Were you one of those who wondered what NBC was thinking previewing their new sitcom "Animal Practice" after the London Summer Olympics closing ceremony ? While I supported NBC in their Olympic coverage after a barrage of #NBCfail hashtags on Twitter, some of NBC's fall sitcoms look more than a little troubling. Truth be told, though, It wouldn't have helped to screen "Animal Practice" separately from the Olympics because it aptly presents itself as the worst sitcom in decades.
If any sense of sanity exists, NBC would cancel this sitcom before it even starts this September. But before it likely goes away long before its 13 weeks are up, let's count the ways in which "Animal Practice" could be a new guidebook in screenwriting pitfalls.
Don't make the lead stars unlikableWe're seeing a new trend in TV writing where lead sitcom characters make us want to throw a brick at them from the get go. While NBC's "Go On" uses this technique slightly better, "Animal Practice" takes it further and makes us hate every single human character entering the frame. Why anybody thinks viewers will keep tuning in to watch a collective of the worst in human behavior is out of touch. It doesn't help that the veterinarian George Coleman (played by Justin Kirk) still has a small level of compassion while operating on animals.
The newest toxic combination to put in the guidebook: Don't mix unlikeable, cynical people with the innocent world of animals.
Stop using monkeys for comic reliefCrystal the Monkey (as Dr. Zauis) should be given a raise for wasting her time to be on this show. If we've seen one trained primate making faces into the camera for supposed guffaws, we've seen them all. Most of us thought such trends ended when "B.J. and the Bear" ended its TV run 30 years ago.
Even Cheetah in the old "Tarzan the Ape Man" movies of the 1930s now grates on the nerves with his chirps and screams, despite being done by a Foley artist.
New for the guidebook: Watch "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" to see the dangers of training primates for human purposes. Time to let rubber-faced comedians resume muggings for the camera.
Be cognizant of offending animal loversYou can count on the fact that a large percentage of Americans don't want to see animals in situations that "Animal Practice" showed us. In fact, when they factor into the morose and prurient acts by human beings, it's going to rub many fellow humans the wrong way. That's especially true when you show a scene of a sick dog caught in a battle of wordplay you'd never hear in a million years from a real veterinarian.
Checkmark in the guidebook: TV animals should never have to take a number in an ER like the rest of us.