You Can Dance If You Want To

When the history books take a look back at the fall of the American Empire, they may very well peg last week as a key downward turning point. No, not because of casualties in Iraq, or the controversy surrounding Gitmo, but because of this almost unbelievable fact: last week's television ratings leader was Dancing With the Stars.

Now, look: I know it's summer and almost everything is in reruns. But Dancing With the Stars? Really, America? Apparently the second episode of the show scored 15.1 million viewers. That's right, 15.1 million. Let's pause for a moment so we can all ponder the image of 15.1 million Americans lying supine in their Barca loungers while Trista the Bachelorette attempts to do the cha cha. Okay, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

When I saw a promo for Dancing With the Stars a few weeks ago, my first thought was that it was one of those annoying Geico ads, but alas, it's a real show. (Incidentally, if it hadn't already been featured in a parody commercial, I'm almost positive Tiny House could be successfully pitched to one of the major networks right about now.)

Of course, the "stars" in Dancing With the Stars should really be set off by scare quotes, because the lineup includes such D-list celebs as the aforementioned Trista, some soap opera actress named Kelly Monaco, Peterman from Seinfeld, and Joey McIntyre (that's right: Joey McIntyre. I wonder if there was a debate at ABC over whether he was a better fit for the "star" or "professional dancer" category, since it's really no more of a stretch to say that a former member of NKOTB is a "professional dancer" than it is to claim him as a "star.")

Apparently these were the best people ABC could get for the show, as Stephen Baldwin, Keisha Knight Pulliam and both of the Coreys were unavailable. Of course, with Evander Holyfield in the lineup there's at least the slim possibility that Joey McIntyre will get punched in the mouth.

According to the show's website, Dancing With the Stars was already a big hit abroad under the unwieldy name Strictly Come Dancing. I'm going to assume that's either a bad translation or the original show was German.

The website goes on to explain Dancing With the Stars' "broad appeal": it offers viewers "dazzling costumes, dancing, celebrity gossip, behind-the-scenes training and contemporary music performed by a live 15-piece band." Um, yeah. So it's sort of like The Mole: Celebrity Edition meets Lawrence Welk?

I suppose the real draw of the show is America's love affair with elimination-based programming and phone-in voting. But what's next? Figure Skating With the Stars? Watermelon Seed Spitting With the Stars? If only someone could line up Drunken Lawn Darts With Paris and Nicole. Now that's a show I could get behind.

1 comment:

dave said...

And where is Coolio!?! Following his spectacular wins on Celebrity Boot Camp and Celebrity Fear Factor, and his spectacularly disinterested turn on Celebrity Mole, I fully expected Coolio to dominate the reality television landscape, and this show sounds right up his alley.

I think all we can do at this point is cross our fingers and wait for Man vs Beast III.

"Remember, the chimpanzee doesn't KNOW he's in a race..."