Though there may not be a rule that says a dog can’t play basketball, John Oliver still doesn’t like the idea.
In a web exclusive “Last Week Tonight” segment, the host goes down the weird and wild rabbit hole that is the 1997 family classic “Air Bud”.
Oliver spends 15 minutes painstakingly breaking down everything wrong with the film’s depiction of a dog playing basketball and the court proceedings at the heart of the film.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to ruin 1997′s ‘Air Bud’ for you,” he says at the start. “If I wanted to do that I’d say either that the dog who played him is definitely dead by now, or that it must’ve been nice to make content before 9/11.”
The host also jokes. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: He must get paid extra to do these web exclusives. I don’t … I’m not talking about ‘Air Bud’ because I have to. I’m doing it because I want to.”
As he explains, judging from the footage in the film, while Buddy can certainly score some baskets, he has plenty of other deficiencies as a basketball player — an inability to dribble, for instance — that mean he’s not exactly the star player he’s cracked up to be.
More importantly for Oliver, though, is the fact that in the film, Buddy doesn’t even belong to the main character Josh, but rather to a mean clown.
In the climax of the movie, the boy and the clown go to court, with a judge making the ruling, “Let’s have the dog decide!”
As Oliver points out, this is an example of serious judicial overreach, and an ethically dubious proposition.
“Does Buddy only deserve a better home if he’s good at basketball?” Oliver says. “And if the answer to that is yes, what does that say about us as a society?”
The original “Air Bud” spawned a series of sequels and spinoffs, including “Super Buddies”, which features the voice of a young Zendaya.