Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Best in Show (2000)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Best in Show (2000)

In director/writer Christopher Guest's satirical, quirky, semi-improvised mockumentary film about championship dog breeding and shows:

  • mockumentary interviews were conducted with five different sets of neurotic, eccentric and quirky dog owners and trainers who would be involved in Philadelphia's up-coming Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show; the film opened with the voice-over of an unseen narrator: "I imagine the best place to start is at the beginning"

The Swan's "Beatrice" (Weimaraner)

The Flecks' Norwich Terrier "Winky"

Harlan's Bloodhound "Hubert"

Christy and Sherri Ann's White Poodle "Butch" (or Rhapsody in White)

Scott's and Stefan's Shih Tzu "Miss Agnes"

"Best in Show" Winner
The Film's Prominent Dogs
  • the first interview was with Meg Swan (Parker Posey) and her equally-yuppie husband Hamilton Swan (Michael Hitchcock) - a wealthy, materialistic, trendy, upwardly-mobile, catalogue-loving suburbanite couple; both were lawyers living in a suburb of Chicago known as Moordale, IL who were speaking with therapist Dr. Chuck Nelken (Jay Brazeau) - the two over-caring, obsessive and neurotic dog owners were worried that their gray Weimaraner named "Beatrice" had been traumatized and depressed after watching Meg engaged in experimental Kama Sutra style sex: ("We got a book, Kama Sutra. I lit some candles and, uh, played some music and got myself in a position that wasn't, uh, very easy for me emotionally. Uhm, it's called the Congress of the Cow, uh, where, uh, the woman is bent over, the hands are on the floor, and the man is behind")
  • the next couple to be introduced was nerdy middle-class Florida salesman Gerald "Gerry" Fleck (Eugene Levy), cursed with two left feet (literally), and his still-sexy ex-waitress wife "Cookie" (Catherine O'Hara) lived in Fern City, FL; they were asked questions about their Norwich terrier "Winky"; the two remarked how "Cookie" had "dozens" - actually "hundreds" of previous lovers and boyfriends, to Gerry's dismay and jealousy
  • a third individual Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest, the film's director) was filmed in Pinenut, NC - he owned The Fishin' Hole, a fishing goods shop; he bragged about the breed of dog he owned, a bloodhound named "Hubert": "The Bloodhound, of all the breeds, is just such a noble, loyal, perfect dog. You can't find a better dog on the whole planet Earth"
  • in the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC, a gay couple composed of the gossipy, wildly-flamboyant Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and hair salon proprietor Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean), classic movie lovers, expressed great pride for their two Shih Tzus, "Miss Agnes" and non-competitive "Tyrone" and expected to win
  • at the Cabot mansion in Philadelphia, young and very buxom blonde trophy wife Sherri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) and her very elderly, oblivious, senile 'sugar-daddy' 80 year-old husband Leslie Ward Cabot (Patrick Cranshaw) described their unusual marriage: ("We have an amazing relationship and it's very physical. I mean, he still pushes all my buttons. And uhm, you know, people say: 'Oh, but he's so much older than you.' And you know what? I'm the one having to push him away. We both have so much in common. We both love soup and uh, we love the outdoors, uh, we love snow peas, and uh, talking and not talking. Uh, we could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about"); they also spoke about their two-time defending winner, a white poodle named "Butch" (or Rhapsody in White) who was being trained by manly, short-haired handler Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch)
  • at the Swan home, the couple with matching sets of braces described how they met at Starbucks: ("We met at Starbucks, not the same Starbucks, where we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other"); Hamilton remembered: "I remember what I was drinking when I met you - it was a Grande Espresso," and she affirmed: "That's right, and I thought that was really sexy"; the two reminisced about their similar likes - Macs, J. Crew, and L.L. Bean
  • it was slowly but conclusively revealed that lesbian dog trainer Christy Cummings and Sherri Ann Cabot with their prized dog "Butch" (or Rhapsody in White) were sex-partners ("Rhapsody has two mommies")
  • while traveling on the road in his RV from NC with his bloodhound "Hubert" to the dog show, Harlan told a memorable story about how he drove his mother mad by his unique talent of naming nuts: ("I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, 'Harlan Pepper, if you don't stop namin' nuts,' and the joke was, of course, that we lived in Pinenut, and I think that's what put it in my head at that - at that point. So I'd go to sleep - she'd hear me in the other room and she would just start yellin'. I'd say: 'Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.' That was the one that would send her into goin' crazy. She'd say: 'Would you stop namin' nuts!' And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, and he wasn't talkin', but he used to go "rrrawr rrawr" and it sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut")
  • on their meandering route to Philadelphia during stays with acquaintances, Cookie kept encountering ex-paramours who openly discussed their previous sexual activities, enraging Gerry, such as Max Berman (Larry Miller) who recalled an incident at the lake with her: "She was famous for putting her legs behind her head, she could get both legs behind her head"
  • meanwhile, aspiring ventriloquist Harlan practiced his vocal skills while parked at the side of the road for the night; while checking in at the Taft Hotel in Philadelphia, Scott was upset when the hotel manager Mark Schaefer (Ed Begley Jr.) stated harmlessly: "We have you down for a queen"; as Philadelphia residents, Sherri Ann and Christy were interviewed on WPHY-TV for the "AM Philadelphia" show hosted by Robin (Teryl Rothery) and her male counterpart (Tony Alcantar) after a cooking segment, when questions were asked about their dog show's two-time champion white poodle "Butch" (Rhapsody in White) and his strange grooming patterns; meanwhile, after finally arriving at the Taft, the financially-overdrawn Fleck couple with a faulty credit card were forced to sleep in the hotel's 3rd floor utility-storage room stock-piled with cleaning solutions for doggie accidents
  • during a welcome party hosted by the Chamber of Commerce in the Taft, Malcolm (Malcolm Stewart) approached Cookie and remembered her as a waitress at Louisville's Mint Julep almost 20 years earlier: "I've banged a lot of waitresses in my day, but you, you, you were the best by far"; referring to her breasts, he added: " Keep 'em up. Keep 'em up"
  • as the dog show commenced, the 125th annual Mayflower Kennel Club's competition for the "Best in Show," there was a frenzied and panicked search by the overzealous Swans for their Weimaraner Beatrice's favorite but missing "Busy Bee" squeeze toy - in the crate, and back in their Taft Hotel room suite: (Meg to hotel manager: "Of course I've looked under the bed, of course I've looked under the bed. That's where you look when you lose things...Thanks for your help, you stupid hotel manager!"), she had an additional tirade against a Latina cleaning house-keeping maid (Carmen Aguirre): ("I know a man who has a van and he will take you back to exactly where you came from!"), and Meg also frustratingly searched for a replacement toy in a pet store: ("No, that's a bear in a, in a bee costume...This?...This is a fish. This is a fish! You know what? Just shut up...I didn't ask for your opinion. I asked for a toy that you don't have!")

Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard)

Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock)
The Dog Show Commentators
  • the national dog show was emceed by the comical TV commentator Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard) who was joined by long-suffering co-host and dog expert Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock); Buck peppered his comments with lots of lewd comments and often-offensive jokes: ("When you look at how beautiful these dogs are, and to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten," and "If you're gonna put them on a football team, which would be your wide receiver, which would be your tight end? Who can go the farthest, the fastest?", and "Look at Scott! He is prancing along with the dog! Man, I tell you something, if you live in my neighborhood and you're dressed like that, you'd better be a hotel doorman", and "I don't think I ever could get used to being probed and prodded. I told my proctologist once: 'Hey, why don't you take me out to dinner and a movie sometime?'")
  • there were seven group competitions in the evening's show as the dogs progressed to the "Best in Show" title; the winning dog in the first "Hound" group competition was Harlan's Bloodhound "Hubert", and the winner in the second "Toy" group category was Stefan's Shih Tzu "Miss Agnes"; in the third "Terriers" competition, the Fleck's "Winky" won; during the judging of the category of "Sporting" or "Hunting" dogs, the Swan's dog "Beatrice" was dismissed for jumping onto the chief Judge Freda Dunlop (Corrine Koslo); in the "Non-Sporting" category, handler Christy's white poodle dog "Butch" (Rhapsody in White) also won
  • after seven preliminary rounds for specific categories won by most of the featured contestants (except for the Swans' "Beatrice"), Buck described the "Best of Show" competition: "The final seven. It's the bottom of the ninth inning. It's the goal line stand. It's the final round. And after all the grooming, the petting, the kibbles, the liver snaps..."; among the five featured contestants, the winner was the Fleck's "Winky" (who was out-performed by his handler, two-left-footed Gerry Fleck)
  • in the film's epilogue six months later, the winning Fleck couple back in Florida capitalized on increased celebrity attention by recording an audio tape of novelty songs about terrier dogs, and calling themselves "The Captain and Cookie"; Sherri Ann and Christy (in a "new level" of their sexual relationship) created a magazine titled "American Bitch" designed specifically for lesbian pure-bred dog owners like themselves; Harlan visited an Israeli kibbutz for three weeks, and fulfilled his dream of being a ventriloquist with a song and dance show, while the classic moving-loving male gay couple published a dog calendar with monthly images of their two costumed Shih Tzu dogs posed as characters in great love scenes (Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1942), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), and the TV show McMillan and Wife (1971-76); the Swans told their therapist that they had happily acquired a pug dog named "Kipper" who wasn't upset by their love-making ("Our sex life is finally back on track...He likes to watch")

Meg Swan (Parker Posey) and Hamilton Swan (Michael Hitchcock) With Therapist

Gerald "Gerry" (Eugene Levy) and Cookie Fleck (Catherine O'Hara)

Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest) - Owner of Pinenut, NC's Shop The Fishin' Hole

Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean) and Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins)

Leslie Ward Cabot (Patrick Cranshaw) and Sherri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge)

Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch)

On the Road to the Show, Harlan Pepper's Story About Naming Nuts

Kennel Club Dog Show at the Beyman Center

The Overzealous Swans with "Beatrice"

After Winning, the Flecks' Release of a Vocal Tape

Christy and Sherri Ann's Magazine Publication: "American Bitch"

Harlan's Ventriloquist Show


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