When “Animal Practice” premiered in August, it instantly became one of the most reviled shows in the history of American TV.
And for that, the show itself was not to blame (not much, anyway). But NBC chose to break away from their live (not live) coverage of the Olympic Closing Ceremony Aug. 12 to showcase the veterinarian sitcom starring Justin Kirk, JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Crystal the Monkey instead of the live (not live) performances of no-names like Muse and The Who.
But TV audiences are a forgiving sort, and should be open to judge “Animal Practice” on its own merits when it debuts in its regular time slot tonight (Sept. 26).
But does it have any merits?
Animal lovers (guilty!) probably don’t think so. Besides the indignity of a Capuchin monkey performing tricks, Dr. George Coleman’s (Kirk) womanizing vet treats his practice like a nightclub. His first patient in the pilot, for example, is a cat belonging to a good-looking divorcee. He suggests the cat’s fall from a high-rise was a suicide attempt because she’s a frisky feline in heat who should be set free to mate — just like her owner, with whom he scores a date for that evening.
Even within the imaginary world of a sitcom, it’s difficult to accept a vet being so irresponsible that he’d recommend stray breeding over spaying for the animal, and it sets an unfortunate tone for the scenes that follow.
Coleman is portrayed as a brilliant vet who cares more about animals than his human clients (except for his sexual conquests). However, his “unorthodox” methods include making his patients wait for up three hours — but would a devoted vet really do that to frightened and ailing animals? Anyway, his disorganization sets the stage for his ex, Dorothy Crane (Swisher), to take over his practice and complicate his love life.
“Animal Practice” isn’t the worst new show (see: “The Neighbors”), and its cast, especially Tyler Labine are likable and entertaining. It’s too cringe-worthy for overempathizing animal lovers, but general audiences might tune in for lighthearted, escapist fun.
“Animal Practice” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.Will you watch?