Let’s hope that Aardman Animations’ U.S. rendition of “Creature Comforts” for CBS is as fantastically funny as the British version that snuck onto BBC America last year. The show has a simple, genius premise. Producers go out and interview ordinary folks in various parts of the country on various subjects, i.e. what they do for a living, how they get along with their spouse, whether they believe in an afterlife. Then those sound bites are used as the dialogue for short stop-motion animation bits featuring animal characters of the kind that Aardman does so well. It’s hard to do the show justice in a short logline description, but watching a tubby hamster in his cage talking about what it’s like to deal with unemployment, what a moose and bear think attracts the opposite sex, or a pair of rats discussing the secret to a strong marriage, or a pair of bulldogs dreaming about dating Kate Moss, is just good, clean fun. The wide range of dialects that producers captured in Britain heightened the anthropomorphic hilarity. Imagine what they can do with the vast expanse of the United States and its melting pot of accents.
You also have to marvel at the artistry, craftsmanship and sheer dedication that goes into every frame of these plasticine-manipulated wonders. The production of each short moves along at a clip of about three to five seconds per day. The whole fascinating process is detailed in an oh-so-amusing way on the Creature Comforts’ UK Web site, and now there’s a site for the U.S. show as well.
It’s usually not a good sign when a new show bows on a broadcast web in the immediate post-season, but “Creature Comforts” should be the perfect antidote to the plethora of reality this-and-that and repeats that will clog the airwaves during the next few months. And it’s a very good sign that the lead producer on the CBS rendition is the same as on the Brit version, Aardman vet Richard “Golly” Goleszowski. “Creature Comforts” arrives June 4 at 8 p.m. If BBC America is smart enough (or legally allowed) to rerun the British segs during the run of the Yank version, it’s well worth checking those out too.