Should an innocent poodle serve as a blank canvas for unhinged "art" just because nature bestowed curly hair on him? That's one of the questions provoked by TLC's "Extreme Poodles," a show which follows a pack of competitive poodle groomers as they "clip, dye, and even glue" their pets into outlandish creations, including Native American tribute poodle, boa constrictor poodle, and roller derby poodle. Some critics say the dogs, subjected to long hours of grooming, are victims of "blatant" animal cruelty, while others find the show forgivably diverting: (Watch a promo for "Extreme Poodles")
The dogs are being abused: Poodles have feelings too, says Hayley Woodgate at Technorati. And, after watching these dogs "humiliated" on national television, I can't help thinking they must "suffer some form of canine psychological disorder thanks to their owners' dire need to turn them into... works of art."
"'Extreme Poodle' Forces Haircut Humiliation"
"Extreme Poodles" is (comparatively) innocent fun: The show is no more degrading than TLC's other hit, "Toddlers in Tiaras," says Lindsay Beyerstein at Big Think. It's certainly "more humane" than dressing up children in "ridiculous costumes and parading them around the pageant circuit." While "Extreme Poodles" might have some animal rights activists up in arms, the truth is, "poodle topiary is only a sin against good taste."
"Extreme Makeover: Poodle topiary"
The dogs aren't treated unethically — but the audience is: Nevermind the poodles, says Michael d'Estries at Ecorazzi. "You can actually feel yourself becoming dumber" as you watch TLC's programming, which has rapidly betrayed its roots as an educational network (The Learning Channel) and become as punishing as "the smell of bleach." With my "brain cells committing suicide" at an alarming rate, it's easy to understand "how Sarah Palin has a [reality TV] home" here.
"'Extreme Poodles' on TLC makes clear why Sarah Palin has a TV show"