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TCA: James Brolin on Wives vs. Dogs

Dog lover sought help after "Lassie," refers to "Sharknado" as "Sharktopia"

James Brolin, one of the stars of Hallmark's upcoming holiday-dog movie "Christmas With Tucker," has some thoughts about the difference between wives and dogs.

The film, Hallmark's first original holiday movie, is about the healing power of pets. Brolin joked at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Wednesday about an easy way to gauge your relationships.

"There's a test, they say," volunteered Mr. Barbra Streisand. "Take your dog, on a hot day, and your wife, and you put them in the trunk and you wait an hour. And you open the trunk and see who's glad to see you."

Huge laughs. This is a rare thing to say about a Hallmark panel, but: Brolin killed. So did co-star Josie Bissett, who checked to make sure there were no children in the roomful of critics before mentioning (spoiler alert) that there's no Santa Claus.

Brolin said he believes there's real demand on television for Hallmark's gentle programming.

"Did you see the other day, what was it everybody paid attention to — 'Sharktopia' or something?"

The the nation's arbiters of quality shouted back at the stage: "Shark-naaaado!"

Brolin transitioned to a point about viewers being "a little fed up with gunplay and divorces," and used his and Streisand's own viewing habits as an example.

"I find that with many writers they seem to mimic themselves," he continued. "My wife and I are very good at throwing out the next line in a scene because we've played them all. And writers seem to get in a rhythm almost like it's a rhyme. And they go to the next line and it's exactly the one they did on the last show they wrote."

"So I found this kind of thing refreshing," he said, referring to "Christmas With Tucker."

He also said dog stories hit him a little hard, and that he's spent "a couple of shrink sessions" trying to understand why he was so affected by a "Lassie" episode.

"And then what was the picture a couple of years ago, where the dog had cancer?"

Someone yelled out (another spoiler alert): "Marley & Me."