Kennel cover

MSRP: $29.95
RUNNING TIME: 3 hours, 52 minutes
Breed Judging Videos
Group Winner Interviews
Backstage Tour
Grooming Featurette
Angel on a Leash featurette
Featurette on Vivi
Junior Showmanship Highlights

The Pitch

meets Best In Show!"

The Humans

Shit, I
don’t know. Some guys talk on microphones. Let’s see: Lester Holt, David Frei,
and Debbye Turner offer commentary on and coverage of the event. All I really
know is that someone sounds like Tom
Servo, and I kept getting disappointed when he didn’t say anything funny.

The Nutshell

More than
a century ago, a strange animal was found deep in the jungles of
Borneo. This quadrupedal creature stood
eight feet tall, had red eyes, a coat as matted and black as a blood clot, and
summoned a noise from its throat that made two men piss themselves and each
other. A mere photograph of this thing
drove Howard Philips Lovecraft to his lover, Dementia.

Now, some
hundred-and-thirty-odd years later, clever humans have reduced this fearsome
beast into, variously, poodles,
Chihuahuas, and 163 other watered

When the
moon is full, you can hear their tiny lungs trying to coax a howl that was
written into their DNA, but achieving nothing more than the weak chuff of a
baby’s brush with SIDS.

Some of
these breeds are, apparently, better than others. As you’ll soon find out…

Wooo. Wooooooooo.

The Lowdown

discs. Three hours and fifty-two minutes. Dogs.
On a purely observational level, I have to say it’s probably great that this
release brings you the entirety of the televised show. This ain’t no highlights
reel. Of course, the whole shebang only lasted a couple of nights, rather than
the months of regular season games that we usually get compressed into ninety minutes
on sports-related discs.

any trace of sarcasm, I can say that I learned an awful lot from my time spent
with these dogs, their handlers, and the hosts of the show. Every breed that
gets its turn in front of the red-faced judge draws out some interesting
factoid about when it was first recognized as a breed, where it originated, or
what the fuck is up with its fur. (Seriously; some of these pups have dreads
that would put the population of my backwater county to shame.)

The DVDs
are broken up into sections for each breed, as well as allowing for the
additional judging segments that tie the whole show together. I particularly
recommend the "Toy" section, because there’s a representative from a
certain breed which looks like a mop. I mean entirely like a mop. The leash
makes the handle and everything. Here:


I’m so
ignorant. Think of me as Ahab stabbing out against that which he does not
understand, but certainly hates; only instead of a whale, I’m poking at a
puppy; and instead of a wooden leg, I have a prosthetic penis.

If you
missed the show when it originally aired on the
USA network, these discs are probably
great possessions for a fan. I couldn’t gather much of an impetus lock my
attention to, though, and I don’t think that’s entirely because I’m a complete
canine-behavior novitiate. There didn’t seem to be any real competition, none
of that human drama that compels an audience to keep watching. Dogs are judged,
asked to trundle off, and more dogs appear. I’m sure that the secret lives of
kennel masters are something you could write a soap opera about, but there
really exists nothing to command the interest of a viewer with no prior
investment. That makes me honestly curious about the audience for these
competitions; do they watch because they get to see the finest examples of
applied eugenics? Do they get a thrill from the competitive aspects beyond what
I can see?

Well, I
can’t discredit a hobby for being impenetrable to my glazed-over eyes. It’s
just one happy bundle of esoterica.

"You remind me of the babe."

The Package

There are
a few bonuses listed, but nothing particularly noteworthy. The featurettes all
are short assemblages of clips that terminate without much warning, including
backstage footage, examples of the grooming, special "Angel on a Leash"
award segment (which title makes me think of, um, something else), a
dog-centric feature on "Vivi", clips from group judging, highlights
from the junior league, and interviews with some of the winners.

The audio
and video quality are relatively poor, having been transferred from what was
broadcast on basic cable. Additionally, the direction seems off in places,
cutting away from whatever "action" is present to take frequent tours
of other dogs. These combined production values don’t make for the smoothest
viewing imaginable.

It is
what it is.

7 out of 10