Fuse’s “Saturday Morning Fever” focuses on out host Casey Reed and her wife-to-be

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Last night was the premiere of Fuse’s Saturday Morning Fever, a new docu-comedy geared at reviving America’s rich legacy of dance TV. The inside look at life on Philly’s long-running dance show Dancin’ On Air stars Casey Reed, the show’s openly gay host and focuses strongly on Casey’s relationship with her girlfriend, Brittany.

If you’re like me and have never even been to Philly, Dancin’ On Air might sound like a podunk local show. After a little research, I realized that this local program has some major industry clout. Kelly Ripa kicked off her career as a series regular—just like Casey—on Dancin’ On Air. The show was the inspiration for Dance Party USA, a popular dance program that aired on USA Network from 1986 to 1992, and likely inspired the ’80s cult classic (and staple from my middle school experience) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

saturday-morning-fever-dancin-on-airvia Fuse

Right now you might be a little confused: that’s a whole lot of dance show within dance show inspired by dance show revived into dance show to fit into two paragraphs. Before I continue with the review of Saturday Morning Fever, here’s a quick summary/timeline.

Dancin’ On Air is a triple decade long-running dance show based in Philadelphia and airing on local Philly station WPHL-TV. It is still running strong.

Dance Party USA was a national network dance TV show based on Dancin’ On Air. It ran from the mid-’80s to the early ’90s, aka the golden age of televised dance TV.

Saturday Day Morning Fever is a new reality show on Fuse that follows the ambitious cast members of Dancin’ On Air. The main character is a gay woman named Casey who has a girlfriend named Brittany.

Got it? Cool. Let’s proceed.

Casey “doesn’t dance, she hosts” which means Casey is a DJ. DJ is a traditional lesbian occupation, so I’m glad Casey is sticking to her roots in that regard. Casey has very straight, very shiny brown hair and the no-nonsense attitude that is a hallmark trait of female homosexuals. She is classic power femme and her sleek, professional style sets her apart from Dancin’ On Air’s glittery set and series regulars.

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Casey is a top 40 radio DJ in Philly and longs to streamline Dancin’ On Air into an efficient, entertaining program rather than disorganized twelve-hour filming shit show. Unfortunately old habits die hard, and the 30-year-old program has accrued a vast quantity of bad habits.

From the very first minute of  Saturday Morning Fever’s pilot episode, the program makes it clear that this is an unusually self-aware reality program with the playfully mocking voiceover of a VH1 special. Casey is immediately introduced as a successful top 40 DJ who hosts Dancin’ On Air as a side gig/passion project. She’s less than overwhelmed with the teen talent on Dancin’ On Air (“The first thing that was overwhelming is the among of kids there that think they’re going to be the next Usher.”) Cut to some truly terrible rapping (“OOGA BOOGA”). Casey is cleanly and efficiently as the voice of reason amongst a staggering bevy of mildly talented, highly delusional aspiring musicians. Fabulous. Aren’t lesbians always the voice of reason (other than Rosie)?

After Saturday Morning Fever establishes that the teen dancers have all the pompous melodrama of actual teenagers (no hate, we’ve all been there), the program takes us into Casey’s love life. “I do have a pretty extensive personal life that mostly revolves around my girlfriend, Brittany. We have been together almost a year now, and she is honestly the love of my life. Right now, we are in the middle of planning our wedding.” OF COURSE SHE’S THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED AFTER ALMOST A YEAR YOU HOMOS. Again, no shade, I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost a year, and we talk about soulmates and marriage when no one is around to point out how premature and nauseating that shiz is.

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Cut to: Casey and Brittany planning their wedding. “Is it too gay if we have the same ring?” Casey muses. “We’re two women wearing two white dresses getting married, I don’t give a shit, and I don’t think people are going to really care.” Brittany keeps it real, and I like her. Even though both Casey and Brittany need to back away from the pastels, their loungewear looks like Lily Pulitzer’s jammies. “Brittany is the most intelligent, compassionate, loving girlfriend that I’ve ever been with,” Casey bubbles. “I couldn’t get through a day without her.” Presh.

Back to Dancin’ On Air, where Casey bellows organization on the mic and fifty or so neon-clad Philadelphians look at her like she’s speaking Navajo. The leathery elderly producers in ’80s ensembles pat Casey on the back. They’ve clearly seen a lot of hosts come and go and aren’t about to change now. Or ever. Someone send Casey a needlepoint reading “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Of course, that’s half the fun of watching Saturday Morning Fever. Witnessing a technicolor exercise in futility.

Can Casey break the cycle and turn Dancin’ On Air into the power program of days past? Will a program populated by struggling Philadelphia entertainers hold our interest? Is Casey’s girlfriend hot and chill? Tune into the Saturday Morning Fever every Wednesday on Fuse at 11/10c to find out!

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