HANDICAPPING THE NEW NBC SERIES
Described as a comedic version of House, Animal Practice centers on a veterinarian (Justin Kirk) who loves animals but usually hates their owners. Tyler Labine (Reaper) and Bobby Lee (MADtv) co-star.
Wednesday 8:00 p.m.
-The Competition: The Middle (ABC), Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS), The X Factor (FOX), Arrow (CW)
-Who Was at the Panel:
Justin Kirk, Tyler Labine, Bobby Lee, Betsy Sodaro, JoAnna Garcia, Kym Whitley; and executive producers Bran Gatewood, Alessandro Tanaka, Gail Lerner, Scot Armstrong and Anthony Russo.
Justin Kirk on appearing opposite a monkey:
“I was told when I asked her handler, Tom, who is the man behind the woman, I said, “What’s the best way to ingratiate myself to Crystal, and bond with her?” And he says, and I think he’s told others of us, “Ignore her. Don’t try to grab her,” and I said, “I’ve been doing that all my life. So it shouldn’t be difficult.” So she’s just super-cool. Like, she’s the most famous monkey in Hollywood, so you try to be cool around her. We just presented an award together this weekend at the Teen Choice Awards, so we hang out off set too.”
Anthony Russo on working with animals:
“There is an adage in the entertainment business, never work with children and never work with animals because of the perceived difficulties of working with both and the restrictions. But I have to tell you, on this show and this might sound untruthful, but it actually is true. It’s almost unnoticeable. The company, Birds & Animals, that we use, that provides all our animals, is an amazing company with amazing trainers and handlers, and all the animals are very well-prepped before they’re brought to set in terms of what we’re looking for them to do. The environment that we maintain on set is very pet-friendly and calm. Everyone knows how to behave around the animals.”
Yes, the animals are cute, particularly Crystal the Monkey who completely steals every scene she is in. If I was one of the two-legged actors, I would be wary. But animals alone cannot carry a series, the story is generic, and the competition is fierce. Unless a reunion of Daktari is in the works, Crystal and her four-legged co-stars could be out of work by midseason.
-Chance of Survival for Animal Practice (Based on 1-1 to 10-1 odds):