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TV REVIEW: 'Creature Comforts' looks like a summer hit

Now this is summer TV: Talking animals, charming animation and some funny, funny stuff.

That would be CBS' new "Creature Comforts" (airing Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on CBS), a goofy-in-a-smart-way series imported from Britain and based on the Academy Award-winning short of the same name.

On one hand, it's simple stuff. Regular Americans were interviewed around the country on topics such as modern medicine, lying and physical attraction, and their words are put into the mouths of cute clay animals.

The bits average 15 to 20 seconds, and they're skillfully woven together and put into animal context - the real people were asked about visiting their doctors, for example, and the critters talk about going to the vet.

So we get a fish wondering how he got a dry skin problem, porcupines talking about the fear of needles, and a dog - with a square patch of his tummy shaved - saying, "Never believe them when they say it won't hurt."

Some of the funny just comes from the animals saying human things, but some of it is brilliantly scored. "Have I ever killed a man?" a lion says. "You mean in anger?"

"Creature Comforts" has no plot to speak of, and it's got some moments best described as bathroom humor, but it's a cheery, feel-good half-hour, and some moments are comedy gold.

The look should be familiar because the animation comes from Nick Park and Aardman Animations Ltd., who did "Chicken Run" and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." And the whole package will have a ring to it for anyone who's seen the "Creature Comforts" short or any of the British series.

The biggest downside is that it's not the British series, because the same act - the animals talking earnestly about human life - is way funnier when the critters have a British accent. Once again, proof that everything is funnier in a British accent.

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