Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

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Waiting on 'Dancing with the Stars'

New season of Dancing with the Stars started last night. They have one more couple this time than they did last time, so they're doing an elimination tonight, but for some reason they're making it a two-hour show, doing recaps for the first hour and results the second hour. Ugh. Results shows are hard enough to sit through when they're one hour long because they always draw out the suspense, and then they have other musical acts and things going on to fill the rest of the time, blah blah blah, I don't care, just tell me who was eliminated.

But no, I have to wait another hour and fifteen minutes, so I'll write about it in the meantime. I started watching DTWS last season because of Evan Lysacek. This time around, I don't have anyone that I really want to win. There are people that I like and would like to see win, but I'm not really invested in any particular team winning this time. At the same time, based on the performances last night, I can't say that there's anyone I think really deserves to be eliminated either. I don't like that they're doing an elimination in the first week, although I understand why it has to be so.

I'm glad that I started watching DWTS because it has had the unforeseen effect of illuminating some of my personal biases that I wasn't necessarily aware of. For example, last season one of the competitors was Kate Gosselin, and I had some very harsh things to say about her, and I realized later that I was making these judgments without really knowing a lot about her and without having seen her show, and that was perhaps not entirely fair. So I'll say now that, although I disagree STRENUOUSLY with a lot of the choices she has made in her life, I'm now willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she honestly believes that the choices she has made are in her children's best interest.

This season one of the competitors is Bristol Palin, who is the daughter of the infamous Sarah Palin, and my initial reaction to that was, "How is Bristol Palin a 'star'?" That was perhaps an overly judgmental reaction. On the other hand, any way you look at it I think it's fair to say that Bristol Palin would not be famous if she didn't have a famous mother, so to me she's really not so much a star as she is a satellite. As I think about it, she actually has a lot in common with Kate Gosselin as far as DWTS goes because neither of them had any prior training in the performing or athletic arts. As a result, they're both really self-conscious and expressed a lot of negativity about themselves and their individual abilities. Before the routines they always show footage of rehearsals, which I find tedious, but during her rehearsals Bristol Palin kept saying "I can't do that," which was really frustrating to watch, because of course if you convince yourself that you can't then you've already defeated yourself. I just wanted to say, "Honey, what exactly did you think you were going to have to do when you signed up for this show?" Because if you've seen DWTS before, you know that it involves shimmying and hip-shaking and skimpy clothing. Well, maybe she hadn't actually seen it before, but still, she knew it was a TV show and a dance competition, surely she understood that it involved dancing in front of people. I will say this in her favor though, which is that she is a better dancer than Kate Gosselin.

I think it would be really hard to judge DWTS though, because I think it would be really difficult to put aside those biases. They've had people like Tom DeLay and Tucker Carlson on, and their politics and beliefs are so abhorrent to me that it would be very difficult to put that aside and just look at their dancing. And as charming as Bristol Palin's performance was last night (and it was), it's difficult for me to look at her without thinking, "Your mother is a big, fat phony and I suspect you are little more than a pawn in her political game plan." Which is entirely unfair; she shouldn't have to be judged based on her mother's politics.

But it's not just biases about the people involved that would get in the way. Last night David Hasselhoff danced to a song called "Sex Bomb" (by Tom Jones I think?). Now, I have nothing against David Hasselhoff, and I thought his performance last night was pretty good. But it was hard for me to appreciate it because I detest that song. The reason I detest it has nothing to do with David Hasselhoff; it has negative associations for me that predate DWTS. (One of those associations is that Evgeni Plushenko does a grotesque, non-competitive skating routine to it. It involves a striptease and a bizarre muscle suit; if you're really curious, you can watch it here, but don't say I didn't warn you.)

(Sidenote to Plushenko: Evan Lysacek's chest looks like that without having to wear a special suit. Just sayin'.)

But I digress. My point is that, it would be hard for me to judge a dance fairly if I didn't like the music. So while I don't always agree with the DWTS judges, I respect them for being able to put all that stuff aside.

Anyway, there are people competing this time that I like. I love Margaret Cho. I was a little disappointed last night because they worked comedy into their Viennese waltz, and I would have liked to see her do a traditional, "straight" waltz, just to prove that she could, but the song they picked for her to dance to was "We are the Champions" by Queen, which I think is a stupid song to have to do a waltz to, and I think it would have looked silly to do a traditional waltz to it, so they might as well have hammed it up. They took a risk, and I respect them for that, but the judges didn't appreciate it, and I really hope she doesn't get eliminated on account of that because I'd love to see what she could really do.

But the most touching moment from last night's program was Jennifer Grey, who of course starred in the movie Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze, who recently passed away from cancer. Her partner is Derek Hough, who was part of the winning team last season and who is my favorite of the professional dancers. The song they picked for her to dance to was a song from the movie, so she had a very emotional reaction to it, understandably so. Fortunately she was able to channel that emotion into a very beautiful dance, and it was very touching, and more so because I also recently lost a good friend who was an actor to an untimely cancer death.

Anyway, they should be getting close to the actual elimination now, so I guess I'll wrap this up and go watch.
Tags: figure skating, miscellaneous, politics, television
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