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Featured TV on DVD Review: Dance Moms: Season One

September 2nd, 2012

Dance Moms: Season One - Buy from Amazon

Dance Moms is a Reality TV show that airs on Lifetime. Reality TV shows can be divided into two groups: The competitive and the documentary. While the documentary can generally be further divided into two sub-groups: people with no discernible talent who shouldn't be on TV and people with interesting jobs. At first glance, a TV show about a dance studio should be part of the latter group. But it is?

The Show

Dance Moms takes place in Pittsburgh at the Abby Lee Dance Company, run by Abby Lee Miller. She's quite the taskmaster dealing with mostly pre-teen girls who want to be dancers. This could be an interesting show. Dancing is very difficult and takes skill and determination, unlike some of the other "People with Interesting Jobs" Reality TV shows out there. (Pawn Stars leaps to mind, as does Storage Wars.) Seeing the dancers learn their routines, practice intensively, and then perform in competition is very cool to watch. If I could just watch Nia Frazier, Brooke Hyland, Paige Hyland, Chloe Lukasiak, Vivi-Anne Stein, Mackenzie Ziegler, and Maddie Ziegler doing what it takes to perform at the dance competitions, I would be happy to watch this show.

However, apparently I'm not the target audience for this show, because the actual dancing is rarely the focus of the show. Instead, the show focuses on the adults, who are almost entirely horrible people. Abby Lee Miller is not exactly an inspirational teacher and she spends a great deal of time yelling at little girls, most of whom are under the age of ten. She claims she gets results, but it's clear some of her students have come to hate dancing. As bad as Abby Lee is, some of the mothers are ten times worse. I wouldn't talk to these people if the were related to me; I certainly don't want to spend time with them as a form of entertainment. Hell, if I knew some of them in real life, I would have called Child Protective Services. When Cathy says that she would slit her wrists if her daughter quit dancing for softball, that was child abuse. It was psychological abuse. After a while, nothing these people do is shocking anymore and it instead becomes boring.

The Extras

The extras begin with a special episode that was aired after season one was finished, Most Outrageous Moments, which pretty much sums up the show. They focus on the outrageous moments, which I hated, rather than the dancing, which I thought was great. There are also a few deleted scenes.

The Verdict

Dance Moms is typical of the soul-crushing type of Reality TV. What could have been a really interesting show about young girls learning to dance in a very competitive arena, was instead about nasty people treating each other like crap. I would like to watch the former show, I don't want to see this. Season One doesn't have a lot of extras, but at least the four-disc set isn't overpriced.


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