"Downward Dog" Is ABC's Surprising New Success
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"Downward Dog" Is ABC's Surprising New Success

Follow Martin the dog as he narrates the modern world and relationship with his owner.

"Downward Dog" Is ABC's Surprising New Success

With summer and the rerun season, most weekly sitcoms are on hiatus. Yet a few "experimental" shows without the guarantee of formulaic success run when they pose less of a financial risk.

One such show is ABC's "Downward Dog."

This show uses the "fake reality tv show" troupe where a character or characters speak directly to the camera as a break from present action scenes.The unique factor is that the narrator, and sometimes direct-to-camera voice happens to be a dog.

Martin narrates his dog life, with a higher level of reflection than we normally give fictional dogs. He's aware of being a "trash monster" for instance and has a sense of self-loathing around certain dog behaviors. Martin finds humorous ways to justify his lifestyle via the creative show writers. He's given human emotions and insecurities, and is at times extremely philosophical.

His views of his owner are shaped by the idea that they're in a long-term relationship. It is highly entertaining to see the ups and downs of the "relationship" from this fictional dogs perspective.

The humor lies in a sort of "valley boy" accent, often using "like" and lengthening words to convey a thought process.

The other half of the story is that our dog owner is selling a self-love ad campaign for a fashion company with the obstacle of a boss who is the embodiment of white-male privilege.

Something about this formula really works. Martin the dog has become a contemplative spectator that earns a laugh on the surface, but then allows for deeper commentary on modern life, The dog was chosen perfectly and is a real-life mutt rescued from a shelter. His droopy eyes surely win sympathy from the audience.

A large selling point of the show is the surprise at seeing how well the narrator works. "Downward Dog" is five episodes in, and the dog's voice still holds this interest.

Eating trash, an over-the-top dog trainer, dogs' strange fondness for people who don't like them, and a cat rivalry have already made appearances on the show. Time will tell what other "dog quirks" will be brought onto this sitcom.

This "experimental" show may very well remain through the fall and join the more formulaic sitcoms. For now new episodes of "Downward Dog" are on Tuesday nights at 8/7 central on ABC.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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