The USS Quad Damage

Almost like a reality show about ninjas

First it was Australian Idol, then the Biggest Loser, Dancing on Ice, and now it's So you think you can Dance...

So you think you can dance has1 a reasonable website, although what I’d really like to see is a timeline of when the contestants got eliminated, as well as not showing a big spoiler of who wins as soon as you enter the freaking site. I mean, I know Australia’s not such a big audience but please pay us some credence...

I’m assuming you know the show I’m talking about. It’s another reality television show, only this time from America regarding people who can (and cannot) dance. It’s set up the same way as Australian Idol, only the pace is a lot quicker because, since it’s American, they’re not spending stupid amounts of time whoring out the phone numbers in this country. It’s on 7:30 Sundays on Ten.

I’ve never really liked most reality television. The initial set of reality television shows weren’t that appealing. The first (I think it was the first in this country, I’m not really sure what the order was) show I really liked was The Biggest Loser, mainly because despite the fact that it was the same-old reality bred television program, at least this thing focused on the positive aspects of human behaviour, rewarding people who didn’t give in to temptation. The people in the Australian version were arseholes, but it was still an interesting show nonetheless. Go that geologist dude! Having said that, the format got old quick, and one American series and one Australian series was about as much as I could stand (hell, I think I stopped watching the Aussie one half way through because the guys were all such arseholes).

I couldn’t stand American Idol, mainly because I think musically, we’re a very different country, and they weren’t exactly likeable or memorable characters, they were just that American. Australian Idol, however, immediately caught my eye. The real reason for this was that the contestants in the first series weren’t that good. The kinds of people you had on the show were singers with absolutely no background in singing. Mothers or pig farmers who just decided to have a go. They also had a lot of interesting musicians you just wouldn’t see on American Idol, like Chanel, or Hayley. Interestingly, I wouldn’t buy their albums, but it was interesting television to see if they’d pull through.

The newer Australian Idols seem like launchpads for people who already have a significant musical history, and the pacing of the show being as painfully slow as it is, I don’t watch it any more. My parents and little brother are still watching, though, so I still manage to see the talent, and I know that I don’t really care whether they win or lose.

Dancing on Ice was a crazy good show, considering the quality of reality television as a whole. The number of people injured made it an experience I always recall with much warmth in my heart. I think about three people left that show due to injury, and a couple actually kept on dancing, even with their injuries (one with back issues, one with an actual cast over one arm as he danced). While I fully expected what happened at the end, with the couples I most hated left over, winning or otherwise doing very well, it was still something sour to end upon. By the time Michael Slater left, the show was practically over for me, except for the delicious possibility that someone would get really hurt during the show. Oh how I wanted Jake Wall’s pretty face smashed against the ice. HARD!

You could say "whoah Jake, you just made a CLM. Heh... CLM...

Anyway, I like So you think you can dance for entirely different reasons to all these shows. As it turns out, even average looking women turn exceptionally hot when they dance (assuming they do it well), and a lot of more modern dancing styles have a lot of moves that look like people are having sex. And the dancers don’t really wear that much. In that sense it’s like porn, but PC.

In another sense, it’s a whole lot more. Firstly, it’s skill based, but all the contestants are skilled (like Australian Idol, but unlike, say, dancing on ice, where only the partners of the celebrities have any ice dancing skills). However, they’re paired up, usually with dancers with completely different skill sets, one boy, one girl. This has really interesting implications from a couple dynamic POV. Sometimes, you’re so bad at a particular style you’re pretty much relying on your partner to pull you through, and vice versa. That kind of interdependence builds... sexual tension, which makes it a lot like porn, but with more realism.

Next, the way the thing is structured is awesome. People vote down the bottom three couples, of which all six must dance their “solos”. Then the judges decide which two will leave. If those two aren’t a couple, then the remaining couple-less pairs will have to pair up. This is nice because it stops the problem of the best pair being voted out because the voting public just assumed that the couple was safe due to their brilliant performance. It also allows the judges to have a pretty strong say in who stays and who goes, so pleasing them is actually important, as opposed to, say, Australian Idol. Finally, it’s interesting from a relationship perspective because often, only the person letting the couple down will leave, which means that new couples will always form, and the new couple may be completely different to the old. This makes the show a lot like porn, but for mathematicians.

Finally, the way they move is fundamentally interesting, from the perspective of someone who, long ago, did some martial arts. These guys are very flexible, quick, and have strong moves, a good sense of balance, etc. It’s marvelous to watch. In a way, they’re like ninjas.

I guess what I’m saying here is... watching the show is like watching Ninjas having sex.

1 If you’re reading this a few months after I’ve written it, the website’s probably useless for any information in the context of this article.