‘Animal Practice’ review: If ‘The Newsroom’ added animals…

In watching the pilot episode for “Animal Practice” Sunday night after the Olympics, there was really one question that entered our head — isn’t this pretty much the same thing as “The Newsroom”? We had a egotistical guy used to running things his way, but he soon found himself in a new situation when an ex-girlfriend came back into his life to take over his establishment. The only difference here? Rather than it happening for a man at a cable news network, it was a veterinarian’s office — and we had the guy from “Weeds” (Justin Kirk) in the lead role rather than Jeff Daniels.

The story here is pretty much as we described, as Kirk plays George, the egotistical lead doctor at one of the best animal hospitals in the world. The problem? His place is a zoo, and he does not respond well to his ex coming in and deciding to change things up as director at the request of her late grandmother. There were constant romantic undertones here — George’s fear of commitment kept them from being together in the first place — and at the end he even admitted that he should have told her that he loved her after threatening to at one point quit. The supporting characters are all mostly one-note at the moment — from the guy who was just dumped to the woman with a checkered past with a law. We don’t know how this vet stays in business … maybe it’s because George is good as his job at the end of the day.

We’ve said time and time again that it is almost unfair to judge a comedy based on one episode, so we’re willing to give “Animal Practice” another chance — albeit without much enthusiasm. The sentimental moments fell completely flat, we don’t find George likable at all, and the comedy was really rather predictable even with Crystal the Monkey on board. With that being said, we also have to say that both “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” were ho-hum early on, and they blossomed into some of the funniest shows on TV. George could be the Basil Fawlty of vets if the right material comes along on this show — he’s just going to have to find it pretty soon, since this show could be one of our first candidates for cancellation if it doesn’t get better by the end of the fifth or sixth episode.

What did you think about this premiere, and are you going to watch again? Be sure to vote in the poll below! To check out what NBC show you may be better off watching this fall, be sure to read the story here.

Photo: NBC


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