Puppy Bowl brings the cute

Alana Garrett

Robert Mullen, Reporter

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While February 3 found most of America glued to the Super Bowl, a small, but growing segment of the population got its sports fix in a different way. While it may lack the expensive commercials and athletic prowess of the Super Bowl, Animal Planet’s ninth annual Puppy Bowl packs quite a cute wallop. As the fastest growing canine-based football mimicking sporting event running during the big game on basic cable television, certainly it should.

In fact, the game is almost sickeningly cute, with Hedgehog cheerleaders, Hamsters in a blimp, a Parrot tweeting live, a kitty packed halftime show and of course, puppies galore.

Of course, the game has all the trappings of a major sporting event. Quick reactions or snippets of commentary are provided by members of several different Animal Planet shows, including “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” “Finding Bigfoot” and “Pit Boss.” The fast paced puppy action is interspersed with kiss cams, penalties for excessive cuteness, times outs for rest and there is even an MVP award at the end.There is no hiding of the fact that these young pups are no million-dollar athletes.

Within the first few minutes that was abundantly clear, and countless times they stopped short of scoring, more interested in wrestling, running around and having fun, than putting points on the board.

The players were disorganized, ill-disciplined and it seemed utterly disinterested in playing the game, sometimes I couldn’t even tell which non-existent team a puppy was on.

Anyone who watched the game for anything other than playful and adorable antics is out of their head cuckoo.

Of course scoring and competition isn’t the point of the Puppy Bowl, there are no losers, and the real winners are the puppies and the viewers who get to watch two hours of puppies horsing around and playing tug-of-war with chew toys.

The Puppy Bowl will probably never develop a market for expensive commercial debuts, or million dollar celebrity endorsers and refreshingly, but that’s not the point.

On a day where networks play marathons and reruns and new programming goes to die, it’s enjoyable to see a little bit of TV where the goal is simple laidback entertainment.

Animal Planet has managed to pull this off while still keeping with the spirit of the day, and providing a welcome distraction for those who might not be interested in the big game, or its slower parts.

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