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The Morning Show
The Morning Show
Circuit, the Cyber-Dog
Script by Dale Connelly
July 30, 1997

Click for audio Hear Circuit bark
(Don't worry, it's not as bad as his byte...)

DC: Have you seen one of these? It's a virtual pet.

(sfx: beep beep)

It's all the rage with my crowd ... the "under 12's."

TK: I've heard of these things. Is it a Tamagotchi?

DC: Nope. This one's a Digi-Whiz Cyber-Dog. Not many people have this kind. You can see the electronic parts through the green tinted plastic case. And there's a gray screen.

TK: And that's the pet in there?

DC: Yeah. I named him "Circuit." Wanna hear him bark?

TK: Nah.

DC: Sure you do.

(sfx: beep beep)

I trained him to bark on command. He did it on his own once, and I rewarded him for it, and now ...

(sfx: beep beep)

(sfx: bark bark bark)

See? How about that?

TK: Cute, I guess.

DC: Now I have to reward him with a virtual treat.

(sfx: beep beep)

TK: Looks like a little garbage truck on the screen.

(sfx: garbage truck)

DC: Yup. A lot of dogs ... real dogs ... chase after garbage trucks all their lives and never catch one. But my virtual pet can have that pleasure. It's just one of the things that makes him better and more content, more self-actualized than a REAL dog.

TK: This is NOT better than a real dog.

DC: No, in some areas, it is. I'm sold on these. I'm thinking of starting a digital puppy farm.

(sfx: beep beep)

TK: Hey. It just did something.

DC: Oh. Here's a good example. They're easy to clean up after. Wanna try it?

TK: No.

DC: Sure you do. You just push that button right there.

TK: I don't WANT to.

DC: I'll do it. If you don't keep it clean, and if you don't feed it, and don't play with it or discipline it, your virtual pet will die!

TK: And that's a problem?

DC: You KNOW that's a problem. Really. How could you be so callous?

(sfx: beep beep beep)

I'm gonna make Circuit bark at you for that.

(sfx: bark bark bark bark bark bark bark)

Good boy! Tell him!

TK: I'm glad it's fun for you, but I can't get past the idea that the thing isn't a real dog, like, say, Old Yeller or Lassie.

DC: Lassie is NOT a real dog.

TK: Now wait a minute. Don't put down Lassie. Lassie is real. This thing ... thus bundle of wires .. doesn't ... EXIST!

DC: Doesn't exist? Circuit! Get 'im!

(sfx: beep beep beep)

(sfx: bark bark bark bark bark)

He believes YOU exist. He's barking at you!

TK: Oooh. I'm scared.

DC: He's vicious. Good boy!

TK: And what does this "Cyber-Dog" do for you, other than constantly demand your attention?

DC: Well ...

TK: What does he do that makes him more real than Lassie?

DC: He poops. Lassie doesn't!

TK: Does he show you affection? Does he lick your nose when it's time for you to wake up in the morning? Will he curl up at your feet on a cold winter's night? Will he run five miles through a blinding snowstorm to get help for you because you've driven your car off a mountain road and you and car are balanced there on a pointy rock with a one thousand foot drop facing you if the weight shifts a little bit, and the only tow truck in town is operated by a guy who's hard of hearing, so the dog has to pry open a basement window using an old tree branch for a lever but he can't get up to the first floor to get the guy's attention so he goes back to the furnace and reads the instructions and uses his teeth to turn off the pilot light so the guy will notice the heat has stopped and will come downstairs to investigate and then the dog will bark him into the truck and force him to come up the mountain road to save you before you slide off into oblivion? Will your virtual dog do that? If he won't, then he's no replacement for a real dog.

DC: That's not one of his functions.

(sfx: beep beep )

But he can bark! Tell 'im, Circuit! Give 'im what for!

(sfx: bark bark bark bark bark bark)

TK: Lassie has nothing to fear.