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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ABC TV Cancels Downward Dog Show




“Every Day my dog looks at me exactly the same way, like I’m the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. And, I just thought, what if we could see ourselves the way my dog sees me? What if we could love ourselves like that?” – Nan

This summer, about 6 weeks ago, ABC debuted a new half hour sitcom called Downward Dog. It is an endearing show about a rescue dog, Martin and his beloved Nan. The show is from Martin’s perspective and he talks to us, the audience. He doesn’t talk to people and he doesn’t talk to other animals because he is a dog. Martin is insecure because of being traumatized by having been given up as a puppy and spending time in a dog shelter. Image result for downward dog tv show

When I saw the previews for it, I knew that I would want to watch it and it has become my favorite show currently on TV. I’ve been enjoying the show because it is something different than what else you see on TV. I’m bored to tears by non- “reality” TV and comedies that are clones of other comedies that are on the air. Television is a vast wasteland these days. But this show is light hearted, entertaining and original. It captures very well how a rescue dog might feel and how he views the world through a dog’s perspective, if only dogs did talk.

In the past six weeks we have learned that Martin adores Nan, but recognizes that they are only “like, 60% compatible at best”. When Nan takes Martin to obedience classes, he thinks of it as couples therapy”  and says “Nan’s making really good progress….” That’s because Nan has real life distractions, like her job (Martin says “I get that its fun to ride around in a car all day with your head out the window…”) and her career in advertising which is always threatened to be derailed by her clueless boss who is himself insecure and undermines her ideas. Image result for downward dog tv show

Nan has a boyfriend, Jason, who is a sweet guy, but a total slacker and they have their problems in their relationship. Nan loves him, but wants him to find some direction in his life. Martin says, “First there was Jason, and then there wasn’t Jason and then there was Jason and then there wasn’t Jason and then there was….. and, as a peer, its not like I really respected him all that much.” But as the show develops you can see that Martin grows more attached to Jason as well when unemployed Jason is able to spend more time with Martin when Nan has to work.

Martin has a very uneasy relationship with the neighborhood cat, Pepper. Pepper comes around to stare at Martin which he knows bothers Martin, who is a little afraid of him. “I don’t mean to be racist, but that cat is a psychopath, like, he’s a complete emotional terrorist!” Image result for downward dog tv show pepper the cat

We learn more about Nan as the show develops. In a lot of ways she is like Martin. We find out that when Nan was 7 her mother left her and her father and that she has grown distant from her father. She has that hole in her heart that she is trying to fill that makes her feel just a little less than….. Her relationship with Martin has helped to heal her just as her being Martin’s beloved has helped to heal him as well.

There is a very real story behind the character of Martin. He’s played by a real rescue dog named
Ned. Ned was given up and in a shelter in Texas where his time was running out. He was transferred to a no kill shelter in Texas where he lived for almost two years before he was adopted by his trainer who was looking for a real rescue dog for the show. Ned had been traumatized by having no place where he was loved of his own and also had two bouts with heartworms. His trainer is his now forever home, even if the show goes no farther, so not matter what something wonderful came from this show.

So ABC cancelled the show. I’m not surprised. Giving it a summer debut seemed like a kiss of death right out of the gate to me, but the ratings have been decent during a time when not as many people are watching reruns as during the regular season. So I was hopeful. Each week I have really looked forward to seeing each new episode. And then when I saw there were two episodes scheduled for a later time slot than normal this coming Tuesday, I had that sinking feeling. Later, I looked up the show and saw the bad news. It seems as though ABC entertainment division is about as inept as their fake news division, after cancelling a popular show “Last Man Standing”.

Hopefully fans of Downward Dog will be able to save the show either by writing to ABC here: http://abc.go.com/feedback or at another online petition I found here: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-cancellation-of-the-series-downward-dog.html

The actors and producers were encouraged and hopeful that there is enough interest in the show by audiences that it might be picked up by another network or by Netflix. Let’s all hope this happens. We all need more shows like Downward Dog.

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