some screen time for your screen time

I may not be a cock-eyed optimist. But something about So You Think You Can Dance makes me feel a little better about the world. Who doesn't love a show full of fun dance numbers? It's part talent show, part eye candy, and part artistic expression. It's a reality show that isn't about celebrity or idiocy but rather about talent and athleticism and stamina and creativity. Not to mention, it's a big fat multicultural lovefest where art forms from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds get to play. I love it.

I was so excited for the season to really start, because I am not a fan of the audition weeks' Parade of Asperger Disorders. I was ready to see some choreography. Bring on the Tice, the Mia, and the Wade! I'm a little behind on my tivo, so last night I finally watched the first show on their new, fancy set.


I admit, I am a seriously sleep-deprived woman, and prone to a bit of the curmudgeondry as of late. True, I'm a tad short-fused these days, and I might have yelled back at the tv yesterday while a certain Christian celebrity was schilling his "Jesus Makes You Rich" gospel. But that new set on SYTYCD? IS SENDING ME THROUGH THE ROOF. To the point where, fifteen minutes in, I was already badgering my husband with, "Do you see this set? Are you SEEING this? What is with this, Mark? Whaaaat?"

So that set. The new shape is annoying. The weird florescent elephant-tusks on the sides are distracting. But what is with the jumbotron behind the dancers? It was playing scenes of glittery graphics or mutating colors throughout every dance number. Because, why? We can't possibly be expected to watch just dancing? Has our collective ADD gotten so bad that we have to watch something on a tv set behind what we are watching on the tv set?

As I tried to analyze why this jazzed-up set was so under my skin, it dawned on me that so many of us are trying to actually reduce our screen time . . . to spend less time in front of the computer screen or tv set. Granted, this is still a tv show, but there was always something about it that seemed a little elevated about it. Just two beautiful dancers, on a minimalist stage, expressing joy and beauty and frustration with their bodies.

Is this what we've come to? We can't even watch tv without watching tv? Because I'm a girl who, to quote a little Corkie, could be happy with just a dance belt and a tube of chapstick. The rest is just visual noise.
And don't get me started on the Paula Abdul stuff. Because does this show really need another shrill, nonsensical judge with too much botox and an addiction to prescription pain meds? That's what Mary is for.


  1. Ohmygosh I said the SAME THING! Can't stand the new set. And I feel like the multi-person camera crew is in a contest to see who can make the viewer more dizzy, rather than letting us actually focus ON THE DANCING.

  2. I really didn't notice the screen behind them... But I wasn't as captivated by the dancing, perhaps because my eyes were being drawn to something else. Interesting. I am pretty much over TV and refuse to start any new shows, unfortunately I still have plenty to sift through. Now to limit computer time.

  3. "Has our collective ADD gotten so bad that we have to watch something on a tv set behind what we are watching on the tv set?"

    Sister, you nailed that one. It's like a mirror looking into a mirror. Are we really so inured to quiet enjoyment of entertainment--something so simple even a caveman could do it? (You know, like sitting around the fire telling ghost stories.) And my colleagues all wonder why it's so difficult to have ANY expectation of learning in our English classes..

    You have a way with words, and I'd love to read your take on the phenomenon of programs and channels advertising another program ACROSS THE SCREEN of the program you're watching.Arrrrgh!!!!

  4. We will mention it to Nigel tomorrow night when we are sitting in the front row during the SYTYCD Tour, and when we are backstage with the dancers (that's right backstage with the dancers).

  5. Wow. A zillion points for a Corkie quote.

  6. I'll just bite my pillow.

  7. I would like to second this!!! SYTYCD is my favorite show!!! Why did they have to mess with perfection?!?!?!


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