Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greatest Sporting Event of Our Time: So You Think You Can Dance?

Watching sports! You get to partake in the experience of being insanely passionate about something, without actually being any good at it. Yeah, your layup is total ass, but you can love watching the Celtics win because you see the players’ passion for the game, reflecting back at you the same passion you have for the game, which you pass back to them in a super happy infinite regress. Man, sports is a big fat love fest, taking you up on all the highs and lows of an epic opera cycle without ever having to expend one sweet drop of sweat. Gorgeous.

But I’ll tell you sweeties, to me? Watching sports is boring as shit. As much as the TSN teasers for the Rocco/Tiger showdown were sexy pieces of editing, dipped in swelling, brimming strings and all dolled up with shots of sparkling trophies, I couldn’t care once the actual play started. Because although the announcers can tell me that Rocco’s an underdog, and Tiger’s basically The Best Evar but has been struggling with an injury, I know there’s more to the story. I don’t follow golf, all I did was turn on the TV. Now I’m expected to know all about a game people dedicate their lives to, and to know the history of two fully grown men. I don’t know these guys at all, I can’t really pin my passion on these players. It’s always going to feel like dipping into a random episode of Days of Our Lives, unless I dedicate a massive amount of time to Caring About Golf, there ain’t nothing I can do to enjoy golf more than a little bit. Also, I don’t know what the language of the game is (Birdies? For real?) and that seems to be pretty important. Ya know?

That’s why So You Think You Can Dance is the greatest single sporting event available to the public today. Because it’s really really available to the public. Sure, there’s as much finess and technique to dancing as to golf, and a lot more history. But SYTYCD isn’t looking for the best. No no son, all it wants to find is “America’s Favourite Dancer”. That’s the game, and this show is going to MAKE you care about the players. Oh, you’ve never heard of Twitch? Well before you watch him dance, here’s his history on the show. In thirty seconds. “We first met Twitch last season when he almost made our top 20 but blah blah blah”. Cool! But does he have personality? Why, here’s a clip of him being cute. Oh, but what about his team dynamics? Here, his partner says he’s awesome. But can he dance? Here he goes. Did you like that? You DID? Then I guess he’s awesome. There’s his story, his passion and his performance in five minutes flat.

Because the narrative of the show is constantly bludgeoning you with reminders of why you love them, you can quite reasonably consider yourself an expert on each ‘player’ in this show just by watching a single episode. This show is just so damned populist, so much more accessible than the (already pretty accessible) real sports out there, and not just because of constant fan-mongering. The viewers can follow along with the hopes and failures of the dancers because there are actually no rules. As much as the judges can point out technical problems with dancers, since only aim of the game is not to get kicked off, it’s the voting public that acts as the only referee. And they only blow foul when they don’t like something, not when some Rule of Dance is broken. Best of all, with the audition episodes running sort of like the draft/pre-season, the actual season of SYTYCD is incredibly short, just nine weeks long. You can be the most informed person possible just by dedicated three hours a week, or if you’re in a real rush, there’s the results show which summarizes the previous night’s happenings anyway. One hour, and there you are, super fan number one. SYTYCD isn’t about dancing as much as it is about the personal (but not serious or life threatening) struggle and high adventure of a set group of real people. That makes it the quickest, easiest ways to enjoy the highs and lows of sport there is.

Youtube agrees. This chick loves it.

That's playoff love right there.

No comments: