Sorry tap. Keep on driving modern. Suck it jazz, don’t even bother, and lyrical just take the bus. Ballet parking only!
So I’m watching tv a week or so ago and happened to come across a show I only discovered not that long ago, Bob’s Burgers. Since I gave up on the Simpsons many years ago I’m not normally in that part of the dial to start with but I was randomly surfing and came across this episode and stayed with it. I could go on and on about why I abandoned the Simpsons one of my all time favorite shows, but I won’t here. Long story short, please stop!! So anyway, the plot of the Bob’s Burgers (Two For Tina, season 3, episode 17) revolves around the overly awkward teen daughter Tina who has to choose between two boys to go to the school dance, one her long time crush Jimmy Jr. and a new boy she meets as he is dancing on the street, very West Side Story’ish. Note, never put anything down dance pants.
Their first exchange was hilarious. “I go to the performing arts high school, I dance ballet.” “Oh, a bad boy!”
The remainder of the show revolves around her school dance date decision. I won’t spoil it for you. It’s on Hulu and the Fox website if you want to watch. What struck me was this is the first time I’ve seen a sitcom that had a boy who was a ballet dancer and wasn’t put through the endless clichés that most sitcoms put male dancer characters through. Insert boy dancer stereotype here, cue laugh-track, make joke about tights, cue laugh-track, question his sexuality cue laugh-track… I kept watching, waiting to cringe when the stereotypes were to fall, but they never did. He was a ballet dancer, and nobody says boo about it. And the one joke about wearing tights was actually funny and not a put down. Tina’s little sister Louise (voiced by a hilarious Kristen Schaal) sees him in tights, (which he always wears, even at the dance) and asks, “Tights… Tina, woah is he a super hero?” It’s a pretty common sitcom staple, lets throw the boy into a ballet class, make him wear tights and pile on your standard stereotypical jokes about boys in ballet and let the funniness at his expense roll. Throw in a teacher with an over the top fake Russian accent. A few shows seem to be somewhat genuine in nature while others are a complete train wreck. I’ve come across a hand-full, some better than others. Aside from the Bob’s Burgers episode, the two that didnt make me shudder in horror were The Simpsons and Mr Belvidere.
The Simpsons, (Season 6 Episode 120, “Homer vs. Patty and Selma”) Bart gets to school late on the day everyone picks their new P.E. class and finds everything full up expect ballet. He’s reluctant to take the class but soon discovers he is quite talented. He however freaks out when he learns that the class will perform in front of everyone. He wears a mask during his performance as if his spiky hair wouldn’t give him away. He’s amazed how well the dance went, leaving Nelson, Dolph, Jimbo and Kerney in tears. He removes his mask only to have them turn a complete 180, as they chase him from the theater and into a giant chasm where his grande jete fails to get him across. A bit far fetched, but not too bad. I like the bit with him drinking a Tab after pulling off a complex combination. It’s complete with the teacher with the fake Russian accent. Mr Belevidere, (“Gotta Dance” season 1 episode 3). Wesley and Mr B are watching a ballet while he prepares a meal, Wesley liked it and wants to try it. The entire family is in on it, and goes to great lengths to hide his ballet interest from his father your stereotypical dumb jock tv dad, a former baseball player and sports writer. The dad reluctantly attends the big recital finds it within himself to appreciate what his son has accomplished and then sticks up for him when another father begins to heckle the lone boy in the performance. Cue the awww from the audience and roll credits. Again, not bad, I know I hid my dancing from my parents too. No fake Russian accents or jokes made at the boys expense, just a boy wanting to take ballet. Then there is everything else. There is The My Three Sons, (season 6, episode 10, My Son the Ballerina) a show I only know of because it was on tv in the mornings and early afternoons when I a kid home sick from school. One of the three sons takes ballet only to appease his girlfriend. It’s also got the overly Russian teacher, stupid jokes about tights, and the old chestnut, “What will the guys think of this?” line. Who the fuck cares, right? However, the father seems to know a lot about ballet. The title of the episode bothers me too, calling male dancers ballerina is a huge pet peeve of mine. Diff’rent Strokes (“On Your Toes” season 4 episode 98) straddles the line. Lots of stereotype jokes from Willis, unnecessary peer pressure and the way over the top Russian accents. The worst has to be Two and a Half Men (“That Voodoo That I Do Do” season 3, episode 56) it’s bad enough on its own, but then goes way overboard. The son, the half a man from the title is more or less forced to take ballet so Charlie Sheen’s character can get laid. It’s so wrong in so many levels, and is chock full of every stereotype there is.
I debated to include Bunheads, for one it’s not a sit-com, but it’s ballet on tv so, what the hell. It’s entertaining enough, I forget when it’s on so I haven’t seen everything there was to see which is too bad because it was recently cancelled. But would it kill them to throw a guy into the main group on occasion. The guys in the show seem to be nothing more than set dressing and or partners in the dance sequences. Correct me if I’m wrong, I might be way off. Would it be that hard to actually write them into some non dance scenes? It portrays dance in a very good light, no stupid jokes at anyone’s expense, always a bonus in my book.
So, if you take anything from this is that sitcom writers can be very lazy, I probably watch too much tv, sitcoms are usually stupid, Three and a Half Men is the worst, and the Simpsons should have folded up tents over a decade ago. I just discovered another Simpsons episode revolving around ballet, episode 415 Season 19 episode number 19, “Smoke on the Daughter.” Marge gives into a lifetime dream of becoming a ballet dancer, Lisa also takes lessons and discovers the secret to ballet is smoking. It’s funny for a bit but it drags on, no pun intended. Instead of the stern Russian female instructor they have a caricature of Roy Scheider’s character from All That Jazz. I’m surprised no mention was made of Bart’s ballet experience. Yawn! Like I said earlier I gave up on the Simpsons years earlier and only saw the later episode by accident. Another jem is Episode 87 Season 5, episode #5, “Marge on the Lam.” Keeping with the Simpsons ballet theme, Homer, Carl and Lenny all are under the impression that ballet involves bears in costume riding around a circus tent in little cars and are profoundly disappointing to find out what ballet really is. Funny stuff!! With tickets to the ballet Homer accidentally gets both arms caught in two separate vending machines at the same time before the performance, fed up Marge invites her new neighbor a hard-living divorcée Ruth Powers to go with her. This then spirals out into a parody of Thelma & Louise. When called out on his utter lack of knowledge of what ballet even is Homer says, “Marjorie please, I enjoy all the meats of our cultural stew” Simpsons writing at its best. Hilarious!!
So I’m setting here checking my e-mail making it look as if I’m actually working and I come across an e-mail I get every so often from Mental Floss. As with most of their e-mail from them there is a theme, this one is about celebrities who hold pattens. The list is quite surprising including everyone’s favorite 16th president, Abe Lincoln, Jamie Lee Curtis and even Steve McQueen. But the one that stands out was Bill Nye, you know, “The Science Guy.” What did he do, I’m sure you are asking, well he has an official US patent for an improved pointe shoe.
Now, I’m sure you have even more questions dear readers, several come to my mind, the first being, just why the hell would he even care, he’s not even dancing. You will have to ask him. That said, Bill here saw a need for a better shoe and put in the time to solve this delima, I guess that is what you do when you are “the Science Guy,” no problem is too great nor too small.Basically his shoe gives the dancer added support to their foot, ties and ankle, creating a support structure within the shoe including a longitudinal support member, a foot encirculating tubular sleeve, and/or a toe ridge all up in there. Gaynor Minden are barking up that same tree, which he mentioned in his abstract.He gets all sciencey if you read the actual patent which I have also uncovered, US patent #US6895694 B2. He’s not a one trick pony either, he holds several other patents.
Pretty wild stuff, who would have ever known?
So, our pianist is a wise ass and loves to do what he wants usually the opposite of what Miss Too Cute wants, but somehow plays something that works perfectly. The back and forth friendly bickering is hilarious.
I forget just what started the question but Miss Too Cute began to call him “Mr Monopoly” thanks to his substantial ‘stache. He started playing something strange yet appropriate as we were pointlessly trying to do the splits, stretching or whatever you wanted to do after barre ended.
I don’t see it dear readers, to me he is straight up Mr Pringles. Mr Monopoly is an older man, white mustache and monocle. Where Mr Pringles is more age appropriate and still his original hair color, dark brown. Yes Mr Pringles sports a more light brown, but it’s close enough. Maybe if he were to should show up to class in a tuxedo and top hat I might change my mind.
But you know, I think he could easily pass for an ol’ timey turn of the century boxer. You know the type; short hair sometimes slicked back or parted down the middle, bare knuckles, big bushy ‘stache…
It had to happen sooner or later, I managed to add a post to the wrong blog. I guess that’s the risk you take when you have multiple blogs all under on name a password.
But since I’m hear I guess I should add something that belongs on this blog. I have been having big issues with my ankle area which has been keeping me out of class, I’ve been gone nearly a month. I had way too much free time yesterday and I thought what the hell, I’ll go to class tonight, ankle areas be damned!
I was plenty rusty, which I totally expected but dear readers I had a great time even when the pangs of pain would remind me that I’m still not 100%. I took it easy and didn’t push myself at everything, but it sure beat the option, staying at home watching something stupid on tv.
It was great to be back, and to be warmly received by my teacher and fellow students, even the one whom I can’t think I’ve ever been in class with her but she sure as hell remembered me. Sometimes playing dumb is the best thing.
I think it’s time to start going again on a regular basis now, I’m as healed as I think I should be. Yeah yeah, I’m sure it’s not the best thing to do, but what else do I have to do on Tuesday nights anyway.
So I decided to take the back stairs out of the building after class. I’ve never taken them before and I was curious just to see where they went, they end up at the door which I’ve never seen anyone ever outside. Turns out it’s not used for good reason, it’s a fire door with an alarm on it which I didn’t notice the sign until it was way too late with the door open and alarm blaring.
I didn’t stick around to see what happened, I made a beeline to my car trying not to make eye contact with anyone. The security guard was all, “Hey, don’t use that door.”
I’m like, No shit, why didn’t you say that before I opened the door. Well, I didn’t say that out loud, but you get the picture. Not only is the alarm extremely annoying, there are flashing lights which I could see blinking away through all the windows as I drove away at top speed. I didn’t see any fire trucks heading that way, so that’s good.
I’ll take the long way next time.