When I was rafting the Grand Canyon last fall, we had no contact with civilization except a temperamental satellite phone that didn't work most of the time. Anytime someone pulled it out, everybody would crack wise about the news we were hungriest to catch up on back in civilization. "Ooh, I'm dying to know who got eliminated on Dancing With the Stars," Big D would say. That was a fine joke among the macho rafters, good enough to be repeated day after day.
The joke was on me. I do watch DWTS, which apparently makes me the uncoolest of the uncool, even on a trip where the average age was well within AARP range. Know what? I don't care. I love, love, love the show.
First of all, it's a reality show that's actually real. The contestants are on stage, live, performing. They're not cuddling on a bed, eating slugs on a remote island, or getting drunk at the local hangout with a circle of cameras all looking on. Reality? I think not. At DWTS, the cameras aren't intrusive scene-changers. They're part of the action.
Because the show is live, stuff happens. People miss steps, even fall down. Remember when Marie Osmond fainted?
Best of all, the 11 weeks of competition are a transformation. You see clueless hoofers (like me) turn into graceful dancers. It's magic. Whatever your feelings about the politics of Bristol Palin and her mom, it was heartening to see this young woman turn her two left feet into a matched set.
The lineup this time stinks, though — so many names I just don't know. I took the quiz about the contestants on the ABC website and got one out of ten right. (You mean Kendra Wilkinson wasn't a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model?) I'll still have my TV tuned to ABC at 8 on Monday night. I'm counting on Kirstie Alley to make it all worthwhile. Anyway, I have my old fogey reputation to defend.
Meantime, I'll be wishing for my DWTS midlife dream team: wouldn't it be great if Mary Tyler Moore strapped on her dancing shoes? Along the same lines, I'd love to see Rhoda under the mirrored ball. I could happily look at Denzel Washington in Spandex for 11 weeks. Or Matthew Modine. Robin Williams would stop the show. I'd like to see Bill Maher on a program where he didn't own the mike. Whatever happened to Pam Dawber? Anthony Edwards? I wouldn't mind catching up with them on stage. Remember Olympian Eric Heiden in those Annie Leibovitz photographs for American Express? We gotta have him.
That's my list. Who's on yours?