Culture

Final Season of 'Dog Whisperer' Goes to London on 7 July

Dog Whisperer is the most consistently entertaining, entrancing, and reassuring show on TV.

"Everything takes practice," says Cesar Millan. "To make a dog unstable takes practice." At the moment, he's standing in Liverpool, looking over the situation in a home belonging to a Dalmatian named Cooper and his two humans, Melanie and her mother, but if you've ever seen a Dog Whisperer, you see already that the new location doesn’t change the series' basic idea: people need to learn how to behave with their dogs.

The show's final season begins on 7 July, bringing Cesar's Way to the UK. "Every country needs a strong pack leader," asserts the ever calm Cesar, "Starting with you."

The new episodes, beginning with "Horrible Hounds of the UK" and "London Calling!", are much like those set in the US (or Australia), in that Cesar helps to repair a household: it may be the dog at its center is tense or uncertain, aggressive or fearful, but in every case, the humans find themselves unable to read or respond to signs that Cesar interprets pretty much immediately. The people are invariably surprised to hear themselves read so accurately.

He visits with professional actor sisters Matilda and Harriet Thorpe (stunt casting on Dog Whisperer always seems unnecessary, deflecting attention from dogs who are more interesting than their celebrity owners), who own German shepherd littermates Bruno and Diesel ("It's a sister thing," Harriet explains) and notes instantly the tension Matilda shows when describing walks. "The beauty of dog," he declares, is forgiveness." They're always ready to start again. Or again, "I have to be a spokesperson for the dog," Cesar remarks, before pointing out how anxious Nick makes his English Cocker Spaniel, Paddy, by dropping him backwards into a car.

The questions and the answers seem so evident when you watch Dog Whisperer. Over the years, with help from Daddy and Junior and Will and Jada Smith's dog Luigi, Cesar Millan has provided the most consistently entertaining, entrancing, and reassuring show on TV. We'll miss it when it's over.

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In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

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Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

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