Rats who are obsessed with 311, squirrels who are close personal friends with Ty Segall (who is also a Squirrel), and roaches who go the “Church of God (but for roaches)” are only some of the anthropomorphized animals of NYC featured on HBO’s “Animals.”
“Animals,” currently in its second season, is one of the funniest shows I’ve watched this year, and officially takes place as my second-favorite animated show, right after the cult classic “Rick and Morty.”
The series, created, written by, and (for all but one episode) starring Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, thrives in the ridiculousness of its narratives. It’s mostly episodic with a few serialized elements. Each episode is named after a different animal of primary focus, and generally has at least one other species with significant screen time. This makes random viewing and sequential viewing both a possible and enjoyable experiences.
A prime example is the twelfth episode: “Pigeons.” It centers around a pigeon who is filled with regret from accidentally killing his brother. He begins a personal vision quest to face these feelings but gets interrupted by real-life artists Killer Mike and Big Boi who rap about life as a fox in NYC.
The show is insane. It’s hilarious but also insane.
The animation is very straightforward. Characters are simply drawn, most movement is quick and a bit jumpy. What’s most irritating to friends I have watched the show with: the mouths of the characters basically never move.
But that doesn’t take away from the show. The visuals aren’t all that impressive, but the stellar voice acting by Matarese, Luciano and basically every comedian who has done an ASSSSCAT show at the Los Angeles UCB theaters for the past five years more than makes up for that.
Humor-wise, it’s a strange blend of something like “Comedy Bang! Bang!” skits and “Parks & Recreation” due to its generally wholesome themes that are mixed starkly and suddenly with vulgarity and darker vibes than most sketch/sitcom shows.
I recommend watching the fourteenth episode “Squirrels.” It’s representative of the entire series and if you like it, you’ll probably like the whole show.