The Word According to…
Dancing with the Stars
It might seem a bit lazy to get moral lessons from pop culture, especially when there are so many other sources of spiritual insight, but consider how many of us read a newspaper or magazine, or watch television. It’s quite possible that something we are so often exposed to can provide us with more than general information and entertainment, if we are willing to look... Dancing with the Stars is television’s newest number one show, so it should be no surprise that it has become my latest guru:
1) Thou Shalt Step Outside the Box
Most reality competitions center on talented people, doing what they love, to see who the judges say do it best. Dancing with the Stars levels the playing field (for the most part) by making people known for one thing, try their hand at something else. How many of us would try something new and challenging, in outrageous, skin baring costumes in front of a studio and national audience? Ok, most of us wouldn’t have that opportunity, but you have to give Florence Henderson (famous for playing wholesome as apple pie TV mom, Carol Brady) props for slithering and shimmying through an uncomfortable to watch rhumba.
2) Thou Shalt Take the Stick Out!
Dancing with the Stars doesn’t take itself too seriously; the tanning is over the top; makeup is borderline clownish and the costumes are bedazzled and feathered within an inch of its life. The winner gets a disco ball trophy, for crying out loud, but that’s the fun! Spectacular host, Tom Bergeron, exemplifies the spirit best with his fast one-liners, witty off the cuff remarks and charming banter with the celebs and dancers.
3) Thou Shalt Not Assume
Looking at Kyle Massey’s (That’s So Raven, Cory in the House) chubby physique, I figured maybe he would be a step or two behind his partner. WRONG! I figured Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino (Jersey Shore), being a frequent club-goer (and fist pumper), would have his fingers (or at least his feet) on the pulse of contemporary music. WRONG! He wasn’t on the pulse or on the beat, for that matter. Watching ‘The Situation’ become one, clumping through a dance on two left feet made me realize that looks should be taken for granted.
4) Thou Shalt Make Faces
Speaking of faces, did anyone notice the monotony of (recently eliminated) Audrina Patridge’s? I suspect Botox, which has left her already youthful brow, unwrinkled, and, unfortunately for this competition, expressionless. Patridge (and former DTWS competitor, Priscilla Presley) suffered from the same face freezing symptoms and provided the greatest endorsement against ‘work’. Dance is an emotive performing art; watch the pros and see how they use not only their bodies, but their faces to sell a performance to the front row and the bleachers. The inability to express common emotions like sadness, joy and anger leave dances lacking.
5) Thou Shalt Take Thy Work Seriously
The judges don’t mince words. Bruno Tonioli’s scathing review of Michael Bolton’s jive made news, but if you take your work seriously, which I sense the judges do, it’s quite natural to approach it with a critical eye. Granted, the stars aren’t skilled and many choices (like choreography and costuming) are out of their control, which is why you’ll find Inaba, Goodman and Tonioli occasionally offering leniency instead of criticism, but their scores usually reflect their honest opinion. The audience can boo all they like, but who really wants to hear three ‘polite Paulas’ tell everyone how great they are and how good they look when that has nothing to do with the dance? The truth may hurt, but it makes for better TV.
6) Thou Shalt Have Support
Bristol Palin surviving a week where she forgot her steps while in an ape suit, made me think a couple of things, mostly bad, one, printable: Palin represents the power of a fan base. Clearly, she’s not as good as the front runners, and if she wins the title overall, it will harm the legitimacy of the show’s voting process, but what she lacks in dancing talent, she makes up for in supporters who are willing to vote, in droves, to see her on the show each week. Fair? Maybe not, but life wasn’t designed to be fair. Perhaps another deep lesson from a fabulously superficial show.