Perhaps some of you are under the impression that reality television is in a rut. Perhaps you think, “Man, no one in reality television has had a good idea in years.” Well, you obviously have not been paying close attention, because a) The Bachelor just aired an episode that featured a group date in which half a dozen bikini-clad women ran screaming from the beach-dwelling wild pigs they were feeding hot dogs to, and b) there is about to be a British reality show that attempts to teach dogs to fly airplanes.
Not joking. From ABC News:
The six-part series begins with a team of dog experts scouring the U.K. countryside in search of rescue dogs with talent, eventually narrowing the field to 12 dogs — each with very different personalities but all with extraordinary intelligence.
From there, the dogs are moved to a mansion in the South East England (sounds “ruff,” eh?), where they are put through specialized training that tests their memory, as well their ability to reason, communicate and solve problems. The top dogs in the class ultimately advance to flight school where they will learn to fly a single engine aircraft.
So, first of all, I should point out that the “sounds ruff” in that blockquote is not the only terrible/terrific dog-based pun in that article. There is also a “given a new ‘leash’ on life” and a “Sounds ‘pawsitively’ awesome” in there, too. This whole story is a gift.
But, more importantly, dogs flying airplanes. The series is called Dogs Might Fly and is set to premiere on SKY1 February 28. An article from last year in The Independent gave more background on the series, explaining that the dogs will be in the cockpit with trained professionals and will be given a series of simple, repeatable tasks to see if one (or more!) of them are capable of controlling a plane. That article also featured a quote from a man named Stanley Coren, who has maybe the greatest title I’ve ever heard, “emeritus professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.”
“I do consider dogs to be intelligent, with the average dog having a mental capacity equivalent to a two-and-a-half-year-old child, and the super dogs (those in the top 20 per cent of canine intelligence) perhaps reaching the equivalence of a human three-year-old.
“Given that we would not expect a human three-year-old to be able to fly a plane, I would not expect that a dog could do so either.”
Three-year-olds can’t fly planes, eh? I smell a spinoff!