Hey, you know what we haven’t done in a while? Check in on NBC! Yesterday, they announced the cancelation of Animal Practice to the surprise of no one except maybe the monkeys who watched the show to support their friend but aren’t quite smart enough to understand how ratings work. Farewell, Crystal the Monkey, we hope the world doesn’t get you down. It was expected, even if Animal Practice isn’t the worst of their shows. It was strictly mediocre (and sometimes groan-inducing) and it was never going to have the kinds of characters or stories that you truly cared about but if you happened to glance up at your television and catch a glimpse of a monkey in a football jersey then you might, might, have found yourself chuckling politely before going about your business. Basically the best thing about Animal Practice is that it wasn’t offensively bad like, say, The New Normal. It’s doing relatively well and has its fair share of fan blogs (ugh) and adoring critics but I can’t wrap my head around why. The New Normal has had nothing but bad episodes. But of course, because NBC and I are never on the same wavelength, this means that The New Normal recently got an order for a full season – along with Go On. I can stomach the Go On news more. Go On can be meandering and has yet to figure out how to utilize its characters or earn its endings but The New Normal’s “Obama Mama” episode actually resulted in me throwing an empty beer can at my television while screaming “SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP,” and wondering if this would be the night television finally broke me.
Animal Practice and Guys With Kids were the two shows that were basically racing each other toward cancelation since they premiered. I had my money on Guys With Kids if only because it’s painful to watch such a talented cast deliver the blandest jokes in front of—as Jimmy Fallon proudly proclaims at the beginning of every episode—a live studio audience! It seems as if the writers browsed through TV Tropes and instead of trying to cleverly subvert or update any of them, they just copied and pasted the articles into a script. The characters are all lazy sketches: three man-child-bro-dads (the BabyBjorn frees up their hands to drink beers!) whose personalities revolve around watching football, drooling over big screen televisions, and high-fiving each other; two wives, whose names I couldn’t even be bothered to look up because I got bored halfway through just typing “Guys With Kids” into IMDB, who yell at their husbands; one bitchy and controlling ex-wife, the Worst Woman Alive, who is written so poorly that she may cancel out any good that 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation have done re NBC’s female characters. The actors try their best, especially Erinn Hayes who regularly kills it on Childrens Hospital and Zach Cregger who really needs to land a great sitcom role before I go crazy, but there’s not much to work with. Would you believe me if I told you the couples argue in every single episode? A guy forgets his wife’s anniversary? A woman overreacts to a child’s small transgression? The kids run amok and break valuable things? There are no spoiler alerts necessary for Guys With Kids because if you’ve seen any episode of any sitcom, then you already know everything that happens in this.
Despite all that, Guys With Kids has slightly higher ratings and Jimmy Fallon’s name on its side so Animal Practice became the first show NBC canceled this season—or at least the first aired show. Next Caller, generally known as Seriously? A Fucking Dane Cook Sitcom?, was canceled months before it even premiered because a) NBC can only have one sitcom where radio plays a prominent role in 2012 b) NBC finally checked their Next Caller Google alerts and learned that no one in the world has anything good to say about it or c) NBC just got really sick of Dane Cook skateboarding around their offices, throwing up the “superfinger,” and yelling non-sequiturs while everyone was trying to work. Either way, kudos to NBC for not subjecting the public to Next Caller even if maybe, secretly, we were looking forward to hating a few episodes. Sure, the upcoming Save Me where Anne Heche talks to God and hilarity ensues (?) sounds terrible but c’mon, a battle-of-the-sexes between a CBGB-shirt-wearing Dane Cook and a blonde “plucky feminist”? That’s like the poster for drunk hate-watching and vitriolic blog posts.
But it’s not all about cancelation! NBC also bought a few new shows this month. The most interesting? Undateable is a buddy comedy that doesn’t sound like anything special yet but it’s produced by Bill Lawrence: Official TV Hangover Hero and everything he does is gold. Fuck, I’m In My Twenties is the tumblr-to-television deal that already has the world arguing about it whereas I just want to know if they’re changing the title or doing an obnoxious censored thing like S#*! My Dad Says (if the world is going to keep adapting shows from Twitter and Tumblr, and of course it is, eventually we’ll have to allow swearing on network television). And finally, two projects from 30 Rock producer Ron Weiner: an adaptation of a BBC sitcom called Whites and an untitled workplace comedy which is exciting because every person who has ever written an episode of 30 Rock needs to continue writing funny things for my television.
Oh, let’s talk about the rest of NBC’s sitcoms! It’s a bummer to see 30 Rock go even if, possibly, hopefully, fingers-crossed it will be replaced by Community though at this point I wouldn’t be surprised of NBC resurrected Perfect Couples or The Paul Reiser Show just to keep Community at bay a little longer. But if the last three episodes are any indication, 30 Rock is going to end the series on a graceful high note with a barrage of whip-smart episodes that are reminiscent of the first three seasons. On the other hand, the final season of The Office is awkwardly fumbling toward its end but then again but at least they have plenty of episodes to get back on track. Parks and Recreation has been slightly disappointing so far, if only because it set such a high bar for itself. The jokes are all still there, but every episode seems to be lacking something. Up All Night fixed one of its biggest problems last season by getting rid of Ava’s workplace but is still uneven. But really, this all pales in comparison to the biggest news of the week: The triumphant return of Whitney will happen November 14th! No, we don’t know how it managed to get a second season and yes, we also wish that Community was the show replacing Animal Practice but don’t worry, us TV Hangover gals will definitely break out our vodka-soaked tampons and watch it so you don’t have to.