Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
It was at the Dead Dog dinner at OVFF that we found ourselves sharing a table with our good friend markbernstein, and the animated conversion turned its way to television, as it does. We listed the various things we were watching, and Mark began to enthusiastically tell us about his favourite show, So You Think You Can Dance
I have to admit, I was sceptical. I’m not a big fan of “reality Tv’ as a genre; while I admit some are less tawdry than others, they all seem to have the same sort of backbiting commentary and bitter factionalism, which honestly I tend not to find entertaining over long stretches of time. But Mark insisted that SYTYCD had a different tone and that we should give it a try. That week was going to be the first episode with the Top 20 from that season (season 6), and thus would be a good point to jump on. So when we got home, we thought “well, why not” and punched it up on the Tivo, determined to at least give it a fair viewing before writing it off.
I wasn’t surprised to find it mildly entertaining. Good dance is always fun to watch, and the mix of styles (both in the variety of performers and the variety of choreography) kept it from developing any sense of sameness, and if nothing else, it was (to steal kitanzi‘s phrase) “pretty people doing pretty things’, which isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours when nothing else is on.
I was surprised to see how quickly we both got invested in the show and the contestants. From the first episode, we were already noting our favourites, and as the weeks passed, we got more and more connected to these people. We were actually disappointed when one of “our” dancers went home, and before we knew it, it went from “something to fill the slow season” to “must-see TV”. I even ditched a standing engagement so we could watch the season finale live and actually vote, something we didn’t do up to that point (usually we were watching the episodes 24 hours after they aired.) The first week after the finale, we had pangs of withdrawal, because our new favourite show wasn’t on, and we eagerly looked forward to the start of Season 7 (just recently completed).
I’ve given a lot of thought to why this show has managed to capture my heart, when no other show like it has been able. I’m not that big a dance fan1; if it were merely the form of art, I’d expect myself to like American Idol, and I don’t. There’s nothing particularly novel about the format, which has been used on everything from Vatican City Idol to The Belgian Congo’s Got Talent, none of which lured me in.
I think the big difference for me is how overwhelmingly positive the whole show is. None of the judges are snarky for the sake of being snarky; they genuinely critique the performances2, giving praise when its merited and criticism when it’s needed, but there’s no viciousness in their remarks. More to the point, the competitors seem to genuinely like each other. You can see them turning into a company by the middle of the season. They support each other, cheer each other on, and get emotional when one of them has to go. The whole thing is just uplifting in tone, and the world needs more of that.
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mark, without whom I would likely never have taken a moment to consider watching this show. I’m already looking forward to Season 8!
1Well, I wasn’t then, at least. It’s grown rather a bit on me.
2I’ve done competition theatre. I know the difference.
Day 01 – A show that should have never been cancelled
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this t.v season)
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever
Day 05 – A show you hate
Day 06 – Favourite episode of your favourite t.v show
Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show
Day 08 – A show everyone should watch
day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you
Day 12 – An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show
Day 14 – Favorite male character
Day 15 – Favorite female character
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show
Day 17 – Favorite mini series
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite ship
Day 22 – Favorite series finale
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 – Best pilot episode
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death
I love SYTYCD and have been watching from the 2nd season, if memory serves. You’ve pretty much pinpointed exactly why I love the show so much and why it’s easy to invest in.
I’m going to reach back thirty years for today’s answer. At various times, I’ve been pretty vocal (or whatever the written equivalent is) about my dislike for stupid sitcoms. So you might imagine my reaction to a half-hour comedy about two young guys who dress in drag and pretend to be women, just so they can live in a women-only building in New York. Stupid, right?
Except it wasn’t. It was called Bosom Buddies, it lasted one and a half seasons between 1980 and 1982, and it was a whole lot cleverer and less smarmy than I ever expected it to be.
I don’t know if it would hold up to re-viewing today, but I liked a lot of it at the time. Here’s the opening:
And here’s a sample scene:
I remember that show! I thought it was a lot of fun.
Heh. I was actually a big fan of that show when it was on. I particularly remember being impressed by the Billy Joel theme song, as I’d recently become a big fan of his.
And who knew Tom Hanks had such a career in front of him?
My answer to that question would be “Criminal Minds”, as I don’t tend to care for procedurals, nor do I like to watch stuff that’s too dark or scary. But I became hooked on the characters and now I watch it all the time, though often from behind a pillow. Go figure. It’s still, after three years, the only procedural I watch.
I like your answer, too! Just finished watching the American SYTYCD and now we’re into the Top 22 of the Canadian version as of last night. So, yay.