Whether it's lovelorn rats, gender-questioning pigeons or aging bedbugs in the midst of a midlife crisis, the awkward small talk, moral ambiguity and existential woes of non-human urbanites prove startlingly similar to our own.
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Series cast summary:
...
 Phil (10 episodes, 2016)
Mike Luciano ...
 Mike (10 episodes, 2016)
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Whether it's lovelorn rats, gender-questioning pigeons or aging bedbugs in the midst of a midlife crisis, the awkward small talk, moral ambiguity and existential woes of non-human urbanites prove startlingly similar to our own.

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Animation | Comedy

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5 February 2016 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The project bypassed the traditional development and was financed with private equity money. The creators were able to make the show exactly how they wanted on a timetable that suited them. So they did the first two episodes and shop them around different networks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tosh.0: Pee Lady (2016) See more »

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Bizarre, hit-and-miss, and surprisingly endearing
14 February 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Animals is an animated HBO sitcom from creators Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano and producers Mark and Jay Duplass.

Each episode focuses on a different variety of animals, as the title implies (rats, bed bugs, pigeons, caterpillars, etc.) The twist is that the animals deal with very human and very adult issues, such as being a virgin, mid-life crises, sexual identity and self-confidence.

The Duplass brothers are famous for their quirky but enjoyable productions, and Animals seems to be their first really divisive project. Some people enjoy it, others think it's a waste of time at best. Personally, I'm in the former category.

Animals definitely has a few glaring flaws. It's a retro-scripted sitcom, meaning that the dialogue is improvised based on plot outlines and the script is formed from the improvisations. The upside is that you get to enjoy the wit and chemistry of the voice actors; the downside is that the overlapping dialogue can get really obnoxious.

People who've watched the FX sitcom The League, which features Mark Duplass, will probably be used to this style of comedy by now. In fact, the appearance of League alumni Nick Kroll and Paul Scheer will definitely please fans, but anybody else won't really care.

And that's probably the biggest flaw of this show. Unlike a lot of HBO's other stuff, it plays to a very niche market.

But for me, I love improv, I love the idea of using animals to illustrate human issues, I love animation, and I love irreverent and dark humor.

This show is tailor-made for me, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people.

What really sets this show apart from others of its kind is that while the humor is awkward and eccentric and definitely not for everyone, the overall stories have a sweet undertone that redeems the more cynical aspects. And surprisingly, the characters actually have a level of depth. Characters you don't expect to like turn out to be likable, characters you thought you'd support can be real jerks, and as clichéd as the stories can be, they still manage to be engrossing. Anything that can surprise in this day and age is more than welcome.

So, yeah, if you're not into this kind of thing, Animals definitely won't change your mind. It being based in improv, there are a ton of holes in the stories (how can pigeons know they're from New Jersey but not know what the Statue of Liberty is called?) and no one will blame you for ignoring this show's existence.

But for people who are into this kind of thing, you'll enjoy it. I know I did, and I know I'll definitely be tuning in on the next episode.


19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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