Screen Savors: Bad show! Bad, bad show!

HOT Family Channel airs the reality show 'Greatest American Dog' - a great show… 'for me to poop on.'

greatest american dog 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
greatest american dog 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Just when I thought all the ideas for putting a bunch of people together in a mansion for some reality-based competition had been exhausted, CBS unleashed Greatest American Dog. In it, 12 dog-owners and their dogs compete for a $250,000 prize and the "crown" of, that's right, "Greatest American Dog." Animal rights folks aside, this show is a danger of cruelty to humans caught watching it. After all, how many times can one listen to a dog owner say, "Come!" "Jump!" and "Atta boy!" before wanting to call the dogcatchers? The premise is similar to that of almost all reality shows: Participants represent a slice of Americana, from New Yorker David Best and his pooch Elvis to Southerner Ron Davis and his dog Tillman to Californians, etc. Naturally, there's the mansion-like set called Canine Academy - swimming pool included. To the show's credit ('cause there's got to be something) the grounds does feature one of the greatest reality TV props that we've ever seen: a huge hydrant made out of grass - a most welcome sight for the canine competitors. Regardless, it remains difficult to garner excitement over a show that stoops so low as to use the phrase, "In Dog We Trust" in the opening. Throughout the program, the dogs were almost always more interesting than their owners. The humans, to their discredit, spent their time firing the usual zingers at their competitors and their pets. "She has humanized that dog," complained Laurie of Beth Joy and her dog Bella Starlet, which is the dog's name. I promise! Winners of each round - determined by a trio of judges who write for publications with names like K9 - share the compound's special suite with their pup. Jealous? You should be, it features extra doggie treats, pictures of the winners and other fancy digs. They also got to send one of the losers to "The Dog House," a small building outside with much more rugged quarters. And of course, each week, one owner-dog duo set out for one last walk… out the door and home. As a former New Yorker, it was hard not to pull for David and Elvis, with their reputation for having taken a bite out of one of the competitors the previous week. But the actual competition, called "Tangled Leash," proved a snoozer (or is that a Schnauzer?) It had the owners attempting to walk their canine companions through a maze of messed up leads, so there was a lot of, "Over girl. Good, now under!!" and "Galaxy, get up. Galaxy, get down. Good girl!" Meanwhile, the host and announcer Jarod Miller, with the personality of a stick figure, tried to make the event sound like it was the seventh game of the World Series, music soaring to crescendos in the background. It didn't work. The second competition, "The Fast and the Furriest" (groan), focused on teamwork, with two teams and their dogs doing a series of tasks. Including Frisbee-catching (ho hum), walking up and down a teeter-totter (yawn) and running through hoops (zzzzz), it was like a lame day at the park. Three members of the losing team then appeared before the judges, who browbeat them and determined who went home. Sadly, despite his "valiant" efforts to tower over the teeter-totter, Elvis and David got the boot. "Elvis has left the building," quipped the owner. "We're going home to New York with our tails wagging," he proudly added. Are Champion Parakeet or Hamster Highness next? No matter what Hollywood's got cooking, the folks at HOT seem to think they can feed their regular customers kibble while keeping the steak reserved for its newly-introduced D-Box on Demand VOD service. Watchdogs should be barking loudly about this crap. Greatest American Dog airs on the Hot Family channel on Sundays at 8:15 p.m.