Practice looks less like an actual Animal Hospital and more like a suspect’s high rise in CSI: Miami. The Office Manager’s office is massive, with a gorgeous view. There is an observation deck for the animal surgeries. Unless you’re the private veterinarian for the Royal family, all of the above is absolutely retarded, in every sense of the word. But, we don’t watch comedy for the realism. We watch it to laugh. So while Animal Practice is technically guilty of this crime, it won’t matter if the writing gets better. But if it makes it to Season Two, I would like to see it scaled back a little.
-ON THE COUNT OF “I SWEAR TO GOD IF I SEE ANOTHER MONTAGE OF A MONKEY MIMICKING A HUMAN, I’M GOING TO DRIVE DOWN TO WHERE THEY FILM THAT SHOW AND JUST START SWINGING’ WE FIND THE DEFENDANT NOT GUILTY.
While I personally feel that the whole Monkey on a sitcom played itself out well before Marcel on Friends (*cough* BJ and the Bear), I get it. People like cute animals acting like humans. It’s a thing. (Seriously, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism). Again, if there were actual jokes sprinkled in around the monkey business (!!! seriously, like I wrote SO MUCH before using it. It took a lot of willpower to make it this long) it would be as egregious.
-ON THE COUNT OF “CRIMINAL MISUSE OF 3-5 TALENTED AND FUNNY TV VETERANS”, WE FIND THE DEFENDANT GUILTY AS CHARGED.
Dude, I don’t even know where to start.
-ON THE COUNT OF “OVERUSE OF AN ANIMAL IN ABSENSE OF HUMOR”, WE FIND THE DEFENDANT GUILTY AS CHARGED.
Building an entire B plot around a monkey painting isn’t a winning proposition. Having the “weird” employee sell that painting the monkey created isn’t funny (I put weird in quotations marks because if they strain any harder in trying to make her quirky, they’re gonna blow something). Having her buy the painting back for twice the cost because the monkey is upset makes my brain hurt. Having her immediately forget about the doubled cost of her endeavor, not including the art supplies and additional ambiance materials makes me GRRRRRRRRR from the contrived nature of this “entertainment”. But hey, why would she care? It’s not like she’s A VET TECH OR SOMETHING, WHICH HISTORICALLY WOULDN’T MAKE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY. Then again, she is a vet tech at the most glamorous animal hospital in the entire country, so she probably burns money at home for heat and uses Picassos as wallpaper.
So, what does this all mean? Maybe my expectations got away from me a little? Maybe. Maybe I wanted this to be a hit so bad I overlooked all of the possible flaws? A little. But I’m a man of my word. Even though I convicted this show of some pretty awful crimes here today, I’m still going to give it 2-4 more episodes to right the ship. Because the truth is, most sitcoms aren’t great. Most aren’t even good. They’re lower middle class good. Like Reaper. Like Weeds. Shows that have strong moments, but ultimately fall flat or just kind of piddle along until they are mercifully put down by rejection. And that’s probably the true verdict for Animal Practice. It will pitter along, with the occasional moments of hilarity that will keep a few desperate cultish fans hanging on (people like me, that write blogs no one reads), but will ultimately be put down for just not having that magical thing, that thing that makes it universal enough to connect to a wide audience but specific enough to have a voice and not be considered generic fluff.