Originally a 5 minute film by Aardman
of Wallace & Gromit
fame made in 1989 as a twist on the man in the street
style of interview. Here the "men" in the street were animated as animals using claymation. Members of the public were asked what they thought about the living conditions of animals in the zoo, and of their own living conditions and then animated as zoo animals, leading to some rather amusing juxtaposition between the lines and the situation.
The film proved popular and the Electricity Board employed Aardman to make adverts for them in a similar vein. Unfortunately most people remember them as the British Gas ads.
In 2003 multiple seasons of 10 minute programmes in the style of the original film were made and received a reasonable reception. Most of the comedy came from the careful choice of animal and location, leading to a philosophical amoeba talking about "how we are all just bags of water really" or an alligator praising her local neighbourhood (a sewer) and denying she had a damp problem.
The series also pokes fun at the way that people try and talk up to the microphone, trying to sound cleverer than they are or to speak in sound bites.
In 2007, an American version was produced for CBS, using American interviewees. Sadly, it barely got three episodes aired from its initial six-episode commitment before being canceled.
- Angry Guard Dog: Season 1 features a rather grizzled German Shepard police dog who speaks in a low, intimidating voice. There's also a security guard bulldog, but he's not nearly as angry, coming off as more of a thoughtful old man.
- Annoying Laugh: Pickles the Guide Dog's laugh can get very annoying. During the Beach episode, when Fluffy the Hamster is moaning about loud people, you can hear Pickle's laugh in the background.
- Butt Monkey: Clement the Bloodhound suffers a lot in the show, claiming he's had a lot of things wrong with him. In Season 2, his suffering is used for comic relief. His kennel is struck by lightning, he's humiliated in a dog show, and is put in a dungeon after insulting the royal family.
- Candid Camera Prank: A weird inversion. People knew they were being recorded but had no idea what they would be animated as. Some probably got a bit of a shock.
- Christmas Episode
- Cloud Cuckoolander: The seal in the circus episode seems a bit off the wall.
- The old laughing rabbit in Season 2 as well.
- The Couch: All of Trixie and Captain Cuddlepuss' scenes are on a couch.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The point of the original short. Most of the dialogue comes from the Vox Pops of people talking about their own home lives. It works just as well coming from the mouths of animals. The Series took this idea and ran with it.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Fluffy's.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Frank the Tortoise appeared in the Heat Electric adverts.
- Evil Chef: An ant comments about a crazed hotel chef who threw knives at people.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Inverted with Trixie and Captain Cuddlepuss.
- Funny Character, Boring Actor: Fluffy the Hamster is so dull and pessimistic that he's hilarious.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: You'd never see it on-screen, but one of the books behind The Couch appears to be titled 'art'. Thanks to ridiculously tiny lettering, it's actually titled 'piss artist'.*
- In one interview at the vet, the hamster is mentioning rectal thermometers and how it's an insult to teacher that things are to go out of the rear end and not in. A bit coincidental considering the animal doing the speaking.
- The Lab Rat: Several appear in Episode 3, played by a few real-life scientists.
- Lazy Husband: It is implied that Captain Cuddlepuss is this.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The show has a large cast of characters, although there are some recurring animals. These include dull Fluffy the Hamster, cat and dog sofa dwellers Trixie and Captain Cuddlepuss, long-suffering Clement the Bloodhound, garden slugs Gary and Nigel, rats Sid and Nancy, Geordie-accented Victor the Geordie Mouse, and Frank the Tortoise who appeared in the early adverts.
- Rant Comedy
- Running Gag: Literally with Earl the Greyhound who never finishes an interview due to being in a dog race.
- Those Two Guys: The slugs Gary and Nigel.
- The Tramp: Two dogs called Spanner and Trousers.
- Visual Pun: Filled with these, such as a family of moles discussing what to do about the 'leak' in their roof (with a certain vegetable clearly visible in the dirt overhead) or a crab saying "Oh, I've pulled a muscle" (at the end of an episode about love and whilst holding a clam).
- The interviews with a delightful couple of visually impaired old ladies are animated as - what else? - bats.
- Vox Pops: The general nature of the clips.