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Odie in his "leaping" position
|First appearance||Garfield comic strip (August 8, 1978)|
|Created by||Jim Davis|
|Portrayed by||Tyler and Chloe (Live-Action)|
|Voiced by||Gregg Berger (1982–present)|
|Family||Lyman (former owner), Jon Arbuckle, Garfield, Tyrone, Toto, Dotty and Spotty,Shelly, Mama, Pappy, Gavin, Kevin|
|Birthday||August 8, 1978|
Odie is a fictional dog who appears in the comic strip Garfield by Jim Davis. He has also appeared in the animated television series Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show, two live-action/computer-animated feature films, and three fully CGI films.
He has a large tongue and slobbers in his appearances. After October 1997, he began walking regularly on two feet, instead of all fours, like Garfield. In the feature film adaptation Garfield: The Movie, Odie's ability to walk, and more importantly dance on two legs earns him a lot of attention, and is a major plot point throughout the film.
The name came from a car dealership commercial written by Jim Davis, which featured Odie the Village Idiot. Davis liked the name Odie and decided to use it again. When Garfield was first submitted, Davis called Odie "Spot". He then visited cartoonist Mort Walker to show him his strips, and Walker told Davis "I had a dog named Spot". When Davis asked "Really?", Walker replied "Yes, in Boner's Ark, one of my comic strips". Davis then changed Odie's name.
Odie first appeared in the strip on August 8, 1978; the date is considered his birthday. He was originally a pet to Jon Arbuckle's roommate Lyman, but Lyman disappeared from the series after about five years.
Odie is the only animal character in the Garfield series without recurring thought balloons, as he is portrayed as a "normal" house dog. However, he was shown thinking "I'm hungry" on June 15, 1980, and once said ″Hi to the people, dummy″ in the March 3, 1989 strip and has had multiple minor "speaking roles" since then. In the cartoon, he speaks minor words such as "Ta-da!", "Huh?", or, more commonly, panting "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" He has said more intelligible sentences, such as "No horsey?" in the episode Dessert in the Desert, and in the first episode he even says "Right!" while agreeing with Jon. When he talks on the show, he speaks by actually moving his mouth, although other dogs have also been shown to do so.
Odie's intelligence and tongue
A running gag throughout the strip is Odie's idiocy. Garfield frequently calls him a moron, to the point where Odie was completely shocked one day when Garfield didn't insult him. He is mostly viewed as an idiot, but in rare cases, it is shown that he hides his high intelligence. For example, once while he, Garfield, and Jon were camping, he locked himself in the car. Garfield and Jon got angry, but then a thunderstorm arrived. Odie turned on the radio and lights and started to eat chips, smiling while Jon and Garfield were trapped outside with no food or shelter during the thunderstorm. Another time, when Garfield and Jon were out, Odie was reading War and Peace, smoking a pipe, and watching a television special about Mozart. Another running gag is Odie's impossibly long tongue. In one strip, when Garfield taunted Odie for not being able to write with his paws, he was completely bewildered when Odie's tongue grabbed a pen and wrote, "Hi there." In another strip, Odie is running around the family room, and Garfield grabs on to his tongue to see how long it is. The next panel shows Odie right next to Garfield, but with his tongue literally wrapped around all the furniture, going through the hallway, wrapping around Odie himself and Garfield, and with room to spare, much to Garfield's shock. Another strip shows Garfield theorizing how Odie can have such a long tongue, and store it in his mouth. He then guesses that he has the rest of his tongue stored in where his brain should be, also stating how much of an idiot he is. Also, in one winter themed Sunday strip, Odie's tongue is stuck to a lamp post stretched from two blocks to Jon's dining room, prompting Garfield to tell Jon, "We need a blow dryer and a really, really long extension cord." Another comic shows Jon, Garfield, and Odie painting a wall, and Jon yells at Garfield because he's using the end of Odie's tongue as a paintbrush.
In The Garfield Show, Odie's tongue is once again shown to be very long and stretchy. In the episode "Out on a Limb", Odie uses his long tongue in an attempt to lower Garfield down a very high tree.
Relationship to Garfield
Although Garfield often impugns Odie's intelligence, one strip shows him enjoying classical music on TV with the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy nearby after Jon and Garfield leave the house. (According to Davis' comments in the 20th-anniversary book, "I couldn't resist.") Another has him lock the others out of the car on a camping trip, while he enjoys the sandwiches, radio, and chips, while the others just get wet. In others he has been seen setting decoys, completing a sudoku puzzle, completing a crossword puzzle (to Jon's amazement), writing poetry, and while playing as superheroes with Garfield, finding a complete outfit to one-up Garfield's cape. One theory is that there are two Odies, a smart one and the more common idiot. It may be that Odie is actually smarter than he appears, and merely uses the idiotic front as a means to gain an advantage over Garfield. In two strips, Garfield went to see what was at the end of Odie's tongue, and it turned out to be a second Odie (which Garfield dismissed as an effect of a bad can of tuna from the previous night). Odie has managed to take revenge on Garfield occasionally, and Garfield sometimes cannot avoid noticing it. Garfield acknowledges this by saying "He's not as dumb as he looks, but then again who could be?" In the first episode of The Garfield Show an alien species that resemble lasagna scan Odie with a ray that indicates brain power - the result was zero.
Garfield on numerous occasions actually does care a great deal for Odie, most notably in the first Garfield special Here Comes Garfield, in which Odie is briefly captured by the dogcatcher and a teary-eyed Garfield realizes, through flashbacks of him and Odie playing together, how sad his life would be without him (in these series of flashbacks by Garfield, the song "So Long Old Friend" is played in the background). In one strip, Garfield states that Odie is made of rubber. Other times Garfield tries to put the blame on Odie for some of the mishaps he has done. Jim Davis has stated, when asked why Garfield played so many pranks on Odie, that it was because "Odie is so kick-able. He sorta doesn't care. But Garfield would never hurt Odie for real. He just gives him a pinch now and again."
Odie all too often gets kicked off the table by Garfield; once Odie tried to push Garfield off the table, but Garfield was too heavy. In addition to getting kicked off the table, Odie is often the victim of Garfield's pranks. (Although, on a much earlier strip, Odie had kicked Garfield off the table while he was wearing a Garfield mask and Garfield was wearing an Odie mask.) Curiously, Garfield has taken offense to others treating Odie in this manner. In one strip, he punches out another cat who beats up on Odie, insisting, "Nobody beats up on Odie but me!" Similarly, in Garfield: The Movie after seeing Happy Chapman use a shock collar on Odie, he says, "Hey, nobody gets to mistreat my dog like that except me!" That attitude is shown in an episode of Garfield and Friends when Odie is conned out of the grocery money by an alley cat. Garfield is visibly angry at what transpired and goes to great lengths to clear Odie's name.
Odie does manage to get a little revenge on Garfield. Jim Davis stated in the 30th anniversary book that Odie gets back at Garfield every few months. The first example occurs when Jon accuses Garfield of clearing out his closet except for the T-shirt saying "I love cats." While Garfield professes his innocence, he is hurled out of the house. Comically Odie steps out to grin at Garfield, wearing a plaid shirt, indicating he framed Garfield. In one strip, while Garfield confesses how good a friend Odie was as Odie never minds Garfield playing tricks on him, Odie slyly pastes a note on Garfield's back that reads "KICK ME". Once, he managed to give Garfield a taste of his own medicine in a strip where Garfield tried to have fun with an Odie mask. Odie wasn't at the edge of the table, and while Garfield wondered where Odie was, he showed up (wearing a Garfield mask) and kicked the tabby off the table. On at least one occasion, Odie was also prepared for Garfield trying to kick him off the table, setting up a pillow on the floor to land on after Garfield punts him. Yet another instance involved Garfield getting stuck in a tree and asking Odie (who sees him from the window) for help. Odie tosses Garfield Jon's bowling ball, and when Garfield curses Odie for his stupidity, the extra weight added by the bowling ball causes the tree branch to break and send Garfield falling to the ground. The final panel ends with Odie smiling evilly at the reader while Garfield notes how much he hates dogs. In yet another instance, Garfield approached Odie at the edge of the table, who was holding a large rock in his paws. Garfield wondered why he was holding it, only getting his answer when he kicked the dog. Odie did not budge from where he was standing, and Garfield hurt his foot instead, ending with Odie smiling smugly while Garfield was hopping around, saying "That's why." In one storyline, Garfield gets beat up by a bulldog after kicking him and has to wear a cast for nearly a week. The cast covers Garfield's entire body but his face. Odie torments Garfield throughout the duration of this time. In the final strip of the storyline, though, Garfield tells Jon that he'd like to keep his cast after being asked what he would like to do with it, and strikes Odie with it.
- "Garfield: An Interview with Jim Davis". BlackFilm.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Character profile (click on Odie)
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