Groomer Has It returns Saturday night

Guilty pleasure Groomer Has It returns for a second season Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET, and the competition has received a substantial upgrade, complete with a higher-end set and more product placement but the same crazy weirdness that comes as part of the dog grooming contest.

Last season, the show was really low-rent and kind of a disaster, which made it work on some level. The set looked impossibly cheap, like if someone leaned on the walls they’d fall over. But this season, they’re in an upgraded house, which you’ll recognize as The Real World Hollywood‘s Sunset Blvd. house, which was also the set for VH1’s Confessions of a Teen Idol.

Everything is upgraded, and everyone steps up their game, from host Jai Rodriguez to the judges, who are better at critiquing the contestants, although they still look and act kind of like they’re stand-ins for the actual judges. They also get to sit at a desk now, which is great, because they always looked awkward perched on tiny stools. The puns also return–the “dog house,” “it’s time to fetch the groomers,” “quick sniff challenge”–but are now sometimes paired with product placement.

Like last season’s cast, the contestants aren’t telegenic in any typical reality TV way, although that adds to their credibility; they’re dog groomers, not TV stars. And once again, they’re kind of insane, from what they do to the dogs–I’m always freaked out when they paint the dogs’ fur–to their general demeanor, like the contestant who says, “I communicate with animals telepathically.” They help make it more watchable, especially as they mangle poor dogs’ fur.

While Groomer Hast It will never be Top Chef, it knows that, and despite all these upgrades, which make me miss the cheapness of the first season (impossible to please!), at its core the show remains kind of awkward and thus definitely watchable.

Groomer Has It: B+

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.