When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”
(Looking for play-by-play commentary on the dances? Check yesterday’s video highlights. We have work to do here.)
Bait, hell – they were chumming the waters this week.
Certified awesome person (and ally) Kristin Chenoweth sang on both the performance and results shows. I know most people on this site probably love her from Glee, but I’ve always had a soft spot for her brilliance as Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies. Whichever your preference, you’re going to have to scrape that crush off all over again.
The performance show also had a visit from the cast of Sister Act, which I didn’t know had been made into a Broadway musical, but of course it was. We’re only days away from a Broadway musical based on 60 Minutes. Anyway, they did great, and if you happen to have a thing for extremely sparkly nuns, you are in luck.
Also? Lacey Schwimmer blew up from sweet and fun to freaking fantastic.
First, we saw her put the hammer down on Chaz Bono during rehearsals. She knew she needed to push him, and he appreciated it. And yet, for all Lacey’s tough love bad-assery, she still managed to look luminous during their tango.
… And she still wasn’t done! One of the judges threw obnoxious shade at Chaz one too many times, and Lacey wasn’t having it. She spoke her mind on Twitter. Oh, did you think she was done being awesome? She also choreographed and performed in a Halloween-themed dance with Mark from the Troupe and some costumed kids.
And, hmm, that’s all I can think of for AfterEllen Bait.
Oh, unless maybe possibly perhaps some people might have been interested in the part where Maksim Chmerkovskiy had three of the female professional dancers come in to teach Hope Solo how to show passion and chemistry on the dance floor.
(Hi. Are you reading this because your friend or colleague was on the computer and you’re trying to figure out why she just passed out? Throw some water on her, say, “Yes, that was real,” and then get ready to throw some more water on her.)
Yes, there are screen caps.
Feelings, Feelings, Feelings!
There were feelings bursting out all over the place this week, most of them right around the remaining members of Team Heart, Hope and Chaz.
Hope did great in rehearsal, but less well in the actual dance, perhaps because the stupid judges are still locked into the stupid made-up storyline about how Hope “isn’t sexy,” though, gosh, she could be if only she’d drop everything that makes her an amazing woman and become, as Carrie Ann the Useless Judge said, “a beautiful, vulnerable girl.”
Piss off, judges. I think we need another screen cap to fortify us.
Maksim, like Lacey, had also hit his limit with the judges and stood up for his partner, because whatever else is going on in their weird relationship, Hope and Maksim have bonded and they are a team, and if you mess with one of them the other one will cut you.
Maks made a very good and accurate point about how the judges hold different contestants to completely different standards. Unfortunately, Maks made that point while he had a full head of mad on and made it in kind of a shouty way.
Oh, and he also told Len the Mandatory Cranky British Judge that maybe it was time he got out of the business. And then Maks pointed out that he helped create the show in the first place, so maybe the judges could take the trouble to stop being dipweeds for 30 seconds. (I’m paraphrasing a bit there.)
The judges, not one of whom has been a part a nuanced human interaction since about 1983, got so offended by Maks questioning their completely random judging standards and then quite genuinely being insulting toward Len that they did that thing that happens in arguments where they were so mad and ready to take umbrage that they heard the fightiest possible thing instead of what actually came out of Maksim’s face. And then they all turned to each other and claimed that Maks had just said that the whole show was his show and they were pretty sure he also said King of the Universe.
And so as Hope and Maksim stalked off to the Platform of Seeing One’s Scores, the judges gave the first triple demonstration in human history of failing to storm out in a huff. But boy, did they ever sit there as the huff settled around them. You have never see such a large display of righteous indignation with such a small portion of events that the injured parties can correctly feel righteous about.
The wide, innocence-wronged eyes at the judging table were even more ridiculous in light of the fact that Bruno was fresh from gratuitously belittling Chaz. Again.
This time, Bruno, who is only able to understand that something could conceivably be sexy if there is nudity, hip-grinding, or a professionally lettered sign that says “THIS RIGHT HERE IS SEXY” involved, told Chaz that it was silly for him to try to take on the Phantom part in his dance because Chaz is just “a penguin.”
Bruno had previously called Chaz a teddy bear, which is borderline, and an Ewok, which is inexcusable. Chaz took it with a smile, as always, but it was clear later that he was stung – and frustrated over the tacit assumption among the judges that they don’t really need to treat all the contestants with the same basic level of respect. Chaz powered through, but was hurt enough that Lacey dropped some science on Twitter.
On the results show, Maks apologized for suggesting too much ownership of the show and Bruno didn’t apologize for squat, because he is convinced that everything he does is adorable. I have never before theorized that someone might have been hugged too much as a child, but that’s the only explanation I’ve got.
There were three quicksteps on the performance show (from David Arquette and Kym Johnson, Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, and J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff), and boy, are those fun to watch. Part of my brain refuses to believe that it’s a real dance or that human legs can really swing around like that. It’s like the Ministry of Silly Walks is having a prom and it’s awesome every time.
The Spangled Nuns from Sister Act did a perfect kickline and a maneuver that you marching band veterans will know as a pinwheel, both of which are darn tricky to pull off. Good on you, sparkly dancing nuns!
There were also more numbers where a couple of the pros dance while a guest star sings. Those always have a few amazing lifts in them, but they make me uncomfortable because it simultaneously feels like the dancers shouldn’t be drawing focus from that nice guest singer and the singer shouldn’t be pulling attention from that supercool dancing and, while I can admire both, the apparent overlap of politeness jurisdictions makes me anxious. Maybe that’s what broke the judges and forced them to choose lives without nuance.
But the big show of athleticism was the group dance. Every couple got to do a little showcase lift, and you know what? They all did well! Maks and Hope did a lift described by my friend as “egalitarian” in which he flipped her and then she used the momentum to flip him. I’m sure that will in no way come back to haunt her!
I’m getting depressed about the monster situation, y’all. None of the monsters, tangible or intangible, were even close to getting knocked off this week.
Blah blah Rob Kardashian blah blah stomping around blah blah gets three moves right and the judges all need fresh britches because of their pretend excitement over how he’s come into his own as such a commanding and sexy real manly man. How much money does his family have? Do they have access to military-grade weapons or something? And why do the producers and judges think the American public could be fooled into accepting such a beacon of mediocrity as an intriguing sex symbol? …Oh.
The one bright spot was Nancy Grace, who took back the many insults she’s lobbed at Tristan and was unguardedly complimentary and friendly with him. Plus the camera caught her being sweet to Chaz. I think this hellzapoppin show might actually be doing something good for her.
On a strictly probationary basis, I am removing Nancy Grace from the Monster category.
You don’t have to worry, though, because of course Bruno has come roaring back into this category with a vengeance. Lesson learned, Bruno. Lesson learned.
But once again, the biggest monster is the show’s inherent sexism. Case in point: the charming prostitutes and johns–themed group number. Sure, everyone seemed to have fun with it, but what a gross way to go. Props to Nancy Grace – You heard me! – for announcing that her character didn’t have a pimp. At least she’s an independent contractor who keeps her own profits, you know?
Even a slight shift to “gold diggers” would have worked with the songs they’d picked and suggested a more equal balance of power to work with. A kind of “Material Girl” spin.
Do you get why that would have been somewhat better, powers that be at DWTS? And do you understand why it still wouldn’t be great? Do you give a rat?
And here’s the thing: Artemis knows I cannot start complaining about the amount of flesh on display at this stage of the game. Not without getting struck by lighting, anyway. However, maybe it’s just because I just saw Miss Representation, but it really struck me when I saw the group as a whole how the women were all as naked as they could be persuaded to get and the men (except for Maks, bless his heart) were in full suits.
Really? There’s nobody watching this Broadway-themed dance competition who would be interested in seeing a little male skin? I think someone at DWTS has made a grave miscalculation.
And speaking of grave miscalculations…
KICKED OFF THIS WEEK: Chaz Bono
Aw, dammit. So long, Team LGBT.
And, Team LGBT or no, I’m genuinely sad to see Chaz go. He may not have had the best dancing chops, but he had real charisma (look it up, Bruno) and was fun to watch. And he was gratifying to follow on the show – he seemed to be a really good guy who worked his tail off. Chaz gave it his all and was a gentleman to the end.
Thanks for going on the show, Chaz. I’m sure you helped a lot of struggling young people feel less alone. More than that, you took criticism (and condescension) with grace and kept on going. You gave those kids out there someone they can look up to.
Let’s follow his example and keep plugging away: It’s the Halloween show next week and you know we’ll have monsters to fight.
Keep your chin up and go forth and dance.