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Greatest American Dog
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this dog competition has none of the usual catty reality show behavior, making it age-appropriate viewing for younger audiences. But there's still a lot of excess on display: The competition takes place at a mansion, and one of the rewards is a lavish suite filled with dog toys and other items. Also, the line between spoiling a dog (as in treating it like a human being) and appropriately rewarding good behavior gets mighty fuzzy at times.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
GREATEST AMERICAN DOG is basically Survivor with dogs. OK, instead of a buggy beach, everyone is camped out in a luxury mansion -- except for one unlucky pair that will get stuck in the Dog House each week (a nice but small cabin that only a New Yorker would call roughing it). But it's still your standard competition show with folks trying to prove something -- in this case that they've got great dogs -- while vying for money by engaging in a variety of stunts that should show off their dogs' skills but mostly just look silly.
Is it any good?
As these kinds of shows go, this ain't bad. The competing dogs make up for a lot -- especially the skateboarding bull dog, Tillman. Even the foo-foo doggies have more to show for themselves than mere cuteness. But the owners will probably make you nuts -- seriously, matching shoes for a dog?! A Bark-Mitzvah?! In fact, the dogs that generally do the best are the ones whose owners remember that these are dogs. And certainly the dogs are the best reason to watch the show. Actually, they're the only reason to watch the show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why competition shows seem to follow the same format: competitors living together, elimination, three judges, big cash prizes. Ask kids why they think people go on these kinds of shows and what they think the producers are doing to make the competition seem more intense than it is. Also, who's your favorite dog? Do you think he or she will win?