Review: ‘Showdog Moms & Dads’

Bravo follows its documentary series "Showbiz Moms & Dads" by going to the dogs, with what was doubtlessly pitched as "the real-life 'Best in Show.'" While not as riveting as the original, this eight-part outing is still the least flattering thing to hit animal pageantry since Triumph the Insult Comic Dog began his annual sojourn to Westminster.

Demonstrating yet again that there’s no shortage of people willing to become unwitting punching bags, Bravo follows its entertaining but troubling documentary series “Showbiz Moms & Dads” by going to the dogs, with what was doubtlessly pitched as “the real-life ‘Best in Show.'” While not as riveting as the original — in part, perhaps, because dogs are less annoying than some of those kids — this eight-part outing is still the least flattering thing to hit animal pageantry since Triumph the Insult Comic Dog began his annual sojourn to Westminster.

All that should make the series a hit by Bravo’s modest standards while leaving the participants to smack themselves for being so gullible. Everyone will have a favorite object of scorn or pity, though Moira probably takes the blue ribbon by having her 10-year-old son handle their Australian shepherd, bridging the worst of both shows. “You let him gallop! Two times!” she yells disapprovingly at one point.

As for negative stereotypes, look no further than Brandon and Ryan, a gay couple who dress their pint-sized dogs like drag queens and name one Liberace. Their angry shouting matches provide a show within the show, though by the end of the second hour — when one calls the cops on the other — it’s apparent that only a true reality TV sadist will embrace this subplot.

As in “Best in Show,” Christopher Guest’s spoof of the dog-competition world, the five profiled contenders eventually will convene at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. The group includes Lourdes, who was unable to conceive herself and cries when a veterinary procedure impregnates her German shepherd, Katie; George and Connie, seemingly impersonating the Eugene Levy/Catherine O’Hara pairing in the aforementioned film; and Kyra, who tours with performing Weimaraner Chalcy, a beast almost certainly smarter than any of the people onscreen.

Aside from the enormous investment (up to $30,000 a year), the dogs-as-more-important-than-kids theme has its limits. And while there’s nothing new about pets as surrogates for children, when Brandon protests, “You need to not raise your voice in front of these dogs,” it illustrates the absurd depths to which these folks take it.

This isn’t to say the episodes aren’t educational. Moira feeds her dogs eggs, shells and all, to give them a living wild-type diet, which makes you wonder why she doesn’t do everyone a favor and set them free. Lourdes, meanwhile, explains that Katie is serving as a “teaser bitch” for harvesting sperm from Max (which elicits more tears) — a term sure to find life beyond the program.

Although nothing here proves as unnerving as “showbiz dad” Duncan Nutter, who uprooted his entire family to chase his acting dreams, it’s easy to feel superior watching someone put their dog in pants or a feathered boa, which is part of the show’s guilty allure.

Indeed, as train-wreck TV goes, “Showdog” delivers a veritable feast of “Stupid Owner Tricks,” one irresistible bowl-full at a time.

Showdog Moms & Dads

Bravo, Wed. March 30, 10 p.m.

Production

Produced by Worlds of Wonder. Executive producers, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato; supervising producer, Todd Radnitz; field & story producers, Angela Rae Berg, Thomas Jaeger, Robin Nelson, Chris May, Skylar Smith, Nicole Solomon.

Crew

Editors, Jamie Boulton, Smith, Ian Spencer, Clay Zimmerman; music, Michael Cohen; casting, Hedda Muskat, Doron Ofir. Running Time: 60 MIN.

Cast

Narrator: Sandy Simpson
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety

Loading