SYTYCD

My girlfriend is rabidly obsessed with "So You Think You Can Dance", but I'm not allowed to truly criticize it around her, so I think this is a good space to do so. Plus, I've been rather silent in this blog of late. Mostly, I've just fallen into a pretty repetitive tone in my daily life. I just wake up, sometimes go to the gym, maybe read a bit of an Al Franken book or an Ann Coulter book (trust me there will be a blog on that soon,) then I eat, and probably go back to sleep. I don't really think it's necessary to write a blog saying every day that I do the same boring things. That's just life. That's how it is for a lot of us. Unfortunately, I think many bloggers feel this odd connection to their "audience" (read: friends and cyberfriends) and think that if they don't post to their blog every day, or multiple times a day, then people will just abandon them and never read their posts again. I think that is just bullshit. If someone just writes the same thing every day, then I get bored and stop reading. If they post infrequently, but with some genuinely interesting stuff, then I'll make a point to come back for more. Hell, that's one reason I have to keep jumping the proverbial blog ship and set up shop in new and exotic places like this Wordspace thing. I felt like my LJ got to be too repetitive and I wanted a fresh start. Not an unreasonable thing. Of course, in this day and age when everyone has access to everything, even a blog that is just the same old boring shit will get someone commenting with enthusiasm just because the boring shit is slightly different boring shit from their life and thus as a shiny coat that makes it seem almost interesting. Whatever, I've ranted too long on this, and fallen away from what I really wanted to talk about: "So You Think You Can Dance."

As I mentioned, Nadja is obsessed with this show. She is like a phychotic Nintendo fanboy who can't understand why someone would think that there is a flaw in the newest carbon-copy of Super Mario's Zelda Adventure to Metroid. She dutifully took the criticism from my buddy Parker who came for a visit, because he is also hopelessly addicted to the show, but I noticed without surprise that she never really agreed with any of his critiques or added much to the conversation. I have seen quite a bit of the show, but she is more familiar with me, so she can quite easily parry any attacks I may have against the show, except of course that Mary Murphy is the most annoying human on television.

Mary Murphy is easily the worst part of the show, so it's natural to start any criticism with her. In a more technical facet which I needed explained to me because I do not have as much of a history with the show as either Nadja or Parker, Mary is a ballroom choreographer. This is all she understands about the world around her. She is most often compared to a shrill version of Paula Abdul's character on American Idol, but if I start making too many reality TV references I may end up hurling my Macbook off of my balcony where the pieces would be collected and reconfigured by some genius Yakuza boy who lives a couple doors down. Mary, however, is not even as good as Paula Abdul, because unless it is a ballroom dance, Mary has no thoughts of her own. She will never ever be the first judge to start the criticism, because she would have no idea what to say. She simply parrots whatever the judge before her says, and when she runs out of things to repeat she will either give the dancers a high pitched scream (imagine melding every female scream that was ever uttered by someone watching "The Exorcist" into one horrible noise) and an equally shrill laugh, or she will give the dancer's an "anti-scream". This is when she has had to repeat a bad review to dancers, and it sounds like the most heavenly thing you could ever imagine (when placed against next to the other noises she is apt to make.)

The other permanent judge, and show creator, is Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel, put simply, is a mysoginist no-it-all who can carry the show one minute and bring it to a screaming halt in the next. To paraphrase "Scrubs", [Nigel's] heart hates uggos. Nigel only bothers talking to the female dancers who are nothing more than Barbie dolls. God help you if you aren't blonde on that show, because you will automatically start with the chain of naziism hanging from your ankle. Luckily, Nigel has a big vote in who is accepted onto the show and who is kicked off, so he is free to keep his Aryan princesses and foster diversity on the show through the male contestents, of which he just can't help himself from loving every big black dick that shows up on the show. When Nigel is not wanking himself under the judge's table at the site of some nubile blonde tart, he takes every opportunity to tell every black man on the show that they are brilliant and will easily win the whole competition.

Other than these gender games that he plays, Nigel's other role on the show is to explain the history of every dance that has ever existed. If a dance is bad, it is never the fault of the choreographer (they are all Mensa approved savants in the field according to Nigel,) it is sometimes the fault of the costume team, but mostly it is due to the fact that the dancers just don't understand the history of the dance. If you study the history of the Argentinian tango, you'll learn just how "slutty" and "sleazy" and "dirty" you need to be to dance it, forget practicing the actual dance. And, god forbid the dancers don't study up on the long history of krumping, how else would they know about the aggression they are supposed to be conveying with the dance? Maybe, I don't know, one of those God-like choreographers might mention it?

Of course, the main judges are just part of the whole. The show is, of course, about dancing. And, while the dancers are very talented, the whole thing just seems like a fad that is being force-fed to the public. Hey, remember when dancing was awesome in the late 70s into the early 80s? It started vaguely with "Saturday Night Fever", then added more dancing in "Fame", then "Flashdance" and "Footloose" and "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo". Now, reality TV is trying to shove it down our throats again with SYTYCD and "Dancing With The Stars" and whatever other bullshit shows there are. Dancing is fun to watch in short doses, but I just can't get behind a show like this. As much as I can vote yay or nay to a dance, shows like this try intentionally to be technical and make the viewer feel as though if they watch enough, they will be able to emulate the dances, or at least become a vaguely competent choreographer (though never on par with their masters.) Sure, Nigel knows the history of everything, but there is so much technical knowledge of form and execution that goes into dancing that it seems like something that will always be a bit out of grasp. It's lovely to watch, but I have no interest in making it a competition or having to judge it.

I need to preface by saying, I hate "American Idol" and think that it is further dumbing down the music listening youth while creating another generation of over-produced singers who can do nothing else. Make the American Idols write their own songs and play instruments, then you'll have a real show. Right now, it's not "American Idol", it's "American Kareoke Champion". That said, I can get behind the idea of the show more than SYTYCD because it is more accessable. Right out of the gate, I can spot a bad singer or a bad performance by a singer, while I apparently need a set of encyclopedias and a team of crack choreographers in order to truly critique a 20 second dance routine. That's just not fun for me. Before I move on to my final point, I need to add that the only thing I enjoy about "American Idol" is Simon Cowell because he is the only honest thing about the show. While Paula and Randy obediently lick the balls (or she-balls) of any contestant on the show, Simon will give the brutal truth. And, if the contestants can't take the honest truth, they damn sure shouldn't be trying to get into show-biz. Of course, any time Simon says something negative he will surely be drowned out by a sea of booing teenage girls, not unlike what happens on SYTYCD.

The audience is the final thing I hate about not just SYTYCD, but every show like it or "American Idol". The audience is always populated by teenage girls who have no brains or taste at all. They simply have two reactions: scream or boo. They will all dutifully scream whenever: a) a performer finishes, b) praise is given, c) commercial break, d) when the signs on set tell them to. Or, they will all boo whenever: a) honest criticism is given, b) anyone is voted off (even though that is the point of the show), c) when the signs tell them to. As much Mary's voice makes me want to stab anything in arm's reach, at least she has some knowledge of something, or at least knows enough to just repeat whatever someone else says. Nigel knows everything about everything, and while annoying it's at least admirable. But, the audience seems to be chosen to not have any cognitive abilities at all. I guess it's good that the school system in America is moving away from grades and ranks, because if any of the girls in the audience of SYTYCD ever got back a report with a "D" on it, she would probably just boo the teacher until they quit.