Cute animals steal the show at PBS's Press Tour
Heading into the Cranky Phase of a TV Press Tour, smart network executives begin to bring out toys with which to distract grouchy TV critics.
Small adorable animals, for instance.
Clever PBS brought a lemur, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, and a Chihuahua to the tour Thursday. The first two were charged with helping to promote PBS's new animated kids show "Wild Kratts," from Chris and Martin Kratt -- the same guys who brought your kids the PBS series "Zoboomafoo."
Critics were never properly introduced to the lemur, who took it personally and spent the first few minutes of the Q&A session trying to remove himself from the room by making repeated runs at Martin's shoulder.
After a few unfruitful bids at escape, the lemur, a realist, decided it was a non-starter, what with being on a leash, and spent the rest of the session sitting on the stage at Martin's feet, his back turned to the critics to let them know what he thought of them, thinking dark thoughts about Press Tour. Occasionally the lemur's curiosity would get the better of him and he'd make a dash at climbing up inside the leg of Martin's cargo shorts.
Boris, the prehensile-tailed porcupine, had better luck -- he was paired with Chris, who had a stash of snacks.
But Boris was equally unimpressed with the critics, and he and Chris did not see eye to eye on what was his role in the Q&A session. And for maybe the first time in Press Tour history, an animal was able to convey in no uncertain terms how he felt about being there, by leaving lots of sharp quills in Chris's chest and neck. Chris, finally figuring out Boris meant business, deposited the porcupine on a chair. Boris, feeling he'd made his point, sat contentedly on the chair, his back to the critics, chewing thoughtfully on a granola bar, while the lemur, who was snack-less, stared daggers at him.
Chris, plucking quills from his shirt, turned it into one of those so-called teachable moments, explaining how a porcupine quill can travel through a predator's skin and into its body until it punctures a vital organ.
Life is much more rough-and-tumble for Scooby, the 7-year-old Chihuahua, who performs in the Big Apple Circus with acrobat Christian Stoinev. Scooby and Christian ran though some of their routine (which you can see on PBS's documentary series "Circus" in November). Scooby performed a flawless walk-on-front-legs. Mostly, Scooby gets paid to be cute as a button, which can be hard on a male Chihuahua, especially one doomed to wear a rhinestone collar to work. After he performed, Scooby got to sit in the audience with Christian's mother. Scooby has an understudy, a 2-year-old Chihuahua named Prince, who was not present.
Christian explained that he got Scooby when Scooby was three months old, with the intention Scooby would be a pet. But, one day, Scooby jumped on to his new owner's chest and started walking around his torso -- and never looked back.
Lisa de Moraes
August 5, 2010; 9:11 PM ET
Categories: Summer TV Press Tour 2010
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