Wednesday, June 6, 2007

DON'T DANCE, DON'T TELL: I guess I'm posting about a rerun of SYTYCD, but I just watched what I thought was a new episode only to find that the TwoP recaplet went up almost a week ago. Whatever, Kim didn't post on it, so it's new to you. Anyway, I just wanted to raise, shockingly, a serious question about this show. Namely: is it easier or harder for a dance show to deal with homosexuality?

I ask because of the Miles Johnson story this week. According to the featurette, Johnson was a star football player, but started ballet to help rehab from a broken leg and ended up loving it so much that he quit the gridiron altogether. Then he became estranged from his cro-magnon father, who tearfully told the camera, "I had the All-American quarterback of the football team, dating the cheerleader ... but it's not what he wanted, I guess." As Billy Madison as this setup is, the editing is weirdly vague, and, conspicuously, nobody ever says that the reason that dad "disowned" Miles was the dancing itself. It looked, to my untrained eye, like this was a coming-out story where all references to coming out were left on the cutting-room floor, so that "dancing" became a euphemism for "gay." I'm not saying that's what happened; it's just what it looked like to me. I mean, otherwise, why would the ballet mean that he couldn't date the cheerleader anymore?

This is weird, right? You can have openly or semi-openly gay characters on everything from The Wire to Too Close for Comfort, but not on a dance show? Or is it because this is a dance show, which means that people like Johnson's dad think it is inherently gay, that SYTYCD, more than other television, needs to butch it up? But if that's true, why not just skip the story altogether? This was just a baffling decision all around.

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