Tonight is the premiere of ABC’s new comedy series, Downward Dog, which follows the relationship of Nan and her dog, Martin. While the show contains the typical amusing situations one would assume would be included in a comedy about a talking dog, it also gets deeper than that. Through Martin, we’re able to analyze the human psyche and the seemingly trivial neuroses that consume our daily lives. Then again, Martin isn’t really the objective narrator. He, himself, has his own misconceptions, inhibitions, and fears.
Martin’s voiceover is done by series creator Sam Hodges. Martin analyzes and surveys Nan’s every move, and we, as an audience, are privy to his thoughts, while the rest of the characters in the show aren’t. The show is told in a mockumentary style– each time Martin presents his thoughts, he does it straight to camera (think Modern Family).
Earlier this year, Downward Dog became the first-ever network comedy to premiere at Sundance. Killen tells The Hollywood Reporter, “The premise sounds like such an awful idea, you really need people who might avoid it to just come into a room, watch and then judge it. The notoriety of Sundance as a tastemaker, basically saying ‘this is a show we feel has quality to it,’ really helped. They showed the first four episodes together, so now I feel like saying to people, ‘Watch the pilot but stick around through episode four and you’ll see how we grow.'”
Read on to learn about the characters who make up the show.
Allison Tolman as Nan
Nan is Martin’s owner and the woman who his life centers on. His bedtime, his eating schedule, his thoughts, even, all revolve around Nan. She works in advertisement and is both adored by Martin, and is the subject of his many frustrations.
Actress Allison Tolman is best known for playing officer Molly Solverson in FX’s Fargo. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Baylor University. In 2014, Tolman received the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and a nomination for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Actress for her work in Fargo. In 2015, she booked a role in the horror film Krampus.
Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn
Jenn is Nan’s best friend at work. Actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste was born and raised in London, England. She performs regularly at UCB in Los Angeles. Her credits include My Dog’s Purpose, Love, and Find Me.
Lucas Neff as Jason
Nan’s relationship with Jason is, quite simply, complicated.
Lucas Neff is an actor who played James “Jimmy” Chance in Fox’s Raising Hope. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and booked his debut in A&E’s The Beast. Jason’s credits include Amigo, Raising Hope, Fear, Inc., and Glitch.
Barry Rothbart as Kevin
Kevin is Nan’s boss at work, and a complete jerk. Actor Barry Rothbart is an actor, comedian, and writer, named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” in 2013. In 2014, a series that Barry wrote, called 300 Sunnyside, was picked up by Comedy Central. In 2013, he was cast as Peter Deblasio in Scorcese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Rothbart’s television credits include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, Punk’d, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Adam DeVine’s House Party, @midnight, and World’s Funniest Falls.