Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Life in the Slow, Cute Lane

We’ve met the Kardashians and witnessed the Runway drama of fashion designers. Now it’s time to Meet the Sloths.

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This sounds like a dreadful show in which long, lost relatives show up unexpectedly for an undetermined extended stay. But it’s actually an 8-part series dreamed up by Animal Planet for viewing on Saturday mornings.

The premiere episode centered on Buttercup, the queen of a Costa Rican sanctuary for 150 or so injured sloths. Despite the normal “G” ratings for Saturday morning TV, the program delves at times indelicately into the potty habits of these medium-sized mammals who live in and eat trees.

In reviewing Meet the Sloths, The New York Times described the show as “Life in a slow, cute lane.” The review seemed to suggest that you might have to be really bored to watch. Or maybe you are a lazy person who wants to pick up tips from the sloths.

Animal Planet has a way to turn obscure animal footage into interesting programming, as it did with Meerkat Manor, now in season 4 in the United Kingdom where the show originated. People ate up hanging out with meerkats when they scavenged for food, navigated around snakes and partied. You can still go online to find the “Top 10 Moments” from season 2 of Meerkat Manor.

After the antics of Miley Cyrus and Ritchie Incognito, many humans are tired of people-watching, so animal-watching looms as a promising alternative.

Meet the Sloths will get competition from two other new animal shows – one featuring parrots, the other penguins.

Parrot Confidential could be a take-off of Law & Order, Special Victims Unit. The PBS show confronts abandonment of macaws, cockatoos and other exotic birds in sunless basements when owners grow tired of caring for them – and listening to their relentless, loud chatter.

Sometimes birds are abandoned because they outlive their owners, which poses a particular problem for successor caregivers since these birds form bonds with humans that are the equivalent of mating.

Waddle All the Way, which airs on the Discovery Channel, chronicles the goings and comings of three types of penguins in the wild. With a bird’s eye view from hidden cameras in fake penguin eggs and in a fake penguin, the show  delivers some charm and laughs, especially when a real penguin takes a shine to the fake penguin.

Penguins may seem like an accident of nature, with no ability to fly and a penchant for pratfalls. But they must be spunky, determined little creatures to withstand extreme cold and blistering winds in the Antarctic.

If the crowds and people with tattoos at the mall overwhelm you, stay home, get out some animal crackers and watch a sloth, parrot and penguin on TV.  They will warm your heart without peeing on your rug.

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