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"In the year 2000, scientists at a top-secret laboratory carried out the most ambitious experiment ever attempted - the creation of talking animals. It was to go unbelievably tits up."
In an attempt to create animals that have the ability to say "I love you", a vivisectionist laboratory instead creates a group of the most pretentious, self obsessed creatures on the earth. Phillip, a horse with literary pretensions; Mark, a sparrow and wannabe pop star; Winona, a dog who is in love with the actor Tim Robbins; Claire, a slutty rat with an addiction to psychic hotlines; Hugh, an incredibly horny monkey, and Kieron, a stuck-up cat, "eat sun blushed tomatoes, and had foot spas, and then sat around talking crap about films we've never even seen and then playing stupid board games like Rummikub" ("Blasphemer!"), until they are freed by an Animal Wrongs Group. After that, they must learn to survive in a world where animals aren't meant to talk, although they don't actually know that yet.
The animation is made entirely of collages of actual photographs, and the first time you see it, it can seem quite disturbing.
Essentially a social satire, with the vacuous and frequently nonsensical conversation shining a light on how strange the world really is, whilst also being truer to real conversation than most TV shows.
There was only one series. It was written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith.
Probably named for the most famous quote from The Elephant Man.
This show provides examples of:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hugh often seems to have little idea of what is going on around him, far less, even, than the rest of the characters. Finding a large pile of bank notes, he became aroused, believing them to be "naked lady pictures - they're quite soft, they've only got her head". He was, of course, referring to the queen of England, Elizabeth II. Given 300 pounds to buy meat, he returns with a bag of charcoal and a tin of dog food, which he dips the charcoal in and eats.
- What makes this even worse is that Hugh, as the monkey, is the only one with hands (and therefore the one everyone depends on to do stuff).
- Jerkass: Mark. He reminds Winona and Phillip that dog food is made from horse meat, convinces Hugh to try and drown himself ("Hold. Your head. Under.") and insults a Ken doll.
- Animal Talk: Averted. Being the result of Talking Animal experiments, they can talk to humans and understand them.
- Animal Wrongs Group: taken to parodic extremes. The leader of the group will happily kill anyone suspected of experimenting on animals, nearly shoots himself when he accidentally runs over some otters, and is only stopped when a colleague convinces him that he is an animal too...
- Bland-Name Product: Uh! Magazine.
- Carnivore Confusion:
Winona: You can't eat another person!
Mark: We do it all the time! Where do you think meat comes from?
- Deadpan Snarker: Mark.
How do we get the money? Is it in the tap, like the meat? Swirl it round, try to have a bath...
- Ear Worm: Mark's song is an in-universe example, as he says it "drills into your brain." It features such lyrics as "Why do you reject me/you know I'm full of diseases/Quatro formaggio/Is a pizza with four kinds of cheeses"
- Evilutionary Biologist: Vivi-Sec UK.
- Funny Animal: All the main characters are this.
- Gone Horribly Right: they were only meant to be animals who could talk, not be sentient. The scientists just got carried away.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Steve Coogan and Simon Pegg, among others.
- Insistent Terminology: Mark Andrews, stage name Glen Belt.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Kieron. "You stitched the head of a cat onto the body of an ape? Why?"
- Planet of the Apes Ending: When trying to work out why none of the animals they encounter outside the lab speak, Phillip comes to the conclusion that they have travelled through some sort of wormhole into the future and are now on a kind of Planet of the Men and Women, where humans are in control and animals are their mute, dumb slaves.
- Secret Project Refugee Family
- Stylistic Suck: Phillip's novel, 'Some Fog', including the phrase "It had a yellow smell."