I admit it – I’m not a fan of reality TV. What I mean here by ‘not a fan’ is that I loathe it to the very depths of my soul. I think it’s the bastard child of the devil, and a room full of mentally deficient monkeys given access to typewriters and unlimited amounts of Starbucks. Reality TV manages to simultaneously both blow and suck.
That said, every other freakin’ blogger I read seems to be addicted to “Greatest American Dog”. When I read rave reviews of this show on both Pet Connection and Poodle and Dog Blog, I become sorely tempted to take a quick look see. Christie’s exposure of the huge amounts of suckage in last week’s episode just made me even more curious about this phenomenon that has my other dog friends refusing to answer their phones while it’s on (or even to post to the dog lists! Gasp of horror, faint from shock, etc).
So, last night I sat down to watch, and all I can say is — holy crap, people? How the hell can you stand watching this show? Forget about animal cruelty – half an hour of this mind numbingly stupid crap and I was tempted to give myself a lobotomy with a spoon.
The faux ‘dramatic’ soundtrack, the forced poignant moments, the grimacing facial expressions of the contestants – it was excruciating. I love dogs, and I love dog sports. I attend Sheepdog trials, although I own no sheep, and no Border Collies. I watch Dock Diving, although my own dogs would sink like rocks if they tripped and fell in a puddle. I even love reading about Patrick working his terriers, despite the fact that I’ve been a life long anti hunting proponent.
But this? I couldn’t even watch it. I couldn’t watch people working with dogs, which is tantamount to an alcoholic saying “No thanks” to a second glass of wine (or me saying no to a triple latte).
The capper was watching trainer/judge Victoria Stilwell go on a vitriol laced rant against a competitor who had the audacity to ask his dog to sit and stay during the final portion of the show. Oh, the cruelty! Oh, the horror! Then came the obligatory blather about Cesar Milan being the anti Christ, which pretty much seems to be the party line of every competing dog trainer out there.
All of this was followed by a sugar sweet group hug a thon where Stilwell and fellow judge Wendy Diamond played a rollicking game of “No, you’re the better person” with each other, all while simpering sweetly and fluttering their eye lashes for the camera. Douglas Coupland called that “Telethon-ese”, in one of his early books – the act of celebrities mutually back slapping each other into simultaneous comas of self congratulatory bliss. To her credit, Stilwell seemed to be visibly holding back a grimace of hatred during the process. Selling your soul — not so painless after all, apparently.
And neither was watching this show. I felt bad for the dogs, most of all. They gave truth to the old saying “People often get better dogs than they deserve”. What seems to be also true is that dog people get worse television than anyone deserves. Greatest American Dog — Worst American TV Show.
Since this all seems rather grim, here are some cute photos of the dogs being sillyheads around the swimming pool yesterday.The whole set is over here on Flickr (and includes some rather handsome shots of Elliott, daddy to be, looking studly in spite of his recent dip in the pool).
Oh, and Delilah has now made Swiffer dusting cloths redundant at our house, due to her habit of burrowing into every dusty, cobwebby, dead bug filled crevice she can find. To my credit, this was in our pool house, since even I am fairly diligent about semi monthly cleanings of the rabid dust bunnies inside of our house.