Group Therapy for Pets? Only on Fox’s HouseBroken
A therapy dog leads a support group for neurotic pets — starring comedy heavyweights Lisa Kudrow, Tony Hale, Jason Mantzoukas, and more.
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Not since Best In Show has pet life been so humorously depicted as on HouseBroken, Fox’s newest adult animated comedy series with voices from Lisa Kudrow, Tony Hale, and Jason Mantzoukas, among other comedy heavyweights. The show centers on a pet support group lead by therapy dog Honey, a Standard Poodle, who attempts to help her fellow dogs and cats navigate the foibles of modern canine and feline life. While we all know that animals are endlessly humorous — there’s about a billion videos online that prove that — it’s shocking how comedically rich pet life proves to be in narrative form, too.
Take for instance “Who’s Afraid of Boomsday,” the show’s fifth episode, in which the group must navigate the treachery of Boomsday, or the Fourth of July as we humans call it. Naturally, most everyone in the crew ends up at the beach in their own respective binds. Honey immediately develops a friend-crush on Lil’ Bunny, a dog who’s driving cross country in a van with her owner and looks disturbingly similar to Honey’s late best friend who was also an Afghan Hound. Elsa, the purported service dog of the group, is in shambles after discovering her service vest is a fake, and panics when her owner falls asleep at the beach and she’s unable to take her vest off of herself. This all comes to a head when each dog separately realizes that it is in fact Boomsday — they identify it by the excess of paper plates, hot dogs, and marching band music — and they have to find their way back to each other before the dreaded “booms” (read: fireworks) go off.
The show manages to speak to truths of pet life without coming off as juvenile or senseless: Honey frets about her arranged marriage to her owner’s other dog, Diablo the terrier attempts to handle life as a dog of divorce, the neighborhood raccoon resents the plushy lifestyles of the domesticated animals. Its ability to hold both emotional truths and remain definitively funny is mostly owing to its stacked cast of vocal actors. The aforementioned talented comedic actors, Lisa Kudrow (Friends, The Comeback), Tony Hale (Arrested Development, VEEP), Jason Mantzoukas (Big Mouth, The Good Place), Will Forte (SNL, 30 Rock), and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Divorce). This bring exuberance to the kennel full of pets who make up the show.
HouseBroken is a must watch for all pet fanatics, and your pets may just enjoy it too — my dog perked her ears up at the TV every time she heard even the faintest bark.
Rachel Davies is a writer who has written for numerous publications including Vox, Wall Street Journal, and Architectural Digest and the parent of a beautiful Cocker Spaniel mix named Thea.