Dec 8, 2014
Dancing with the Stars PRECAP: Meet the new cast, same as the old cast
The next cast for the uptymillionth season of Dancing With the Minor Asteroids has been announced, and I, for one, am just trembling with indifference. Look what a pantheon of stunning obscurity they’ve dredged up for us now! There’s… there’s… that lady who was in that time-traveling movie when I was just a kid! And that bitchy teenager who got murdered on that show! And that guy who takes pictures in his underwear! And that guy who used to get stoned a lot! And a lot of other losers I’ve never even heard of! Can’t you just FEEEEEL the excitement, people?
Dancing With the Has-Beens may not feature anybody we actually care about, but what they lack in star-power they make up for in assembly-line, moronic consistency. Don’t think of the cast as stars–for they are stars in less than the same way that Pluto is a planet–but as types who are cast to fill specific character slots. We’ve seen different versions of each of these kinds of contestants before. Each one is hand-picked to keep a certain demographic from switching to something more exhilarating, like the Golf Channel. This year’s character types:
The Reality Show Attention Monger (RSAM)
The quintessential Dancing With the Stars celebrity. Having made their pathetic marks on the world by appearing on a reality show, these contestants are addicted to unwarranted attention and will endure anything–sprained ankles, Len Goodman’s barbed tongue, utter humiliation, ANYTHING–to be on television again. Past RSAMs include Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Kelly Osborne, NeNe Leakes, oh, you get the picture. This season we get Duck Dynasty‘s Sadie Robertson.
The Slumming Olympian (SO)
They’ve trained hard, competed hard, and they’ve won that damned medal, finally (or maybe not). The Olympic Dream is over. Now what the hell are they going to do with themselves? Well, if you squint real hard and look with just one eye while standing on your head drunk, that mirror-ball trophy looks a little itsy-bitsy bit like an Olympic medal, so here they are! Probably hung-over. Past SOs include Apolo Anton Ono, Shawn Johnson, Dorothy Hamill, and last season’s winner, Meryl Davis. (Her ice-dancing partner, Charlie White, also competed, and came in… fifth. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!) This season’s SO: track and field hurdle jumper Lolo Jones.
That Guy (or Gal) Who Used to Be On TV (TGWUTBOTV)
80’s heartthrobs, sitcom sidekicks, soap opera stars who over-emoted dramatically while the current audience was still in diapers-–this is a grab bag of losers with one thing in common: the residual checks have finally run out. So they are putting themselves in the spotlight again in the desperate hope that somebody somewhere will offer them work. They will be bitterly disappointed. Past TGWUTBOTVs are legion, but they include Pamela Anderson, Kirstie Alley, Melissa Gilbert, and Ralph Macchio. This season we’re stuck with Alfonso Ribeiro from 90s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (yeah, the guy with that moronic Carlton Dance) and Jonathan Bennett, who finally figured out that Mean Girls was ten years ago.
The Husband Pacifier (HP)
Not all washed-up athletes on Dancing With the Dwarf Stars are Olympians. Sometimes they manage to dupe has-beens from other sports into showing their flagging muscle tone here as well. The producers’ strategy is to keep bored husbands in the audience from throwing large, heavy objects at the TV. The HP’s strategy? Permanent traumatic head injuries often lead to poor decision-making skills. Subtypes in this category include The NFL Guy (including past contenders Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith), the Racecar Guy (Helio Castroneves), the Vanquished Fighter (Sugar Ray Leonard), and… so forth. This season’s HPs (yes, there are two of these losers): Racecar Guy Michael Waltrip and Vanquished (Ultimate) Fighter Randy Couture.
The Comic Relief (CR)
These folks are often comedians, but they may also be rappers, magicians, or Bill Nye the Science Guy, whatever. These contestants, almost always male, (Margaret Cho was a rare exception) are rotten dancers and they know it going in. They are just in it for the goof, and they will stomp around lamely and gamely until the voting audience mercifully puts them out of their misery. However, since these guys tend to be the most (or only) genuinely entertaining part of the entire show, that may take weeks. Or months. In the meantime, Len Goodman tries to chew his own foot off in frustration. Past CRs include Penn Jillette, Bill Engvall and Andy Dick. This season, it’s Cheech’s lesser partner Tommy Chong. Bet the rent he dances stoned and lasts forever.
The Disney Kid (DK)
These young, attractive, talented people have actually been on something recent–maybe Disney, maybe not–that teenagers used to care about. But that was soooooo last year! They’ve got to do something else flashy–FAST!–before they become drug-addled has-beens at the age of 21. They are here either because they are naïve kids who don’t know any better or they have really lousy agents who are taking money under the table from the DWTS producers. Past DKs include Amber Riley, Sabrina Bryan and Zendaya. This season we have Pretty Little Liars’ Janelle Parish.
The Gloria Swanson (GS)
Long ago, in a celebrity galaxy far, far away, these washed-up stellar remnants were really impressive. Their award-winning movies were genuine blockbusters, or their albums actually sold millions of copies. During their heydays, they would not have been caught dead doing dreck like this. But the decades have passed, their accomplishments are largely forgotten, and they see this dance show as their final opportunity to take that one last bow. I’m ready for my close-up, Tom Bergeron. Past GS celebrities include Gladys Knight, Tatum O’Neal, Billy Dee Williams and-–this is heartbreaking–astronaut Buzz Aldrin. This season: 80s icon Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, Some Kind of Wonderful, Howard the Duck).
The Fashionista (FSHN)
Dancing? What dancing, dahling? I just want to try on all those sequins and feathers! Models, fashion designers, fashion critics–these people are in it for the clothes. Even the most pretentious Paris runways don’t have outfits as fabulously tacky as the costumes for Dancing With the Stars, and you can always blame your pro partner if you look like your outfit was designed by an overactive toddler on a sugar high. Strut that dance floor, and work it, girl. Past FSHNs include Carson Kressley, Kelly Monaco, and Joanna Krupa. This season we get designer Betsey Johnson. Underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr. also fits in here – kinda.
People Who Just Won’t Shut Up (PWJWSU)
These are radio and TV talk show hosts who have run out of things to say or people willing to listen to them yammer. They may say they want to dance, but mostly they want to pitch their newest doomed attempt to stay remotely relevant in the world of pseudo-journalism. Soon coming to a local cable access channel near you. Past PWHWSUs include Tucker Carlson, Jerry Springer, Leeza Gibbons and Brooke Burke, who turned her season seven win into a gig co-hosting this mess with Tom from 2010-2013. This season we have Tavis Smiley, along with Youtube fashion commentator Bethany Mota, who would like to be a talk show host of Tavis’ reputation and stature some day when she grows up.