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PGH based sitcom downward dog

So Downtown Dog is Pretty Funny

So the first time we heard about the show Downward Dog that was filming in the city, we kind of wrote it off.  At face value, it sounded like some new, terrible reality dog training show mixed with yoga nonsense that we’d never watch.  And the novelty of watching something just because it was filmed in Pittsburgh is long gone; you can thank Jack Reacher for that one.  By all accounts, I never should have watched this ABC’s new sitcom Downward Dog.  But then I did.  And guys, it’s pretty funny. Disclaimer:  I watched the first two episodes after a Sunday that involved more than one bottle of rosé.

The show follows the life of a late 20s woman working for an ad agency for a company that seems oddly similar to American Eagle.  She lives in Pittsburgh, has a cool British friend, an on again-off again boyfriend and a dog.  But the dog, Martin, talks.  Not to the characters on the show but more so in an internal monologue detailing his view of the world.  Again, by all accounts, this should be terrible. Instead, it had me laughing out loud.

The smart writing and surprising candid social commentary from an ABC-produced show definitely elevates the standard overly hokey sitcoms out there like Modern Family and Big Bang Theory.  Characters talk about getting stoned and playing video games, being late for work cause of morning sex and more..  And it’s about a talking dog, so if you are looking for some deep, dark comedy…this isn’t it.

 ‘Once again, she locked me in the sex room,’ 

‘…for instance the cat, I don’t want to be racist, but he’s an emotional terrorist.’ 

The show is chalk full of PGH right down the to creators.  Michael Killen and Samm Hodges are both PGH residents (Hodges as is the voice of Martin the dog).  Legendary Entertainment, whos former CEO is Thomas Tull an LA producer turned Pittsburgh resident/supporter, produces the show.  And then there are the set locations that include Braddock Ave in Regent Square, Frick Park and Downtown (including the roof deck at 526 Penn Ave), and our summer heartthrob, Page Dairy Mart.  It’s all very Pittsbugh-y without being a show about Pittsburgh.

With only a couple episodes released, the views are mixed.  The New York Times roasted it.  Vox found it ‘delightful.’  But you only will find out if you watch it yourself.  Downward Dog airs on ABC Tuesday at 8pm.  But obviously, we are watching it on HULU cause who has time for commercials.

Fun Fact: The show premiered at the Sundance Film Festival — the first time a broadcast network sitcom was screened at the festival.

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