Best in Show
(Comedy) ( 2000)
© 2000 by Raymond Weschler
Major Characters Gerry Fleck.....................Eugene Levy A middle aged salesman from Fern City, Florida who has two left feet (literally!) and is obsessed with his dog Winky, a tiny Norwhich Terrier. Cookie Fleck....................Catherine O’ Hara Gerry’s loyal wife who apparently slept with hundreds of men before she met and married Gerry. Hamilton Swan...................Michael Hitchcock A deeply shallow and easily angered Illinois lawyer who loves discussing products such as coffee and the J. Bean shopping catalog. Meg Swan.........................Parker Posey Hamilton’s sexy but completely neurotic wife who is obsessed with making sure their dog, Beatrice, wins the Mayflower Dog show. Sherri...........................Jennifer Coolidge A young lesbian woman who is married to a man 50 years older than she is, who owns a ridiculous poodle named Rhapsody in White. Christy...........................Jane Lynch Sherri’s lesbian partner who is Rhapsody’s trainer and who is determined to make sure she wins the show for the 3rd year in a row. Scott.............................John Michael Higgins A divorced professional dog handler who lives in New York. Stefan............................Michael McKean Scott’s gay partner who owns a hair salon and who is obsessed with all things sexual, and with their Shi Tzu dog, Miss Agnes. Harlan Pepper.....................Christopher Guest A gentle bachelor from Pine Nut, North Carolina, who owns a fishing shop and a bloodhound dog, Hubert. Buck Laughlin.....................Fred Willard The loveable but stupid commentator who knows little about dogs or anything else, but is host of the TV show that covers the dog show. Plot Summary This film is a "mocumentary," or a satire of a documentary, about the various people who come from far away places to enter their dogs in the Mayflower Kennel and Dog Show in Philadelphia. They include four couples, all of them a little bit crazy, and a bachelor, Harlan Pepper, who is the owner of a small fishing shop, and perhaps the most normal of the group. The others include Gerry and Cookie Fleck, a middle aged couple from Florida, Hamilton and Meg, young professional lawyers who are superficial, sex obsessed and bizarre, Scott and Stefan, gay partners from New York, and Sherri and Christy, a lesbian couple (although Sherri is officially married to a man triple her age). All of these dog lovers live completely different lives in completely different places, and many reflect the American subcultures from which they come (for example, Scott and Stefan are liberated gay New Yorkers, while Harlan is from a small conservative town in North Carolina). Yet all of them are part of another subculture, the odd world of professional dog shows, in which dog owners make themselves and their dogs miserable in hopes that they will be named the "Best in Show" (which is to say the most beautiful, well trained and wonderful dog in the competition). And thus while this film is basically about a bunch of people who come to see if their dogs can win the dog show, it is ultimately about the fact that while Americans think they are normal, they are in fact among the strangest people on earth…. The owners, the name of their dogs, and the dog breeds: Gerry and Cookie........Winky................Norwhich Terrier Hamilton and Meg........Beatrice.............Weimaraner Scott and Stefan........Miss Agnes...........Shi Tzu Sherri and Christi......Rhapsody in White....Poodle Harlan Pepper...........Hubert...............Bloodhound Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know America’s craziest dog owners discuss their greatest canine dreams... Kama Sutra An ancient and famous Indian text on the art of sex. It’s called the Congress of the Cow. A completely ridiculous name for a sexual position that is discussed in the Kama Sutra. Come on, honey, mommy and daddy are over here. The most versatile phrasal verb in English, meaning everything from hurry up and be serious, to, as here, please! Just trot him, straight away and back, please. If a horse "trots," it walks fast, though here it used as a transitive verb meaning to walk the dog. This usage is silly and rare. Best of breed. Best winners. Best opposite. A "breed" is a particular animal type. For example, different dog breeds include Collies, Poodles and German Shepherds. Not that I didn’t have a reputation myself, because you know I was considered….to be quite the Casanova myself. Casanova was a famous Frenchman known for having hundreds of lovers. I’ve got the two left feet. :: I thought he was kidding! "To kid" about something is to joke about it or not talk about it seriously. They had a nickname for me; They voted to call me loopy because I would walk in little loops. A "Nickname" is an alternative name that people are given. If a person is "loopy", they are considered a bit odd or strange. To walk in "loops" is to walk in circles. Oh man, you’ve got moves better than Winky. Here, "moves" are types of dance steps. Really, what we’re talking about is standards. A "standard" is a particular level of quality or excellence that is established by tradition or rules Very, very specific, rigid, you could say. If something is "rigid," it is inflexible or not likely to change. The breeds do differ in that, but they’re very very strict and very very pure. A "strict" person is demanding and insists on following rules exactly. You’re average tourist, fisherperson. A ridiculously proper or politically correct way to refer to a fisherman. You sell them this...and all those different flies. In the context of a fishing shop, a "fly" is a type of small hook put on the end of fishing poles that is used to attract and hook the fish. We pick out the pattern for you. A key word that refers to a model or form of the way something should be made or designed. The bloodhound, of all the breeds, is just such a noble, loyal, perfect dog. In this context, a "noble" dog is one that has excellent behavior and perhaps even high moral values. If there was some kind of convict loose, God forbid, he’d be the one to find them. A convict is person convicted of a crime who lives in prison. "God forbid" is an interesting way of expressing the desire that it would be horrible if something happened (In this case, if a convict escaped). We got all fresh cuts today. Top loin, T-bone, blade, tri –tip, chuck. "Fresh cuts" of meat are those that were cut or chopped in the last few hours. The second sentence refers to various types of beef sold at butcher shops. I don’t want to pull the membranes. A "membrane" is a thin soft layer of material that covers various parts of an animal or plant. Get one of those pepperoni sticks; I just want to hold it. A long piece of a type of popular pork that is shaped like a hard penis. I saw Nibs here having his way with a Bozoi. Just totally around that ring like he was born to it, and he was. If you "have your way" with another person, you are able to force them to do whatever you want, or more generally, to dominate them. A "Bozoi" is a type of small dog. The second sentence is Scott’s way of saying that Nibs acted like a natural champion whenever he walked around the ring or stage of the dog show. I’ve never seen anyone as light on his feet. :: Light in his loafers. If a person is "light on their feet," they move quickly and with little effort. "Loafers" are a type of soft shoe that are often worn indoors. He and the Borzoi seemed to have the same prance, like two members of the same body. A "prance" is a way of walking with great spirit or energy. I know a guy who had two members of the same body. :: In your dreams! A silly play on words; A "member" can be either an individual who is part of a particular group, or in some cases, another word for penis. "In your dreams!" is a way of telling a person that what they are hoping for is not realistic. At that time, I was, like, wild man on campus. In this context, a "wild man on campus" is the student who is considered the craziest living on a college campus, often because he is trying to have sex with as many people as possible. Club scene, Mr. club scene here. A slangy way of referring to a person who loves to spend lots of time in night clubs. What a thrill! Really, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! A "thrill" describes anything that causes a sudden feeling of great excitement." "Don’t knock it " is an excellent colloquial expression which means "don’t criticize it." We like the same stuff. A critical word that refers to things in general. It’s the All-American love story. Writ large. An old expression which literally means written large, and that generally refers to anything portrayed in a large or dramatic fashion. On the marquee, big letters; "Us." A permanent canopy or sign, often of metal and glass hung over an entrance to a hotel or theatre. I mean, he still pushes all my buttons. If a person "pushes your buttons," they easily irritate or upset you (though if said in a positive tone, it can mean to sexually excite!). We could talk, or not talk forever, and still find things to not talk about. An amazing description of the marriage between two people who have absolutely nothing in common or nothing to say to each other! I like to come up here and enjoy what I call the solitude of what I call a blank canvas. "Solitude" is the state of being alone, usually in peace and quiet. A "blank canvas" is an all white or empty board before a painter begins to put paint on it. This center will be packed with people. And the roar of the crowd, the energy that this building will exude will be phenomenal. If a place is "packed with" people, it is completely filled with them so that there is no empty space left. The "roar" of a crowd is the loud sound of excitement (A lion roars). "To exude" noise or odor is to ooze out or to cause to let flow out slowly. If something is "phenomenal," it is absolutely amazing, incredible or unbelievable. Let’s face it; Some people have a long drive home. "Let’s face it" is a way of saying that you have to accept unpleasant but true facts about a situation. Beatrice made a pee pee on your sheets and a poopie in your slipper. Two children’s words, the first meaning piss or urine, and the second shit or pooh. I was drinking cappuccinos. Then I went to lattes, and then now, a double expresso mocchiano. Italian names for types of coffee that are popular at Starbucks cafes. I’m a big chai-tea-latte soy milk kind of guy. :: You’re lactose-intolerant now. Chai tea, lattes and soy milk are all trendy drinks served at Starbucks (Note they all function as a long adjective in the sentence above!) And I had my Mac, and then I look over and she’s reading J. Crew. A "Mac" refers to an Apple Macintosh computer, and J. Crew is a well-known brand of clothes sold through a catalog (booklet). That’s so weird, because I was such a huge J. Crew person then, too. "Weird" means bizarre or strange, and "huge" is extremely big (Note in the grammar above, J. Crew functions as an adjective). We’d bring out our L.L. Bean catalog and I’d say "What’s new?" Another brand of clothes sold through a catalog (These clothing catalogs are popular with young professionals with lots of money) You don’t have to deal with people as much. "To deal with" people is to accept, handle or do business with them. The dog isn’t going to talk, but his mind is like a telepathy. "Telepathy" is the act of being able to know what people are thinking even when they are not talking (But note, it is not a count noun!). The judge can pick up on the telepathy...and will sometimes give him the blue ribbon. The blue ribbon is grand prize in the dog show. The tension builds as the owners prepare for the Mayflower Dog Show. What are you going to see when you get to Philly? A short slangy way of referring to the city of Philadelphia. We’re going to see everything. The Liberty Bell. The place where they make the cream cheese. The Liberty Bell is a very famous and historic bell that dates back to the 18th century. "Cream cheese" is a type of food that you spread on toast and muffins, and Philadelphia brand cream cheese is the best known. We’ll cross our fingers for you. If you "cross your fingers," you are hoping that something good will happen or work out well. Jealous?! :: How many years ago did he poke me? "To poke" a person is to gently stab, prod or jab them, often with a finger. Here, though, Cookie is using it as a completely silly verb meaning to have sex with, or more bluntly, to fuck. I have to say that I wanted the best handler and I get what I want. A dog "handler" is the person that trains them to behave well in the dog shows. It was just a kennel until Sherri Ann and Leslie showed up, and their generosity has turned this humble little kennel... :: It was a shit box. A "kennel" is a house or shelter for dogs or cats. If something is "humble," it is simple and not fancy (If a person is humble, they are modest). If something is a "shit box," it is small, poor, or in horrible shape. Vulgar, but useful. They have turned this place into a cutting edge, state of the art kennel facility, and I’m just so grateful to them. If a business or technology is "cutting edge" or "state of the art," it is considered the most modern or advanced that exists. A "facility" is a building that houses a particular organization such as a school or clinic. We had a little bit of a family dynamic going here and it mirrors what I grew up with. A "family dynamic" is a colloquial way of referring to the tensions and complex relationships that exist within a family. If something "mirrors" a situation, it reflects, shows or reveals it, like a mirror. My father was the taskmaster, the disciplinarian, which is what I do. I’m the mommy slash daddy. A "taskmaster" is a person who assigns tasks, duties or obligations to others, and a "disciplinarian" is a person who makes sure that people act correctly and get done what they need to. In this case, "slash" means and, though it refers to the slanted line in----------> Mommy/Daddy. Mr. Punishment. :: Well, I also reward. But Sheri is responsible for the unconditional love. "Mr. Punishment" refers to a person who punishes or penalizes a person (or dog) for bad behavior. "To reward" a person (or dog) is to give them a gift for good behavior. If love is "unconditional," it is given no matter how badly the person (or dog) receiving it behaves. The decorative abilities. :: Exactly, the heart and the soul, which is what my mother did. "Decorative" is a rare adjective that refers to decorating, or the presentation of a house. A person’s "soul" is the non-physical part of them that is supposed to live on after they die. Thanks for checking in on the house. "To check in on" a place is to stop inside to verify that it is in good condition or that it is not being harmed or damaged. Bring home the blue ribbon! The first prize in most dog shows. I think I’m all set, fellas. In this context, if a person is "set," they are ready. "Fellas" is another way of saying guys. You go up there and put some hurt on them Yankee dogs. "Yankee" is a widely used word in the Southern states of the US to refer to people from Northern States (The above sentence is very slangy and in fact "put some hurt" is rarely if ever used). Bon Voyage, Hubert. A common French expression used in English to wish a person a happy vacation. You the dog! If you get tired, pull over! A very slangy (and ungrammatical) expression from the 90s was "You the man," meaning approximately, "You are the most important person." The first sentence is a ridiculous variation. "To pull over" a car is to stop it on the side of a road, often after the police force you to! You can call it a little superstition on my part, but I always like to put up the official curtain, so to speak. A "superstition" is a belief in magic, chance or some other unexplained phenomenon with no physical evidence. "So to speak" is a way of ending sentences when you want an alternative to the choice of words you just used. Really spread the arms, guys, so it doesn’t get dirty. "To spread" your arms is to stretch them as far apart as possible. We’ll make sure everyone has the proper armbands since identifying the dog with the handler is very important, of course. "Proper" is a useful adjective meaning appropriate or correct. An "armband" is a cloth band worn around the upper part of the sleeve that is often used to identify a person. All that anxiety and chaos happens behind the curtains. "Anxiety" is an excellent word for tension, great nervousness or stress. "Chaos" is a complete lack of order, or a state of total confusion. You’ve already packed six kimonos. A type of dress worn in Japan. That used to drive my mother crazy. My Mother used to say "Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts..." "To drive a person crazy" is to make then crazy or insane. Macadamia nut. That’s the one that would send her…going crazy. Red pistachio nut. Two different types of nuts (Harlan is from the city of Pine Nut). What did you do? Did you provoke her? Did you pinch her? "To provoke" a person is to intentionally make them angry, often by saying something offensive. "To pinch" a person is to squeeze a part of their body between your thumb and finger. You just get walking buddy, right now. A common alternative to friend or pal. I’ll file a personal assault charge against you so fast your head will spin. In law, if you file a "personal assault charge" against somebody, you are officially accusing them of having physically attacked or threatened you. "To spin" is to move around in circles (and thus if you’re head is spinning, you are probably completely confused or stunned). Put a muzzle on that thing! A "muzzle" is a device that is put on the mouth of a dog to prevent it from biting (It can also be put on the mouths of certain politicians). Oh my God, what a dump! A widely used colloquial word for an apartment, house or other building that is in extremely poor shape, or perhaps just dirty or filthy. If you live in skid row... The poorest street in many cities, where the homeless often live. I’m getting heart palpitations. "Heart palpitations" are heart beats that are much stronger and quicker than usual, and that can be scary for those people who get them. Jerry, Max is so history! This is a very slangy way to say that the person being discussed is no longer important and was only important in the distant past. He’s a sweet boy. He’s fuzzy. A "fuzzy" dog has lots of fur, usually made of fine particles or fibers. The dogs and their owners head for Philadelphia, and Gerry and Cookie have a particularly difficult time both getting there and afterward. We feel a lot of excitement when the Mayflower dog show comes through and we see a lot of familiar faces, canine and human alike. If a show "comes through" a town, it takes place there before moving on to other cities (though in this case it actually only happened in Philadelphia). "Canine" is the official adjective that means dog-like. The key to welcoming animals into a hotel is to maintain a certain level of hygiene and that’s what this room is about. "To maintain" is to preserve or keep in an existing state of quality. "Hygiene" is an important word that refers to basic cleanliness. We’re pretty well supplied here for any kind of contingency. If a place is "well supplied," it has plenty of the goods or products it is supposed to have. A "contingency" is any reasonably possible set of events that may happen in the future. This is a good product that doesn’t have a lot of odor, for your small stains, small dogs, Pomeranian, tea-cup poodle, what have you. A "stain" is a soiled, dirty or discolored spot, usually on clothes after you have spilled something on them. "What have you" is a colloquial way of ending a sentence when you want to say "whatever other types I can’t think of now" (The Pomeranian and poodle are dog breeds). Your bigger dog, your great Dane, your bull massif, rottweiler, you need to up the ante a little bit. "To up the ante" is to invest or risk more (It’s an expression that is used in poker, though here it is used to mean invest in more powerful detergents for the type of bigger dogs listed above). For the big critters, the big stains, sometimes you need the nuclear weaponry, the sodium hydrochloride. A "critter" is a funny word for an animal, and "sodium hydrochloride" is apparently a very powerful cleaner that can clean the poop (shit) of the world’s biggest dogs. Roasting a goat in the room, I still to this day don’t understand. "To roast" meat is to cook it slowly over a fire Getting the smell of the cumin and charcoal out of the drapes was a chore on to itself. That was a big deal. "Cumin" is a type of spice and "charcoal" are small pieces of black coal that are used for barbecues. "Drapes" are curtains, a "chore" is a task or small job that needs to be done. If something is "a big deal," it is either very important, or in this case, the cause of a lot of problems. A Parachuter. :: Don’t call that a doll; It’s an action figure. A "parachute" is a device that allows a person to jump from a plane and float down slowly to the ground. An "action figure" is a masculine expression used by boys who don’t want to admit that they actually own a lot of dolls. You got that right! A very slangy way of saying "I completely agree with you." I’m the chief hostage negotiator for the Akron and tri-county area. The "chief hostage negotiator" for a city is the person responsible for trying to convince kidnappers and terrorists to release or liberate the people that they are holding captive against their will. Akron is a major city in Ohio, and the "tri-country" area refers to the three counties that are in the general Akron area (A County is a the largest political or territorial division within a state). I talk people down. Whenever they’re on a big tall building, they call me. "To talk a person down" is to clam them down, or in this case, to try and prevent them from committing suicide. It’s a little secret from the trade. They all jump. A "trade" is a word that refers to a general profession or area of business (In this case, the community of hostage negotiators). Today we had a tough one. There’s a guy, he jumps. That doesn’t bother me. It happens all the time. If a situation is "tough," it is hard or difficult. He hit a gargoyle on the way down. A fountain or statue on the side of a building that is in the form of a disgusting human face. The head pops off like a grape...and the body spins down like whirligig. If something "pops off," it jumps loose from what was holding it. A "whirligig" is a small child’s toy that spins around in a circle. Everything pops out; It’s like a pinanta. The intestines, like they’re spring-loaded. A "pinanata" is a Spanish word for a toy animal that is filled with candy that children try to break open with a stick at parties. "Intestines" are the guts found in your stomach, and if something is "spring-loaded," it is wound tightly on a spring so that when it is released, it pops out or explodes with great force. I forgot to compliment you on your luscious melon breasts tonight. If something is "luscious," it is delicious or even sexually attractive. A "melon" is a type of large delicious fruit. What the hell are you talking about? A common filler added to WH questions to express anger, frustration or other emotion. Please, this is what I do. I’ll gorge your left eye out with my thumb. I shit you not, you freak! I’m going to punch you in the eye ’til it turns to jelly. "To gorge a person’s eye out" is to violently remove it by scraping it out of it’s socket! "I shit you not" is a ridiculous but fun way of saying "I am not lying." A "freak" is a completely strange or abnormal person (either physically or emotionally). Note that "until"----> "’til" in rapid speech. "Jelly" is a soft form of fruit preservative that moves or jiggles easily. Don’t challenge him! :: I’ll stab you with forks ’til you bleed. How about that? In this context, "to challenge" a person is to physically confront them and demand something be done. "How about that?" is a way of asking what a person thinks of something. How about the chubby lady? That’s easier to say. A good alternative to a bit overweight, plump or tubby. The doorman’s approximately cute. :: The Mediterranean type. In this grammatical context, "approximately" is a totally ridiculous way of saying sort of. If a person is a "Mediterranean type," they look like a person from a country by the Mediterranean Sea. I’ll say. You gotta trim their nose hair. "To trim" a person’s hair is to cut just a little bit of it off. (Note that "have got to"-----> "gotta" in rapid speech. We have you down for a queen. :: What are you suggesting? An interesting play on words; A "queen" can refer to the size of a bed (or in a hotel, the rooms that have a queen-sized bed), and it can also be a slang word for a gay man! A lot of them here in the lobby. A "lobby" is a large entrance area, hallway or waiting room. It’s ShowTime, baby. "ShowTime" is both the time when a show or game begins and a slangy word for any time that contains much excitement in front of an audience. For some people, "baby" is a much used way of addressing certain people. They’re having spring rolls. A popular Asian food that is usually made with vegetables or meat that is put inside circular fried dough. Butch? Isn’t Butch a bitch? A funny play on words; A "bitch" is both a mean or abusive woman, and any female dog! Rhapsody in White. A truly stupid dog name ("Rhapsody" means great emotion). What’s with the little plumber-butt thing happening on the hip? "Plumber-butt" is a silly and rare slang term to refer to those people who wear their pants so low that the crack of their butt shows (Note the use of the word thing, which is common but slangy and silly). These pom poms are keeping Butch’s hips warm from the cold water. "Pom poms" are any colorful or fluffy balls, often used by cheerleaders who cheer on football teams from the side of a field. And the drumette things? :: Those act as flippers. A "drumette" is a small piece of chicken wing, and a "flipper" is a small flat board that is used for swimming (certain fish have flippers). A super drive. Put a few clicks on the old odometer. A "click" is a slight noise, often made by the movement of a mechanical device. An "odometer" is the instrument in a car that says how many miles it has driven. It stayed overcast through Virginia. An important word to describe days when the sky is covered by clouds. Just give it a rub. :: Yeah, check the strip. A "rub" is a gentle stroking or touching, and the "strip" is a long, narrow piece of material (or here, the part of a credit card that gives information to the credit card machine). Yeah, let me give them a ring. A colloquial way of saying to telephone a person. They’re off our backs, but this... If an organization is "off your back," they are no longer bothering you. She’s not a forgetful person. A good adjective for a person who’s always forgetting important things. That’s bull! A short and less vulgar version of bullshit. Both words mean lies, half-truths or nonsense. You’d be refunded a substantial portion of that on check-out. "To be refunded" money is to be given it back after you’ve already paid it. A "substantial portion" of something is a big percentage or part of it. Butch has a light in her eyes that says it’s ShowTime. This is Christy’s ridiculous way of saying her dog knows when the show is about to begin. This party is our pre-show ritual for the Mayflower. A "ritual" is a ceremony or religious or social observance that has often been done for generations (or at least a long time). We just did the official toast...and when the ice sculpture melts all the way down, the party’s over. A "toast" is an official proposal or drink that is made in honor of a person. An "ice sculpture" is a statue that is made of ice. This year we’re adding a new element to this pre-show ritual---Sheri will do my makeup. In this case, an "element" is an ingredient or feature. "Makeup" is another word for cosmetics (for a person’s face). She’s the epitome of glamour. If a person is the "epitome" of something, they are the perfect example of it. "Glamour" is great beauty, grace and style. We’ll bring in a cot and make it a little comfy for you. A "cot" is a portable bed made of thin fabric placed on a frame. Two flights’s a lobby bathroom. A "flight" of stairs are the steps between two floors. It’s stocked with paper towels and toilet tissue and so forth. "And so forth" is one way of saying "and things like that." You’ll be able to freshen up in there. "To freshen up" means to clean up or wash one’s face. Just say "utility closet"? A "utility closet" is a room, usually in a public building like a school or hotel, that stores cleaning equipment and other types of tools. I’ll alert the staff to your presence here. "To alert" a person of something is to warn or tell them. The "staff" of a hotel are the people who work there. The charcoal one from Saks. In this case, "charcoal" is a brown color, and Saks is a famous clothing and department store that is much loved by rich people. It’s breathing now, but it will be hot down there. And this Merlot looks good with the gray. If clothes "breath," this means they are airy and comfortable, though this is rarely used. "Merlot" is a type of red color, like red wine. More gouda, honey? A popular type of mild, fatty Dutch cheese. Malcolm, what’s shaking? A ridiculously slangy way to ask a person what’s happening or new. I banged a lot of waitresses in my day, but you were the best by far. A completely ridiculous slang word meaning to have sex with, or more crudely, to fuck. To see Butch here with the crown on. It’s so cute! A "crown" is a band or ornament for the head worn by a king, or any grand prize for being the best at a particular sport or activity. She winked at me! :: You little flirt. "To wink" at a person is to shut one eye briefly as a sign of romantic interest or teasing. A "flirt" is a person who likes to show casual romantic interest in another person, usually in a playful manner. It’s up to her. It’s in her hands. If a job or project is "up to you," or "in your hands," you are the one who is responsible for making sure that it is completed. Some people think if you’re on a small creek, on a small body of water, you have to use a small fly. A "creek" is a small body of water like a stream. In a fishing context, a "fly" is a metal hook used to attract and trap fish, placed at the end of a fishing pole. Many people think you have to go with…maybe an egg-sucking leech, which I’ve never had any luck with myself. A "leech" is a type of blood sucking worm, and apparently one of many types of flys for fishing. Stephan, this is my "euphemism." A "euphemism" is a gentle or polite word used for a more direct word (such as pass away instead of die, or in the case of gay male couples, partner instead of boyfriend). Six months working with leather and red thread. "Thread" is the thin textile fiber that is used to sew clothes. You must be very proud, Mary. :: Good baby-boomer gag! A "baby-boomer" is an American born between about 1946 and 1964. A "gag" is a joke or funny action ("Proud Mary" is the name of a famous song from the 1960s). Good heavens. :: Mr. hip. "Good heavens" is a gentle way of expressing emotion such as surprise or fear. A "hip" person is fashionable, or more colloquially, cool. Gotcha! A short and common way of saying "I got you." You’re quick enough on the draw. :: I’ll say. If a person is "quick on the draw," they respond very quickly and usually very cleverly to what has just been said. "I’ll say" is a way of saying "I completely agree." Thank you, Mr. handy man. A "handy man" is a person who is skilled at doing lots of practical things, like fixing the plumbing or electricity, or building furniture. Did you eat the pate? Did he go poop? "Pate" is a type of duck liver that is popular in France. "Poop" is a child’s work for shit (when you go to the toilet). The Mayflower Dog Show starts, and Meg and Hamilton faces a horrible crisis as Beatrice loses her toy. Live from the Bayman Center in Philadelphia…. If a TV show is "live," it is being broadcast at the moment it actually happens, and not taped for later. The city of brotherly love is aglow tonight! 3,000 dogs competing for best in show! Philadelphia is known as "the city of brotherly love." If something is "aglow," it is shining or glowing with warmth and excitement. Bushy coats and coats so silky they look like they were spun by a giant spider. If an animal has a "bushy coat," it has a lot of warm fur. If something is "silky," it is smooth and covered with fine soft hairs, like silk. Note that spiders "spin" their webs, and the past tense of this verb is spun. They come to the Mayflower with their crates, their kibble and their cookies, and most importantly, the will to win that only a fellow dog can appreciate. A "crate" is an open box made with a wood frame, and "kibble" is a type of finely cut grain for animals. "The will" to do something is the desire or determination to do it. As an adjective "fellow" means a companion or member of the same group. A book about basic obedience training for dogs. As you know, I have a franchise of schools around the country. :: So this is right down your alley! In this case, "obedience training" is the act of teaching a dog to obey the commands of their owners. A "franchise" is an individually owned business that has the right to use the name of a larger business (such as McDonalds). If something is "right down your alley," it is something that you know well or have a lot of experience with. It was all going well until they spilled hot candle wax on my private parts. I’m just kidding. "To spill" a liquid is to accidentally let it pour out of a container. "Private parts" are a silly way of referring to a person’s sex organs. She’s Miss America. :: Come on, I’m trying to groom her. "To groom" a dog is to brush and clean it so it looks as good as possible. She’s feeling cuffed. Feeling full of herself. If a person (or dog) feels "cuffed," they feel restrained or held back, but this is rarely used. If a person feels "full of herself," she feels extremely confident, like she’s the best (Dogs probably never really feel this way!). She’s freaking out! "To freak out" is to become extremely nervous or upset. A common, fun and useful phrasal verb. You get the busy bee. I need to trim her whiskers. Here, the "busy bee" is Beatrice’s doll. "To trim" is to cut hair slightly, and "whiskers" are the hairs that grow near the mouths of an animal. God, Hamilton, if she doesn’t got her toy, she’s gonna flip out. An alternative to freak out; To become very nervous or upset. Don’t look at the fat-ass losers or freaks! Look at me! "Fat-ass" is a cruel and ridiculous adjective. A "freak" is a good word for an extremely strangle looking or unusual person. The first category is the hound group…. The hound group can be divided into two groups---sight and scent. A "category" is a class or division within a larger group. "Scent" is the sense of smell. She is really giving them a thorough going-over. Are all judges that thorough? "Thorough" is a strong adjective meaning complete or total. To give a dog a "going-over" is to study or look at them very carefully. It’s very important that all attributes are examined. An "attribute" is a feature, quality or characteristic. She’s just checking out the dog’s testicular area to make sure everything’s in tact. "Testicular" is the adjective for testicles, or more colloquially, the dog’s balls. If something is "in tact," it is in good shape and not damaged. I’d hate to go out on a date with Judge Edie Franklin and have her judge me. "To judge" a person is to decide what you think of them. What’s the point of that? What are they looking for? :: For the dog’s gait and movement, to see the small angles. "What’s the point of that?" is a direct way of asking "Why are they doing that?" A dog’s "gait" is the way or style in which it walks. That’s a blood hound, isn’t’ it? :: I think this is a tremendous dog. A powerful adjective meaning excellent or outstanding. I think it may be a tad immature for this year. :: Try to get some play time in. "Tad" is a useful adverb meaning a bit, slight or just. Just an idea off the top of my head; Why didn’t he put on one of those Sherlock Holmes hats and put a pipe in his mouth? If you express an idea "just off the top of your head," it’s an idea you just thought of and haven’t really thought about (The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is famous for having a blood hound with a hat and pipe, but this is a completely silly thing to say at a dog show). I think it would really get the crowd going. "To get a crowd going" is to get them excited. I’d get a kick out of it. "To get a kick out of" something is to really enjoy it. On a football team, which would be your wide receiver and which would be your tight end? Two positions in American football, and neither likely to be played by any kind of dog! Is there anything the handler of a dog can do now to sway the judges? "To sway" a judge is to influence them or try and change their opinion. That’s an upset. The rookie came through. In sports, an "upset" is when the player who most thought would lose actually wins. A "rookie" is a person who is playing for the first time. Here, "to come through" is to succeed or achieve what you wanted to. You call yourself a maid! I know people at the INS! The Immigration and Naturalization Service, the federal government department which makes life miserable for many foreigners in the US. They will come in a van and they will pick you up and they will take you back to where you come from! A "van" is a type of large car that has lots of space for transporting lots of people or equipment. You’re too agitated over a dog toy. If a person is "agitated," they are very upset or disturbed. What are you? Are you a wizard?! A genius? A very wise or smart man, who is often skilled in magic. I feel like I can say "why don’t we skip to the chase here, and just give me the cup and I’ll be on my way." "To skip to the chase" is a colloquial way of saying to go directly to the action or event rather than wasting time preparing for it. In this context, a "cup" is the award or prize for having won a contest. There’s so many variables that I just can’t control. A "variable" is anything that is not presently known that may effect something in the future. It was a little over the top. It looked freakish. So I took it off. If something is "over the top," it is considered too extreme or strange. If something is "freakish," it is very bizarre or odd, like a freak. You’re going to have to just let this go, OK? In this case, "to let go" of something is to forget about it or accept it, even if you really don’t want to. It’s time for the toys, and they’re well named. It looks like every one of them could be wound up. In the world of dog shows, "toys" are various types of tiny dogs. "To wind up" a toy or watch (or dog!) is to turn a device forward that will give it power (the past participle is wound up). It’s wonderful, the character you see in these dogs. Here, "character" is used to mean moral excellence or perhaps honor. They’re crowd pleasers. Anything that is very well liked by an audience. He’s got his hands full. "He has a lot of responsibilities." He slobbers a lot. He’s a slobberpuss. :: He’s gorgeous. If a dog (or person) "slobbers," they let flow a lot of saliva from their mouths (Slobberpuss is a nickname for a dog that slobbers a lot). If a person (or dog) is "gorgeous," they are very beautiful. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite in this category. The Shi Tzu is a terrific dog. If you are "hard pressed" to do something, it’s difficult for you to do it. "Terrific" is an excellent alternative adjective to great or fantastic (Shi Tzus are tiny dogs the size of rats, and are certainly not terrific!). You don’t play around with that name. It doesn’t come trippingly off the tongue. If something "comes off the tongue" easily, it is easy to pronounce ("Trippingly," as in to trip, is never really used as an adverb) "Stewardess, can I take a Shi Tzu on my carry on or does it have to be stowed?" A "carry on" piece of luggage is one that you can take on the plane. "To stow" luggage is to store it, usually in a large luggage container. He’s known as a deliberate judge. A rare adjective that means one who thinks slowly and carefully. An interesting side note; He trained to be a priest, was in the seminary. A "side note" is a comment related to a person you’re talking about, but not related to the actual subject (In this case, the dog show). A "seminary" is a school where people learn to become Catholic priests. They are a playful bunch, aren’t they? A good word for a group. No, the pom broke his gait. He might as well have taken a dump. A "pom" is a any type of fluffy ball, and a dog’s "gait" is its way of walking. "To take a dump" is a crude but common way of saying to poop, shit, go to the toilet, or more clinically, to defecate. I was amazed she finished out of the money. If a dog finishes "out of the money," it was not even in the top three. First in group. Best in show coming up! She’s like group, schmoup, bring on the formal ware. This is Stefan’s ridiculous way of saying the toy group competition is not important compared to the entire show competition (People will often rhyme one real word with a non-existent word to imply the real word is not important (Formal ware refers to expensive clothes). Bath balm. A type of healing ointment or soap that is used to relax. It’s furry, and about this big. It’s a bumble bee with stripes on it. If something is "furry," it has lots of fine hair on it. A "stripe" is a long narrow piece of cloth. It’s about this big and it squeaks in the middle. If a toy "squeaks," it makes a high sound like a bird. The dog will respond to the stripes and it’s reminiscent of a bumble bee. :: That’s a parrot. "Reminiscent" means similar to, or like. A "parrot" is a type of bird that can sometimes talk. Beatrice cracks under the pressure, but Miss Agnes, Winky, Rhapsody in White and Hubert all move on to compete for Best in Show! Could you find a happier, happy-to-know-you kind of attitude? Note the use of "happy-to-know-you" as an adjective, showing that almost any words can be put together in order to become adjectival. They’re very frisky, very playful...and to think in some countries, these dogs are eaten! "Frisky" is an excellent adjective meaning lively, energetic and playful. The miniature schnauzer. How do they make them miniature? A tiny type of dog ("Miniature" means very small, or on a small scale, and to "miniaturize" something means to greatly reduce it in size). What the devil is going on? :: It’s breeding. They breed them small. "The devil" is a rare filler to WH questions that expresses emotion such as surprise or frustration ("the hell" is much more common). "To breed" animals is to arrange for them to reproduce sexually under controlled conditions. Women bathing their dogs with the cutoff jeans and the soap. Let your imagination run wild. "Cutoff jeans" are popular pants that are cut short. The second sentence is a common way of telling a person to imagine all the possibilities. Get the Mayflower Kennel Club behind it and you’ll make a few bucks. If an organizations "gets behind" an idea or proposal, they agree to support it, often by giving money. A "buck" is a very common slang word for a dollar. "Doing it Doggy Style." You come up with that; I’m not the literary guy. "Doggy style" is a sexual position in which a couple have sex the way dogs do. "To come up" with an idea is to make or create it. "Literary" is an adjective that refers to books, articles or other types of writing. It’s a rooster or something. A male adult bird or fowl, found on most farms. Don’t spit at me! :: Don’t yell at me! "To spit" at a person is to hurl saliva from your mouth at them, and "to yell" at a person is to scream at them. I’m just kidding the doctor; He’s not that kind of doctor. Note that a person who has a Ph.D. degree is officially a doctor, though when people think of doctors, they usually think of medical doctors. Mayflower combined with Philadelphia, no-brainer right? An excellent slang expression for an idea that is so obviously correct that you don’t really need to think about it (In reality, the Mayflower was the ship that landed with the pilgrims in 1620 in Massachusetts, nowhere near Philadelphia!) Not so; it turns out that Columbus actually set foot somewhere down in the West Indies. Little known fact. Here, "turns out" means unexpectedly happened (In fact, it is well known Columbus landed in the West Indies, in the Caribbean Sea). How does the name Mayflower get up to the Quaker City? Philadelphia is sometimes known as this because there were many Quakers, who are from a small branch of Christianity that lived there. These are the sporting dogs. These are the athletes. These are the jocks of the dog world, wouldn’t you say? A "jock" is a common slang word for a good athlete. I’m sorry. We’re dismissing you. "To dismiss" a person (or dog) from a show is to kick them out. I guess she’s giving him the old heave-ho. "To give the old heave-ho" to somebody is to fire them or physically get rid of them ("To heave" is to forcefully throw). Just get away from me, you goddamn asshole! A vulgar insult word like bastard, jerk, son of a bitch, creep, etc. He’s still a champion, even though he’s sent off in disgrace. Like Shoeless Joe Jackson. If a person is "sent off in disgrace," they are told to leave because they have done something that everyone thinks is shameful (Shoeless Joe Jackson is a famous baseball player who was caught trying to fix the 1919 baseball World Series in order to make money on gambling). He’s out of the leagues, but we still talk about him today. A "league" is a group of teams in a sport. I’d like an extra large bucket of popcorn, half butter half salt. A "bucket" is a container for anything from popcorn to nails. I wouldn’t normally just be out here pigging out...but there’s a lot at stake. "To pig out" is a slangy and common way of saying to eat a lot of food. If there is a lot "at stake" in a situation, there is a lot at risk that could be won or lost. My nervousness is rubbing off on Leslie. If an emotion "rubs off" on another person, they start to get it. I feel like I need to really listen to my inner instinct. A person’s instinct is a natural talent, thought process or attitude that they’re born with or that they develop subconsciously from experience (In psychology, some say that you have an inner child). Oh God, look at the Keeshound. Is that hideous? "Hideous" is a powerful adjective meaning disgusting or horrible. She looks like a cocktail waitress on an oil rig. An "oil rig" is the large machine that pumps oil out of the ground. She tries to be so self-possessed, but look at the terror in her face. If a person is "self-possessed," they are calm and confident. "Terror" is a state of intense fear or panic. A highly respected judge often tends to go on personality. If a judge "tends to go on" personality, they consider it the most important feature (as opposed to, for example, looks or skill). Look at her handler. That is one happy fella! Note that "fella" is a word for guy, not girl. All right, Trevor Beckwith. It all comes down to this. They’re going for all the marbles. The best in show! If a contest "all comes down to this," then the final outcome of the contest will be determined in these next few moments. "To go for all the marbles" is a very slangy way of saying to try and win the entire thing (A marble is a small polished round ball). It’s the bottom of the 9th inning. It’s the goal line stand. In baseball, "the bottom of the 9th inning" is the end of the game, and in American football, a "goal line stand" is a desperate attempt to block the offensive team from scoring just before the goal or end zone. After all the grooming, the petting, the kibbles, the liver snaps. Your opinion, your feedback? "Kibbles" are a type of ground meal for animals, and liver snaps are a type of dog snack flavored like liver. The best of the best. The crème de la crème. A French expression occasionally used in English which means the best of the best (or literally, the cream of the cream). I’m as calm as a cucumber, OK? A strange but still used expression which means very calm. Knock’ em dead! A slangy way to tell a person in a game to go out and do their very best. Oh no, your knee is all messed up. If something is "messed up," it is broken or in poor condition. Can we get a medic? A doctor or any person engaged in medical work. You have a concussion. You’re not making any sense. A hard blow or injury to the brain that can effect thinking abilities. Do you think they know the championship’s on the line? If a championship or prize is "on the line," it is being fought for at that very moment. Look at that magnificent dog. A powerful adjective meaning excellent or outstanding. The picking up the track of the pointer. If one dog "picks up the track" of another, it’s smelling where that other dog has been (A pointer is a type of dog). And they’re strutting their stuff, too. If a person (or dog) "struts their stuff," they are walking around in an overly confident manner, showing off their skills or looks. Boy, this is thrilling. The bottom of the 9th and a pinch-hitter comes in. If something’s "thrilling," it’s very exciting. In baseball, a "pinch-hitter" is a player who hits for another, who has been taken out of the game. Am I nuts...or is something wrong with his feet? "Nuts" is a good slang word for crazy or insane. Go get him, pal. Man! "Pal" is another word for friend or buddy, and "man" is often used as a filler word to express excitement or other emotion (All of this is Buck’s way of encouraging Gerry to go out and do his best despite his left feet). Scott is prancing along with that dog, and look at that outfit. "To prance along" is to walk with great energy or spirit. An "outfit" is a set of clothes (for example, pants and shirt) that are often worn for a particular occasion, such as a party. This may be a little off the path; How much weight do you think I can bench-press? In this case, if something is "off the path," it has nothing to do with what was just being discussed. To "bench-press" is to lift metal weights up above your chest, as an exercise for muscle-building. 315 pounds. I was in top shape. If a person is in "top shape," they are in excellent physical condition. We’re all set to go here. Oh boy, oh boy! If you are "all set to go," you are ready to start. "Oh boy" is a common way of expressing excitement or other emotion. This is like the World Series. You got the best umpires out there. The "World Series" is the championship games of professional baseball. "Umpires" are officials who rule on plays in baseball. Can a dog win it or lose it in this last round, or has the judge made up his mind? Oh good heavens, no. In a contest or sport, a "round" is a specific division or unit of action. "Good heavens" is an interesting way of expressing surprise. It’s apples and oranges. Different breeds. If two things being compared are "apples and oranges," they are not really comparable because they are completely different types of things. It’s a gut reaction on some level. A "gut reaction" is usually an emotional or intuitive response to something, before the person has time to think about it logically (A person’s "guts" are the intestines in their stomach). "On some level" means in a certain way. These are all superb animals. :: Very subjective, then. If an animal is "superb," it is excellent or outstanding. If a thought is "subjective," it is a personal opinion (rather than an objective fact that all can would agree is true). It’s a very difficult task to pick? A small job or responsibility that needs to be done. Does money ever exchange hands under the table? :: Good lord, no. If something is done "under the table," it is illegal or immoral and done in secret. "Good lord" is a way of expressing surprise or shock. I don’t want you to stick your neck out. If a person "sticks their neck out," they do something that is very risky (in this case, admitting there is cheating at the show). I don’t think I could ever get used to being probed and prodded. If an animal (or person) is "probed and prodded," they are physically examined, usually with fingers or devices that poke, in order to feel all parts of the body. Not pleasant. I told my proctologist once, "Why don’t you take me out to dinner and a movie sometime?" A doctor who treats diseases of the anus (asshole) and colon. Do they all bark the same? :: Different dogs have different intonations and tones. A "bark" is the sound that dogs make. An "intonation" is the manner of speech that suggests emotion, and "tones" are sound qualities that are measured by whether the sound is rising or falling. The countries and the boundaries don’t make any difference? A "boundary" is another word for border. They don’t do the basic, sit up, roll over, fetch, heel. If a dog "fetches" a paper, it goes and brings it back to its owner. When a dog "heels," it stops and sits. Are you just judging by how well a dog is groomed? "To groom" a dog is to brush and clean it to make it look as pretty as possible. These dogs are pampered and petted and all in top physical condition. "To pamper" an animal (or person) is to spoil them or treat them with excessive care. This is the prime. You won’t see finer specimens than these seven dogs. "Prime" is an official word for best quality. In this case, "fine" means excellent, and a "specimen" is an example of a particular group or division of animals or plants. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. A common expression; "I wouldn’t want to be in his situation." Look at the size of that! I’ve taken sponge baths in smaller bowels! A "sponge bath" is a bath taken with a sponge, which is the material often used to clean dishes that absorbs water easily. This really is the defining moment of the competition. The "defining moment" of a show or competition is the most critical or important moment, usually because it leads to the final result. The winners and losers reflect back on the most important event in their very strange and varied lives. We were big! Everything just broke loose like a cannon. In this case, to "break loose" means to happen very quickly, or in a dramatic fashion. A "cannon" is a large heavy gun that fires explosives. Bow-wow. The sound of a barking dog. Does this ring a bell? "I’m not wearing underwear!" If something "rings a bell," it sounds familiar. Bulge?! Get out of town! A completely ridiculous and slangy way to express disbelief or great surprise. You’ve grown! :: I’m growing right now, just looking at you. A silly play on words; Both a person and a penis can grow bigger. That is the one and only time I’ve ever done it in a roller coaster. The scary rides at amusement parks in which carts holding people travel extremely quickly up and down steel tracks. We didn’t win at Mayflower, which is surreal and extremely disturbing. If something was "surreal," it is so strange that it doesn’t seem like it really happened. If something is "disturbing," it is upsetting. It was devastating. But the silver lining of this cloud, of course, is that it brought us to a new level in our relationship. "Devastating" is a powerful adjective that means completely destructive or causing total chaos or harm. "The silver lining of a cloud" refers to the good that could result from something that at first appears all negative. If a relationship reaches "a new level," it probably means the couple have become closer or more intimate. American Bitch: The dog magazine for lesbians and their dogs. Remember, a "bitch" is both a vulgar word for a mean or abusive woman and any female dog. Regardless, this is a truly stupid name for a magazine. A "lesbian" is a female homosexual. It focuses on the issues of the lesbian pure breed dog owner. "To focus" on an issue or topic is to concentrate on it. If a dog is "pure breed," it is 100% of a single type or breed, such as pure poodle (A dog that is a mixed breed is called a mutt). We’re on our third issue. An "issue" of a magazine is a copy or edition for a specific date. Sherri Ann is the inspiration and I do the grunt work, the details. "Inspiration" is anything that emotionally moves or encourages people to take a specific action. "Grunt work" refers to the small details and physical tasks of a project that few people ever notice are being done. She’s generous. She’s sweet. :: And vice versa. A Latin expression that means in the opposite order (though here Sherri is not using the phrase correctly). As it turns out, she’s dynamite in the sack. :: Likewise, I’m sure. "As it turns out" basically means "Although it was unexpected..." If a person is "dynamite in the sack," they are sexually talented. "Likewise" is Sherri’s awkward way of saying "you, too." After the dog show, I was on an El AL flight to Haifa faster than a walnut could roll off a hen house roof. El Al is the national airline of Israel. A "hen house" is a small shed for chickens. This is Harlan’s typically ridiculous way of speaking. I spent about three weeks on a kibbutz just mellowing out. A "kibbutz" is a type of small farming community in Israel. "To mellow out" is a very slangy way of saying to relax and do nothing. I’ve been working pretty hard mastering the art of ventriloquism, which is an ancient art. "To master" a skill is to become an expert at it. "Ventriloquism" is the art of giving voice to puppets without ever moving your own lips. I enjoy being able to put people in another dimension, so to speak. "Dimension" is a general word for a point in time and space, and "so to speak" is a way of admitting that the words just chosen are a bit strange or not clear (This is Harlan’s way of saying he likes to make people think they are in a different or magical place). I only have five hours :: Hold your horses! A fascinating expression that simply means be patient or slow down! If we could give the money to Shi Tzu rescue. :: They have plenty of money. Note that many dog breeds have organizations that are dedicated to saving (rescuing) them from life on the streets. "Plenty" means a lot. What Shi Tzu is straggling along the street with an old coat saying "Alms for the poor?" like the little match girl? "To straggle along" is to move slowly with little energy. "Alms" is an old word for charity or money for the needy. Our sex life is finally back on track. If something is "back on track," it is working normally again after having been damaged or broken. Talk about a winner! A colloquial way of emphasizing how obvious something is. What we went through, huh? It was horrible! "To go through" a horrible time is to experience it and survive it.
Best in Show Possible Topics for ESL Class Discussion
1. After seeing this film, do you think Americans are more or less bizarre than people from your own country? 2. Would you ever enter your dog in a dog show? 3. What are the various American subcultures that are depicted in this film? 4. Which character was the most neurotic? 5. What subcultures in your country would make a good subject for a "mockumentary"? 6. Are dogs as important in your country as they are in America? 7. Which are better; Cats or dogs?