Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: Animal Practice, NBC, Wednesdays at 8/7c
The Pedigree: Animal Practice executive producers include brothers Anthony and Joe Russo (Happy Endings, Community), Gail Lerner (Will & Grace, Happy Endings), and a few producers from Best Friends Forever. The writers of last year’s Jonah Hill vehicle The Sitter are writing for the show.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The show stars Justin Kirk (Weeds) and JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba, Better With You). The cast also includes Tyler Labine (Mad Love), comic Bobby Lee, and of course Crystal the Monkey (We Bought a Zoo, Community).
The Premise: Vet George Coleman is great with animals but bad with people. When his ex-girlfriend inherits the animal hospital where he works, she tries to straighten out him and his wacky co-workers.
What Works: Justin Kirk and JoAnna Garcia Swisher are both talented and have decent chemistry with each other, which makes me wish they were given better material here. And . . . some of the animals are cute?
What Doesn’t: Pretty much everything. The writing is very weak and the jokes aren’t funny. The characters are caricatures. And the show completely insults the audience’s intelligence: any potentially interesting moments between the leads are interrupted by a Greek chorus of their colleagues popping up and saying things like “I always thought you two would end up together” and “Can’t you feel the sexual tension?” I’m not exaggerating. That really happens.
Our Favorite Line: “It’s never just a drink with us.” “I know, that’s why I like drinking with you.”
Other Items of Note: There aren’t too many “animals in peril” moments, at least in the pilot, but I know some people are very sensitive to seeing ill/injured animals portrayed, so it’s worth mentioning that this may be an issue.
You Might Like This if you like broad comedies or, um, monkeys?
If You’re Interested: You can watch the pilot above, on the NBC site, or tonight at 10:30/9:30c on NBC. The show’s regular season starts on September 26th.
(Photo courtesy of NBC.)