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“She was always biting us”: 6 TV pets hated by their castmates

Moose, who played Eddie on NBC's Frasier

1. Eddie the dog, Frasier

When Frasier raced to the front of the sitcom pack in 1993, its breakout character was the one member of the Crane family who never needed a witty retort to score a laugh. Moose, the Jack Russell terrier who played family dog Eddie, landed on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and earned glowing accolades from his human co-stars. (“He’s probably the most disciplined cast member,” John Mahoney said, and Jane Leeves raved, “He’s amazing, the things he can do.”) But one voice is conspicuously absent from that EW feature: the actor most frequently upstaged by the deadpan dog. “I do draw the line when somebody says, ‘Oh, he’s such a good little actor,’” Kelsey Grammer told Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales prior to Frasier’s second season. The quotes about Moose in the Post profile could be read as a peevish sitcom star blowing off steam, but in Shales’ telling, it sounds like there’s real annoyance at work. Shales describes Grammer “slamming his hand on the table” hard enough to jiggle a bowl of guacamole as he proclaims, “That’s it! He’s not an actor, he’s a dog!” Perhaps Grammer simply objected to the accommodations the show had to make for Moose. Episodes featuring the canine reportedly took twice as long to shoot as those without him, and according to BBC News’ 2006 obituary, coaxing Moose into a crowd-pleasing nuzzle required a smear of liver pate behind an actor’s ear. [Erik Adams]


2. Fred the cockatoo, Baretta

When the star of ABC’s hard-edged police drama Toma left after one season, ABC retooled the series for a midseason re-premiere in 1975. The revised show, Baretta, made Robert Blake the star and smoothed some of Toma’s sharp edges, most notably by giving Detective Baretta a whimsical cockatoo companion named Fred. “He was a very sweet bird,” handler Karl Mitchell said in an interview for The Encyclopedia Of TV Pets. But apparently the definition of “sweet” can vary, as Mitchell went on to note that the bird who usually played Fred “was smart enough to know how many seeds he got for each trick, and if he didn’t get seeds, he would scream or bite.” (According to Mitchell, when Blake shortchanged Fred, the bird would chase the actor around the set.) Likewise, Baretta mainstay Tom Ewell cautiously told the author of The Great Show Business Animals that Fred “was very friendly” before adding, “He only bit occasionally. As a result, I loved to play with him. Working with him—no.” The cast and crew of Baretta certainly couched their words with care when they pointed out what an asshole their bird was. Maybe Fred read his press clippings, or at least lined his cage with them. [John Teti]


3. Marcel the capuchin monkey, Friends

The six actors on Friends famously earned $1 million per episode starting in the show’s ninth season, but they had to put up with some adversity along the way. Back in season one, when the actors made a paltry $22,500 per episode, Ross (David Schwimmer) acquired a capuchin monkey named Marcel to help him overcome post-divorce blues. (It didn’t work: Ross was as much of a sad sack with a monkey as he was without one.) Matthew Perry complained that the monkey, whose real name was Katie, messed up scenes—Katie didn’t realize she was on TV (because she was a monkey), and she constantly ate worms and vomited them up. David Schwimmer spent the most time with Katie/Marcel, which explains his strong feelings on the matter: “I hate the monkey,” he said in a 1995 interview. “I wish it were dead.” Not only is the monkey still alive 20 years later, she also has a booming career on-screen—more than Schwimmer can say. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]


4. Ser Pounce the cat, Game Of Thrones

Since he lacks the awe-inspiring (and plot-propelling) qualities of Dany’s dragons or the Stark clan’s direwolves, Ser Pounce—Tommen’s pet cat on Game Of Thrones—serves as little more than a symbol of the child-king’s naivete. Ser Pounce is mentioned several times in George R.R. Martin’s novels, but he has only appeared once on the show, in a scene where Margaery (Natalie Dormer) comes to visit Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) in his bedroom late one night in a sexually charged power play. His symbolic purpose fulfilled, there was no real reason to bring back Ser Pounce—especially because, according to Dormer, the cat was kind of a jerk. In a Reddit AMA last fall, Dormer said that her feline co-star “was a bit of a diva that day, he didn’t want to stay on the bed, he was very difficult to work with.” In other words, he was a cat. [Katie Rife]


5. Cosette the dog, The Sopranos

Death was commonplace on The Sopranos, and more often than not, even the loss of a friend barely elicited a solemn toast before the survivors started divvying up their interests. And if the deceased was a rat, fuhgeddaboudit—Tony Soprano and his crew wasted no tears on a fink whose name would never be spoken aloud again. This coldness even manifested off-screen when it came to the loss of Cosette, the suspiciously rat-like dog accessory of Drea De Matteo’s Adriana. Just a day after the episode in which Michael Imperioli’s Christopher offed the dog by accidentally sitting on her during a heroin binge, Cosette’s human costars were already saying good riddance in Entertainment Weekly. “She was always biting us,” De Matteo said of Cosette, whose real name, the Adam Sandler-movie-evoking Little Nicky, was apparently just one of several detestable things about her. (“She wasn’t even a full Maltese, to be honest,” De Matteo added, a cutting indictment on a show where being full-blooded Italian is everything.) Little Nicky’s trainer said that she warned the dog repeatedly to stop causing trouble or she’d end up getting whacked. Like so many other Sopranos characters, Cosette just didn’t listen. [Sean O’Neal]


6. J. Fred Muggs the chimpanzee, Today

After being spotted by a Today producer on a Perry Como variety hour, a young chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs became the unlikely savior of NBC’s struggling morning show. Muggs was added as a featured player on Today in 1953—about a year after its premiere—and the ratings ploy proved effective, to the eventual consternation of anchor Dave Garroway and his news team. While “Muggsy” was cute, he also became stronger, more aggressive, and more temperamental as he aged. And Garroway grew tired of the shtick, an aversion heightened by Muggs’ habit of biting the anchor’s fingers. Muggs’ trainer later claimed that a jealous Garroway occasionally sabotaged his simian costar by slamming Muggs’ hands in a drawer or spiking his juice with drugs. It certainly wasn’t the last time there would be tensions among the Today cast, but at least Matt Lauer never slipped a mickey into his colleagues’ coffee. [John Teti]


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