Nostalgia is so pervasive on the Internet that we remember every aspect of our childhood through rose colored glasses. Looking back, we actually looked good in that Starter jacket, those Pokemon cards were worth the money we spent on them, and Full House was a sophisticated family comedy. Well, we're here to dispel these delusions and give you a realistic view of those things you cherished in the foolish days of your youth. Today, we set our sights on the Air Bud franchise.
The set-up of all five Air Bud movies is the same. One of Buddy's owners, a member of the suburban Seattle-based Framm family, joins a school sports team to help solve a personal problem in his or her life. For example, in Air Bud: Golden Receiver, Josh comes to terms with the possibility that his mother may remarry. In Spikes Back, Andrea, Josh's younger sister, adjusts to life without her best friend. Shortly after the protagonist joins the team, fates conspire to show that Air Bud is actually better at the sport than our hero or heroine. Then, the dog and his human go on to high school athletic glory. There's only one hole in these foolproof plots: Air Bud isn't actually that good at most of the sports he plays.
There are aspects of Air Bud's game that help him dominate packs of scrawny 14-year-olds and leave opposing coaches red-faced and screaming about how a dog shouldn't be allowed to play basketball. But, upon further analysis, Buddy was actually far better at some sports than others, and the only award he deserves is for showboating. While there's no denying that he is a master of the long ball, he doesn't actually help that much on the baseball diamond.
It's time we put Air Bud's paws to the fire and figured out how good the golden retriever's game actually was.
Author's Note: I didn't include the Air Buddies spin-off series in this piece. First off, there is the practical issue that these seven films are not directly about dogs playing sports, but rather focus on general puppy hijinks. There is also the even more practical issue that, while there is a sum of money I could be paid to watch all 12 films in this series in one painful shot, that sum of money is pretty high. Perhaps a better person than I will someday tackle the Buddies films for an article more exhaustive than this one.