It may be hard to believe, but 2018 will mark Puppy Bowl XIV. Yes, we’re all so old and time is moving fast but is also a flat circle. It’s confusing, ok? And that’s why we need Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and the Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl V more than ever. There are almost 500 scripted TV series arriving in 2018 across all platforms, and it’s increasingly hard to keep up. What’s worse about it all is that so many of those shows are legitimately good and worth your time, which leads to a lot of guilt and DV-R pile-ups. The respite that sports and unscripted series provides from all of that is a very real and good thing, from The Great British Baking Show to the majestic Blue Planet II.
On February 4th, the NFL and all associated beer commercials want you to believe that everyone in America is sitting down and tuning in to see the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles play in the Super Bowl. And with all due respect to neither team, there are a heck of a lot of people who just don’t care. Enter the Puppy and Kitten Bowls! Embrace it. Feel good about it — that’s literally what it’s meant for.
Here are some things to know about both bowls: the puppies and kittens are all adoptable. 90 puppies from 48 rescue shelters are being represented on “Team Ruff” and “Team Fluff,” for Animal Planet while Hallmark is partnering with North Shore Animal League America for over 500 kitten adoption parties to run in conjunction with the Bowl itself. (You can also meet this year’s kitten teams here and here). Beyond puppies and kittens, Hallmark notes that these adoption events have also resulted in the adoption of over 10,000 animals, including rabbits and even one pig. You get a forever home, and you get a forever home, and you get a forever home! This is what America is about, people.
One of the more impressive aspects of these events, besides their exceptionally cute stars, is the amount production work that goes into them. This year, Puppy Bowl XIV will have a new bone-shaped stadium with more than a dozen cameras, including two cameras embedded in the end-zones. There’s also a chicken that can play “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a keyboard. Can you do that? I mean seriously. There will also be a locker room webcam and the water bowl cam because we cannot have enough cameras on these puppies. Not to be outdone, last year the Kitten Bowl also provided a virtual reality experience with its coverage.
Yeah there are some humans, too, with advocate Beth Sterns hosting on Hallmark, and Dan Schachner returning as Animal Planet’s referee (assisted by Shirley the rescue sloth, of course). There will also be a lot of events surrounding each broadcast regarding adoptions and the stories of amazing pets, so prepare your heart for that. Also expect puns … so many puns.
Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl will be simulcast on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3PM/ET and 12PM/PT, and ditto to Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl (same time, same date). It’s impossible to choose, I know, but that’s what DV-Rs are for. Or you can just flip back and forth for maximum small animal floofness. Self-care is good. (You can also check out more images below).