Friday, August 10, 2012

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Animal Practice - Sneak Peek August 12, Premieres September 26; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 13, 2012)

Animal Practice - Wednesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Sneak Peek Sunday, August 12, 2012 at 10:38PM ET/PT and
Premieres Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by skees53

This fall, NBC takes viewers to Crane Animal Hospital, one of the nation's best places to provide healthcare for animals in need... such as suicidal cats. Animal Practice is NBC's new sitcom about the everyday happenings at this animal hospital, headed by Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk). The series follows Dr. Coleman and his fellow coworkers, including a monkey named Dr. Rizzo (Crystal the Monkey) through their daily work at the hospital... typically resulting in a series of mishaps and blunders.

Cast Details:


Justin Kirk as Dr. George Coleman
Joanna García-Swisher as Dorothy Crane
Bobby Lee as Dr. Kim Yamamoto
Tyler Labine as Dr. Doug Jackson
Kym Whitley as Juanita
Betsy Sodaro as Angela
Crystal the Monkey as Dr. Rizzo

Justin Kirk (Dr. George Coleman) plays the main role as head of Crane Animal Hospital. Kirk is best known for his role of Andy Botwin in the Showtime series Weeds. Additionally, he has appeared in Modern Family, Jack & Jill, and the critically-acclaimed HBO miniseries Angels in America.

Joanna García-Swisher (Dorothy Crane) plays the woman who just inherited the Crane Animal Hospital and ex-girlfriend of Dr. Coleman. García-Swisher began her career "around the campfire" on the Canadian-produced Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and has played starring roles on series including Reba, Privileged, and Better With You.

Bobby Lee (Dr. Kim Yamamoto) plays one of the "supporting cast" doctors at Crane Animal Hospital. Lee is known primarily as a character actor, and is best known as a cast member on MADtv and from the film Pineapple Express.

Tyler Labine (Dr. Doug Jackson) plays the other "supporting cast" doctor at Crane Animal Hospital. Labine has previously starred in a few less-than-successful series including Reaper and Sons of Tucson.

Kym Whitley (Juanita) plays the role of the sassy nurse at Crane Animal Hospital. Whitley is another character actress, but has appeared in more significant roles in series including My Brother and Me, Sparks, and The Parkers.

Betsy Sodaro (Angela) plays the office assistant at Crane Animal Hospital. Sodaro is new to the small screen, but has had roles in many shorts, including playing the role of Paula Deen.

Crystal the Monkey (Dr. Rizzo) plays the role of the office mascot, the monkey (if that isn't obvious). Crystal the Monkey has appeared in many TV series and films, including Dr. Dolittle, The Hangover Part II, Zookeeper, We Bought a Zoo, and Community.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Sunday, August 12 at 10:38PM ET/PT)
In the pilot episode, Dr. Coleman (Kirk) comes in to his place of employment, Crane Animal Hospital, to find that something big has just happened: somebody has just inherited the hospital. But it isn't just anybody off the street. It just so happens to be Dorothy Crane (Joanna García-Swisher), a former girlfriend. She is on the verge of planning some changes which could shake up the hospital and require everybody to readjust... unless she can somehow be convinced to do otherwise.


Analysis:

My main thought in watching the pilot was "when did Andy Botwin become a veterinarian?" Justin Kirk has great potential as an actor, but in watching the pilot, all that I can see is more of his character from Weeds. He has the same wit, the same sarcasm, the same "luck in love," and is the same guy... only now he is a veterinarian (and  more "book smart," of course) instead of being the terminally unemployed "lovable loser" of a brother-in-law. Unfortunately, as much as I liked that character on Weeds, it doesn't carry over quite as well to broadcast television and with the rather mixed bag cast that we have on this series.

First, let's start with the casting of Kirk in the starring role. I love the show Weeds and I love his role on that show, and I am probably one of the few out there who still regularly enjoys the series as it approaches the final episode next month. Still, I was hoping to watch this series and find Kirk in an entirely new role, with an entirely different personality, and for him to be able to show some dynamic acting abilities. Instead, it appears that the producers for Animal Practice have decided to typecast him and carry over that same personality from Weeds... except now, he is dealing with a whole new cast which isn't as receptive to that personality, and all of the outrageous things that he did before which were acceptable for premium cable are not acceptable here. I really think that the role of Dr. Coleman should have been much different, such as a clumsy, inept, but always eager to do the job no matter what... like the role of Michael Scott on The Office. I think Kirk (or perhaps another actor) could have handled that rather well if that was how the role had been envisioned... but it wasn't.

The rest of the cast for this series is really a mixed bag. That isn't to say that the cast is bad, but there really didn't seem to be much chemistry between the cast members on the screen. Joanna García-Swisher is probably the best in the bunch, with her role as Dorothy Crane (I'm still not sure why they gave her such an "elderly" first name) being one of the high points of the series. Her acting abilities on the series seem to be pretty decent, and the romantic tensions between Dorothy and Dr. Coleman do provide great on-set chemistry between them. But the rest of the cast? Not so much. It seems like they are all in their own world, and at a distance from each other. In all fairness, the pilot didn't really reveal a whole lot about the personalities of the characters, so perhaps as we get to know them, there will be a bit more interaction.

Another problem that I had with the pilot was the comedy... or lack thereof. I'll admit, Dr. Rizzo (Crystal the Monkey) seems to be pretty funny and show some promise, but I'm not sure how far a monkey can carry a show along. It felt like all of the laughs in the pilot episode came from Dr. Rizzo, but we all know that monkeys can only bring comedy so far. There really weren't any great lines or actions that took place in the pilot episode from the human cast which made me laugh. 


Conclusion:

I'm not so sure about this series... for now, anyway. I wouldn't place any major bets on it being successful for NBC either. However, it is important to keep in mind that all we've seen so far is the pilot, which (lamentably) was probably rushed to completion much sooner than it otherwise would have been just to meet NBC's post-Olympics debut time slot for the series. My hope is that by the time the series makes it to the fall lineup, there will have been some improvements (primarily by making Justin Kirk to be somebody besides Andy Botwin becomes a vet), and maybe, just maybe, this pilot and the problems which plague it will be forgotten by then. With that being said, I think a more reasonable assessment of the series would be best made once we see what is in store beyond the pilot. I feel that there is a lot of potential for this series, but so far, it hasn't been found.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, August 12 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Animal Practice Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of August 13-17, 2012, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    • Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) - Watch Jack on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    Tuesday, August 14, 2012
    • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Catch Kelsey on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
    • Matt LeBlanc (Episodes/Friends) - Matt visits Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
    • Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation) - Rob is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
    Wednesday, August 15, 2012
    • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - Watch William on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Breckin Meyer (Married to the Kellys/Inside Schwartz) - Breckin appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne) - Johnny is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny chats on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) - Tune in to see Kat on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
    Thursday, August 16, 2012
    • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Pual Scheer (The League) - Paul stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
    • Rob Corddry (Happy Endings/The Winner) - Rob visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
    • T.J. Miller (Carpoolers) - T.J. appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Lamman Rucker (Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns) - Lamman is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
    Friday, August 17, 2012
    • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Watch John on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Margaret Cho (All-American Girl) - Margaret appears on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael guest co-hosts a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian visits Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
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