McGurk: A Dog’s Life Is a Dog
McGurk: A Dog’s Life is so bad, it’s easy to forget that it’s producer, Norman Lear, is responsible for All in the Family and The Jeffersons. The show manages to have no redeeming qualities. The pilot episode is 22 minutes dedicated to McGurk thinking he’s dying. Keep in mind that A Dog’s Life has all of the actors in bad dog costumes and is supposed to be a sitcom, which it manages to be because it sure as hell isn’t a drama.
This masterpiece starts with McGurk talking to the camera explaining his morning routine. Every joke ends with the punchline “I’m a dog.” He can’t tell time. Why? He’s a dog. Any show starring anthropomorphic animals standing on two feet and speaking English gives up the right to make jokes about their species. For all intents and purposes, they’re just people with dog ears and tails, which makes it disconcerting when McGurk refers wants to please his owner.
Despite never making an appearance, McGurk’s owner is heard, but not speaking English. It’s a murmur, exactly like how The Peanuts gang hears all the adults in their world. Dogs cohabit with humans, yet live their lives separately. This is best demonstrated by McGurk’s owner, who leaves his human sized man-dog trapped in the backyard. At least, McGurk’s friends and family can visit. By the way, McGurk isn’t fixed. He has dozens of kids; 10 of which come from his girlfriend/frequent lay, Iris. Considering one never quite shakes the reality that McGurk is a man in a dog costume, McGurk not being neutered might be for the best. One can only imagine how the show would have handled the episode where McGurk gets neutered.
The plot isn’t much better than the costumes. A young pup named Tucker, whose actor is probably 18-years-old, is brought into the house. McGurk isn’t happy that he now has to share his family. Things get worse when McGurk hears his owner say “it’s curtains for McGurk,” which makes the dog believe he is dying. While Iris tries to comfort him, Iris’s daughter Camille is upset about McGurk, but also has a huge crush on Tucker. The two pups flirt shamelessly and appear to be mere seconds away from mating. This leads to the odd sight of a grown man in a dog costume crying about death as two teenagers in dog costumes want to jump each others bones.
In the end, McGurk doesn’t die and he accepts Tucker into the family. As for “it’s curtains for McGurk,” that line was said because McGurk is actually getting new curtains for his doghouse. Yes, the plot line of this episode was determined by a wacky misunderstanding that the writers for Three’s Company would agree was forced. Unless you’re a masochist, do yourself a favor and don’t watch this show.
Posted on April 30, 2014, in 1970s, Failed Pilots, NBC, Network Television, Sitcoms and tagged a dog's life, bad shows, failed pilots, mcgurk, mcgurk: a dog's life, norman lear. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.