Odie is the tritagonist of the Garfield franchise.
Odie was based on 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 named the main dog character "Spot" before finding out that the name was already being used by another character. Odie first appeared in the strip on August 8, 1978; the date is considered his birthday. While he was actually brought in by Lyman, Odie eventually became a pet to Jon Arbuckle. There are some strips, however, which state that Odie was originally owned by Jon. In the motion picture, Odie was adopted by Jon at a veterinarian center.
Odie is the lovable, seemingly dopey, kind, underweight, yellow-furred, brown-eared beagle, who is Garfield's best friend (and usual victim). Although Garfield says that he is dumb, Odie can be relatively smart on occasion. He is capable of communicating articulate sentences through barks. Garfield once described him as "honest, true blue, and decent." He is constantly panting with his very large tongue. He often drools huge puddles. The meanings of his barks are not actually discernible like one would assume, and are only made obvious by Garfield.
However, he does have a bit of a mean streak, like a lot of characters in the strip, as shown when he teases Garfield about his age when June 19, Garfield's birthday, is approaching, via either mimicking the facial expression of an elderly individual; putting a glass of water with dentures near his bed while he sleeps, laughing at his depression about getting older, and using a walking and snapping wind-up toy denture. Another example was Odie locking Garfield and Jon out of a car, just before a downpour hit. His most cunning trick by far was when, after Garfield used the Schlocko Laundro-Mutt to torment him, he sneaked the collar around Garfield's neck before giving him a messy chili dog, thus setting the Laundro-Mutt on the cat; later on, both Garfield and Odie got their revenge by slipping the collar on Jon and throwing mud at him so the Laundro-Mutt would perform one last wash.
In the live-action films, based on the Garfield franchise, he is played by a dachshund. In the comic of August 26, 2007, Garfield describes Odie's species as "purebred clown" after trying to find out what kind of dog Odie is with the help of a book. Odie is often kicked or pushed off the table by Garfield or the victim of some practical joke. Odie usually has a long, stretchy tongue and slobbers in his appearances. Recently, as of 2000, he is seen walking on two feet, instead of all fours, just like Garfield, though this was demonstrated in earlier strips as well.
Odie's original owner was Lyman, a friend and roommate to Jon. He first appeared on August 8, 1978. However, Lyman disappeared in 1983 and Odie became a pet to Jon. Odie is, to Garfield, a complete slobbering idiot, though, usually, that is not the case, since Odie manages to save the day lots of times.
Odie is the only animal character in the Garfield series without a recurring voice bubble, as he is portrayed as a "normal" house dog. However, he has occasionally been shown thinking. In the Garfield Show, he says some intelligible sentences, and short phrases. When he talks on Garfield and Friends he speaks by moving his mouth, although other dogs do not do so. Odie speaks in a similar manner in Garfield Gets Real and its sequels, frequently saying complete sentences ranging from "I don't know", "My bone!" and "Right". In the Reading Ring game on the Professor Garfield site, if one manages to get the June 21, 2001 strip, while facing Dr. Stripp, having the third panel will let the player hear Odie say "Mmm hmm" angry at Jon for trying to eat Odie's squeaky hamburger toy mistaking it for a real hamburger. Also, in the January 13, 1979 comic strip, he is seen laughing at Garfield. And in the June 15, 1980 comic strip, he is seen poking Lyman saying "I'm hungry", he has been presumably been shown thinking when Garfield was using him as a ventriloquist's dummy in 1989.
Odie and Garfield
Odie is, to Garfield, a slobbering, smiling housepet, but there may be more under the idiotic surface. One comic strip (Oct 14, 1990) has Odie throwing Garfield through a wall using a recliner Garfield happened to be lying on. Another strip (April 27, 1989) shows him enjoying classical music on TV with the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, after Jon and Garfield leave the house. Yet another strip (July 30, 1989) has him lock Jon and Garfield out of the car on a camping trip, where he enjoys the sandwiches, radio, and potato chips, while the other two just get wet. Unofficially, the "revenge strip" is considered the one where Garfield locks him outside in the winter. Also, one recent strip shows him solving a Sudoku puzzle that Jon had a hard time completing.
In others, he has been seen setting decoys, writing poetry, and finding a complete superhero outfit, making Garfield look like a loser for few seconds. And in yet another one Odie tossed Garfield a bowling bowl to 'help' Garfield out of the tree, he was stuck in. 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. Odie has managed to take revenge on Garfield, although the amount of these has decreased recently.
Garfield acknowledges this by saying short, catchy phrases that sometimes anger Odie. However, Garfield on numerous occasions actually does care a great deal for Odie, most notably in Here Comes Garfield, in which Odie is briefly captured by the dogcatcher and Garfield tearfully realizes through flashbacks of him and Odie playing together how sad his life would be without him. Also, Garfield was visibly angry when a con artist alley cat in the Garfield and Friends episode Pros and Cons conned Odie out of the grocery money, leaving Jon to be upset with Odie. So Garfield went to great lengths to clear Odie's name and get the money back. In another name-clearing instance, when Odie was televised as being part of a purse-snatching dog gang, Garfield refused to believe it because, in his words, "Odie is honest, true blue, and decent. And he's not even smart enough to steal." In one strip, Garfield states that Odie is made of rubber (this is supported by properties of his tongue and the fact he once squeezed Odie into a ball). Other times, Garfield tries to put the blame on Odie for some of the mishaps he has done. Odie once tricked Jon into giving Garfield an enema.
Odie does manage to get occasional revenge on Garfield. Once, 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 that he framed Garfield. Odie would also commonly do things to Garfield, but he gets his revenge. In one storyline, Garfield gets beat up by a bulldog after smacking 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 would like to keep his cast after being asked what he would like to do with it, and strikes Odie with it. In one series, when Garfield got stuck in a tree, Odie tries to help Garfield, but at the last moment, Odie flung him into the air (although this was an accident). Just about every time Garfield's birthday is coming up, Odie the ageist will mock Garfield for his gerascophobia (fear of getting old) and for getting older.
- In his earliest appearances, Odie had black ears. They were recolored to brown on September 27, 1979, supposedly to avoid confusion with Snoopy from Peanuts.
- In animated media, Odie's appearance is usually announced by the sound of the cavalry's bugling.
- Despite being established as a primary character, Odie has been absent for as long as months in the comic strip. Jim Davis admitted in 30 Years of Laughs and Lasagna that Odie is very hard to write for because Odie has no dialogue and has less personality compared to Garfield or Jon.
- So far, Odie is the only character to have had the same voice actor in animated form since 1982.
- Odie has 1705 appearances in the comics as of the 31st of December 2016, the 3rd most.