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A lovable loser going through an early mid-life crisis abruptly quits his high-paying marketing job to take over his late grandfather’s struggling pet store – despite the fact he’s terrified of animals.
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38-year-old Ben Greenfield is tired of his corporate gig and sets out on his own to save his late grandpa's old, failing pet shop in suburban Connecticut, where he spent most of his childhood - despite the fact he’s oddly terrified by all animals, excepts dogs. Of all things, he names it ‘Petz Ahoy.’ The name is cute-n-cheery. But Ben’s life sure isn’t.
The pilot episode sets the stage: Ben abruptly quits his job, to run the store, after his obnoxious co-worker demeans him one final time. A day after relinquishing all of his equity, a tech giant purchases Ben’s former employer. His shares would have been worth millions if he had just held on to them - and his girlfriend, Stella (think Jaime Pressly, with an attitude), bails when she finds out. Ben is too naïve to realize she’s a gold-digging wolf in sheep’s clothing.
His savings and morale now sunk, Ben is now a stressed-out, small business owner starting from scratch - his days now consist of cleaning up guinea pig shit and selling dog toys. Adding to the mix are two 18-year-old misfits – Kevin (who’s actually an employee) and Mack (who isn’t) – a modern day Beavis & Butthead duo, to whom he eventually becomes a mentor. Kevin and Mack always have Ben’s, and the store’s, best interests at heart. Yet, their youthful naïveté and, well, lack of brains, leads to more headaches for Ben and plenty of laughs for the viewers every week. Imagine seeing someone in an Easter Bunny costume flipping off passing cars on the side of the road after being taunted all day. They do that. And the cops are called. It goes on.
Despite the heartache of being dumped, Ben has someone else on his mind. When he was a young boy, he met Adrianne and fell for her instantly. A first crush that lasted a lifetime, so far. His intentions are never revealed, as they never seem to be single at the same time. Ironically, Adrianne and Ben worked for the same company. But, she cashes in her shares at the right time and opens her own store…in the same strip mall.
Season one unfolds as Ben settles into his new life, jumping back into a terrifying dating pool (think clingy, female cops who love BDSM or nurses with cute accents and dark pasts), unraveling messes created by the boys, and hopelessly pining for Adrianne.
Stella isn’t out of the picture, yet, either. She sues Ben over his sold shares. But, a drunken tryst with Ben in the store is caught on tape. Suit over.
Kevin and Mack? Well, we were all young and stupid at one point (Don’t deny it!) They find out what really happens at a “massage parlor,” can’t stay away from the Zumba studio next door, find themselves stuck with thousands of crickets after a senior prank gone wrong and don’t know the difference between Tinder and Grindr. While they are best friends, they constantly fight over who will be with Adrianne. As if they ever had a chance. Or do they?
Season-ending cliffhanger: Stella appears at Ben’s door, claiming she’s pregnant.
“Petz Ahoy” isn’t just a show about people working in a retail store; it’s ultimately about relating to every day struggles. Ben’s just like any of us, so we’re cheering for him. He’s never proven to himself that he’s successful and rescuing his grandfather’s legacy means everything to him. As the series progresses, the relationship between Ben and the boys evolves from boss to mentor to, ultimately, lifelong friendship. The romantic tension ebbs and flows between Ben and Adrianne; but who does she end up with? And what ultimately becomes of Ben and Stella? Meanwhile, Ben fends off assaults from the big box stores and pet thieves, is shaken down by 90-year-old guys trying to collect old debts from his grandfather and struggles to pay his rent on time in order to save a piece of his childhood. Meanwhile, hard-assed landlord Barbara finds needed redemption and validation as a mother figure protecting and nurturing this young group of misfits. We also discover Adrianne gave up a baby when she was 17. Who is it?
Running Gag: The storefront next door turns over every few episodes (failure to pay rent, arrests, etc.), providing endless, new comedic opportunities involving Kevin and Mack.
Petz Ahoy was written by Devin Comiskey.
Pilot script, series bible and full-season, 20-episode descriptions available.