The second of NBC's new comedies centered on Someone We All Wish Would Find a Successful Network Comedy is airing Sunday night. The first was "Go On," featuring Matthew Perry; this weekend it's "Animal Practice," starring Justin Kirk.
A critic's darling, and rightly so, ever since he blew our collective minds as Prior Walter in Mike Nichols' TV adaptation of "Angels in America," Kirk has spent the better part of the last seven years shoulder to shoulder with Mary Louise Parker as Showtime's groundbreaking and often quite amazing"Weeds" sprouted, bloomed and then wilted a bit before returning to the dust from whence it sprung. (This is its last season.)
Nothing should please us more than the fact that Kirk is now moving to a network vehicle with, if not the creative freedom of Showtime, then a guaranteed larger audience: Justin Kirk for the masses.
Except the show is pretty darn terrible, derivative and tired, co-starring a monkey (never, ever a good sign) and chockablock with characters we have seen too many times before. Including Kirk's lead, Dr. George Coleman, an urban wunderkind veterinarian who, we are told though never quite convinced, has a better rapport with animals than he does humans. A sleepy-eyed Lothario hiding a broken heart, he acts as alpha dog to a group of clueless, neutered fellow vets, including Bobby Lee as apron-string bound Dr. Kim and Tyler Labine, the recently ditched and not yet rebounded Dr. Doug.