Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Why I Watch Dancing With the Stars


Dance by LK HunsakerI saw someone online the other day say they aren't watching this season because it's "a cast full of losers."

First, I resent anyone calling someone else a loser unless it's like .. a rapist or murderer or a bottom feeder or the like. Although there is one celeb this year I'm very anxious to see leave, and have plenty of agreement on that, I still wouldn't use that term. Nasty, yes. Loser? Well, who knows what she's gone through in reality? Maybe she's fighting more odds than anyone can know, which doesn't give a person the right to be nasty to innocent parties, but still, calling someone a loser only makes you look ... well, nasty.

Losers? I have to wonder just how much that person has achieved to consider these people losers. My guess is not nearly as much. Consider Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who walked on the moon. Yes, he’s 80 and dances stiff, but hey, he gave it a good go and was fun to watch because of his attitude and because of his accomplishments. The show was honored to have him, as they should have been. Or Erin, who worked her way up to broadcasting. Nicole, who made her way in the music business before Idol brought no names overnight success.  Same goes with most of the celebs this season: they worked hard to get where they are. Heck, Evan’s been called the hardest working figure skater in the business and he’s an Olympic gold medalist. Hardly loser material. 

That’s all besides the point. I don't care what celebs they have on the show. Some I enjoy more than others. Some I root for and am sad to see leave. But I watch for the pros.

They're great, aren't they? Last night's results show was amazing, because of the two pro dances. I wouldn't watch the results otherwise. I don't like the whole ... "we'll tell you right after this" type of drawn out suspense. I don't believe that the results are purely the results of viewer voting. I don't vote anymore because it feels a waste of time and too much playing in their rating game nonsense. I do think the one everyone wants to have kicked off is only still there because the producers know drama and controversy on online venues will pull viewers in to watch and see what the drama is all about.

Still, I love the dancing. I love most of the pros. Maksim is just heavenly to watch, and Derek is amazing; Louie is a joy as are Lacey and Tony.... In short, they could pull people off the street aka that Idol show that got booted off top ratings by DWTS and I'd still watch. It's about the dancing for me. I love it. I enjoy the celebs with no dance background who go on and work hard and prove that you CAN step out of your element and still succeed if you're determined enough. How long they stay on is a moot point. That they dared to do it is what matters.

I don't watch realities with a very very rare exception, because I don't at all believe any of them are not staged. It's largely a bunch of overdramatic whining set up to make the audience think it's all real. Come on.

I get sick of the celebs who do that on DWTS, also. You know which I mean: the ones who go on and on about how busy their schedules are and how horrible it is to have a little injury and to keep going anyway. Welcome to real life, chickadees. So what? I applaud Evan Lysacek who broke a couple of toes and said nothing about it this week while dancing on them anyway. Not to mention he's also performing with Stars on Ice in between rehearsing and doesn't whine about that schedule, either. That's reason enough to keep rooting for him as a winner, which in my mind, he is (even besides his Olympic medal).

Yes, I'm a fan of the show. No, I'm not all pulled-in to the hype or think it's all "reality" as they want us to think. I watch for the dancing. I love the elegance of ballroom as opposed to all of the bump-and-grind of modern days that has received too much attention.

Real dance is incredibly hard. It's true art. It's vivid and alive. If you don't believe how hard it is, give it a try. I'm in favor of anything that promotes elegance and hard work and respect and art and pushing yourself to new limits. I find it a very good sign that DWTS topped the TV ratings. Possibly, all of those values are returning.

The cast, unlike most reality casts, don't get nasty toward each other (at least not on the show). They encourage each other even while competing. They have fun while working hard. They learn how to get along and what makes the individual relationships work enough to spend so much time together in such a stressful environment. The pros are the ringleaders in doing so, in promoting a healthy working relationship, in being honest but respectful.

It's a beautiful thing to see and so rare to find on television these days. Maybe that's what helps make the show such a roaring success.


"There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move,
and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies."
Robert Frost

As an aside: Maksim Chmerkovsky now owns a dance studio in New Jersey. For the first time in my life, I'm thinking NJ is the place to be, even for an instructional visit. Not that I would actually dare, but the thought is fun. And who knows? Maybe I would dare if I had the chance. ;-)


Francesca Prescott said...

We don't have DWTS over here, sadly. But I completely understand what you're saying about why you love watching it. I got completely hooked on another dance show on British television, "So You Think You Can Dance" and was blown away by the talent. I think there's a US version, too. My sister trained as a professional ballet dancer, so I know the hard, hard work involved in any dance and have nothing but respect for anyone attempting those DWTS moves. How about the ice-skating version?! I've seen that a couple of times...and think they deserve medals! It's a double whammy: dancing on slippery stuff!

Great post, Loraine :)

Betsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Celia Yeary said...

LORAINE--I can see why you, of course, love DWTS. I watched an entire movie on TV about six months ago, but now cannot remember the title. But you might like it. It takes place in Dublin, I think,and the father and older brother are coal miners. The younger son, about 12, is "different," because he only wants to dance and his best friend--another boy--loves him. You can see the conflict here, can you not? I had no idea what the movie was about, but the acting, the characters, the drab scenery, and the angst really drew me in. At the end, let me tell you, you will stand and applaud and cry. So--ring a bell? I'd like you to watch it--if I could remember the title!!!!
I'm on page 54 of Rehearsal--zipping right along! Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Francesca, I like that show, too, when I catch it. Ice dancing is gorgeous. :-) And yes, ballet is incredibly hard, but so nice for the posture and overall grace. Thank you!

Celia, let me know if you remember the title. It sounds interesting. Hope you're enjoying Rehearsal!

LK Hunsaker said...

I want to clarify two things because of reaction I've received about this blog elsewhere and from the post that is now deleted by the author:

I generalize a lot of comments I hear, pulling them away from who said it to the actual statement itself. The "loser" issue is one that has been building my frustration with the way people speak to each other. Words are powerful, as the recent horrible suicide of the teen who was bullied shows. Awareness matters.

Also, in talking about the achievements of the celebs on the show, I in no way meant being a celeb is more of an achievement than what we regular people do. In fact, much of my work goes completely opposite that thought. I'm not celeb crazed. I don't find them any more important than the construction worker or the stay at home mom: very much opposite. However, they are human beings like us regular people and we should remember that.