What TV show had the best subplots for non-human characters? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Gillian Flynn
Updated May 11, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Spongebob Squarepants: Nickelodeon / Courtesy: Everett Collection

What show had the best subplots for non-human characters?

Which TV show had the best subplots for non-human characters? My answer: Mad About You?s Murray the dog, famous for mouse-chasing, wall-hitting, and dragging around Hank Azaria —Elizabeth

Fine, Elizabeth, I will grant you Murray had a certain charm, although I liked him better than his show (see last week’s column). In the non-speaking category — those TV pets that actually acted like pets — I’d add the AOFs, or Animals of Friends. Specifically Marcel the Monkey (though he overstayed his welcome) and that duck and chick (named Yasmine Bleeth) of Joey and Chandler?s. They did what good TV pets should do: accentuate the characteristics of their owners — Ross’s general dweebiness, Joey’s outright sweet nature, and Chandler’s hidden sweet nature. Maybe they should have relocated the poultry to California for Joey. As for speaking pets, I gotta go with Sabrina the Teenage Witch‘s Salem, a sarcastic feline voiced by Nick Bakay, because ill-tempered talking cats are always funny. In the same comedy-gold vein, a final vote for SpongeBob SquarePants‘ meowing Gary the Snail, because I enjoy the (albeit unvoiced) exchanges between the two and because snails named Gary who room with sea sponges are inherently delightful.

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