Thursday, August 16, 2012

NEW SHOW: Animal Practice

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The biggest news about NBC's new show, Animal Practice, is that they brought the star monkey to TCA a couple of weeks ago. The second-biggest news is that NBC decided to go ahead and air the pilot early for the loyal watchers of their daily Quadrennial Hot-Weather Events coverage. The official premiere isn't until September 26th, so we've got a big jump on this one! Now, you may recall that my initial reaction was that the comedy was absurd, but the more I thought about a veterinarian hating pet owners, the more I was reminded of shows like House and Becker, and both are also medicine-based. However, after actually watching the pilot, I found George Coleman to be quite different from them... cranky like Becker and conniving like House, but he has a clear heart that has been scarred. I thought that the most interesting thing about the episode was just how many random facts were thrown in... and I also liked the plethora of animals. I must say, however, that I didn't like much else... not the characters, not really the actors, not where we picked up, and not even JoAnna Garcia's wardrobe. I suspected it would be crazy, and it was. Do you disagree? Think it will make it past three episodes? What about 13? Weigh in with your thoughts!

Animal Practice "Pilot" (S01E01): We're brought to the animal hospital through a divorced woman whose cat jumped off her patio. In fact, an ambulance even delivered the cat, Giggles, which Dr. George Coleman promptly pronounces as in heat, and it wanted to be free. [yeah, okay, he said it was suicide first. but I'm trying not to hate the show in the opening minutes here...] Then, we see a group of doctors watching a horse race while another (Doug, played by Tyler Labine, whom we last loved in Sons of Tucson), struggles with a dog. This is also where we're introduced to Dr. Rizzo, a monkey who pals around alongside George. [you know, because NBC is banking on a monkey selling this mess.]

Enter Dorothy, played by JoAnna Garcia, who broke up with George two years ago because she told him that she loved him and he said, "awesome." [cue eye roll!] Dorothy's grandmother left her the hospital, and though she doesn't know how to run it, she will pour her soul into it. [awww, sweet. and definitely sets up that she'll need his help. of course.] The next day, things are already running more smoothly, and Dorothy accompanies George on rounds... a Yorkshire Terrier ate something and requires a $2,000 surgery, but its owner would rather put down the dog. [maybe another reason I can't get into this show is because I'm not a pet-person... I can't imagine paying that for an animal!] George decides to run off with the dog, hiding it. [the scene where Dr. Rizzo runs interference on the Yorkie's owner was so stupid!]

The next day, a tiger arrives with delivery complications, and Yamamoto and Doug handle it. [yeah, okay... just how much money does this show have to afford the animals and the constant ASPCA personnel this will require? are we just showing off in the pilot?? because that's what I took from the later scene with the boa constrictor and Yamamoto... though that might have been completely fake.] Outside the hospital, George claims to be able to tell everything about a woman by her dog, so he takes Doug to the park and proves it... but things go poorly when Doug can't find the right things to say. [and the worst part is that Doug isn't even the most aloof character... and neither is Yamamoto! I give that to Angela, the druggie with a parole officer!] Back at the hospital, the Yorkie's owner wants an apology, so George quits. [what?!? I don't get this man.] As he's packing his office, Angela shows Dorothy where the dog is, and Dorothy's plan is to take it someplace else to have the operation. [why? I didn't quite get that.] Well, she runs into George in the elevator, and winds up assisting in the surgery he performs. [... and we see the first sign of him having a heart.]
(Photo by: Neil Jacobs/NBC)
Afterwards, the owner still wants to sue, so George mentions that what he removed is a coaster from a strip club... so the owner backs down because he doesn't want his daughter to become a stripper in ten years. [again, I didn't get the train of thought there, but whatever.] George still isn't actually back working at the hospital, though, and while he sits around in the break room, we learn that he sent a woman to be with Doug the previous night. [to boost his confidence? was that supposed to be the point? Cue House reference again...] Well, Dorothy tells George that he's awesome with animals so he should stay, and we get the impression that he will. He says that he should have reciprocated her "I love you" back then, and asks her for a drink, though she declines. [good! I'd be very upset if they started dating right off the bat! I don't understand why he thought that the apology fit there, though...]
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