Gay Girls Goggles: “Dancing with the Stars” SnapCap (13.2)



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?”

AfterEllen Bait

You can tell that it’s fall now. The women of DWTS were much more covered up this week.

Still, Hope Solo did her best to keep the flame alive.

And there are plenty of lovely women on the show. Kristin Cavallari looked elegant, Elisabetta Canalis had ethereal going, and David Arquette’s partner, Kym Johnson, is an intriguing combination of adorable and ripped.

Tuesday night’s results show also featured a Busby Berkely–style number for those of you who are fans of the women in The Troupe. (Please know that while you are happily fast-forwarding through those groaning, foam-insulated Hummer limo results shows, I am dutifully watching them in real time. At any given moment during the broadcast, there is a 75% probability that I am hitting myself with a mallet to try to stay focused.)

Yes, there was another incident that involved showing some skin. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Feelings, Feelings, Feelings!

Wow, did they ramp up the feelings this week!

This was the week that the writer-producers and editors settled on several of the contestants’ canned stories for the season. To their credit, they seem to be dropping the stupid “Can a GIRL ATHLETE learn to be graceful like a real pretty girl should be? Bet she’ll be clumsy, Hurk, hurk,” storyline that they seemed to be imposing on Hope Solo at first.

Instead, Hope Solo got “OMG! She’s a busy professional athlete and doesn’t have much time to rehearse!” That, I can live with. It ups the tension and allows her to make inspirational statements during the interview portions.

David Arquette got “He works so hard! He takes it so seriously! Holy whatsit, does he ever go around the bend!”

Elisabetta Canalis got, oh, dear, the Cranky Princess storyline of a model who maybe isn’t used to being corrected by someone who’s trying to teach her. I think a certain celebrity may be just a wee bit used to silencing dissent with her looks.

Rob Kardashian’s story is that he is shy and insecure! This one is especially sad because of the armed thugs that kidnapped poor shy, insecure Rob and forced him to be on a television show.

Ah, well, at least he finally has a shot to get out from under his talent-free, pointlessly famous sisters’ shadows and be talent-free and pointlessly famous in his own right! God, it’s almost impossible not to root for the guy! And yet somehow I manage.

Carson Kressly has been pegged as the Charlie Hustle of the group – he makes up for a lack of raw dancing skill by working hard and being super fun to watch. Good work producers, you’ve pegged me. I’m all in.

Chaz Bono’s segments were of course focused on his bad knees. Poor guy – he’s a champ for powering through the pain and staying on the show in spite of having the lowest score! Nicely voted, people! His potential elimination was a real nail-biter. Let’s keep it rolling.

Nancy Grace’s storyline was about how she is completely unable to open up and trust anyone or anything on this earth except, eventually, her dance partner. (Did you feel the scripted part where you were supposed to go “Awww…” Yeah, so did people in upper Mongolia.)

It was meant to be a redemption storyline, but the redemption part was a little hard to buy because Grace’s psyche is so obviously full of bats, centipedes, and smog monsters. Clearing that mess out is going to take some elbow grease.

There was actually a bit of rehearsal footage in which poor Tristan MacManus kept suggesting things to work on and Grace just stood there and said “No! No! No!” over and over like a two-year-old. And then she shut down completely and stopped talking at all. There is some deeply weird stuff going in there.

And, yes, another thing happened. We’ll get to it in a minute.

Athletic Spectacle

We seem to be ramping up the athleticism, slowly but surely.

Solo and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy had a great time springing all over the stage, but J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff had the most impressive moves – they were in sync, did a great lift and flippy thing (For which they were penalized!) and jumped all over the place.

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough did a backbend to the floor, not to mention some jaw-dropping grinding. Lake won me over this week. She has the guts and determination of a real scrapper, and she seemed to be having a lot of fun. My early, completely uninformed prediction is that she and Martinez will be two of the three finalists.

Yes, I know I have just blasphemed. Believe me: In my heart, I long for a finale with Chaz, Hope, and Carson.  (And, word to the wise, DWTS producers, I would watch the hell out of such a finale, possibly purchasing multiple TVs to up your ratings. I’m just saying.)

Also there may or may not have been a professional-dancy portion during which Demi Lovato sang “Skyscraper” while two dancers kept trying to pull each other off a ladder and then some more dancers fought over getting up a staircase.

But it’s possible that I just swung too hard with that mallet.

Fighting Monsters

So many monsters to fight this week. SO MANY.

We will tackle them in ascending order of scariness.

First, Rob Kardashian, who is on television for no discernable reason other than the fact that he has previously been on television because of being related to people who are also on television for no discernible reason. And his storyline – his whole deal – was that he’s shy and insecure, but he just had to make himself be on television to take his shot so he can maybe get a little more famous and then continue to be on television for what, exactly?

It’s not like he’s been taking classes since he was six and dancing on street corners and in recitals and going to humiliating cattle-calls and icing his knee at night and busting his ass because he just wants to dance, gosh darn it! Nor is he dancing because it’s a vehicle to finally showcase all the work and sweat and the love he’s been pouring into his acting/singing/guitar/juggling/contortionism. He wants to be more famous because being on TV is something he’s done and something his upsetting sisters do and isn’t it so, so sad that he doesn’t have their level of recognition for also doing nothing?

I think that’s the monster part of Rob Kardashian: the assumption that life owes him fame and money – more than he already has – for just existing, and the expectation that we should root for his “struggle” to get them.

Personal to Rob Kardashian: You don’t need to be on television. There are other things to be. There are lots of ways to live a happy, fulfilling, non-televised life in this world. In fact, you have a phenomenal advantage in life. Millions of people – literal millions – work jobs they hate day after day just to put food on the table, and in between those workdays they work like hell to try to carve out few scraps of time around the edges to do what they love and nurture the people they care about. You, Rob, have the family wealth and whatever reality TV money you’ve managed to squirrel away to fall back on. You have the luxury of trying your hand at absolutely anything in this world that you want.

Leave the show, Rob. Travel. See the world as just a good, ordinary guy, not a reality cyborg. Try different jobs, follow your bliss. You have the time the find it and the luxury to practice, so do what you’re really good at, what makes your heart open up and shine brighter than any klieg light. Fall in love with and cherish another human being. Raise kids of your own or just spoil your nieces and nephews like a good uncle should. And when they’re hitting that adolescent weird phase, when they feel cranky and stupid and unlovable, break out your ancient, 2D, non smellomatic DVD player and show them how you were foolish once too, see? You were on Dancing with the Stars. And then you put it behind you, laughed your butt off, and had a great life.

Think well, Rob Kardashian: Has randomly, pointlessly being on television and constantly groping for yet more undeserved fame turned anyone in your family into a better person? You don’t have to be a monster, Rob. Leave the show. Save yourself and be happy.

OK, there’s no avoiding it: Scary Monster Nancy Grace was all over the shows this week, and she has left me somewhat flummoxed.

As you have either heard or divined already, Grace had an upper wardrobe containment failure at the end of her dance this week. It went out in the East Coast broadcasts, and it sure as blazes went out over the internet. Grace seems like a fairly straight-laced woman – oh, let’s be honest: She’s a seething ball of intertwined repressions and resentments – and I’m guessing that being exposed that way was excruciating for her. And so now pictures of her nipple that she didn’t want to reveal are all over the Internet and no matter what she does personally or professionally for the rest of her life they’ll be out there, a Google search away.

And, as you’ve noticed, in our messed-up culture if a man has naked pictures on the internet, oh, well, they’re just out there, but if a woman has nude pictures published the world thinks it has taken something away from her. Ha, ha, she’s diminished, on the losing end, and by definition weaker. The world won something from her, and she wasn’t even playing.

So on that count, I feel bad for Nancy Grace, as a woman and a fellow human being. On the other hand, she is Nancy Grace. And she has made her living screaming at people on TV and doing shows for months on end that work under the assumption that the targets of her nationally broadcast television show are guilty without trial, and then cementing that impression with her viewers.

I know she has been through rough, even brutal times – Does anyone get that screwed up without brutal times? – but you have three choices when monsters come into your life: You can hide from the monsters, you can fight the monsters, or you can turn into an even more horrible monster yourself. Nancy Grace picked Option 3, and she doesn’t seem to have ever looked back. She makes a tidy living (and has become, according to this show, a star) by spewing anger and bile into the world. So, no, her aw-shucks-I’m-adorable act and redemption storyline won’t cut it with me. She is a monster. But she is a monster for whom I now feel compassion, and that is making me cranky beyond belief.

Vote her off the show so I can stop worrying about all this, won’t you? Enough is enough.

Fortunately, there is a monster on whom we can all agree: Bruno Tonioli, who, until I looked him up just this minute, my brain would only think of as Pervy Judge. What is wrong with him? There is no situation that he can’t turn into creepy, ham-fisted sexual innuendo. For example, during judging this week, he told Solo “You’ve got thighs that could crush a walnut.” Charming.

He also maturely reacted to the upper-body freedom mishap by staring with his mouth in a comedy O for so long that it made the edited West Coast feed, and then kept making jokes about it to the obviously embarrassed Grace. Fine. You saw her boob. You won something. We get it. I am double grossed out by the fact that I was forced to side with Nancy Grace.

It’s like that pathetic guy from your freshman dorm who really, really needed everyone to know that he had done sex things, so don’t think he’s missing anything, cause, boy, can he talk about sex terminology and sexy sex and sex things, and you know what beautiful women are for? Looking at and having sex with, that’s what! And are you guys playing “I never?” Because he’d like to join in, and boy, will he get drunk, because he’ll have to drink a lot, because he sure has done a lot of sex things!

So if you think someone in here might not know exactly where things go or how they fit, that is not him, OK?

Anyway, that’s Bruno the Pervy Judge, and his shtick has been old since about seven minutes into the first episode. I’m working on a signed affidavit to send him acknowledging that we, the audience, understand and agree that Bruno has had lots and lots of sex. Maybe he’ll settle down.


Elisabetta Canalis. OK.

I have mixed emotions about that, but none of them are in Elisabetta’s direction. I’m delighted that Chaz, Hope, and Carson, my Big Heart Three, are still in it, but that still leaves Rob and Nancy up there, undefeated, slavering, and ready to rumba.

We have work to people. Work to do. But in the meantime, go forth and dance.

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