"The women have dusted off their sequinned bras, the men have reassumed their matador poses, and the whole big diamanté cheese ball is rolling down the highway again," Joan Acocella, The New Yorker's estimable dance critic, writes today about ABC's Dancing With the Stars. Whatever you think of the choice of subject matter, Acocella's review is outstanding, especially in its breakdown of the gender roles of both the contestants and their pro-dancer counterparts. "In our world, women are expected to be able to dance," she writes, and so the female competitors are tormented by their results on the program: "Marissa Jaret Winokur may have won a Tony Award for her performance in 'Hairspray,' but that didn’t prevent her from sobbing in front of the camera over the lousy score she got for her cha-cha." On the other hand, Jason Taylor is an excellent hoofer, but on the dance floor, "he looks endearingly baffled, as if he had just discovered that he is good at shucking oysters, or something else equally unrelated to his pride."
But whatever! The most prominent dance critic in America is reviewing a TV show that features a twirling Monica Seles. This would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. Could you imagine Arlene Croce reviewing Dancing With the Stars? She wouldn't even see Still/Here!