2.07.2005

the best superbowl counterprogramming

so after the superbowl, me and the flatmates are sitting around flipping channels to find something to watch while recovering from our food induced stupor (egg rolls, scallops wrapped in bacon and prosciutto, fried chicken, turkey chili, all manner of cookies and sweets, and lots of beer), when we ran across something that really kinda blew my mind: the puppy bowl on animal planet.

to counterprogram for anything, you take the demographic that is least likely to watch the other program and then put on something that will appeal to this demo group. so it makes sense that something like the puppy bowl would be on. after all, what's less manly than puppies? anyways, when i say the title "puppy bowl" on our little on screen programs listing, i was expecting something on par with another of animal planet's shows, pet star. pet star is basically a talent show for pet tricks. really lame, hosted by slater from saved by the bell, and full of cute pet tricks. anyways, the puppy bowl was nothing like that. the puppy bowl consists of 7-8 puppies that are let loose in a football stadium shaped playpen (complete with goalposts, 50 yd line logo, and a cardboard crowd taking fake pictures with fake flashes emanating from strobe lights). at the beginning, the introduce the puppies, and then they let them play. and that's it. and this goes on for 180 minutes. in the background, they have this super-goofy-new-age guitar music going on, and every few minutes whenever one of the puppies would do something exciting (or cute), they would have an instant replay of something like brenda, the lab/terrier mix slipping across the puppy bowl logo on the 50 yard line (click here to watch a clip of the puppy bowl).

so to reiterate, animal planet aired three straight hours of nothing but puppies playing with each other. no sign of people except when one of the puppies decided to take a leak on the puppy bowl stadium turf, which caused a dude dressed up in a referee uniform to come out and throw a penalty flag, after which we got to see him clean up the dogs mess. as if that wasn't enough for you, as soon as it was over, animal planet ran it again. and then they ran it one more time. that's right folks, nine straight hours of unadulterated puppy cuteness. enough to make you puke several times over. and then to put this thing completely over the top, the announcer who took you to commericial breaks is the same guy who does the voiceovers for NFL films. and then during the closing credits, they were playing the MNF theme. you can also vote for the MVP of the puppy bowl (as of right now, with close to 6,000 votes, bandit, the 13 week old jack russell terrier is in the lead), and you can order the DVD so you can, as the announcer said, "relive the pageantry". what the hell is going on here?

but at the same time, i have to admit it was somewhat mesmerizing. we didn't watch the whole thing or anything, but we ended up watching a good twenty minutes. we were discussing if this was the ultimate in high concept television. after all, the whole time, we were making comments on what we think the network was trying to accomplish, analyzing the behavior of the dogs, and trying to figure out whether or not this constituted some form of animal abuse. so maybe it wasn't the puppies that were the point of the program, but our interpretations that was the point. but then i checked on animal planet's website, they begin their description of the puppy bowl with this paragraph:
Animal Planet has plays, tackles and fumbles too, only ours are much cuter! Viewers can spend the day (or maybe some time between the big plays) with a "stadium" full of man's best and cutest friends—puppies! In the midst of the official pigskin, iron match, it's the family-friendly, feel-good Animal Planet Puppy Bowl premiering Sunday, February 6, 3-6 p.m. ET with encore presentations at 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET only on Animal Planet.
so most likely this is the same concept as the lingerie bowl (guys and lesbians, you're welcome), only instead of appealing to male horndogs, they were trying to appeal to people who are way into "cute". you know who i'm talkin' about, those people who have puppy calenders, love anne geddes, and have way too many stuffed animals for their age. these people are usually childless, grotesque spinsters who yearn for children for no other reason than it would validate that someone found them attractive enough to have sex with them. the onion's ficticious columnist jean teasdale is probably the best example of these people. anyways, all i have to say to these people is that they make the world a less good place and they need to get their head out of their ass.

can you imagine the pitch for this show?

animal planet producer: ok boss, here's what i got in mind - we get some animal shelters to donate some puppies, and then we set them loose with each other and then we tape them playing for three straight hours. every twenty seconds or so, we'll change the camera.

animal planet network exec: sounds like a fantastic idea. draw up the story boards and come up with a budget of less than $1,000.

i don't know why i'm dedicating so much blog space to the puppy bowl, but all i can say is that they'll put anything on tv. that and puppies are really cute.

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