Summer reality shows focus on dogs, dancers

Justin Silver helps NYC hounds and their humans work through their problems on "Dogs in the City." Associated press
Justin Silver helps NYC hounds and their humans work through their problems on "Dogs in the City." Associated press
Posted: May 31, 2012

DOGS IN THE CITY. 8 p.m. Wednesday, CBS 3.

BREAKING POINTE. 8 p.m. Thursday, CW Philly 57.

CBS’ newest "reality" show isn’t a singing contest, but Randy Jackson might feel right at home there, anyway.

Not that "Dogs in the City" needs any dawg-loving "American Idol" judges: It has actual dogs.

Fans of Animal Planet’s "It’s Me or the Dog" or National Geographic’s "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" will recognize this summer series about New Yorkers and the canines that own them for the copycat it is, but who cares?

It has dogs!

Big dogs, little dogs, dogs on skateboards, dogs that hang with models and dogs that go back and forth between owners who no longer live together.

Justin Silver, a standup comic who owns a pet-care company in New York and claims to "speak dog," is the guy who gets called in on "Dogs in the City" when man’s best friend becomes some man’s (or woman’s) worst nightmare.

His one-size-fits-all diagnosis — stop me if you’ve heard this one — is that there’s something wrong with the people. Because there are, as we know, no bad dogs.

There are, however, obnoxious dogs, and Beefy, a skateboard-riding bulldog who’s one of the subjects of Silver’s interventions in Wednesday’s show, appears to qualify. His longtime companion, Patrick, recently married Erin, and Beefy not only won’t let Erin walk him, but he won’t let either of them sleep at night. People with new babies get more peace than these two.

"Dogs in the City" touts Beefy’s status as a YouTube celebrity, but a quick survey of the site reveals skateboarding bulldogs to be far more common than I’d imagined. And Beefy is now a relatively minor player in what’s becoming an overcrowded field.

Silver, to his credit, finds ways of dealing with Patrick and Beefy that don’t involve showing them videos of dogs that ride even better than Beefy does — that’ll be a show for a different summer — but if I were Erin, I’d keep a contact number for "It’s Me or the Dog" on hand, just in case the old dog learns any new tricks.

A winning ‘Pointe’

With all due respect to "America’s Next Top Model," the CW’s not exactly known for classy "reality" shows.

It can’t get enough of super-skinny young women, however, and if they happen to be wearing leotards and working at something more interesting than achieving a particular expression while being photographed, then even a show about ballet dancers can be considered CW-friendly.

"Breaking Pointe" is set in Salt Lake City’s Ballet West and produced by BBC Worldwide. And though it’s not technically a contest, it’s all about the competition dancers face every day as they try to stay — and advance — in a profession that demands endless practice, may well wreck their joints and doesn’t pay anything close to what the NFL does.

Thursday’s premiere introduces a group of dancers, male and female, ranging from a promising 19-year-old who looks like a very young Lauren Graham to the company’s 32-year-old prima ballerina, who admits to feeling that up-and-comer’s "breath on the back of my neck." Most are sweating out the period in which they’ll learn whether their one-year contracts have been renewed.

Though the show takes the dancers’ work at least as seriously as it takes their relationships, you won’t need to know a plié from a pirouette to appreciate the drama, and yes, the touch of class, in "Breaking Pointe." n

Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or graye@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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