5 Times the “Air Bud” Franchise Out-Crazied Itself

Sometimes, a basketball-playing dog just isn’t good enough.

We can all agree that this summer was the host of some pretty kick-ass superhero movies. There was Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and Wolverine: The Mulligan. But one superhero movie was pretty much ignored by most industry outlets: Super Buddies. Super Buddies was the straight-to-DVD adventure about talking puppies with alien superpowers, and more importantly, the sequel to Air Bud. Unless you were busy stocking up on cans for Y2K or sweet herb for the Family Values Tour, you probably remember the 1997 movie about a dog who plays basketball. What you probably don’t know is it’s had 14 sequels now, and they’ve gotten so batshit insane that the one about a dog playing basketball seems completely rational. So, in honor of the series’ longevity, let’s explore the horrible leaps in logic that led to this Disney disaster (you’re welcome for not saying “dog-saster”).

1. When they decided Air Bud should get recruited to other sports besides basketball.

(Photos Courtesy of Disney)

Listen, we’re not trying to take any merit away from the original Air Bud. After all, it was co-written by an Academy Award Nominee for Best Writing (look it up, we dare you). But our disbelief has limits, and those limits are pushed when we look at a DVD cover of a dog about to hike a fucking football. Listen, a trained circus dog picking up a basketball makes sense – especially to people who actively huff paint – but(Air Bud: Golden Receiver), baseball (Air Bud: 7th Inning Fetch), soccer (Air Bud: World Pup), and VOLLEYBALL (Aid Bud: Spikes Back)? There’s only so many times you can hear, “There’s no rule in the book that says a dog can’t play,” until you start to wonder whether someone would pick up obvious pattern and just write a goddamn rule. Plus, Air Bud didn’t learn to just play these sports, he learned to dominate them, ending up playing for both the MLB and as a keeper in the World Cup. And these days, that could only mean one thing: this dog is clearly doping.

2. When they decided that Air Bud has puppies. Oh yeah, and that those puppies should be able to talk for no reason. (Air Buddies)

(Photos Courtesy of Disney)

The Air Bud series eventually stopped focusing on the sports-playing dog himself and focused more on his puppies. The reason for this was that the dog who played Air Bud “retired to a farm upstate” (meaning he died of lung cancer). Although focusing on the puppies seems like the logical move for a kids movie, it presents problems. For instance, the puppies, while cute, are too small to play team sports. The solution? Who gives a fuck, the puppies can talk now! That’s right, from here on in the puppies are able to speak like humans, and have all sorts of wacky personalities. But instead of exploiting loopholes in high school athletic regulations like their father, the puppies’ new goal is to save Air Bud and their mom, who were kidnapped for the purpose of forced breeding in a wine cellar or possibly a dog rape dungeon. Yes, really. But how could this series possibly get any crazier?

3. When they decided that the puppies should go on an adventure to the FUCKING MOON. (Space Buddies)

(Photos Courtesy of Disney)

Ok, here’s where we need you to stay with us, because it’s about to get weird. In this motion picture, the puppies sneak along on a school field trip to a space exploration company, where they are accidentally (yes, accidentally) fitted with dog spacesuits and find themselves somehow taking off in a space shuttle. Before you say that, “this sounds stupid and pointless,” remember, there’s no rule that says movies can’t be stupid and pointless. The puppies eventually land on the moon, and are guided back home by someone back at mission control named “Gravity.” Also, it turns out that Gravity is a ferret, because fuck you.

4. When they decided that not only does Santa exist in this universe, but there should be a sub-trilogy dedicated to his story. (Santa Buddies,The Search for Santa Paws, Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups)

(Photos Courtesy of Disney)

On the heels of Space Buddies, the franchise decided to really solidify their corner of the straight-to-DVD market in both the children’s and mentally unstable adult demographics, with the addition of Santa Claus. And like Elmo, the Berenstain Bears, and Hitler before them (we still have to fact check that last one), it was up to Air Bud’s puppies to save Santa with the help, of course, of Santa’s dog. “But how could they make a movie that involves Santa’s dog without an entire movie explaining how Santa got the dog?” one might scream while running down the street mid-breakdown. Well, not only did they make a prequel about how Santa met his dog, but they also made an entire third movie about that dog’s puppies. It’s at this point that the Air Bud series switched from mere kids’ franchise to a violently nonsensical stream of consciousness manifested on digital media for the purpose of shoving into children’s eyeballs. Which brings us to…

5. When they decided the puppies should have superpowers, and that nothing should ever make sense ever again. (Super Buddies)

(Photos Courtesy of Disney)

This summer’s release of Super Buddies was a pivotal point in the franchise, when the producers suddenly realized that nobody actually watches these movies, and that they are likely funded by some Office Space-style error in accounting. They decided to test this theory by making the latest movie as sledgehammer-to-the-head crazy as possible. For the Air Bud series, this involves the puppies finding “The Five Power Rings of Inspiron” left on Earth by a shape-shifting alien 16 years ago (not 16,000, just 16), giving them superpowers which they use to fight the evil Commander Drex (with the training of Captain Canine, of course). If this is making sense, you should probably rush yourself to the hospital as you are likely having a stroke. The prolific Air Bud franchise has taken quite the journey since it was just the story of a dog who learned to play basketball, and luckily only 5 puppies died in the making of them (for your own sake, don’t look this one up).

Photos by Disney