Animal Practice: “Dr. Yamamazing”
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Animal Practice: “Dr. Yamamazing”

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Animal Practice

“Dr. Yamamazing”

Season 1, Episode 4

Animal Practice is a product of the ER generation of writers, the kind of room that has seen a dozen hospital shows and their ilk. At its best, Animal Practice nods to this tradition, appreciates it without aping it. (Pun intended, though, yes, Rizzo is not an ape. You know what I mean.) At its worst, it’s just a flat copy of those tropes, lifted directly without much shaping. “Dr. Yamamazing” had both things, but wound up being a satisfying episode, overall.

In the obviously glamorous world of veterinary medicine, George is king. He gets tickets sent to him by Eli Manning for doing surgery on the Manning cat, he hogs all the good procedures, and he struts around like a peacock. (I can’t help it.) Meanwhile, his colleagues are left scrabbling for the scraps. Dr. Yamamoto, in particular, feels like he’s being underutilized. He protests, only to be shot down. “Don’t be a glory hog, Yamamoto, you got the cat neuter,” George retorts.

Luckily for Yamamoto, George has to take a day off. He’s talking to the candidate for new vet, as recommended by Dorothy. And by “talking to” I mean “being insanely competitive with and then banging,” as you might guess. In George’s absence, Yamamoto has to perform an urgent surgery on Mayor Bloomberg’s dog, Nasdaq, and ends up on the front of every New York City tabloid for his deft surgical skills. (The faux New York Post cover with “Dr. Yamamazing!” was one of my favorite little touches of the episode.) He gets a big head, starts curing goldfish, and begins wearing sunglasses everywhere. The only hitch in his giddy-up is that it seems someone left a sponge inside the dog while they were stitching him up. “I thought I was Yamamazing,” Yamamoto weeps. “But it turns out, I’m a Yamamoron.”

George at first thinks Yamamoto deserves to fall from his fame for such a rookie mistake. But he has a change of heart when Doug lectures him—incorrectly—about the humility of silverback gorillas. He shields Yamamoto from sycophantic mayoral aids, and even takes the bullet for the misplaced sponge. And Dorothy, despite having weird hiccupping feeings over George when learning about his fling with the newest hire, learns to tamp down those stirrings and go on being as uptight as usual. No question that we’ll see Dorothy and George hook up eventually, but the new character throws a nice little curveball in a predictable will-they-won’t-they dynamic. As long as Rizzo shows up in more of those tiny suits, I’ll keep watching anyway.

Stray observations:

  • “Get me the biggest toothbrush we have!” What would you use to brush a bear’s teeth?
  • Also, um, a phone cord?
  • “I’m a Colora-don’t.” Poor Doug.
  • Yamamoto asks the question everyone should in: re Cash Cab: “How can you drive a cab and run a game show at the same time? It’s lunacy!” 

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