Air Bud is the story of love and sick dunks. Last night, The Bachelorette wisely took some hints from its playbook.
Rachel Lindsay brought her trusty pup along for the ride and shot some hoops. "Who’s a good boy?" is the question on the table as she sorts the players from the champs. In this game, loyalty is the way to score her heart.
The episode begins kind of like Air Bud, except celebrity couple Ashton Mila Kunis are there for some weird reason. In the movie, we meet the Framm family as they’re trying to pick up the pieces following the death of Josh’s dad. Josh’s mom, Wendy. Josh happens upon a lost Golden Retriever who he names Buddy, and decides he’s a dog dad now because he has a void to fill. Only Josh makes a lot of rookie mistakes as a father, like only feeding Buddy pudding and trying to conceal his existence from his mom.
On the show, Rachel is putting her suitors to the test by having them compete in an obstacle course called Husband Material which is just like, putting diapers on plastic babies. Most of them have no clue what they’re doing and fumble through it. Kunis’ glee upon seeing the dudes struggle is delightful.
But things get really good when Rachel’s dog, Copper hits the scene and she takes him along for a one-on-one date in puppy paradise. They never explain why Copper is wearing a cast, so we’ll go ahead and assume it’s a sports injury.
Copper, like Buddy before him, is a natural in front of the camera. Look at him refusing to look Rachel’s suitor in the eyes during the obligatory paw/handshake! According to data from Twitter, Copper was the weekend’s third most tweeted about "contestant" of the night.
Rachel and the human man jet off to Palm Springs, where stunning feats of athleticism are on display.
Rachel’s second group date is a basketball game, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shows up to show these dudes how it’s done just like Buddy did when he joined the Timberwolves.
"This isn’t all about hoops, it’s about character," advises the legend. "Character is actually more important. Maybe you can put them both together." This is also a very important lesson in Air Bud, the greatest moral fable of the 20th century. Buddy is great at hoops, but he always puts friends and family first.
"Basketball’s really a good game to connect to romance because it’s really about teamwork," Abdul-Jabbar tells Rachel. "If you’re not really committed to each other and for each other, it goes south quick."
At the big game, it becomes clear that some of these dudes are just looking for fame. Early fan favorite Demario is dismissed after a woman he ghosted to go be on The Bachelorette shows up to warn Rachel that he’s not who he seems.
Once Buddy starts making waves, his original owner, wants to cash in on the fame. This dude is a clown (not just a Whaaaboom, an actual circus clown) who treated Buddy terribly and eventually abandoned him. He is clearly not here for the right reasons.
Image: Air Bud entertainment
Fortunately, though, true love prevails and Buddy is reunited with his family and eventually meets the love of his life. Like the Bachelor, there are lots of spinoffs: World Pup, Spikes Back, Seventh Inning Fetch, and so many more. Love may die, but franchises are forever.