What’s on TV: Thursday, March 5
In the spirit of this canine grooming series, which has encouraged host Rebel Wilson to make every pun and double entendre possible, let me get a few obvious notes out of the way: Pooch Perfect isn't quite a dog of a show, but it's nothing to bark at. Trying to duplicate the rural idyll that forms the backdrop to the beloved Great British Bake-Off, Seven's new reality production searches for the sweet spot between specialised idiosyncrasy and public curiosity. But the concept itself is problematic, with a show about competitive dog grooming naturally tending to reduce the dogs themselves to objects that are obsessively fussed over, remade and rendered as prettified tokens.
Pooch Perfect with Colin Taylor, Amber Lewin and Rebel Wilson.Credit:SEVEN NETWORK
It's the dog as luxury item, and it puts aside the many qualities – including companionship and comfort – that so many dog owners deeply value. A good reality-TV show needs to connect to something intrinsic and recognisable, no matter how intricate the gameplay, and Pooch Perfect lacks that. It's why Wilson is always "on", getting a mention of "Barbecue Shapes" into this episode's shaping contest before Fonzi, a scampish Labradoodle, is besieged with heart shapes and a Groodle named Owen gets a teddy bear facial cut.
In the elimination challenge for the lowest-rank contenders – decided by a pair of imported judges – where the dog's size vary, Wilson naturally drops a "does size matter?" reference. This feels like a dead-end for reality TV, a last exhausted gasp. A show where every dog on parade looks like it belongs to Marie Antoinette.
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