When we review pilots, we always try to make it clear that really, it is best to reserve judgment until we at least get to see another episode or two. With that, we come to a rather interesting case in “Animal Practice.”
Honestly, this is a show that would have been better off had they never aired the pilot at all during the Olympics, then started off with with episode 2 as the premiere. We don’t need all of the backstory about George working with his ex Dorothy at the vet clinic; we just need comedy. Luckily, this episode was far and away about 100 times better than the pilot (and a lot less like a comedic version of “The Newsroom”).
Does this show still adhere to convention at times? Sure. Much of the cast could be compared directly to some folks on “Community” without anyone noticing, especially the crazy doctor who donned an eye patch this time. However, there is quite a bit here that the use of animals (which seems to be done with care, even if PETA hates them for it) allows for that is completely and totally unique. Crystal the Monkey (as Rizzo) was a key player in a subplot all about painting, and we also saw key stories from every creature from a dog, who George was having a hard time operating on thanks to his friendship with the owner, to a pig that was “adopted” by Dorothy after getting drunk at a bar. It was nice to see a little more intelligence come out of this show, especially when it comes to the use of “Operation!” as an emotional prop. It made us feel as a viewer that the use of animals was not just a cheap way to bring in some extra attention to a show that the writers could then be lazy about.
We don’t know if it is already too late for this show after the pilot and the Olympics fiasco, but “Animal Practice” is surprisingly turning into a pretty good way to spend thirty minutes. Is it creating Emmy-winning television? No, but the second episode was really rather funny, even more so than some of NBC’s other new series including “The New Normal,” “Go On,” and the dreadful “Guys with Kids.” If you’ve already given up on the show, go back and give it one more shot. If you’re in the mood to laugh, then this could find a spot on your DVR again.