Almost Forgotten: 100 Deeds For Eddie McDowd

100 Deeds For Eddie McDowd index

I only became aware of this show this week after an AV Club article described the insanity of the opening titles, where we get a voice over from Seth Green explaining how he was changed in to a dog and needs to perform one hundred good deeds before he’s turned back in to a human again, before there’s a theme tune which retells the exact same story. The concept is a mad enough one as it is and the AV Club’s description a very funny one, but what they didn’t do is then go on and describe just how crazy the actual show is.

Luckily I’ve way too much on my hands, as well as a penchant for anything with talking animals in as I find this extremely naff concept often very very funny (which is why I’ve sat through not only Show Dogs but also The Karate Dog). So I’m not sure I can be trusted when it comes to reviewing the show, mainly as it’s been mocked time and again, but I found it pretty damn funny. I mean parts of it are weak, sure, but other parts (most of which involve Eddie once he’s transformed in to a dog) are bizarrely funny.

It begins with a bit of daft slapstick as a dog catcher is chasing Eddie which involves racing through a park and her sliding along a table full of party hats, food and drink, it doesn’t make any sense but hey, it’s a fast paced and fun action scene at least, and one which then leads to Eddie being ultimately captured and taken to the dog pound. It’s here he gives ten minutes worth of exposition explaining how he was the coolest kid in school, at least according to his egotistical self, who bullied people relentlessly, and one day after almost blowing up a dog (by throwing rocks at a car, which doesn’t really make any sense) a weird old bearded man turned him in to a dog and demanded he performs 100 good deeds before he’ll be made in to a kid again.

As Eddie tells his tale to a largely sarcastic pug called Salvador (voiced by Joe Piscopo) who wryly comments “You keep going with your story pally, yeah it’s beautiful, marvellous, wonderful, it’s a groovy thing”, it’s revealed that only one other human will be able to understand him, that being the last kid he bullied, poor old Justin Taylor (Brandon Gilberstadt). And fucking hell, would you believe it, but he’s exactly who turns up with his Dad looking for a new pet, and after a bit of shocked chat concerning the fact that he can understand what Eddie’s saying they take him home.

Justin just happens to have a sister called Gwen (Morgan Kibby) who all the boys fancy, including Eddie and also their neighbour Spike (Danny Tamberelli, and sadly not Green’s Buffy co-star) who’s on hand to flirt and make a dick of himself but little more, and Eddie initially attempts to escape, but when Justin chases him he finds himself confronted by two other bullies who happen to be Eddie’s friends, and it looks Justin’s going to end up six feet under (or very slightly bruised, anyhow) when Eddie comes to his rescue. And then Justin comes to Eddie’s rescue. And then Eddie bites the arse of one of them, because this is undoubtedly sophisticated comedy.

Given that the plot is admittedly a bit of a rubbish one I’m sure you think I’ve gone quite mad when I suggest that it’s a decent show, and I have only seen this first episode and none of the rest so it might quickly become awful, but there’s enough surreal and absurdist humour in the pilot to make it worth watching. The best jokes are often the comments Eddie comes out with are weirdly funny, like how he claims that he wants to human again because “What can I say, I miss my fingers” and when he leaves the dog pound he pisses all over the place, commenting “Sorry sweetheart, just my way of saying thanks”. Justin also gets the odd good line too, including one where after Eddie complains about having to be walked on a leash Justin replies”Fine, I’ll tell them you’re my master okay, but you’re gonna have to scoop my poop” which made me laugh, though is also an image I really wish I could get out of my head.

Some of it is slightly misjudged, with Eddie at one point licking Gwen who squeals “Eww, gross, he tried to french kiss me”, which I don’t doubt at all as Eddie really is creepy at times, and the scenes of Eddie as a human bullying those smaller and younger than him aren’t amusing in the slightest even though it looks like they’re intended to be, but they do need to set up the fact that Eddie was a twat so I suppose are needed. Fortunately most of the rest is pretty amusing, I originally thought I’d be writing an article ripping it apart but found myself oddly engaged by the silliness on display, it’s no ones idea of a classic comedy but it’s a hell of a lot better than it could have been.

Alex Finch.
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You can watch the first episode on youtube here.

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