So You Think You Can Dance: Meet the Top Twenty, Season 9

E:  And here they are, America, your Top Twenty!  What do you think?  Are the judges right – are they the best group ever? Is that just what they always say, or does it not even matter?

For me, the 200th episode featured the promotion of dancers I was sure would make it along with a frustrating collection of folks we’d never been introduced to, damn the editors’ hides.  Seriously, do they do that on purpose so we care less about the dancers we’ve never heard of?  The tactic backfired with Jeanine Mason, then.  Anyway.  Most of the newbies we’ve seen in the background and simply weren’t introduced to.  So without further ado – let’s get to the picking, the heart breaking, the introducing and most especially the live dance!

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The Newsroom: We Just Decided To

E: Do you like Aaron Sorkin’s writing?  And how much do you like it?  Because that’s largely going to determine your response to his intriguing – but not exactly poppin’ fresh – new drama about cable news, The Newsroom.  I have issues with Sorkin (mostly centered around his treatment of romantic situations and his repetitiveness), but I think he’s capable of real genius, and I definitely like the newsroom as the show’s center.  I liked it in Sports Night, and I don’t even care about most professional sports.  I loved it in the Sorkin-free British drama The Hour, and 80s Oscar nominated dramedy Broadcast News.  Of course, I like shows about writers, which essentially covers everything Sorkin’s written.  There was never any question of whether I’d watch.  But can it keep me watching?  Now that’s the trick.

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Memo to the Academy: Nominate John Noble Already!

E:  Let’s be frank.  Fringe is one of the best shows on television, but the audience isn’t there.  Sure, the show has buzz and the respect of critics, but that’s not what the network bosses most crave; it’s ratings, and Fringe hasn’t got ’em.

M: I’d argue that it had them before Fox started yanking it around the schedule, eventually dumping it in the graveyard know as Friday nights, but that’s irrelevant at this point.  Continue.

E: Thankfully we’re getting at least a half season to say goodbye to one of the best, brightest shows on television, but beyond those precious thirteen episodes, our love affair with the Fringe Division seems doomed.

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So You Think You Can Dance: Vegas Week, Season 9

E:  Tears!  Injuries!  Breakdowns, emotional and physical!  That’s what Cat promises us we’re going to get in Vegas week, the most grueling four days in dance.  But unlike Hollywood week, what we get the most of is actual performing.  Guess what?  The dancers are supportive of each other!   Though there are few instances of sullen behavior, pouting and bad attitude, you see far more encouragement, consolation and cheering.  Maybe because dance is a social art, these artists are in it together.  And I love it.

Cat tells us the 181 dancers who’ve arrived at Planet Hollywood are in for 8 rounds: Solos, Hip Hop, Broadway, Jazz, Group Round, Ballroom, Contemporary, Final Solos.  And we find out that the panel of judges charged with winnowing those contestants down to the Top Twenty will be Lil’C, Debbie Allen (holla!), Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio (bah) and of course Mary and Nigel.   The promos promise a lot of rudeness from the panel, which makes me a little nervous.

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Review: Bunheads Pilot

C: Last night E and I turned on the DVR to check out the premiere of Bunheads, a new series on ABC Family. Already with that sentence, I’m bracing for skepticism. Can any good thing come out of ABC Family? I had my doubts, but had two reasons for watching anyway:

1) Amy Sherman-Palladino: writer/producer of Gilmore Girls, writing/producing this. I never actually watched GG when it was on, but I’ve since seen the first three seasons on DVD and it is pretty charming.

2) Sutton Foster: Broadway star recently acclaimed for Anything Goes, starring in this. Rose to fame as Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, which the Quibblers trekked to NYC to see a decade ago. Extremely charming.

E: Oh, that play!  The movie Thoroughly Modern Millie is a family favorite, and the stage version (and the fantastic Foster) was a marvel. M’s still mad we went without him (and not just because we, I kid you not, walked out of the theater between Steven Spielberg and George Lucas).

C: That was indeed an epoch in geek family life! But back to Bunheads — there’s also the fact that this is a show with dance as its main theme, and dancing is cool, right? (Bunheads = ballet dancers. Not people who really enjoy rolls, or Princess Leia role players.)

E: Right, right.  I’m not the Gilmore Girls devotee C is–

C: Having only seen the first three seasons, I can hardly own to that title.

E: –but I do love me some dance. Factor in a positive review from Ken Tucker,  the fact that it’s summer and there’s so little to watch beside the new-to-me episodes of Person of Interest and Awake saved up on my DVR, I was definitely down for checking this out.

C: Verdict: it was pretty cute. Spoilers below!

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So You Think You Can Dance: Season 9 Salt Lake City Auditions

E: I need to go to the Rockies.  I mean, wow, how much more beautiful could they be?  Aside from icy mountains, Salt Lake had a few things to offer we haven’t seen in any other audition city – most notably, ballroom dancers!  Finally!  Where have you been all season, ballroom?  I am so, so happy to see you again.  This time, when Mary goes through her list of no nos (booty shaking, self-love, reaching) guest judge Adam Shankman mimes each one along with her.  Awesome.  I love Adam; he cries even more than I do, which is a real feat.

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So You Think You Can Dance: Season 9 Auditions, Atlanta

E: From Cat’s fuzzy, shag-carpet like jacket and gray scarf to Nigel hamming it up with a weepy, handsy grandma, Atlanta brought the fun, y’all.  I don’t know about you, dance fans, but I’m loving this season so far.  Really the worst thing about this episode is that it’s over and I have to wait a week for a new one. As they told us last week, we’re in the dirty South (whatever that means; I’m honestly not sure I want to know).  Last year “Hotlanta” delivered our eventual champion.  Could Melanie’s heir be flipping and twirling in this crowd?  Maybe…

Speaking of the grandstanding that occurs in line waiting to get into the theater, man, some of this stuff is really impressive!  I’m glad these kids get their nameless moments of glory, but sometimes I wonder who they are, and why we don’t get to see more of their awesomeness.  I feel like it’s almost never people we see actually auditioning.  Just me?  Okay, moving onward.  Nigel asks the dancers waiting in the theater if they could be Melanie’s successor; their faces beam up at him, full of piercings, framed with feathers and cowboy hats and backwards caps and bow ties, alive with hope.

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