Tyler Labine said Animal Practice isn’t about the monkey, and he’s right — it’s about being unfunny. The show premiered last night, preempting the closing ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics — something that hardly endeared the show to viewers. By the way, you reportedly missed a re-animated Queen Victoria dancing to “Thriller” with 5 spinning TARDIS dreidels, and a 20 foot wide papier-mâché Mr. Creosote that exploded and sprinkled packets of Jelly Babies into the crowd — so yet again, #NBCFail.
Animal Practice isn’t nearly as offensive as that riff probably was and it wasn’t as offensive as I thought it might be. Crystal the monkey (aka Annie’s Boobs from Community) exists as the shows “hook”, meaning that which allowed executives to green-light a show that is essentially trying to be House, DVM. Sadly, mind numbing debates about Lupus and Sarcoidosis have more charm and humor than this dead fish and that is unfortunate because there is a lot of talent on the screen (Labine, Justin Kirk) and behind the scenes (The Russo Brothers), almost too much talent for this to seem feasible.
I want to focus on Kirk for a moment — this guy was in Angels in America, he’s been one of the better parts of Weeds, and he is always hillarious in his infrequent Modern Family guest spots, and now this is what he is given? A terrible premise, a simian co-star, and an unfortunate xerox of an adored character that only just exited the stage? He deserves better and so do we, but on the bright side — this is just the pilot, so maybe it’ll get better eventually. The old saying goes, “You can’t look at where someone is and tell where they’re going to be” and in TV that is especially true.
I remember watching FOX’s New Girl pilot last year and thinking “I wish I had a wet fork and a willing outlet”, by the time the season ended I had become an avid watcher. Same thing goes for The Newsroom and Girls. Sometimes shows take awhile but sadly they rarely get the chance to grow into their skin. I doubt Animal Practice will get that chance, and based on the pilot I can’t imagine it being an easy trek but when the show returns for it’s second episode on September 26th, I will be watching to see if “The Monkey Show” can inject some fresh ideas and actual humor into a tired concept and do more than berate pet owners and have turtles race each other with hamster jockeys.
Also, with all of that said: Dear NBC, why the hell didn’t you take this chance to run the pilot episode of Revolution?