A few weeks ago I was in LA and I previewed the new ABC Comedy Downward Dog and I was laughing so hard my side hurt. This is a new ABC series that you are sure to love. Just check out the reasons why below.
New ABC Comedy: Downward Dog
A show about a dog and the girl he adores, and even at their worst, Nan and Martin just might be best for one another.
The new ABC Comedy show is a story about Martin (voiced by Samm Hodges), a lovable and loyal dog and his owner, Nan (Allison Tollman). Nan talks to her dog all the time but you know what he talks to she just can’t hear him. We can. And he is the funniest! We love to make up things that our dog could possibly be saying so I think that’s where the appeal is in Downward Dog. The writing is spectacular and exactly like the things we would say our dog was saying in her head.
DOWNWARD DOG (Premieres Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c on ABC)
After we screened the episodes we were also able to interview Allison and Samm. These two actors were very excited to be part of this project for ABC.
They started by telling us how the show came to be….
How the ABC Comedy Downward Dog Started
Samm: Michael Killen and I (see above video) are co-creators of the show. We were both commercial directors, working in Pittsburg where we created this web series, like four years ago now. Michael had done a lot of stuff with talking animals, like the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
Allison: The yo quiero Taco Bell dog, that’s Michael. He well versed in how to make animals talk and not look like they’re just licking peanut butter off of their faces.
Samm: I was a very unlikely collaborator with him because my writing has always been with way more different brands. I kinda looked down on the talking dog things. I had a little darker tone. One day he was like, “Oh, you just try to write these monologs.” And then I wrote the monologs and when we were trying to cast for the voice I just did a read not for myself to do it but just to be used as an example. And then Michael ended up using that read as the dog, and so that’s how I kinda got shoehorned into that role.
Allison: And then I mean it kinda snowballed from there. I don’t know if you guys have seen the shorts. They’re online. You can watch them. And they’re, they’re beautiful. They’re what sold me on the project.
Samm: Which she was a bit hard to sell.
Allison: When I read the script I was like, “there sure is a talking dog in this.” (Laughing) Sure is the star of the show. But then I saw the shorts, and I was like, oh, I get it. It’s like sweet and down to earth and kind of indie. And then I was really into it. So, that’s kind of how it came about. Then they wrote this great script, and they had these, awesome shorts to kind of back it.
Samm: We had a lot of interest. It was a big project bringing it from the web series to the show and trying to figure that out, but a lot of that was just trying to figure out how that worked with human characters. In the shorts, it was about how a dog’s view of his own life. And then we realized a dog has such an intimate view of the life of the owner. So it became much more about the character of Nan and him as an angle on her life, ’cause he sees all these moments that no one else was there and he’s there for her. That was a shift, I think.
We also asked them what they hope people will get out of the show.
Allison: I mean I think that this is a special show because I don’t feel like there’s a lot of, if any, TV shows that focus on this relationship which a lot of people. I mean the relationship with their pet is significant. For me, it’s like the most significant relationship in my life. I don’t have kids and I’ve had my cat for 17 years. Like she’s the longest standing relationship of my entire (giggles) life, and I grew up with her. I’ve had her since I was 19 years old.
So transformative power of like loving an animal and being in charge of this little life truly has affected the person that I am, because I grew up with this cat. I was a baby when I got this cat. I think that’s whAt special about it is that it’s a love story that is universal for a lot of people because a lot of people are pet owners and love their animals. But it’s not something that we focus on. We focus on romantic love or familial love, but nobody talks about what a profound thing it is to love an animal.
Samm: I think to choose a focus in this very like small thing about here’s a girl who lives alone [with] her dog in Pittsburg. And…she’s not a movie star. Martin’s always asking if he matters. And for us I think it’s about how these little characters outside of where we usually put the spotlight on and how much our lives do matter. There’s so much comedy and reality to that. But he’s always a character to me. He’s like he’s a mutt in the backyard of Pittsburg asking do I matter. And if he matters, then we all kind of matter. You know, that’s something about that I like.
I really think you’re going to love Downward Dog so tune in tonight as the first episode airs.
Tuesdays at 8/7 on ABC