In Defense of Dancing with the Stars

Before you read this, I need you to promise not to tattle. You see, my grandmother loves Dancing With the Stars. I know she is not too technologically advanced, so I feel a bit safer publishing my opinions here in the secrecy of the internet (cue stock audio of audience guffawing).

So no one is going to tell? Pinky swear? You better not go back on this, or so help me… yeah, that’s what I thought. Good. Okay, now to be honest. I hate this show.

So, so much.

So, so much.

I have never quite understood the appeal. Not of dancing, mind you. I would watch So You Think You Can Dance all the time if my television didn’t have the reception of a cornfield.

“We only pick up Green Acres and The Andy Griffith Show. In other words, nothing.”

“We only pick up Green Acres and The Andy Griffith Show. In other words, nothing.”

I hold no grudge against dancing, even though I have the rhythmic timing of three-legged giraffe. I also enjoy quite a few reality television programs (a topic for future entries, to be sure). What I have a problem with is loving celebrities for the sake of celebrity. This particular program is one of the worst offenders.

You see, I fear my grandmother has fallen into a trap. She watches these celebrities prance about (some good, some Gavin DeGraw), which allows the poor souls to clutch onto the last vestiges of stardom. I think it is sad to watch Jerry Springer pasodoble, but apparently most people are fine with ABC broadcasting torture.



It does not seem like a true measure of talent in most cases. Some get better as time goes on, but most are only there for the tiniest amount of publicity. I think it would be a really different show without the silly pandering. Why not change it to Dancing with Pedestrians, or some other people group with no dancing experience?

Dancing with Dead-eyed Suburbanites does have a certain ring…

Dancing with Dead-eyed Suburbanites does have a certain ring…

If you take out the celebrities, you are left with a pretty standard dancing show. That means people only watch because the contestants are vague celebrities, forever doomed to the pop culture equivalent of the Aldi’s bargain bin. It is rather cruel to allow P-listers a final chance at stardom when they could be getting on with their lives.

However, it is for that final chance that I have chosen to defend Dancing With the Stars.

I watched the final episodes of the most recent season. I am no choreographer, but I must say that all the contestants were quite good. I have no idea who any of them are, but they all succeeded in their jiggling and twirling. I reached a shocking conclusion: they were redeemed in my eyes, elevated all the way to D-list. That’s over half of the alphabet, so I’d say that’s pretty good.

I think the end of any talent show redeems the earlier portions (seen especially on the crapshoot that is American Idol). For every terrible early gyration from Steve Wozniak, there is someone who actually becomes a good dancer. I don’t know if they need to be celebrities, but maybe P-list ex-stars are most in need for a chance at redemption.

In that way, I can understand a bit of the draw of the show. There are good dances and dancers in the final episodes, to be fair. We just need to rid ourselves of the first half of every talent show, disposing of the people who are only there for 5 seconds of fame.

I'm looking at you, you pile of ooze.

I’m looking at you, you pile of ooze.

I hope my grandmother can see the sense in this conclusion. If not, then I will cheer for your favorite quote-unquote star, as mindless and cheerful as a studio audience.


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