Tuesday, February 15, 2005

TV - Arbitrary Brand Loyalty, Part Dog

When it comes to rooting without reason, second only to college football must be the The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, aired annually about this time on USA. And lots of people agree, cuz USA just renewed the contract 'til 2016.

It just so happens that I own Oscar,Oscarball, an Australian Shepard and, by coincidence, the Best Looking Dog In (depending on your scope of inquiry), Anchorage, Alaska or All The World.
And as anybody knows, the Australian Shepard is the sworn mortal enemy of the hated, filthy, no-good show-off Border Collies.
Oh, we hate Border Collies. HATE 'EM! Why, it's like comparing a sorority girl at USC to a sorority girl at UCLA, or a frat party at the University of Texas to a frat party at the University of Oklahoma, a Georgia tailgater to a Florida tailgater or an ethics-in-sports lecture at Florida State to an ethics-in-sports lecture at Miami.
It's night and day, with one clearly the prime, finished product of Evolution's Grand Plan, the other just a sorry, wore-out excuse of a miserable creature not worthy to polish the third set of scuffed shoes in the "25-cent" bin at the other's garage sale in hell!
Piss on border collies, is all.
And of course, what Mt. Washington is to weather, Westminster is to dog shows. Which, to my eyes (not to mention Oscar's) is just one more chance for a steely-eyed Aussie to stomp the bleeding guts out of a no-good, show-off Border Collie.

That, and watch about 200 breeds of dogs be fawned over by the strangest collection of televised people this side of the CMAs.

First, my favorite Westminster viewing story comes from 2001, when I went to New Hampshire for a medical class. Also attending was a friend of mine from PJ school, Will Willis, who was always the hardest partying guy in the room, but at that time was deep in maritial difficulties, which only bumped his want-to to whole new level. He was in New Hampshire to commit as much self-abuse as possible, and you were with him or you were against him.

So, half drunk on a Tuesday, he called my room - I'd guess I was fifth or sixth down his list of possible recruits - and demanded I drag my lightweight, cherry-ass out into the New Hampshire night to drink, chase tail and, maybe, a little arson.
No, I said 10 or so times.
What the F else have you got to do? he demanded in the kind of voice that absolutely was not interested in a reply. And of course, I had nothing to do, which was exactly what I wanted but not at all what Will wanted to hear. I was also flipping channels throughout Will's pitch and had stopped on Westminster during this bit so I said, in what i thought was an off-handed, hysterically ironic way: "The dog show's on. I want to see who wins."
And for the first time in the 3 years I'd known Willis, he was speechless.
"The DAWG SHOW!?!?!" And I knew I'd screwed up. Right then, in those 2 seconds, I knew I would literally never hear the end of snide dog show comments from Willis, not this week, not next, not 4 years later.
And I was right. You give Willis a drum, he ain't likely to ever stop beatin' it. God Bless ol' Will, one of the few sumbitches left what truly don't give half-a-damn.

But, of course, Border Collies and Aussies (and the rest of the world's cool dogs - bulldogs, rottis, labs of every hue, etc) never make it out of their Semifinal, "best in Group," into the prestigious finals, or "best in show."
(And yes, Best In Show is, by far, the funniest pseudo-documentry this side of Spinal Tap (though some of Jerry Falwell's efforts on Vince Foster were hilarious, too). We don't have to discuss it here)
The Finals are always a collection of hysterically gay poodles, barely ambulatory poofballs, dreary footstool-sized creatures and one or two tall, akward breeds that look like the just want a private place to pee. You can root for the occasional Basset Hound that breaks through to this level, but it will invariably lose to some annoying near-cat.
Still, Westminster is fantastic TV, if only because the announcing team is always so exasperated at how great the dogs are. I've seen 4 consecutive years of it, and in each year the announcers declare the Finals to be, by far, the best selection of dogs in memory, with the EXPLICIT caveat that such wonderful quality hasn't been present in previous years.
They're like Olympic gymnastic announcers in an Olympics boycotted by everybody except the US.
And it's their show, their world, their dogs, so i'm fine with it.

So Tuesday (Feb 15) is the second and final night, featuring Best In Show (at the end, obviously) but much more importantly, earlier in the night, the Best In Group for Herding dogs.
Good-v-Evil. Hate-v-Love. Us-V-Them. Mine-V-Yours.

I'll sell you the whole seat, but you'll ONLY NEED THE EDGE!!!!!


Anonymous said...

I missed the show, but I feel like I need a stake in things for this type of matchup. So, arbitrarily...Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi oi!

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