By CHELSEA FULLER
NBC’S newest show, “Animal Practice,” reeled in viewers with promises of a good laugh and literal monkey business, but do they measure up?
The show takes place mainly in Crane Animal Hospital, though it seems some antics will be shown throughout recognizable sections of New York City. Lead veterinarian and protagonist, George Coleman, played by Justin Kirk, is introduced first.
Though Coleman seems to be a self-righteous womanizer, viewers quickly learn that his cynicism is tolerated due to his extensive knowledge as a vet. Echoes of “House,” anyone?
Two other veterinarians on the scene are Dr. Yamamoto and Dr. Doug Jackson.
Dr. Yamamoto, played by the well-known actor Bobby Lee, seems to be the show’s designated pushover, almost enjoying his role as shameless toady, bowing down to authority at every opportunity.
Dr. Jackson, on the other hand, assumes the role of wingman to Coleman, though Jackson seems to be more focused on getting his ex-girlfriend back than on his job.
Chaos sets the tone of Crane Animal Hospital. The place is over-run with pets running free, owners are crammed into a small waiting area and nurses are constantly scrabbling to maintain some kind of order. Dorothy Crane, however, is the balm to this turmoil.
Crane has recently inherited the hospital from her grandmother and is ready to give the place a total facelift, starting with how things are run. Through tension-filled conversation, lightened with the occasional awkward comment, viewers learn that Coleman and Crane were formerly “an item.” The episode goes on to provide a stage for the power struggle between Coleman and Crane, alluding to previous relationship troubles.
The entire show is laced with backhanded cracks, sexual innuendo and the occasional bit of lowbrow, slapstick humor. With a monkey running through hallways dressed as a doctor, it’s hard to not at least get one laugh out of the half-hour show.
Though “Animal Practice” has high standards to live up to in sharing a network with 30 Rock and its blatant mimicry of “House,” it does have all the components to make a good show.
Hopefully, the rest of the season will allow the show the room it needs to showcase its positive attributes.