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Review: Bob and Margaret Needs More Laughs

Comedy Central has come up with another animated series for
those who've sated their appetites for foul-mouthed eight-year-olds. Bob and
is a sitcomish look at a British couple that was first seen in a 1995 Academy
Award-winning short, which was notable for its full-frontal cartoon nudity.

As a series, Bob and Margaret will follow the
travails of a 40-year-old dentist and his podiatrist wife. They are joined by their
dim-witted, shapeless, nameless dogs and a revolving door of friends. The topics are adult
(adult as in coping with business competition and bad backs).

The animation is in the simplistic genre of the Cathy
cartoon strip, and the humor reminded me of cheese-loving Wallace and his bright canine
pal, Grommit, from another award-winning claymation series. However, what it lacked was

I found myself smiling bemusedly over the situational
comedy: Bob's occasional moony reveries, which distract him from his chatty patients,
or the food-induced paroxysms of their dogs. But laughs? I often focused on the sound,
which was unique and broad for a cartoon. In a cocktail scene, you could hear feet
shuffling, clothes rustling and ice clinking in the glasses. Then, I realized that I was
no longer listening to the dialog.

I viewed the originating short (during which Bob
unwittingly humiliates his wife by trashing all of their friends who are hiding in the
room for a surprise party) and episodes one and three of the series. The latter was the
most effective, for it focused on their private lives, rather than their professional
lives. Face it: There's little inherent humor in podiatry. Episode three,
"Blood, Sweat and Tears," takes the couple through attempts to lose weight by
finding an activity that they can stick with for more than four minutes. Unfortunately,
they submarine their own efforts by topping their exercise regimens with meals of bangers
and fries or macaroni and cheese.

Bob and Margaret debuts on Comedy Central June 22 at
10:30 p.m.