Pets (TV series)

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Pets is an adult British puppet sitcom, produced by Fit2Fill Productions Limited. It was originally aired on Channel 4 and ran for two series, the first being broadcast in 2001, and the second in 2002. It was also sold to Fox in Australia, MTV in Italy, and the Middle East.[citation needed]

The series was created and written by Andrew Barclay and Brian West (pen name Brian Luff), who had previously worked together at the Edinburgh Festival, winning an award for an advert for The Jerry Springer Show, and on the sketch show We Know Where You Live.

A total of 26 episodes of Pets were aired, all approximately 11 minutes long. They were shown in the early hours of the morning, and as a result, the series was fairly unknown, although it did gain a significant cult following. There was a demand on the official website for Pets to be released on DVD. Eventually a limited edition DVD was made available to purchase via the official website. As well as the two series, the DVD included two unbroadcast episodes, a clip show named "The Trials Of Hamish", and a behind-the-scenes special named "The Making Of Pets".

Several episodes of Pets are currently available as a free podcast downloadable via iTunes. In 2010, a similar show named Mongrels aired on BBC3, sparking controversy between the two. The casts of characters in those two shows are almost similar as well, although Pets had four main characters while Mongrels had five. Also, Mongrels' range of locations is more diverse (though often behind a London pub), while Pets is confined to a single flat.

Subject matter[edit]

Pets focuses on the everyday lives of four anthropomorphic animals and their dysfunctional interactions with each other. They live in a filthy, rundown house, although it has working electricity and running water. There is never a human owner visible or even evident.

The episodes are self-contained, and set entirely within the house. Most of the events that take place tend to be surreal, contain strong elements of black comedy and off-colour humour, and frequently make references to pop culture subjects.

Pets also follows a rather traditional sitcom technique by using a "reset button". Each of the Pets have died at least once, only to reappear alive and well in the next episode. Events from previous episodes are never referred to, but unseen events from the past are often mentioned.

Characters[edit]

Hamish, voiced by Ian Angus Wilkie, is a large Red Setter. He is well-spoken and the most intellectually minded of the Pets, often seen reading books or newspapers. On the flipside, however, he is also frequently uptight, sarcastic, has a short temper, and longs to be in more intelligent, cultured, and dignified company than the rest of the Pets household.

Trevor, voiced by Andrew Barclay, is a small, grey bulldog. He is foul-mouthed, irritable, extremely perverted and spends most of his time eating and masturbating. He has a large collection of hardcore pornography and is often seen humping items of furniture. He can be rather intelligent and eloquent at times, but does not take these traits seriously, being more content in engaging in other very crude activities, including drinking out of the toilet with a curly straw and smearing the walls with his own faeces. He speaks in a gruff Cockney accent. He has no sense of hygiene and has had the same two tapeworms in his stomach since the late 1970s. The worms, also voiced by Barclay and Brian Luff, converse about a wide range of subjects, from ABBA to the Kennedy assassination.

Davina, voiced by Sally Elsden, is a Persian blue cat. She is cynical, sardonic, suffers from clinical depression and is addicted to her medication. She has a large collection of bloodstained plastic bags, all of which seem to contain some kind of furry animal. She puts these bags under the floorboards, or attempts to flush down the toilet. She has a countercultural, hedonistic boyfriend named Vince; an unseen tomcat who constantly travels alone over many parts of the world. However, he still sends her messages about his pursuits that often imply that he is cheating on her, which she bitterly discusses directly to the camera about, ultimately ending in her plotting twisted methods on how she will murder him when he returns.

JP, voiced by Petros Emmanuel, is a parrot. He has no feathers, since losing to Trevor in a card game where he bet his entire plumage on a pair of fours. He also has two different coloured eyes and can not fly. He has a pet himself, a goldfish who has obviously been dead for a long time, although he does not acknowledge this, and continues to dote on it. He is extremely eccentric, perpetually cheerful and lives in a fantasy world of his own, often rambling on directly to the camera about subjects or individuals related to the episodes' themes. He speaks in an Afrikaans accent, and has a tendency to intersperse his dialogue with (occasionally irrelevant and obscene) phrases in the language. He also enjoys drinking his own urine, a fact which he states in almost every episode, and has an unreturned infatuation with Davina.

Iestyn Evans, Mark Mander, Garry Rutter, Mandy Travis and Martin Weinling performed the puppets in Pets, swapping characters scene-by-scene. The puppets were designed and built by Iestyn Evans and Andy Heath.[1]

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (2001)[edit]

# Title
1 "Christmas"
JP believes it is Christmas in the middle of March, and so to humour him, the other Pets decide to hold the event. Unfortunately, disaster strikes when the house is invaded by burglars
2 "Pregnant"
After a wild party, a hungover Hamish is told by JP and Trevor that he had sex with Davina while he was drunk, and three months later it is revealed that she is pregnant. 
3 "Pleasure"
Trevor has an unreachable itch on his back, which the other Pets refuse to scratch. Frustrated, he decides to use an unconventional method to get rid of it that leaves one of the Pets suffering from a nervous breakdown. 
4 "American Beauty"
Hamish discovers that Trevor has placed a poor bet in his name with money borrowed from a violent, psychopathic criminal who expects to be paid back. Terrified, Hamish begins many failed attempts to commit suicide before the moneylender arrives. 
5 "On Hold"
Hamish finds himself being held in an excessively long queue on the phone in his attempt to make a call. 
6 "Consider Yourself"
In a parody of Sherlock Holmes, Trevor tells JP the story of his Victorian ancestor; a detective who discovered the identity of Jack The Ripper
7 "The Miracle"
When an archangel unblocks the downstairs toilet, Hamish insists the house become religious as an act of respect. 
8 "Conspiracy Theory"
While watching a television documentary about John F. Kennedy, the Pets' power supply is cut off. Cue a flashback to the 1960s, featuring relations of the Pets on holiday in a house identical to the modern day version in Dallas, who witness the president's assassination and attempt to discover the identity of the perpetrator. 
9 "Constipation"
After suffering from constipation for fourteen months, Hamish reluctantly tries Trevor's suggestion of eating a pair of tights in order to cure himself. 
10 "Death"
Trevor dies after choking on a fishbone. Later, however, all of the other Pets are able to see him as a ghost. 
11 "Halloween"
JP holds a Halloween party in the living room. Meanwhile, Hamish attempts to cryogenically freeze himself, in order to awaken in the future. 
12 "Hostage"
Hamish goes over the edge and holds JP hostage, much to the bewilderment of Davina and Trevor, who are forced to negotiate with him. 
13 "Money"
When Trevor finds a suitcase full of money under the floorboards, he and Hamish conspire to kill Davina and JP and keep the money for themselves. However, both begin plotting to also double-cross each other. 

Series 2 (2002)[edit]

 

# Title
14 "Drugs"

Trevor sends himself and the rest of the Pets on a psychedelic trip when he puts LSD incorrectly delivered by a drug dealer in their cornflakes.

15 "Robot Wars"
JP is convinced a UFO has landed in the garden, and soon he, Davina and Trevor begin to behave strangely around Hamish. 
16 "Presumed Very Guilty"
When Davina is found dead in Hamish's sleeping basket, he is put on trial for murder by Trevor. 
17 "Talent"
Trevor enters Stars in Their Eyes, performing as Marilyn Monroe, much to the disgust of Hamish. 
18 "Star Gate"
JP discovers an interdimensional time portal in the airing cupboard, which leads to an exact replica of the Pets' house, save for it including a double of JP being the only inhabitant and a highly radioactive uranium mine in the kitchen. 
19 "Manumission Impossible"
Hamish is convinced the other Pets are throwing parties in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning simply to spite him, and so he begins to spy on them using surveillance cameras. 
20 "Possessed"
Trevor holds a séance, and when Hamish sceptically observes it, he is possessed by the spirit of Judy Garland and later the house is tormented by a poltergeist
21 "Reincarnation"
Hamish hangs himself and is sent to Heaven, however, he is soon brought back to life by Trevor. 
22 "World War II In Colour"
In a retelling of World War II that takes place in the Pets' home, Hamish becomes convinced that a Nazi spy is hiding amongst them. 
23 "Curse of the Mummy"
When JP discovers a copy of the Book of the Dead, he unwittingly places a curse on himself, Hamish and Trevor, which turns them into living mummies one by one, leaving them to rely on Davina to reverse it. 
24 "Mexican"
After listening to a Spanish language tape, Hamish begins to act like a stereotypical Mexican man, much to the annoyance of the other Pets. 
25 "Satan"
In order to fend off his boredom, Trevor attempts to conjure Satan, much to the dismay of Hamish. 
26 "Business"
In a parody of The Godfather, a mysterious package is delivered to the Pets' home, which includes a dead fish and a letter revealing that Hamish has been appointed as the new don of a Chicago mafia

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official site (archived): http://web.archive.org/web/20100617062010/http://www.fit2fill.com/pets/petscrew.html

External links[edit]