Kerri: In your estimation has there ever been a good use of pets/animals on TV? Most of the TV pets that I can think of are used strictly as comic relief. Who is your favourite TV pet?
Katie: I can’t think of a pet that has been used for plot purposes, other than teaching kids about death (and teaching parents not to try to replace their child’s dead hamster. They always know.) My favourite TV pet is a pretty obvious choice, but it has to be Eddie from Frasier. That was just such an all around good dog.
Kerri: That was my problem with trying to figure out my choice of favourite TV pet. I ran through a lot of options (did a fair bit of Googling) but that’s the real issue, Katie. Pets aren’t usually characters headlining their own story. They are used as sight gags or as part of physical comedy but they rarely get used as more than that.
Katie: Who did you decide on as your favourite, Kerri?
Kerri: In keeping with that, my favorite TV pet, currently, is Waddles the pig from Gravity Falls. Why? Because Waddles embodies everything about the “TV Pet” stereotype and wholly embraces it. Waddles doesn’t care about the goings on of Mabel or Dipper or anyone in Gravity Falls. Waddles is just a pig, oblivious to everything around him (or is it her?). Waddles isn’t even necessarily loyal like most TV pets. Waddles is just around.
Katie: That was a truly memorable sentence. “Waddles is just around.”
In an addendum to my answer, I think Eddie is my favourite TV pet not just because I liked the dog (because I’m not really a dog person) but because I liked Frasier’s grumpy dad, who was the owner of the dog.
Kerri: I think that’s interesting. Is it really more of a connection to the owners than the animals themselves?
Katie: My connection is definitely stronger with the owners. Case #2: Larry’s David’s racist dog, Sheriff. That was one hilarious dog. Inexcusably racist, but since Sheriff belonged to Larry, you just had to give the dog some leeway.
Kerri: Who did you pick, Jane?
Jane: The Littlest Hobo: I would watch the Canadian show faithfully early Sunday morning well waiting for the rest of my household to wake up. (There were always three episodes on in a row). The Littlest Hobo was a German Sheppard dog who would travel from town to town changing the lives of the people he would meet along the way just by being their friend. The Littlest Hobo is a cheat in a way because he is an anti-pet. People were always trying to adopt him but as the theme song says “Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep movin’ on. Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home.” (Although I secretly knew that if the littlest Hobo ever stopped by my house, he would stay and be my best friend forever).
I like The Littlest Hobo because he was in-tune with the other characters. He could seek out the loneliest and most in need and would communicate with them in a way that was healing.
Kerri: I think that’s an interesting pick because, unlike our other choices, The Littlest Hobo was the main character. He drove the story or reacted to stories that were taking place around him.
Plus, the Littlest Hobo is both no one’s pet and everyone’s pet. Way to break the Roundtable, Jane!
Katie: I have never seen The Littlest Hobo and I want to immediately after that description, Jane.
Jane: Murray the dog from Mad About You was integrated well into most episodes. I thought he was used well to highlight the love and history between Jamie and Paul.
Kerri: Murray and Eddie seem like kindred spirits.
Does the Log Lady’s log from Twin Peaks count? If so, I might want to change my pick.
Jane:That is brilliant!! That log is amazing! And wise!
Kerri: And pretty much performs the same function as most other TV pets. You know, sitting there, not doing anything.
Jane: Like Lassie but more therapist less well-saver.
Katie: You don’t see them much, but the dogs on Justified play a pretty important role. They are the hillbilly’s doorbells!
Kerri: That’s pushing it, Katie.
Katie: It was a bad joke :(
Jane: Ha ha. I can’t picture a single Justified dog. I will keep my eyes out next season!!
Kerri: Who is your pick for most annoying TV Pet?
Katie: Marcel, Ross’s monkey from Friends.
Kerri: I had to go with Marcel, too. There was nothing about Marcel (aside from his adorable-ness) that made him important to that show.
Jane: I have three. I have a hate-on for TV monkeys. Annie’s Boobs from Community and Marcel from Friends. I can’t explain why, because I am an animal lover, but I cringe every time those pets are on screen.I also hate that cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch!! It is so fake and creepy. I think it is some kind of robot.
Katie: Monkeys shouldn’t be pets! They are gross and Marcel had to wear a diaper. Any pet that wears I diaper I don’t care for. Another diapered TV pet: Charlotte’s dog, Elizabeth Taylor, from Sex and the City.
Kerri: I agree. Monkeys are cool but no one should have them as pets. This PSA is brought to you by The Golden Age of Television.
Katie: Is this the first time we all agreed 100% on something? Marcel the Monkey is the worst TV pet.
Kerri: I think this is definitely the first time that all our picks are exactly the same, yes. I feel like we should celebrate in some way.
Jane: Remember when Homer turned that helper monkey into a lazy slob in The
Kerri: Poor Mojo.
Katie: Now that we’ve cracked the seal on Simpsons pets, we can’t help but mention Santa’s Little Helper. He actually was the catalyst of some pretty great episodes. Off the top of my head — the pilot, that one where Bart commits credit card fraud (Santos L. Halper)…
Kerri: Santa’s Little Helper is definitely up there in terms of all time great TV pets, if not characters.
Jane: I agree. Santa’s Little Helper stands out as a memorable character in his own right. The anguish that he felt the episode where he couldn’t understand what Bart was saying to him was heartbreaking.
Kerri: This one might be tricky:
Which TV show makes the best use of pets/animals?
Jane: I’m going to cheat a little again. There was one moment in the show Enlightened where Amy is horribly distraught and refuses her mom’s offer of comfort. Diane Ladd who plays Amy’s mother gives the dog a little look and a nod and the dog rushes after Amy. I thought it was a beautiful moment.
Kerri: I don’t think that’s cheating at all. I think Ginger is a beautiful little creature.
Katie: Well, I think it might be The Simpsons, actually. Itchy and Scratchy are pretty major characters on the show, and that’s just one example. Wait does that count? They are cartoons on a cartoon. There was also the three eyed fish, Mr. Burn’s dogs, Lisa’s pony, Homer’s elephant Stampy…
Kerri: The Simpsons does have many great pets.
My pick is a bit off the board but I’m going with Game of Thrones. Direwolves (the Stark kid’s giant dogs) are loyal to a fault, super protective and pretty much the coolest pet you could ever ask for. They will rip the throat out of a dude that’s trying to kill you and/or save you and your buddies from ice zombies. Not a bad deal. Also, there are pet dragons which are pretty neat. They are still little babies/toddlers right now, but they already seem capable of doing some damage.
The animals in Game of Thrones have proven to be pretty integral to plot movement and are definitely not around for comic relief.
Katie: Those sound like some pretty sweet pups.
Jane: I’ve never been compelled to watch Game of Thrones until this moment. Baby dragons sound amazing!
Kerri: It wasn’t the throat ripping that did it for you?
Time for some trivia.
1.) What was the name of the dog on Full House?
Katie: My best guess is Sunny. Or Morals.
Kerri: Jane is correct. The dog was named Comet and was a golden retriever. Also highly annoying.
2.) What kind of animal was Bear from BJ and the Bear?
Jane: Ha ha ha that’s a funny title. I’m going to guess a bear.
Katie: Haven’t seen it but I’ll go with grizzly.
Kerri: The answer is chimpanzee. Good guesses though!
Katie: Don’t pander to us, Kerri. They were terrible guesses.
Kerri: 3.) What was the name of the pet dinosaur on The Flintstones?
Jane: Shoot. No clue.
Kerri: Yes, the answer is Dino. And he was a purple dinosaur before Barney. We are tied!
4.) How many Snowball II’s have there been on The Simpsons? (closest guess without going over wins).
Kerri: The answer is 5 (and still called Snowball II). I have to give that one to Jane.
5.) What breed of dog was Dreyfuss on the show Empty Nest? (there are two possible answers)
Jane: St. Bernard
Kerri: Jane wins! The correct answer is St. Bernard/Golden Retriever.
Katie: Waaah, lost again.
Kerri: Time for final shout outs!I’d like to give a final shout out to My Pet Monster because he’s a monster of a friend.
Katie: Champion, the three-legged dog from Parks and Rec. He’s good at lovin’ but terrible at diggin’.
Jane: Good one! I will have to give a shout out to White Fang of the cartoon, The Legend of White Fang.