Terriers Blog 05: Dog & Pony

Below is part 5 of a series of blog posts that were written by Kelly Wheeler (writer and production assistant on ‘Terriers’) for the show. These were posted back in 2010 on the now defunct ‘Terriers’ site on FX.



Episode #101 – “Dog & Pony”
Written by Shawn Ryan & Jed Seidel
Directed by Clark Johnson

This first episode after the pilot was written by one of our fearless leaders, Shawn Ryan, and veteran TV writer Jed Seidel (Not their first show together btw, they also were on staff together on the show Nash Bridges. Other notable alum: Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse & Glen Mazzara.), and directed by Clark Johnson. Clark is not only revered for his directorial work, but also for his acting stint on “The Wire,” and my favorite: “ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING!”

Although his character was only in it for a nanosecond, he still had one of the most notable lines, “Don’t F*#$ with the Lords of Hell.” I’m not afraid to admit it, hearing him say it was a pretty big highlight.

In this episode, Hank is strapped for cash (due to the whole buying Gretchen’s house thing) – so he and Britt are forced to track down a wanted felon for a cash reward. And after getting a whoopin’ from the aforementioned convict, Montell (played by Matthew Willig) our guys not only discover the real villain, but also recover some missing loot as well. Not bad for a day’s work.

Also, during this episode, we meet the Squatters, a lovable trio of surfer/slacker intellectuals, played by Alex Berg, Todd Fasen and Alex Fernie. (Side note; when they’re not hanging with us in San Diego, these guys have an improv group called, Convoy. Just miiiight be why they are so funny…).

So, reading the title, you probably get this episode involves dogs… and er, ponies. Yeah, about the dog part…we all love Winston (and in fact, he was technically our first cast member. And lemme tell you… totally a down to earth dude, friendly to everyone, no diva attitude… although, a bit of a mouth breather.) But in this episode, Katie & Britt get a new dog (yikes, shouldah put a *spoiler alert* on that) – and like with most things our guys face, it turns out to be a thing. An early draft of the script called for Katie & Britt to get a Pomeranian. But after a few rounds of notes, it didn’t quite seem like a dog Britt would agree to… so it was changed to a Dachshund.

And no offense to Dachshunds (hell, I had one growing up, may she rest in peace), but it’s supposed to be a bit of a pest/pain-in-the-ass for the couple. In fact, in one scene, the dog was supposed to hump Britt’s leg. Now, we work in Hollywood… where anything is possible. Make it snow in the middle of summer? No problem. Ellen on American Idol… okay, I guess?

Anything, that is, except finding a Dachshund that humps on cue. Yeah, not a one. (And if anyone out there has one, you might consider moving to LA… you’d have a lock on that niche industry.)

Not only was there not a one to be found, but it turns out it’d take nearly 3 months to train one to hump on cue. *shakes head* Yeah, three months. (Hell, I could learn to hump on cue in three months… hmmm… Is that a career option? Nah) So, like all challenges that surface when you’re making a show, this development had to be discussed – there’s nothing like starting a business conversation with, “Well, what kind of dog can we get that humps on cue?”

Turns out, we could go back to the Pomeranian, but visually, the Dachshund was a better gag. In the end, they decided that the important beat was the “pestering.” As a result, the script was massaged to showcase the dog’s yippy/under foot /general nuisance-ness. And with a little finesse, the humping was implied. (Sorry we couldn’t get it on screen… guess we have to save that for the humans.)

Since we couldn’t give you humping, how ’bout a tour of our Prop truck? Attached is a video of my interview with our awkward, but super lovable prop assistants, Steve & Bill.

Givin’ mad props (*winces* terrible pun),

— wheeler