What the Chuck?

When you’re a freelance actor struggling to find work in an industry where unemployment hovers around 95%, you have two recurring dreams:

• Finding steady work on a hit TV show.

• Finding a friend with steady work on a hit TV show.

Personal relationships in show business are very important, and the easiest way for an actor to find a job is to be good friends with someone who already has one – someone like me. I say someone like me, because being friends with me specifically won’t do you much good. Unless you’re willing to put on a dog suit and sweat your butt off for three days in Valencia.

Such was the recent fate of my good friend Chuck, a talented actor who makes an honest living in Hollywood, a town without pity if there ever was one. Unfortunately, Chuck is not friends with Mark Harmon, John Hamm, Ed O’Neill, or some other big-shot that could get him a cushy job on a respectable show. Chuck is friends with me. Which is how he came to be pictured here, dressed up as a giant Bernese Mountain dog, crapping in my front yard.

This is probably not the creative vision that Sentinel had in mind when they first approached me about a campaign to highlight their product. However, it didn’t take too much time (or too much wine) for everyone to get behind the inherent wisdom of jamming a well-respected stage actor into a dog outfit and hoping for the best. The finished product is self-explanatory. Chuck plays my best friend – an identity he’s perfected in real life for the last 35 years. It’s a role that requires extraordinary patience and boundless talent. I play myself – a role that requires very little patience and no talent at all.

The videos we created take a poignant look at the interpersonal dynamic between best friends, and the unforeseen challenges that arise when a plague of uninvited house guests upend the fragile tranquility of their neatly ordered lives. In other words, my dog gets fleas and all hell breaks loose.

I think The Dirty Truth About Fleas is the feel good hit of the summer, and an acting tour de force. Chuck’s performance will confirm that I did not merely throw my old friend a bone. No, he was clearly the best friend for the job, bringing warmth and nuance to a role that in lesser paws, could have brought a deep and abiding shame to both species.

I hope you have as much fun watching these vignettes as we did making them, though I seriously doubt that’s possible. I want to thank Colle+McVoy and Novartis for giving us such a long leash, and letting us bark up a most unusual tree. As for Chuck, he’s already out there looking for his next gig. Hard to say what it’ll be, but in this dog-eat-dog economy, where one year can feel like seven, and blood-sucking parasites scramble to attach themselves at every turn, I have no doubt the old fella will find a way to bring home the bacon. For an old dog, he’s learned more than a few new tricks, and demonstrated a willingness to slip into something a lot less comfortable than the usual costume.

Unless of course, he’s made friends with someone on the Jersey Shore.

In which case, I would advise him to call Snooki. With all due speed.



15 thoughts on “What the Chuck?

  1. Hi Chuck! You probably won’t remember me from high school but I had such a crush on you. I still do! 🙂 You’re really great in these videos! Mike’s good too.

    Take care!


  2. I think that Chuck looks quite fetching as a dog.

    But as to the comment at the tail end of your post:

    “In which case, I would advise him to call Snooki. With all due speed.”

    Which one would play the dog?

  3. This is a really good product – we prescribe them often. The videos are a lot of fun – great way to get the product name out there. It was a good idea
    to get Mr. Rowe for the job but I think his friend Chuck is top dog in this series.

  4. I love reading you and your mom’s stories. You two are definitely from the same tree! You guys always make me laugh and as a single mom of 3 kids, that kind of stress relief is priceless!

  5. DOOR! DOOR! DOOR! – Ain’t that the truth.

    Check with your vet to see if a flea management plan might be needed to take care of the adult fleas as well.

    Don’t forget something for the kitties too. Odds are if your dogs have fleas and you have other pets – they might be infested as well.

    Good job “Chuck”. Enjoyable way to educate people about flea control.

  6. A dog suit, in Valencia, in the middle of summer…Chuck is such a good sport, isn’t he?

    “It’s okay, I’ll have my revenge once I book that Preparation H gig,” Chuck was overheard mumbling under his breath.

  7. ‘Wilfred’ on Discovery Channel or Animal Planet??

    “Unfortunately, Chuck is not friends with Mark Harmon, John Hamm, Ed O’Neill, or some other big-shot that could get him a cushy job on a respectable show.”

    Curious as to why you chose to list those particular “big-shot” television personalities – some sort of history, grudge perhaps? Mike, I’m sure your best friend will find steady work on TV. There are Hollywood rejects out there hawking Ford trucks, Lee jeans, Viva paper towels… 🙂

  8. Mike you never cease to amaze me. You always have a smile on your face (no matter what) and you put smiles on all of our faces at the same time. That is quite an achievement in my book in this world today. Your friend is indeed just that, a very good friend to play the dog, first time you were on the clean end (so to speak). Thanks for all you do to keep us all smiling. erc

  9. Isn’t “Chuck” the same guy who found a shop towel in his sandwich? Looking forward to seeing the flea ads on TV. And you are a very good master helping your best friend find another gig!

  10. The episodes were very clever—I really got a CHUCKle out of ‘em… Great music, great chemistry, great timing…can’t wait for you two to emBARK on yet another new venture!

    (Sorry. I know I’m not very punny.)

  11. The easiest and cheapest way would have been to put her on a monthly flea preventative in the first place so she didn’t get fleas. Dogs with fleas also have tapeworm. You need to get a quality ALL wormer that does tapeworm from your vet and also get this dog on a monthly flea preventative. Added to that you need to deworm her regularly. Take the dog to the vet. She obviously has not seen a vet for a long time or a vet would have picked up on the fleas and worms.How is it you didn’t know she’s had fleas for quite a while. Does this dog live outside in the yard? Then you have to go about flea bombing every room in your house because there will be flea eggs and larvae in the carpets and furnishings that will keep hatching an keep infesting your dog. Wash the dog’s bedding and anything else she sleeps on in hot water and a good detergent and rinse very well.

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