‘Animal Control’s Joel McHale & Ravi Patel Tease What’s Ahead in Season 2

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Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Season 2 of Animal Control.


The Big Picture

  • Season 2 of
    Animal Control
    delivers hilarity with Joel McHale and Ken Jeong sharing the screen.
  • The show tackles a real-life issue with an animal smuggling ring.
  • The season features top-secret new romances and guest stars like Ken Jeong and Ravi Patel’s parents.

As Animal Control firmly establishes itself as a deftly smart and mature series in its sophomore season, the single-camera comedy delivered one of the show’s best episodes yet on Wednesday night. In a half-hour that was laugh-out-loud funny and found series star Joel McHale sharing the screen with his former Community co-star, Ken Jeong, for ridiculously hilarious shenanigans, the Fox sitcom is swiftly setting itself apart from other primetime comedies. With just a few more episodes to go this season and a mystery unfolding concerning an animal smuggling ring, the show has the potential to become the next Brooklyn Nine-Nine – and it’s this direction the cast is most excited about. In an exclusive with Collider while on the Toronto set of the upcoming Crime Scene Kitchen Season 3 with McHale and Animal Control co-star, Ravi Patel, the two reveal what it was like having Jeong appear as a guest star and what more we can expect from Season 2, including alluding to those office romances!


In the episode, “Dogs and Chickens,” Emily Price (Vella Lovell) hires expert dog trainer, Roman Park (Jeong) to help with the kennel dogs after receiving complaints from neighbors. While Roman disrupts office dynamics and even woos Victoria Sands (Grace Palmer), Frank Shaw clashes with the “Dog Whisperer.” It’s these shared moments that elevate the series to another level of comedy already felt in its Season 2 premiere. It’s also an episode that McHale and Patel really loved filming in Vancouver earlier this year.


Animal Control

A group of animal control workers begin to see their lives complicated by humans and not so much by animals.

Creator
Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg, and Dan Sterling

Cast
Joel McHale , Grace Palmer , Vella Lovell , Ravi Patel

Main Genre
Sitcom

Seasons
2


ken-jeong-animal-control
Image via Fox

“That was a really fun episode,” Ravi Patel, who plays Animal Control officer Amit Patel, tells Collider. “Ken is so funny, and I also think he showed up in the middle of our season, which is kind of right when the machine is just moving along nicely and everyone is just buzzing along. That’s my main memory — just that we had so much fun. We laughed a lot.”


It’s at this moment that McHale interjects and claims, Jeong’s “not funny.” Naturally, at this point, the two begin to argue and Patel counters his co-star’s assertion. However, McHale admits (jokingly) that Jeong has “low energy” and it was this that put him off. “He doesn’t bring it when the camera’s on. I had to do a lot of extra work to make the scenes exciting. I don’t know his work,” he teased. “[But no], he was so funny, so I hope he’ll come back because he needs the work.”

When asked what his favorite moment of the episode was, McHale says it’s the scene where Jeong is standing right at his chest and his character Frank asks Roman to back off because he can feel his breath. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we used to do that a lot [on Community],’” he laughed. “And then there’s a part [in Animal Control] where I end up crawling on the ground, and he’s making me do it, and sometimes I’m like, ‘We were doing this in 2009.’”


‘Animal Control’ Tackles a Real-Life Issue With Animal Smuggling Rings

Joel McHale walks through a swamp in a scene from Animal Control Season 2
Image via Fox

This season of Animal Control, the Northwest Seattle Division is going deeper when it concerns the animals they protect and serve. In a permeating storyline about animal smuggling rings that are a real-life issue unfolding on the news every day, the workplace comedy is putting itself to work with the clandestine networks that traffic live animals and evade wildlife protection laws. While McHale and Patel couldn’t share further details of the arc, they did say it’s a four-episode plot that tackles the issues head-on and is led by McHale’s A.C. officer, Frank Shaw.


“In my opinion, it definitely took Joel too long [to solve it],” Patel quips. But as McHale admits the arc this season is an important one to highlight, audiences are going to see the crew piece it all together with a little healthy competition. “Someone who does show up is the guy playing my dad, whose name is John Procaccino, and Thomas Lennon, who’s already appeared,” he says. “Because [Lennon] is a police officer, and I’m an animal control officer, there’s a competition between us about who’s going to bring these people to justice.”

Along the way, Frank will also get some help from Emily, who McHale points out is helping him piece it all together. “My character is very excited because it’s like old police work — because he was fired from the force,” he says. “So, he’s really excited about this kind of investigation again, and we come across some exotic animals, including a lemur.”

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While animal rights groups might take offense to the series bringing on exotic animals and undercut the complexities on set, Animal Control is a series that has firmly employed CGI and certified, trained animal handlers to help minimize animal exploitation and foster positive relationships with filmmakers and advocacy groups. With the show bringing on lemurs in its upcoming episodes, it was a moment that was taken seriously and one McHale admits was an adorable experience. “The lemur was so cute. I know you can’t have them as pets, but, oh my gosh, it was so affectionate,” he says. “It’s a marsupial, so it has human hands. It was just so sweet and cuddly. Vella [Lovell] was about to run off with him. [But] yeah, it was really cool.”

In teasing what else fans can expect from this storyline, McHale adds how Lennon was “so funny” and reminds him of a “young” Ravi Patel. “He actually, also, reminds me of Jim Rash or Ken Jeong, who they’re like Rumpelstiltskins, where they just kind of spin funny, where you’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know there was a joke there.’”


‘Animal Control’ Season 2 Gets a Little Wild With Its Coupling

Patel’s character Amit and Shred (Michael Rowland) might be like the Odd Couple-type business partners this season, but the precinct will also see some new relationships come to light. While Amit and Shred have to spend more time together thanks to a house-flipping project, Patel tells Collider that he loves sharing scenes with his co-star, Rowland. “I think we’re really funny together. I feel funnier around him than I do when I’m with Joel because when you’re with Michael, it’s like there’s two people in the scene, so you just get twice as much.”

McHale adds there is a caveat to that dynamic though. “A lot of times when Ravi and I are in scenes, he starts clapping after I say a great joke. I’m like, ‘You gotta keep the scene going, dude.’”


“It’s this funny thing where Joel always thinks I’m clapping for him, but really what I’m trying to do is drown out his talking,” Patel says. “It’s a funny thing. I mean, I would never tell this to his face.”

18:26

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Aside from the shenanigans, the two are completely mum on the subject of Shred and Emily growing into something more. Patel jokes how they’ll “sleep together,” but that the precinct’s boss will move on. Adding how he doesn’t bother asking questions or reading ahead, he likes to be “completely present” and appreciates everything being a surprise to him. “It’s like the opposite of method acting. Method acting is like being the character — preparation, preparation, preparation.”


When asked if Frank and Victoria might blossom into something, McHale bursts into a grin and laughs. “I can’t answer that either. I don’t know if I’m supposed to. We have a baby,” he joked. “But other than that…” Obviously, we can’t help but think that all means something. However, Patel has a better question as he ponders whether any of them on the show will be “romantically entangled” with his character. It’s a response that finds McHale shouting loudly, “You’re married!”

Yet, Patel sees it otherwise: “Things happen. People uncouple.” While McHale is surprised at the prediction, Patel says he’s simply predicting twists and turns to make the show exciting, to which McHale joked it’s going to be “Patel and Shred” together at the end of the series.


‘Animal Control’ Welcomes More Guest Stars in Season 2

In addition to the series bringing on Sarah Chalke, Ken Jeong, and Thomas Lennon for its sophomore season, Animal Control Season 2 is also welcoming two very important guest stars: “Ravi’s parents are on the show,” Joel McHale shares enthusiastically, admitting it’s a three-episode family affair.

Patel admits it was “stressful” and fun, to which McHale says it was really a “combination” of feelings for him. “Every moment was kind of like his first ride in an F-16. His eyes were wide open, and he was giving his parents notes.”

“God bless them. I was so f—ing exhausted,” Patel laughs as his co-star adds that the two “were so funny” and were among the “cutest people on the planet,” teasing that they “will be the secret weapon this year” and a pair audiences will come to love.


“I think they did remarkably well,” Patel says. “It’s the most acting they’ve ever done. For me, it was like being a soccer mom. I would be with them when they weren’t acting. I’m helping them prepare, I’m giving them acting lessons. When they were on set I was always with them on set, even if I wasn’t in the scene with them.”

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Patel adds he was their “acting coach” throughout the whole shoot and that they did an “amazing job” on the episodes. “They allowed me to basically speak to them, where I’m like, ‘Do this, do that, do that.’ I didn’t take the time a lot to really validate them or to be soft.”


“That’s how you talk to your family, I noticed, as well. I mean, your wife and your child,” McHale jokes, to which Patel agrees and teases he’s a “drill sergeant” and that what you see from him is more of a “facade” for the public. “Behind the scenes, I’m a disciplinarian, and I’m focused… and crass, which is really the secret sauce to how I get shit done. Because life is a business.”

With the show wrapped now and Season 3 ordered, McHale and Patel reveal they are back at it in Vancouver this June. In the meantime, audiences can watch the remainder of Season 2 when the show airs every Wednesday at 9:01 pm ET on Fox and streams the next day on Hulu.

Watch on Hulu



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