CBS Puts On The Dog For Parton Pooch Pageant

This is the kind of show we will all lose if network television ever goes the way of the dodo or network radio.

Depending on one's point of view, that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. The show I am about to write about here is patently ridiculous -- a throwback to the era of celebrity roasts and battles of the network stars.

It just does not seem likely that in the event of the extinction of network TV, room will ever be made in the vastness of the streaming universe for something as old-fashioned as “Dolly Parton's Pet Gala,” an elaborate dog fashion show set to take up two-thirds of CBS prime time on Wednesday (Feb. 21) from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern.

The show is stuffed with dogs and celebrities -- some you have heard of and some you have not (the celebrities, I mean) -- happily hugging their canine companions and gushing about the unconditional love they receive from them.



Meanwhile, I'm sitting in my stuffy home office with the window shut because someone's yappy dog nearby won't shut up.

Clearly, to enjoy this show, you must love dogs and possibly, Dolly Parton too because now, at age 78, she is a celebrity who is assumed to be loved by one and all.

“Dolly and dogs” went the simplest three-word elevator pitch in the history of television and so it came to pass. “So let it be written, so let it be done,” said Yul Brynner in “The Ten Commandments.”

Tireless Dolly is the first to appear on her “Pet Gala” and before you can say “I Will Always Love You,” Dolly breaks into song -- a song called “Puppy Love” (not to be confused with the 1972 Donny Osmond hit of the same name).

The new “Puppy Love” is a paean to canine affection whose final bars have Dolly finishing it off with a cheerful “Arf, arf, arf, arf -- Bow wow!” as only she can do, or would even attempt to do.

Jane Lynch soon appears to co-host the show, and she and Dolly have a conversation on this apparently family-oriented dog show that is laced with sexual innuendo, plus commentary on Dolly's two most conspicuous physical assets that seems to be a requirement of every TV appearance she makes, though it doesn't have to be, and perhaps shouldn't be.

The show has most of its celebrity guests appearing remotely via video from their homes and workplaces.

These include Iain Armitage, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Margaret Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Carson Kressley, Jessica Simpson and others too numerous for me to repeatedly stop and start the show's opening credits to write them down.

Betwixt and between the appearances of Dolly, Jane Lynch and the visitors who beam in from elsewhere, dogs strut and sometimes fret their moments on the stage, dressed in flamboyant outfits wrapped around their torsos and accessorized with bows, ribbons and rhinestones.

For reasons that go unexplained, one of them is named Lucille Ball, which I suspect would not go over well with the pooch's red-headed namesake who just might have been the biggest star CBS ever had.

Another name in questionable taste was the dog missing its two hind legs that was named “Lieutenant Dan” after the grizzled career Army soldier and officer played by Gary Sinise in “Forrest Gump” who lost both of his legs in Vietnam. Just sayin'.

As KC of KC and the Sunshine Band performed “Boogie Shoes” from 1975, Jane Lynch provided the sometimes-pungent narration for the first set of runway rovers.

“Here comes Lila! This sexy two-piece will make all the dogs want to sniff her butt! But she won't let them because she is a lady!” says Jane.

Despite Jane's assessment of Lila's good manners, “Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala” isn't likely to win any prizes for refinement anytime soon.

It just so happens that Dolly, ever the shrewd businesswoman, is in the business of selling dog apparel, accessories, collars and leashes, and bedding and bowls on her dog-product website,

Preview screeners of upcoming shows never include the commercials, so the TV Blog has no idea how or if gets promoted in “Dolly Parton's Pet Gala,” but something tells me there's a tie-in in there somewhere.

“Tonight is my first ever pet gala!” exclaims Dolly at the outset of the show -- “a night of music and fashion and adorable doggies walkin' the runway! Who wouldn't love that, right?” Don't ask me because I have no idea.

“Dolly Parton's Pet Gala” airs Wednesday (Feb. 21) at 9 pm Eastern on CBS.

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