Reservation Dogs

Reservation Dogs is a 2021 television hit. FX and Hulu have partnered with Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo to produce the Native American comedy, filmed in Oklahoma and written by a team of all-indigenous writers.

The show follows a group of delinquent teenagers in a rural reservation. They get into and out of trouble, trying to raise money to move to California as they interact with their community and families. Occasionally a pop of magical realism enters, in the form of Dallas Goldtooth’s character “Spirit” or a vigilante that’s part deer.

Still from Reservation Dogs featuring a buck ass naked Uncle Brownie and Spirit in the blurry foreground on a horse.  Gary Farmer and Dallas Goldtooth
Kaniehtiio Horn as Deer Lady leans into a white sports car in FX comedy Reservation Dogs

The number one word in the Reservation Dogs script word cloud has to be “Shit Ass.” I didn’t count but I’m sure it showed up at least once in every episode.

“Reservation Dogs” features four main characters: Elora, Bear, Willie Jack and Cheese.

Bill Burr and Devery Jacobs in Reservation Dogs.  Bill is standing in the foreground, Devery as Elora is leaning out of her drivers seat window.
Dallas Goldtooth as Spirit throws food at D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear in FX 2021 series Reservation Dogs
Jon Proudstar and Paulina Alexis look at red makeup outside while dressed in hunting gear in FX "Reservation Dogs" season 1 as Willie Jack and her Dad
Lane Factor as Cheese and Zahn McClarnon as Big in the 2021 FX show Reservation Dogs.  They are in the front seats of a police car smiling.
Text "Created by Sterlin Harjo & Taika Waititi" over the video of musical group Redbone playing "Come and get your love" with three men playing guitars

There are several episodes that end with songs, like Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” The feeling I got when these episodes ended were elation, sadness that the episode was over, and delight and gratitude that this show is on the air. It’s at once different and familiar.

Devery Jacobs as Elora, Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, Lane Factor as Cheese and D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear in the 2021 FX series Reservation Dogs

Like Pose did for trans actors, Reservation Dogs has the potential to be that first big show on the resume for some of these actors and writers in an industry that lacks meaningful support for indigenous creatives. In fact, Devery Jacobs has been tapped to join the writers room after her contributions during production.

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