Animals, HBO’s animated comedy about the many, many creatures that populate New York City, is turning its attention to humans with a special live-action episode aptly titled “Humans.” And ET has an exclusive first look at the unscrupulous Dr. Labcoat (played by RuPaul Charles) and his dutiful assistant (John Early) as the evil conglomerate Pesci Co. prepares to roll out the “Green Pill,” a cure for the virus plaguing the city.
In a “now or never” moment for creators Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, the episode -- premiering Friday, April 14 -- comes in the middle of its second season, shifting the focus onto the humans who often appear in wordless vignettes, connecting one animal’s story to another. “We knew we wanted to try to do something like this since we became a TV show,” Matarese explains of the decision to push them out of their comfort zone.
It also became a fun way to explore the humans on the show more thoroughly. And in season two, there’s a reporter trying to bring down Dr. Labcoat and Pesci Co., with “Humans” offering insight into their world.
In addition to Charles and Early, the live-action episode also features Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, Andy Richter and Raven-Symone, all of whom add to the long list of guests -- from Cobie Smulders to Usher -- who have lent their star power to the animated series. While Matarese and Luciano typically write a character in hopes of getting a certain star to voice it, they knew the live-action episode needed “a RuPaul type” to play Dr. Labcoat. “We wanted someone who had a presence that could elicit emotion without saying much,” Matarese says. “RuPaul is a presence.”
And when it came to the surrounding characters, Luciano says it came together like a typical episode. “Who do we want to see pop up that we love and would be completely unexpected? That's our motto much of the time,” he explains.
While humans get to shine in episode five, the show will return to the animated world of animals for the remainder of the season, including stories of two bees fighting over the love of a tulip and a trio of owls celebrating Christmas.
Animals airs Fridays at 11:30 pm ET on HBO.