Sunday, February 1, 2009

Have You Heard of This?

Today is superbowl Sunday, a day we traditionally spend with my cousin and her family, not watching the game, and eating junk food. This year, we stayed at home. Leila went on a hike with her grandparents and hunted for rocks for her rock polisher, Rob worked, and I napped. I'm actually still in my pajamas.
Anyway, I don't know if you know about this, many people probably do, its not as if its hidden, but every year on superbowl Sunday, Animal Planet airs The Puppy Bowl.
Its on all day, they replay it again and again, and here's what it is: there is a small stadium, complete with a fake crowd and cheering, and a football field with yard lines, goal posts and everything. It starts with a referee with a whistle introducing a bird named Pepper who drives into the middle of the stadium on a motorized little yellow Tonka truck, moves to a perch, and sings the national anthem. Its not a fake, the bird really sings the national anthem, although it only bares a passing resemblance to the actual anthem. He repeats "twilight's last gleaming" a few times, but its clear that someone has taught him a thing or two. Then the bird leaves, and the referee, who is a full sized man in a miniature stadium, introduces the players. A starting line up of nine to ten week old puppies enters the stadium. We have Madeleine the beagle, Eli the Australian shepherd, Sugar Rush the mutt, etc. etc.
The referee blows the whistle to start play, and play they do. They just run around, with stuffed toys, including a stuffed football, and if one of the puppies happens to run to the end zone with the football in his or her mouth without getting tackled by another puppy, the referee calls a touchdown. The rest of the time they roll around together and bite each other, and shake the stuffed toys back and forth.
When the puppies get tired and fall asleep on the field, the referee blows his whistle, gives the puppy a penalty for napping, and he quietly gets replaced with a fresh, awake puppy. When the puppies get thirsty, there are two big water bowls at either end of the field. There are cameras underneath the water bowls, so we can watch the Bowl Cam, and look up into the puppies' faces as they slurp water, and sometimes dig around in it. If a puppy pee pees or worse on the field, I think its called a foul, and there is a time out while the referee cleans the area.
Then there is halftime. As in the real superbowl, the field is transformed with a stage and colorful bunting, and its time for... The Kitty Halftime Show. This is exactly what it sounds like. The puppies are replaced with kittens, and people off-camera wave little fishing poles with toys at the end of them, and the kittens jump around the stage and bat things with their paws. I noticed that the kitties looked a little confused today: there was so much confetti falling from the ceiling, they didn't really know what to chase first. They also let you hear the kitties meow, which is really cute. During the commercials, all the confetti is cleaned up, and the stage is put away, and the puppies come back out for the second half. Its clearly a second line up, some of the players have changed, but the game is the same, and they start romping around the field once more.
Today was Puppy Bowl V. I wonder why they don't just replay the first puppy bowl every year, its not like they change anything but the dogs from year to year. But this year, in honor of the five year anniversary, they showed Puppy Bowl Hall of Fame Moments. Rob informed me that the guy doing the voiceover is the actual guy that does the flashback moments during NFL games. They have the dramatic music in the background as they replay puppy tackles and touch downs and tail chasing from years passed. Seriously.
Its two hours long, and they show it for 14 hours straight. I watched it after lunch today, and I'm watching it again right now after dinner.
Oh, I forgot! Today, in the middle of the game (look, I'm calling it a game) a hairless dog (I think its called a Chinese Crested) runs out on the field, and they call a time out because there is a streaker on the field. They even put a little black stripe over his butt while he's running around the field. There is also a tailgate party in a fake parking lot, with older dogs sitting in lawn chairs watching the game on a TV. You can also go on line and vote for MVP.
I can't decide whether its ridiculous or pure genius. Let's go with genius. Check it out next year.

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