When a friend recommended that I watch an episode of HBO Canada’s Good Dog, right away I thought “It’s a Canadian version of Curb Your Enthusiasm” — and in a way, I was right. I’d seen the press releases when the show premiered a few months ago and I’d seen clips while flipping through the channels a couple of times. But what I wasn’t expecting was finding out that the style of script writing, directing, editing and casting that made Curb a hit for so long, was able to transcend borders and works brilliantly with this show.
If you haven’t seen it (and judging by the reaction when I tell people about it, I’m guessing a lot of people haven’t) Good Dog follows the life of George Findlay, a character that series creator Ken Finkleman made famous in The Newsroom, as he stumbles along with his much younger girlfriend (Lauren Lee Smith), live-in nanny, slacker free-loading friend Doug (Jason Weinberg) and a growling, menacing dog who he has to pass on the stairs every day.
Naturally there are the expected face-palming embarrassing moments where George gets himself into a situation that you know is going to end badly and the somewhat cliche dialog as the characters mull things over, usually while drinking a beer, but what makes the show so great is Finkleman’s ability to create a self-absorbed, yet likeable character and put him in a city like Toronto where the viewer can not only become enthralled in the conversations, but then suddenly snap out of it and say “Hey! I know that place!” when they see a familiar restaurant or landmark in the background. You end up feeling as if you know the people you are watching.
I normally don’t watch a lot of TV and honestly I’ve never watched a full season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I like the style of the show and I like how it works in a Canadian setting, although in some ways, Good Dog is very different. And the good news (seeing as I seem to be hooked now) is that HBO Canada and Movie Central have announced that production on Good Dog season two is getting underway this month, which should mean that George and his friends will return some time in the spring if all goes well.
If I was going to have a (slightly exaggerated) show about my life, where I get to play a version of myself, I would want it to be like this one.