Well, you all demanded it (at least in my head you all did), so I delivered.
I decided that my smash hit piece on the most memorable dogs in film could not stand alone. Given that TV is going through some sort of Golden Age right now, I figure that the dogs of the small screen deserve just as much attention as the dogs on the silver screen.
So here is my list of the most memorable dogs on TV. And this time, there are no rules. Talking dogs and animated dogs rule! Anarchy! The Purge!
Judith Light, Broad City
Broad City has only been on for one season, but it already gets a dog on this list. Throughout the comedy’s first season, Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) seems to have a special soft spot for dogs, even though he can’t commit to getting one (“I can’t expose this dog to the crazy life of a dentist!”). So Ilana is walking a group of dogs and Lincoln names them all based on their personalities. He names one Dumb Face, and another one Judith Light, because this dog happens to resemble actress Judith Light. This dog is Hollywood royalty. In addition, this scene comes up with the best ever compliment you could give a dog: “I’d do it, I’d pick up your poop.” I hope this show gets renewed for a million seasons.
Porkchop was like Snoopy for the 1990s, except Porkchop loved hip hop and he didn’t sleep on top of his dog house like an idiot. I like Porkchop because he was basically a human save for the one thing that can make a person really shitty: the ability to talk. Porkchop loved food and TV just a little more than any dog did. Plus, he walked on his hind legs. Perhaps he was a dog-human hybrid, and he represented a scary stepping stone in the evolutionary chain. Just a step below that Rick and Morty episode.
Brian, Family Guy
While I have said many bad things about Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane in the past, leaving Brian off this list would be wrong. Like many other people, I too was once an eighth grader living under the influence of Family Guy. Brian differs from many other of TV’s anthropomorphic dogs in that he seems to prefer the company of humans to dogs. Plus he drinks and chain smokes like crazy. Brian defies the notion that dogs are nothing more than “dumb animals,” as he possesses the neurotic intellectual prowess of a furrier Alvie Singer.
Chauncey, Mad Men
Chauncey only appears in one episode of Mad Men, but this pooch is hard to forget. Duck gets his beloved dog Chauncey back from his ex-wife only to abandon it towards the end of the episode, in maybe one of the saddest moments in Mad Men history, because pandering. The search for Chauncey remains. I am confident one day Chauncey will return to save Sterling Cooper & Partners. Just you wait and see.
Polly, Mad Men
Don purchased Polly (Note: coincidentally, there is an actress named Polly Draper) in season three, possibly as a way to feel less like a misfit in suburban hell (Note #2: Come on, Don, Ossining isn’t THAT bad). Polly seems to have disappeared after a while (probably with all of the other rejected Bobby Draper actors), but she played an important role in season one. She tried to eat their angry neighbors’ pigeon, which then prompted Betty Draper (January Jones) to do the best thing that she has done on the show to date.
Little Boo, Orange is the New Black
Even a place as brutal and unforgiving as prison has room for our fury four-legged friends. Little Boo is the only inmate in Litchfield (Hey that’s in Connecticut! That’s where I’m from!) that doesn’t join gangs or beat up crazy meth heads. Orange is the New Black is about just because you’re in jail, doesn’t mean you’re not a multidimensional person with a good side. In the evil spectrum of Litchfield, Vee ranks most evil, and Little Boo is least. Because Little Boo is a dog, you see.
Champion, Parks and Recreation
Okay, so a three-legged dog might be trying a little too hard to pull at everyone’s heartstrings. Yet, Champion is a perfect part of the parks department: another creature who was seemingly overlooked and now gets a second shot. But overall I CAN’T STOP CRYING I CAN’T STOP CRYING THE DOG HAS THREE LEGS.
Oodles the Talking Poodle, Rugrats
So Spike was the more recognizable dog on Rugrats, but he is nothing compared to Oodles. Why? Just read his name HE’S A TALKING POODLE. And he wears a cape. Oodles is one of those throwaway jokes that I probably didn’t pay much attention to when I used to watch this show, but it is so much funnier years down the road. I just like to think that in the world of Rugrats, there was some writer who wanted to top Lassie, so he gave a dog a cape and made it talk.
Doug, The Sarah Silverman Program
Sarah Silverman’s beloved dog Doug was played by Sarah Silverman’s real life, beloved dog Duck. The Sarah Silverman Program pushed the limits of taste, and Doug was always a culprit. In one episode, he ends up in doggie jail and in another, he marries Sarah. In real life, Duck was Sarah’s loyal companion and best friend. You can read her touching obituary of Duck after he died last year, if you feel like being an emotional wreck for the next few weeks or so.
Kramer actually had a dog in the pilot episode (back when Kramer was also called Kessler). This dog disappeared and was never mentioned again. I cannot find any videos or photos of this scene on the internet, so I’m blaming that one on the canine illuminati. Anyway, that isn’t the last time we see Kramer with a dog. In another episode, he finds a dog, named Smuckers, who has the same incurable cough as him. So he takes Smuckers to the vet in order to get medicine. Sure, it is hilarious to see Michael Richards react to dog medication. However, I find Smuckers’ human-like cough even funnier. Also, Smuckers would never go on to shout racist things at a crowd. I don’t think dogs can be racist.
Santa’s Little Helper, The Simpsons
As the dog to one of America’s most dysfunctional families, Santa’s Little Helper sure has gone through a lot. While it is a bummer that SLH can’t talk like Brian or dance like Porkchop, he is notable as one of the more realistic animated dogs next to Ladybird from King of the Hill. Despite sometimes being a victim, The Simpsons were right in acknowledging that he’s way more fun to pet than a cat.