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Puppies Will Make You Sleep

February 6th, 2006

Last night, Vic and I were doing what we do every Super Bowl Sunday: not watching the Super Bowl. Not even for the commercials. The only reason that I knew who was playing was that we had to flip by once in a while to make sure that the post-Bowl episode of Grey’s Anatomy hadn’t begun.

What did we watch instead? A bunch of comedies that I’d saved on our TiVo-Like Device (TM)…and Animal Planet’s attempt at counter-programming the big event, “Puppy Bowl II.”

This was the second in what is likely to be an annual series in which several cameras capture puppies frolicking in an enclosure decked out as a football field. And that’s it. There’s no plot and very little narration. Every once in a while, they’d cut to a shot from the underside of a water bowl so that you could watch the puppies drink close-up. And when there was an “accident,” a referee would come out and declare a “puppy penalty.”

Best of all was that in keeping with the faux-sports theme, there was a halftime show: specifically, the “Bissell Kitty Halftime Show.” Kittens pounced on each other while the “crowd” cheered and the disco lights played. It was mesmerizing.

As I continued to watch the soothing images of happy, prancing puppies, I realized that this was what television has come to in the 500-channel universe. We were seeing programming not a great deal more sophisticated than the television tests of the late 1920s in which Felix the Cat was placed atop a spinning turntable. And we were hooked.

I’m not certain whether this speaks more about the power of television or the power of puppies. (And kitties. Don’t forget the kitties!) Maybe, like the puppies themselves, it doesn’t say anything at all.

Run, little puppies, run. See you next year.

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