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Animal Control

TELEVISION | Crude and unfunny moments keep Fox show from living up to its seemingly humorous premise


Fox

<em>Animal Control</em>
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➤ Rated TV-PG
➤ Fox/Hulu

The adventures of animal-­control personnel sound like the makings of a fun show, but Animal Control disappoints ­tremendously. The new show generates minuscule amounts of genuine comedy alongside predictable potty humor, sexual innuendo, and banal life lessons for insufferably one-dimensional characters.

Frank Shaw, played by actor Joel McHale, is a former police officer who was fired after he uncovered corruption in the force. Disillusioned, he joined Seattle’s Animal Control Department, where he’s content to deal with stray cats, kangaroos, and ostriches. Frank’s bitterness extends to the few relationships he has maintained. Dropping in on his father, Frank tells him: “I don’t want to die with things left unsaid: You’re a terrible father, who never had my back, and I want you to rot in hell.” After this revelation, his dad invites him in for a beer. The beer is a Rainier, which Dad has been drinking since he was 13, and that’s supposed to make the scene funny.

Frank is thankful for the staffing shortages that allowed him to work as a lone wolf, but when new recruit and former star snowboarder Shred Taylor (Michael Rowland) is hired as his partner, Frank takes every opportunity to make life miserable for Shred and the rest of the staff. In the second episode, the new partners trick a fellow officer into shooting a stuffed toy cougar, resulting in an unintentionally ironic quip. Frank says, “It’s rare when a hero is also so funny.” This isn’t one of those rare times.

While watching the first three episodes, I laughed once, cringed often, and gladly turned off the TV after this exceptionally unfunny attempt at humor.


Marty VanDriel Marty is a TV and film critic for WORLD. He is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and CEO of a custom truck and trailer building company. He and his wife, Faith, reside in Lynden, Wash., near children and grandchildren.

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