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UPSETTING DAY

Dog Police

Hello, I am here to talk to you about the music video for the song Dog Police by the band Dog Police off the album Dog Police. There may or may not be some Dog Police involved in this discussion. It’s best to be prepared.

We open with a woman seductively getting ready for her date by doing those mysterious pre-date things everybody who’s never lived with a woman assumes women do to get ready for dates. 

You know, slinking around in a nighty, carefully selecting a variety of perfumes to reward her man with a unique scent for every base. Instead of what they actually do to get ready for dates, which is what we all do to get ready for dates, which is try to struggle out all of the night’s farts in advance, despite knowing full well that is not how farts work.

And then we meet the man she’s going through all this trouble for, who looks like everything bad about the ‘80s physically attacked everything bad about the ‘70s. 

He’s got a flaccid pompadour and the ghost of a beard that died with unfinished business. He’s wearing molester glasses back before irony transformed them into hipster glasses, and that’s the suit they’ll bury Don Johnson in. 

His acting style is ‘thrown out of mime school for being sarcastic.’

And his voice is sort of Devo, but that exact point 1/3rd of the way through a Devo album where you’re like “okay, that’s quite enough Devo.”

To allow plenty of room for this terrible dating skit that’s one raspy narrator away from an Unsolved Mysteries reenactment, the music just sort of idles. It refuses to come inside, but won’t go away. It’s out there, waiting on the porch, peering in through the windows and repeating its strange synth sting that sounds more like a score trying to warn the audience that the hook-handed killer may not be as dead as they think. It lends the whole thing a sinister, unsettling air that is… actually entirely appropriate, come to think of it. 

But despite more red flags than an Arsenal match (am I right, soccer fans?! Am I right? I have no idea if I’m right) the woman still voluntarily gets in the car of, again, this man:

Eventually the song breaks open with four barks and a chorus chanting the titular “DOG POLICE.” Why?

Because his date is a dog! And the Dog Police are there to keep you from dating dogs!

That’s hilarious! 

…to shithead bros of the ‘80s, and nobody else! 

That’s right: This whole song is just a joke the least popular frat house in Tampa is not legally allowed to make anymore, not since the case of Jennifer Dogsworth v. Beta Omega Nu, 1982.

So it’s mean-spirited and basic, but at least it’s also aesthetic poison: 

The lead singer mugs at the camera like somebody told him the ADHD meds were flattening him out, which is a shame, because he could be the next Jim Carrey.

While the dogwoman’s make-up looks like God’s first-draft of the furry fetish came back with too many notes.

And the Dog Police themselves are like McGruff joined the KGB: Same basic character but dead behind the eyes and here to disappear your husband. 

I’m not entirely joking about the Dog Police being a sinister secret police force, here’s the chorus: 

DOG POLICE

WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM

DOG POLICE

NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE

For a wacky song about dating ugly women, the lyrics sure seem to be desperately seeking answers about the role of off-the-books law enforcement squads in our community.

But listen, if this was just a song about a secret police force made up of were-dogs who keep ugly women from dating, we wouldn’t be here. That’s not Upsetting Day material. Learning Day? Maybe. Fucking Day? Of course. But Upsetting Day requires something more. And that’s good, because this song has one further twist:

Towards the end of the video, the singer makes it increasingly plain that he’s not actually talking about an ugly girl. He’s been having sex with an actual dog this whole time. 

No no, that’s not the twist. 

While that is indeed both gross and insane, that’s actually just the setup for the real twist. You write a song about how your girl is a metaphorical dog and you can’t take her out anywhere? That sucks, but this is the 1980s — here’s a million dollars. 

You write a song about how your girlfriend is a literal dog and society frowns on you dating her? That’s crazy, but this is the 1980s — I bet Frank Zappa beat you there. 

No, what sets Dog Police apart is the growing concern from his bandmates as the singer reveals that he’s talking about bangin’ beagles:

The looks they give him as he changes the song from ‘ugly girlfriend’ to ‘fun bestiality’ mean one thing…

They were not informed about the nature of this song that they freely started playing.

That makes this whole video a meta-narrative about the rest of a band finding out, onstage, that their lead singer proudly fucks dogs, and they have been inadvertently tricked into joining a musical act that endorses dogfucking.

That is some Charlie Kaufman shit, Dog Police! 

I’ve been burning you down this whole time, unaware that you were setting me up for some Adaptation ‘you become the story’ shenanigans. Wait, what does this mean? Is the song pro or anti poodle-pounding? Is it actually commenting on human beauty standards at all? Am… am I the dogfucker now???

How the hell did you pitch this video?

I can picture the record exec that says yes to a music video about how women are only worth as much as their looks, because that’s every record exec. And I can picture the record exec that says yes to a video about having sex with actual canines, because somebody greenlit everything Aphex Twin ever did. But how did you find the one record exec in the world that would greenlight a video about backing musicians who eagerly promote misogyny, only to slowly discover they’re actually endorsing bestiality? Did you just ask Peter Gabriel? You probably just asked Peter Gabriel. 

One final note: Dog Police was a zany little side project for the Tony Thomas Trio — well-respected jazz musicians who played with Ella Fitzgerald, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, and Tony Bennett, amongst others. They wanted to do this song as a one-time bit of surrealism, but when it took off, they shrugged, said “guess we’re the dogfuckers now,” and tried to embrace it. To nobody’s surprise but their own, it turns out society only had one slot open for Weird Musical Meta-Narrative About Bestiality. They never had another hit. The Tony Thomas Trio went back to playing serious jazz, the only lasting impact being that now everyone they played with knew they were willing to go all in on the dogfucking thing.

Special thanks to patron LDHaines for the tip!

7 replies on “Dog Police”

Those lyrics have an air of familiarity about them. Anyone remember a PBS kids’ show called The Electric Company? As I recall, it aired after Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In any case, they had a recurring Spider-Man bit, wherein Spider-Man would communicate using comic book-style word ballons that appeared over his head, which the other characters would read aloud. At least that’s what I remember. I could be wrong; I was a little kid. In any case, the theme song went like this:
SPIDER-MAN
WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM
SPIDER-MAN
NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE

…coincidence? Seems a stretch.

Anyway, thanks as always for another great article!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence, because it’s the first thing I thought of. This was unleashed in the 80s, so they almost certainly were aware of the Spiderman song.

Good lawd. The video is atrocious, but the actual music is easily the worst thing about it. I want to punch The Dog Police.

Never getting that out of my head now.
Thanks a lot Brock– DOG POLICE WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM DOG POLICE.

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