For the 28th consecutive year, I'm in Southern California at the Television Critics Association summer press tour — 2½ weeks of set visits and interviews with actors, producers, network executives
The days are long (sometimes 12-14 hours) but there's so much good stuff it's worth it. But 2½ weeks is a long time to be away from home. Many years ago, my then-2-year-old daughter asked her mother, "Is Daddy dead?" in the midst of a press tour. (They were actually longer back then.)
It's funny now; it broke my heart at the time.
In 2017, my babies are of the canine variety. And I had to get a prescription from the vet for one of my dogs before I left town, because Chip has been diagnosed with Irritable Bowl Syndrome brought on by stress. And he's stressed when I go out of town. Really.
(My daughter — the "Is Daddy dead?" one — lives with Xavi, Chip and me. She'll be taking care of them.)
I remember when I was a kid, we fed the dogs, gave them water, took them outside — and that was pretty much it. Now I have one Shih Tzu with allergies and eye issues, and another with IBS. Sigh.
Is it any wonder I was so taken with the ABC comedy "Downward Dog"? How could you not love Martin (the dog) and his explanation for how "dogs domesticated humans" — those "little hairless moles" with "dull, rotten little teeth and these silly little fingers."
"We wolves just ate them all the time. … But it turns out that humans' silly little fingers were actually really, really, really good at belly rubs. And as long as they kept, you know, scratching us and feeding us and snuggling us, we didn't murder them in their sleep.
"But the problem is, somewhere along the way, we fell in love with them. And I think humans kind of confuse that love for domestication."
Xavi, the smaller of my two Shih Tzus, certainly acts like he believes that. He will bark viciously at you (or your 95-pound Husky), even though he weighs 15 pounds and no longer has his full complement of teeth.
So, yeah, I'm sad that ABC canceled "Downward Dog" after an eight-episode run. (Damn ABC!)
The show's producers have been trying to find the show a new home, but there's no news on that front. And no news sounds a lot like bad news.
There is, however, a book titled "Downward Dog: Very Serious Haiku from a Very Serious Dog." A small, short, hardcover book that made me laugh out loud a couple of times. (And only once for the poop joke.)
It's formatted as if Martin wrote it, which isn't that big a reach if you've seen the show. No, he isn't a talking dog, but Martin expressed his thoughts to the camera. And his thoughts were frequently philosophical.
Like this Martin haiku:
"From the wall, the leash whispers both wild abandon and lurching restraint."
Hmmm. And consistent with the view Martin expressed about the "stupid leash" on the TV show:
"Here's a relationship tip: If you need to literally lash your partner to your hip to keep them from running away, maybe you have larger, unresolved emotional issues to deal with."
The book, published by Animal Media Group (really), is funny and thoughtful and even emotional. Which is amazing, because there aren't a whole lot of words in it.
What sort of hit me is Martin's "Thanks to" page, which concludes:
"Also, please never leave again for the whole weekend, it was so, so horrible."
Sorry, Xavi and Chip. I'll be back ...