REVIEW: ‘Dug Days’ Is a Perfect Tribute to Ed Asner

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Dug Days - But Why Tho

Dug Days is a series of Disney+ Original animated shorts starring Dug (Bob Peterson) and Carl (Edward Asner) from 2009’s Up. These five shorts see Dug and Carl moved into a new home after their adventures in the movie and are ready for a quiet life back in the suburbs.

Disney+’s track record with shorts based on Pixar movies is strong, with 2019’s Forky Asks a Question getting the ball rolling. Dug Days continues that streak. The show is very simple. Dug is your average dog. Very easily distracted, very prone to misadventures, and absolutely adorable at the end of every day. The show certainly harps heavily on the few running jokes Dug possessed in the original movie. Many episodes and gags revolve around a local squirrel, he points every now and then, and his speech pattern is just slightly incorrect and child-like. It’s a formula that may have gotten old if there were too many more episodes, but in short bursts, it was put to different use each time, so it was mostly endearing all the way through.

In the same way that Forky used the existing eccentricity of its character to go in odd and existential places, Dug Days benefited from pushing Dug and Carl’s brand of odd-couple humor into new but perfectly believable scenarios. The episodes are about guarding a bird feeder, chasing after a new smell, and fighting with a squirrel and bird over a sandwich. They’re scenarios that never would have happened in Up, yet, you can fall quickly and soundly right into them in Dug Days. The scenarios are also certainly distinct, even though they repeatedly involve the same squirrel and bird.

What I love most about the episodes, though, is that they almost always end with just a sweet moment between Dug and Carl. Carl was a total curmudgeon at the beginning of Up, and while he certainly remains a bit of one, it’s really only brief and funny. The little moments of love between Carl and Dug are always precious. It makes me miss my dog, and with the recent loss of Ed Asner only days before Dug Days was released, I can’t help but mix together the feelings about knowing the actor recently died with the emotional moments he gets to share in the show.

This goes just as well for Russell’s (Jordan Nagai) guest appearance. While it’s a tad obvious that the actor’s voice was manipulated one way or another, as he’s certainly not a kid anymore and the voice of Russell sounds just slightly off, having the original actor return for the show felt special, especially in the wake of the loss of Asner. There’s a moment where Russel and Carl are standing side by side looking adoringly at Dug after a particularly poignant moment, and the moment is just really striking as a reflection on Carl’s loss of Ellie in the opening moments of Up and the world losing Asner in the opening moments of Dug Days. The movie is all about finding new life and love after loss, even in old age, and Dug Days is touching proof that life really does go on.

Dug Days is a very enjoyable set of shorts for fans of Up or children who just enjoy funny talking dogs and silly old men. Its timing just after the loss of Ed Asner is both a perfect tribute to the life of the prolific actor and itself an extra layer of emotion this series packs in its small punch.

All episodes of Dug Days are streaming now on Disney+.

Dug Days
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Dug Days is a very enjoyable set of shorts for fans of Up or children who just enjoy funny talking dogs and silly old men. Its timing just after the loss of Ed Asner is both a perfect tribute to the life of the prolific actor and itself an extra layer of emotion this series packs in its small punch.