The Best Competition Show on TV Is HBO’s ‘Haute Dog’ (And Duh It’s Pronounced ‘Hot Dog’)
Once in a blue moon, during the endless scroll to find something to watch, you accidentally stumble upon a show so ridiculous, so over-the-top, so damn stupid that you must give it a shot. And then sometimes said show turns out to be the best competition show on all of television and you spend three days hating yourself for loving it as much as you do. This was my experience with HBO's Haute Dog. (And yes, it's obviously pronounced 'Hot Dog'.)
If you like dogs, puns or just generally smiling like an idiot for 30 minutes, this is the show for you. (I'm displeased to say, it's definitely the show for me.)
So what is this competition show about? Per HBO Max, "Welcome to the world’s most adorable dog grooming show! Each episode of Haute Dog features three groomers facing off in head-to-tail creative contests for the title of 'Best in Show' and a $10,000 prize. Tasked with turning their K-9s into K-10s, the series introduces top pet stylists from across the country whose interpretations of imaginative challenges and out-of-the-box themes—from 'royalty' and 'fairy tales' to 'safari' and 'superheroes'—spotlight the best looks for man’s best friend."
They continue, "With hilarious commentary from two fabulous judges, celebrity dog stylist Jess Rona and actor/comedian Robin Thede, along with comedian Matt Rogers as host, Haute Dog showcases canine breeds of all kinds in a dazzling array of creative trans-fur-mations!" See? I wasn't kidding about the puns.
OK, OK, that all sounds fun and silly, but why would an entertainment editor be so obsessed and why would he call it the best competition show on TV?
First of all, it feels like you’re watching a parody of a competition show...but it’s real. It is beyond over the top. There's the ridiculous set covered with gaudy gold dog statues and ribbons in every color known to man(‘s best friend). There are the dog portraits. Like a lot of them. There's the host commentary (and the very tacky, "red carpet worthy" host outfits). Oh, and there are confessionals from the contestants...AND the dogs. Y'all. Come on.
Second of all, as I said, there are so many damn puns. “Haute Dog.” “Mane event.” An episode called “Welcome to HollyWOOF!”
And then, of course, there's the obvious: The dogs are so cute it’s freaking unacceptable. In episode one, a poodle named Superman gets styled to look like Elizabeth Taylor. I mean...
And I may or may not be pissed at myself for tearing up at the end of episode one during the winner’s emotional victory speech.
While watching the show enraptured, I incredulously asked my partner, "Who is the target audience for this?!" But I already knew the answer. Me.
Haute Dog is not to be missed. One might even call it un-fur-gettable.