Animal Practice Season 1 Review “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Coleman”

Animal Practice Episode 5 Who's Afraid of Virginia Coleman (2)

Whatever good will the first episode or two of Animal Practice had instilled in me is quickly being sapped away, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Coleman” is another stinker, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a useless episode, introducing a cardboard cut-out of a sitcom mother character who failed to make me laugh in any way, and the side plots are both A. boring and B. barely even present.

Dr. Coleman’s mother comes to visit, using the pretense of a sick cat named “Cat” to spend some time with her son, except she’s a miserable upper east side hag who’s mistreated him his whole life, and also, a racist. It’s like they threw Lucille Bluth, Mallory Archer, Colleen Donaghy, and that blonde woman on The New Normal into a pot, reduced that mixture into a rich creamy sauce, dumped that sauce down the drain, stuck a post-it with the phrase “cranky old broad” written on it in sharpie to a plate, and served it to us as dinner. Nothing she did was fresh, new, surprising, or the least bit interesting. Of course it’s not her cat. Of course George lies to her, too, and they make up in what is apparently becoming the show’s signature scene, “completely unearned emotional payoff.”

If I sound harsh, it’s because I’m being harsh. I found this episode hard to watch. Not because it was bad, but because it was so miserably boring. I can barely even tell you what was going on with Dr. Yamamoto (it doesn’t help that he’s my least favorite character), and even with the addition of June Diane Raphael, who I love, as the new vet, Dorothy’s story about not living up to her grandmother’s legacy did nothing, and contained what was by far the worst joke of the night, when the nurses all walked around in slow motion like fifth-graders doing a school play about zombies.

I can’t even point out any bright spots of this episode, right now. If there were any, I’ve forgotten them; that brain space is now taken up by my anger at how this show tries to always include a genuine emotional punch at the end of every episode, when it could, with only a few adjustments, be a fantastic bizarro comedy that takes place in an alternate universe in which the sight of a monkey wearing a lab coat is questioned by absolutely no one. That’s what I want the show to be, but Animal Practice doesn’t really seem to know what it wants itself to be. But y’all? What do you want from this show, and did it give any of it to you with this episode?