Artist’s achieves American Dream on Groomer Has It

June 29, 2008
Artist (top left) wins over tough competition

Artist (top left) wins over tough competition

Artist Knox became the first to win title Groomer of the Year on Animal Planet’s Groomer Has It. The final challenge was was a 10 hour marathon grooming session where Artist and Jonathan had to groom 7 dogs, one from each of the AKC’s groups: Sporting, Non-Sporting, Working, Herding, Toy, Hound, and Terrier. As usual, there was not an even playing field as the dogs were chosen for the groomers “at random” (with the exception of the first dog whom Artist got to pick). Although the final judging was set up to look like a dog show ring, Artist and Jonathan didn’t necessarily have to do “show cuts.” Judge Vinny taught me the new term “pet groom” as in, “The dog looks OK for a pet groom.” Artist and Jonathan both received help from Kathleen and Will. It was nice to see that Kathleen could be happy in a non dominatrix role, and it was fun to see Will annoy Jonathan. One of the highlights of the finale was to see Jonathan and Artist reunited with their loved ones (dogs included). I think what did Jonathan in was his dirty Labrador Retriever.

I really enjoyed the pre-view show which included a little “pop-up” Nemo who gave background info. Nemo always looked like such a well trained Yorkie, but lo and behold, Jai’s little pooch is not potty trained. Nemo also had an assistant who I hope was paid well. The never-been-seen-before scenes were funny. My instincts about the judges were right Vinny and Doc can’t stand each other. In one scene, they stopped rolling because of a noise that sounded like a helicopter, to which Vinny remarked, “There’s your broom” to Doc. Also, Jai is a scripted host, so scripted that at one point, he forgot the line “groomer of the year.”

I started watching this show because it was entertaining, but I also ended up learning a lot, too. I’ll definetly be back for season two!

PJ

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Who names their dog Booger? {Groomer Has It}

June 19, 2008

Mario DiFante is a “Mobile Grooming Consultant” who is also the executive director of “Pet Fashion Week.” It was Mario who judged the Quick Sniff Mobile Grooming Challenge. Jorge, who was last weeks winner, picked Jonathan to be his partner. Actually, It would have been more fun to see how they got these vans messy in the first place than to watch the contestants clean them. The interiors were so nasty that Jonathan scoffed, “I do not go around cleaning up after people. It’s not my job.”

Jorge (about Jonathan): “It’s hard to fit yourself, and him, and his ego in a small place. I thought I would have to hose him down at some point.”

When time was up, Mario inspected the trucks literally with a white glove. I think Mario would have been more disgusted with the condition with Hell’s Kitchen. Kathleen and Artist won the challenge and received a mobile GPS as a reward.

At dinner that night, Kathleen and Jonathan made fun of groomers who put plastic flowers in their vans and according to Kathleen, “happily wear polyester.” Artist said he never wore a uniform and Jonathan said that wearing a black tank top isn’t appropriate if your dealing with certain types of people. Jonathan’s dress for success attitude didn’t impress Artist who said he would work at a Humane Society for free.

Watching Jonathan and Jorge navigate the streets of Los Angeles in a mobile Grooming truck was like watching Dumb and Dumber. Apparently Jonathan will hire his own driver in the future because he doesn’t drive, he grooms. Jorge’s comment was hilarious: “We are from New York. We don’t use maps, we just tell the cab driver where to go.” Jonathan and Jorge made all of their appointments on time (barely), and managed to put a hole in the roof of their truck in the process. But they figured they would be OK because they would not be judged on the condition of their vehicle.

At judging, Jonathan said, “There was a low hanging branch that did hit the top of the van.” Apparently Jonathan thought he was in Narnia where the tree branches have minds of their own.

Jonathan also trimmed a dog’s ears wrong. Interestingly, this was the same mistake that sent Jasper home, but this week Jonathan won–go figure. However, the judges determined that Kathleen’s made two fatal mistakes when grooming Eloise, the Coton de Tulear 1) Forgetting the Kwik Stop and 2) not letting the client know that the dog’s nails could bleed afterwards.

Kathleen bowed out gracefully; she was smart enough to know not to say anything bad about Artist, who is quickly becoming the show’s unsung hero.

Honestly, I have to admit what bothered me the most about this episode was that General Hospital actress Kelly Monaco named her French Bulldog “Booger.” Who names a dog Booger? Kelly looks too young to remember Curtis Armstrong’s character of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, so what’s up with that name? It was funny, however, to see Karen “Doc” Halligan ask with a straight face, “Was this Booger’s first grooming?” But it would have been even funnier if they groomed Pink’s dog whose name is “F**cker.”

I’m still rooting for Artist to take the title!

PJ

Photos: Narnia’s Creepy Trees, Coton de Tulear, French Bulldog, and Curtis Armstrong, the original “Booger” in Revenge of the Nerds (1984).


Artist saves dog and wins hearts {Groomer Has It}

June 10, 2008

This week Artist “lost” the elimination challenge because his dog, Teddy, was the last dog out of four to be adopted. Once again, Reality TV has skewed my idea of a challenge and a challenge winner. The final four had to select a dog to groom at the Lange Foundation. Out of four dogs, one dog, Teddy, was an especially painful case. Teddy is a pure bread Shih tsu who had been rescued from a puppy mill along with his mate, Gertrude. Teddy had never been groomed and his coat was so matted, every time Teddy moved, he pulled fur off of his skin. Kathleen was the first one to choose since she she won the last challenge. Although her “heart went out to Teddy,” she picked Melody, a young sheepdog mix because “if you want to win, pass on that dog [Teddy].” It’s easy to pick on Kathleen–she is ambitious, abrasive, and self-serving; however, I can say with almost 100% certainty that Jonathan and Jorge would have passed on poor Teddy as well. Artist was the second in line and had no problems going straight over to Teddy because he felt it was the right thing to do. Artist set aside the whole competition, “to make a difference, to change his life.” Weather he won or not, what mattered to Artist was that “Teddy would be groomed for the first time in his life.” As expected, no one came in and picked Teddy. I want to believe that the producers realized that if they sent Artist home, fans would lose interest in this show. Presumably, most of us who watch Groomer Has It love dogs, and keeping Artist around for the right reasons showed that Groomer Has It can showcase more than dog grooming. Charity oriented programming on Realty TV give this genre credibility, and lessens its freak-show reputation. Teddy did get adopted four months after this episode was taped by Christopher and Jacklyn Brooks and their 12 year old autistic son, C.J. It’s nice when a show like Groomer Has It can be a means to a happy ending.

PJ

Lange Foundation documentary


Jasper sent home, Nemo growled at Westies {Groomer Has It}

June 1, 2008

The alpha groomers (Kathleen, Jonathan, and Jorge) are happy that they have “gotten rid of” the lesser qualified groomers (yeah, they still think they control the outcome). Unfortunately for me, the show has now become officially boring! This episode did have promise: Having pet psychic (oops, I mean pet communicator–darling), Sonya Fitzpatrick, determine the dog’s feelings about being groomed, and watching little Nemo growl at the Westies. Go Nemo! Jorge had another funny quote: “Everyone knows about Sonya Fitzpatrick. I was just hoping my dog had good things to say about me.” And watching Artist and Jasper’s friendship was heartwarming. I was sad to see Jasper leave, especially for a mistake on the ears of his Portuguese Water Dog. Jonathan didn’t do a great job either, and he had a “cheat sheet” which showed the proper lion cut. Wasn’t Jonathan supposed to prove that he could groom more than poodles? The judging on this show is as confusing as figure skating’s! Next week the groomers will groom shelter dogs. It looks like Kathleen will have a moral crisis: to pick a matted Shitzu she wants to save, or a dog that is easier to groom who will better her chances at winning. What do you think she’ll do? I’m still rooting for Artist to win!

PJ


Jessica sent home becuase of an “easy” Golden Retriever {Groomer Has It}

May 26, 2008

For the “On the Cover” elimination challenge, groomers found dogs at the Long Beach Recreational Dog Park to model for a chance to be featured on an upcoming cover of Groomer To Groomer magazine. Jessica was sent home this week because she chose a Golden Retriever named Puget who, according to the judges, was “too easy to groom” for a “Western Dog” themed photograph.

Groomer To Groomer magazine features “editorial” cover photographs, and I learned from watching America’s Next Top Model that “editorial” means artsy and fashion-forward. According to eliminated grommer Sarah Grace’s blog, guest judge Emily Willis,Vice President of Creative Services for Groomer To Groomer, “explains that they want to show a professional groom on the cover, but also one that demonstrates creativity.” However, on the Groomer To Groomer web-page, there are two past covers that don’t feature creative cuts (the third is a dog groomed to look like a basketball).

Aside from the winner, Kathleen, whom Artist said her “Circus Dog,” Scruffy, looked like he had been dipped in acid, the judges had negative feedback for everyone. In the end, Jorge squeaked by based on his results in past challenges. Not only did Jorge do a poor job of grooming Chloe, an American Cocker Spaniel, but he appeared to have “walked his dog through paint” according to Jessica. (Personally, I would have selected the Harlequin Great Dane (below left) that was at the dog park for a “Formal Dog” themed photo shoot because his coat had tuxedo colors)

Despite the judges’ criticisms about Jonathan being a poodle-only groomer, Emily Willis liked Jonathan’s “Disco Dog” themed poodle the best, even though the fur resembled a big cloud of blue cotton candy. Jonathan also trimmed the head of his poodle in an attempt to create an afro. (Huh?)

Jasper and Artist put forth the most effort this week: Jasper groomed and painted his Terrier mix to look like a “Super Football Fan,” complete with a “hairy chest and hairy back.” The hairy chest/back feature thoroughly grossed out metro-sexual judge Xavier, but proved that Jasper can be creative. Artist challenged himself by choosing a Briard, a breed of dog he has only seen once in South Central for a “Rock and Roll” themed photo.

I can’t wait for next week because the dogs will judge the groomers (via a pet psychic) to select a winner. This will be a first for Reality TV!

PJ



Artist triumphant in “Chow Time” Challenge {Groomer Has It}

May 18, 2008

I usually don’t react strongly to what’s happening on TV, but I was mortified when Kathleen put a muzzle on Zoro, her Chow Chow, before giving him a bath. How much damage can a dog do when tied up in a washtub? Zoro, who according to the judges had a nice personality, was scared and helpless trying to bat Kathleen away with his front paw. Imagine taking your Chow to Kathleen because she has all this grooming experience, only to later find out she insisted on muzzling your dog because of her “issues.” I hope Kathleen can digest the hunk of humble pie she was served this week.

Chow Chows by nature are one-owner dogs and are very protective. They are are naturally suspicious of strangers, so the groomers’ challenge this week was to remain calm and win over their dogs’ trust. Kathleen, Artist, and Jorge had all been bitten by Chow Chows before. Kathleen and Jorge dealt with this professional shortcoming by not grooming this breed. But Artist said he had to groom 10-12 dogs/cats a day just to pay the bills and to feed him and his son (including “dogs from the pound and three legged cats”). Artist put on his army boots and psyched himself up for the Chow Time Challenge, not even packing a suitcase in case he lost. “Why would I pack if I’m not going home?” he said. Jasper and Artist were selected as the best groomers this week, but it was a confident Artist who prevailed. I thought Jessica deserved to be recognized, but for the fact that she didn’t use her “leg up” prize from her Quick Sniff Challenge win (5 minutes with her Chow’s owner to calm the dog down).

Kathleen and Will ended up at the bottom, and Will was sent home for not grooming the Chow to the breed standards. His dog looked great, but she did not look like a Chow Chow; she looked like “an American Eskimo.” Will made the mistake of thinking that “the haircut varies” and “you pretty much can do whatever you want.”

(Above: American Eskimo dogs)

There were some funny moments, too.

1) Jon and his double entendres: “Kathleen didn’t really know how to use her nuts. Me? I go crazy for nuts all the time.”

2) Poor messenger dog, Nemo, had to watch the groomers bake dog treats in the “only five star dog bakery,” Three Dog Bakery and not be allowed to do a taste test.

3) Jorge’s comment: “How hard can it be to make dog biscuit? A dog eats his own poop, sometimes.”

4) Jessica’s winning dog treat was based on her commitment to her ingredient, cheese.

5) Animal Planet censoring Jessica’s cigarette habit by pix-elating her hand while she was smoking. OK, now the Veterinarian Judge, Karen “Doc” Halligan, had a habit of lifting each Chow Chow’s tail and examining it’s you-know-what. I finally found something worse than second hand smoke. By the way, did you see the look Judge Joey Villani gave her? They can’t stand each other! I’d love to see him pull a Bill O’ Reilly freak out!

Groomer Has It is seeking applications for Season Two. I’m not sure if it’s possible to find another cast as amusing as the current bunch.

PJ


Malissa loses cat fight {Groomer Has It}

May 11, 2008

I really want to like Malissa, but on Groomer Has It this week, she made it difficult for me to take her seriously. After telling us that she knows the difference between stuffed animals and real animals, she actually managed to get “bitten” by a stuffed German Sheppard. Later she said she had a “seventh sense,” realizing later that there are only 5 senses. The worst mistake was cutting off a cat’s whiskers after a judge told the groomers specifically “do not scissor the face or cut the whiskers.” That’s actually a mean thing to do because cats use their whiskers to judge distances. So Malissa went home. It was no contest between Malissa and Artist, who ended up at the bottom because he lost confidence when his cat “boo-booed three times; three times it put chocolate truffles on my table.” Mean Kathleen said that Malissa “is an insult to my gender,” but Kathleen is not impressive when it comes to her interpersonal skills (although she won “best in show” this week for cat grooming). Kathleen impressed the judges by knowing her role in the process: “I am her (the cat’s) servant, I am not her friend.” OK, but I wouldn’t claim cat worshiping as a credit to our gender, either.

What’s the difference between grooming a cat vs a dog? According to Jorge, dogs want to please you, but with a cat, “you have to please them…basically, they’re like a woman; you have to tell them what they want to hear, and they’ll work with you.” Jessica, the resident cat groomer, also had a difficult time with her cat. Earlier Jessica had begun to show claws in her personality, prompting Jorge to say, “I would like to put a muzzle on Jessica.”

Last week I wondered what CPR had to do with dog grooming, but this week I learned that a good groomer needs to know basic animal first aid in case of an emergency. The groomers had some pretty funny things to say before the Quick Sniff Challenge (performing 3 different types of first aid on three different dogs–2 stuffed animals and a CPR dog).

Jon: The CPR dog looked kind of like a stuffed-bear-sloth-creature. It needed a brushing.

Will: That CPR dog was crazy looking…I’m not putting my mouth on that thing, no way girlfriend.

Jorge: I had given a little Yorkie CPR and he had the worst breath.

Artist: You can’t be walking around with your scissors in your hand saying ‘I can give a Continental Cut like nobody’s business’…you’ve got to be solid.

Next week: Chow-Chow Challenge


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