Creature Comforts is a British Stop Motion series created by Nick Park and Aardman Animations, of Wallace & Gromit fame. It originated as a five-minute short film 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.
In 2020, a 2D animated short film that was co-produced between Aardman and The Born Free Foundation which was based on the series titled Creature Discomforts: Life In Lockdown.
- Alien Episode: The episode "Is Anyone Out There?" features a few aliens as interviewees, something not seen in any other episode. Fittingly, most of them are voiced by immigrants to the UK.
- All There in the Manual: Most of the characters do have names, but they're only used in secondary material, not in the series itself.
- 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.
- Animal Jingoism: Turns up whenever any of the interviewees voice disapproving opinions of particular animals. Probably the best example is during the Pet Shop episode, in which a small dog gives a lecture on why stick insects are 'stupid' right next to a tank full of stick insects.
- Ax-Crazy: The older of the two police dogs in "Working Animals" talks very candidly about Police Brutality, demonstrates a Twitchy Eye, and is drooling uncontrollably - suggesting that he might be rabid.
- Bare-Bottomed Monkey:
- In Sport, when the mandrill is explaining his interest in climbing whilst laying in a tire swing, the swing gradually rotates until his rear is shown off to the camera and he punctuates his thought by ripping a fart at the viewer.
- One of the monkeys in Safara Park expounds that male monkeys have a preference for cars that are red, because it's reminiscent of the color a female's bottom becomes during mating season.
- Body Horror: In the Season 1 episode Working Animals, a background laboratory mouse has a human ear on its back. It was made as a Take That! against the infamous Vacanti mouse experiment.
- British Brevity: Both seasons of the 2003 series had the usual 13 episode total. Amusingly this applies more for the American series, which lasted only six episodes before getting cancelled.
- 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.
- Camp Gay: A trio of ravens at the Tower of London act quite flamboyant, and in "Monarchy Business", one of them is jokingly told by his friend that there's always a 'queen' for him; 'queen', in this context, being slang for an effeminate gay man.note
- 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.
- Circus Episode: An episode is themed around circuses and features interviews with real-life circus performers.
- 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.
- The Dreaded: The lioness in "The Circus" and "Pets At The Vet" clearly scares the living daylights out of everyone around her. In both episodes, the interviewer holding the microphone is visibly quivering in fear, and in the latter episode, the Vet's waiting room is littered with overturned chairs as if everyone ran for their lives.
- 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, the sofa-dwelling dog-cat couple.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the Beach episode, a newspaper is briefly blown across the Octopus' face during his interview. What's the headline on said newspaper? 'TALKING OCTOPUS ESCAPES GM PET CLINIC'.
- Funny Background Event: A signature of the series is the combination of vox-pop interviews with claymation that has funny things happening in the background. For example: Watch for the two penguins in the background in the original short.
- Irony: Many of the fish, crustaceans, and sea-going mammals featured in "The Sea" are terrified of the sea.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Brian the amoeba discusses water in grandiose fashions that don't really mean anything, saying it has "a form of quantum coherence."
- The Lab Rat: Several literal laboratory mice appear in Episode 3 and speak as if they are actual laboratory workers - to the point that their maze is designed to make them look like they're office workers in a cubicle farm. For added fun, they're played by a few real-life scientists.
- Lazy Husband: It is implied that Captain Cuddlepuss is this. He is always seen lying on the couch and scratching his belly.
- Puppy Love: Two young hamsters voiced by children fancy eachother in Animal Magnetism, with the female one apparently being fancied by 19 boys.
- Running Gag: Literally with Earl the Greyhound who never finishes an interview due to being just about to start a dog race.
- Shout-Out: During one of the interviews with the amoeba, you can see a cell zipping around the screen in solely cardinal directions and wakka-wakka'ing like Pac-Man.
- Sewer Gator: An alligator appears in the "Animals in the Hood" episode that praises her sewer dwelling and dismisses the idea it could have a dampness problem.
- Stealth Pun: The recurring characters of the two bats voiced by a pair of elderly women. They live in a bell tower, making them ding-bats as well as (literal) bats in the belfry.
- Tactful Translation: In "Monarchy Business", a Panda asks his companion what she thinks of Buckingham palace in Chinese (both were voiced by actual Chinese tourists), and receives a very short and harsh-sounding response (which may have just been a case of Asian Rudeness). He then proceeds to tell the interviewer that she thinks it's wonderful in several different ways before smiling awkwardly.
- Tentative Light: The angler fish in "The Sea" has a glowing lure that behaves like it's an electric light - and it routinely buzzes, flickers, and goes out.
- Those Two Guys: The slugs Gary and Nigel.
- Toothy Bird: As part of Aardman's signature art style, most animals are designed with prominent teeth, regardless whether their species is supposed to have teeth in real life or not.
- 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.
- In the end credits of "The Sea," a flatfish remarks "I've been under a lot of pressure lately," looking as if it's literally been squashed flat.
- Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: Fluffy's cage has very sparse bars he could easily fit through.