Hey guys. So, as most of you know I’m covering “Dance Moms” this week, and I hope you can forgive my tardiness. I had to celebrate my folks’ 40th wedding anniversary this weekend with a dysfunctional family dinner.
What can make me get over my own family’s issues? Well, just about any reality television show! There’s just so much drama out there, but I’m lucky enough to be filling in for Potty Mouth on “Dance Moms” this week. So do you forgive me for being late? Thanks, friends!
Episode three is titled “Cheerleader Blues” – but don’t worry, there are no actual cheerleaders in this episode. We already have to be subjected to all of the dance moms’ drama – can you imagine dealing with cheerleader moms on top of it? Your brain would explode.
But, we do have a pyramid, so you know there’s gonna be some drama somewhere. The show opens with a meeting between the tiny dancers, Abby and the dance moms so Abby can make everyone feel horrible about themselves. We’re off to a good start. Abby recaps their last competition, where there was some conflict between the adults. Now I could be wrong here, but it’s always been my understanding that when adults have disagreements, it’s probably best not to drag your kids into it if you can. But Dr. Abby apparently disagrees. “There are some things that went on that maybe you didn’t know about,” Abby tells the children.
Good. Let’s keep it that way.
Abby points out that several kids’ moms didn’t like the slutty costumes in the last episode. And she literally points each kid out, just so the others know who to beat up on the playground afterwards.
Hey, sex sells, right?
“That can never happen again,” says Abby. I did breath a sigh of relief when I heard that. Finally, someone in reality television is making sense. Abby seems to be saying that she’s come to her senses and never again will she dress 8-year-olds in revealing outfits and have them prance around like strippers, right?
Nope, Dance Mom Christi says – Abby’s blaming the dance moms for their loss last week, and they better stop butting in and let her do her thing so they can win, dammit. (Let that be a lesson to all you moms who don’t want their children dressing like they’re partying with Miley Cirus – just let it go. They’ll be fine!) And her thing for the next competition is an acrobatic routine. Do you know what acrobatics is, audience? Here, let me explain it to you:
Acrobatics is an art form that uses flexibility and strength zzzzzz…
Now it’s time for the pyramid. Abby has created a pyramid structure of the girls’ headshots pictures to demonstrate who is her favorite is. And this week it’s Maddie, who won the last competition and the title, not to mention she was a total kiss-ass last week.
Mummy’s right – You are the best.
But being featured at the top of the pyramid doesn’t mean you’ll be featured in the episode. In fact, Maddie isn’t featured at all in this episode. Poor kid. (Just an FYI: I will be writing “poor kid” a lot this recap. Sorry for being redundant.)
You just officially received 32 seconds of your 15 minutes, kid. Make every second count.
Instead, Abby needs to bring out the big guns for the acrobatic performance. And in this case, the big guns come in the form of Brooke, a pretty 13-year-old whose acrobatic skills are off the charts. Not only is Brooke expected to bring her A-game to this competition, but Abby also expects her to learn the choreography first and help the younger students with it. Because heaven forbid Abby should have to get off her ass and teach it.
You’re in for it, kid.
Hey… wait a second! If Brooke is so amazing, then why isn’t she at the top of the pyramid? That’s the question her mom wants to know. It may seem a bit like an overzealous mom defending her cubs at first, but once you watch the rest of the episode, you might agree. The poor kid is about to be put through the ringer and back. You would think she’d at least get a little recognition or something.
Some of the dance moms express their concerns about the pyramid very calmly and rationally during their on-camera testimonials. Then they return to their room to stew over it awhile and let the anger build. Once they’re good and mad, they bitch about it to each other. Well, says Christi, Abby doesn’t get it because she doesn’t have the mom gene. And she’s right. I don’t have children, and my lack of the mom gene gives me the urge to throw a child in a river every time I see one.
Not so fast, says Cathi, Vivi-Anne’s mom. You see, Cathi has walked in Abby’s very large shoes. Cathi has a dance studio and she’s dealt with plenty of crazy moms, so she can see where Abby is coming from.
Hey, wait a sec! Cathi has a dance studio? Then why is her daughter here? And why is no one addressing it? Christi just rolls her eyes and says she doesn’t know if Cathi’s gonna make it in their clique. If you want to teach dance, go back to your dance studio. But if you want to be a cool dance mom, sit your lazy ass down and shut up.
Luckily, Melissa is there to break the tension. She comes in with a cake for Cathi’s birthday – it’s more like a “welcome to the group and please be my friend because nobody else likes me” cake, but it’s a nice gesture nonetheless. Plus, says Melissa, Cathi seems like a very sweet and genuine person, which is foreshadowing the fact that Cathi will probably end up becoming a back-stabbing bee-atch.
Melissa even gives Cathi a gift, which doesn’t sit well with the other moms. Hey, says Christi, that’s not fair. I had a baby – like a real-live baby – and I didn’t get a gift. I didn’t know you get gifts for the babies of people you hate. I guess it’s an entitled mom gene thing I’ll never understand.
Buy me something.
But Kelly’s too busy complaining about her perfect little Brooke not being at the top of the pyramid to really worry about that right now. Why isn’t Brooke front and center? Well, she is front and center – she’s the star of the acrobatic routine. Hey, Melissa points out, Maddy’s in the second row of the dance routine and I’m fine with it. “She’s at the top of the pyramid,” Kelly says condescendingly. Melissa hangs her head.
Well now Kelly’s gotten so worked up she just has to do something. She’s going to confront Abby! But why wait until the kids are done with rehearsal? Let’s interrupt them and cause a scene, because we’ve all learned by now it’s always best to have your fights in FRONT of the children.
Don’t you know who my child is?
Kelly expresses her concerns to Abby using her outdoor voice. Well, Abby says, the reason Brooke isn’t at the top of the pyramid is because she’s always brooding and miserable. (Yeah, Abby – it’s called being a teenager. You wouldn’t like it if you were forced to spend your teendom with a bunch of 8-year-olds either.) It’s a good thing Brooke can watch all of this so she knows what’s wrong with her. Poor kid.
Is it time to go home yet?
Kelly tries a different tactic. Brooke, she explains, is getting to the age that she wants to hang out with her friends. Her BFF’s are also cheerleaders, and Brooke can’t cheerlead because she’s spending her life dancing. “The Brooke you know is now a teenager and is changing,” explains a more subdued Kelly.
“Well,” retorts Abby, “You need to nip that in the bud because you don’t want her to change.” You better keep her in diapers, Kelly. Or better yet, put her in one of those bubbles and tell her she’s not allowed to go out into the world. Not only is Brooke not allowed to change, but Abby suggests Kelly should force her to come to class and has the nerve to imply that as a cheerleader, Brooke may be more likely to shake her pom-poms for some teenage boy and end up with a paid scholarship to college. College! Can you imagine?
But Abby has a reason for her words. She doesn’t want Brooke to turn out like her mom. Why? Is mom a crack addict? Is she a horrible mother? Nope. You see, explains Abby, when Kelly was about Brooke’s age, she was a beautiful dancer. But she also became a teenager and eventually gave it up. Regardless of the fact that Kelly has a happy life, a wonderful house and a nice husband, she has settled in Abby’s eyes – and that’s about the worst thing you can do. “Think of what you could have been,” says Abby, again in front of her daughter. You could have been a fat dance teacher, Kelly. Do you regret it yet?
Well, Kelly’s not gonna take it laying down. She’s gonna take it sitting down for a testimonal in the costume shop, where she rubs how happy she is in Abby’s face. I have a happy life and a family, says Kelly, and at the end of the day, all Abby has is an empty studio. In your face, Abby! Too bad you’re not there to see it…
What does Brooke feel about all this? Well, says the soft-spoken teen, I feel like I’ve been dancing too much and I can never see my friends because I have to dance all the time. But she feels pressured because now that she knows her mom has “settled,” Brooke feels her mom doesn’t want her to quit and become a cheerleader and buy a house and marry a nice guy and ruin her life like she did. Poor kid. Four days before the competition, Brooke holes herself up in her room and refuses to go to practice.
Kelly and Brooke have a heart-to-heart. It’s actually kind of a sad little conversation, and it’s not just about the cheerleading – Brooke is missing out on time with her friends and the mall and all the things girls that age do. Poor kid. Kelly’s slightly torn – but only slightly. She wants her kid to be happy, but doesn’t want her to make the same mistakes she did and regret it later. She convinces herself that Brooke’s feelings are just normal teenage growing pains that she’ll eventually get over (don’t worry Brooke – five more years and you can make your own decisions). So Kelly uses a new tactic – hey, you committed to this next competition, so you have to go, she says as she forces Brooke into the car. Problem solved. I hope that works again next week.
But mom, I want to be a cheerleader. See, I’ve already been practicing my sexy lollipop cheer!
Cut to the dance studio, where’s it’s time for Vivi-Anne to rehearse for her solo. Vivi-Anne is the nicest, sweetest little girl, but let’s just say she’s not exactly a natural. Nor should she be, considering she looks to be about six-years-old. But in Vivi-Anne Cathi sees a future star. Abby doesn’t think all the private lessons in the world are going to help Vivi-Anne, but hey, as long Cathi keeps writing those checks, she’ll keep cashing them. Regardless, Abby is willing to work with Vivi-Anne and try to get her up to speed. And the kid is cute, trying to learn the steps.
Look, mommy! I’m a ballerina!
While her child is stumbling over her two left feet, Cathi is having lunch with Melissa. And we learn Cathi’s intentions aren’t so innocent. She wants to get the dirt on all of the dance moms so she can take over the dance mom world! Mu-ha-ha-ha! No, I don’t really know why Cathi wants information on the other dance moms. But she sure is interested in their husbands. She asks all about their husbands, learning that Kelly’s husband works for a family business. That doesn’t impress Cathi, so she asks about Christi’s husband, who works for Children’s Hospital. Oh, really, says Cathi, straightening up in her seat. Is he a doctor? No, says Melissa, he’s a writer. Oh, says, Cathi, slumping back down in her seat. Writers are stupid.
Holly’s husband just got a new job, but he works in non-profit. Uh-huh, says Cathi, not listening as she gears up for the next question. And what does your husband do?
Um, well, I’m going through a divorce right now, says Melissa, clearly uncomfortable. Luckily, Cathi has picked up on the tension and asks her even more questions about the divorce. Melissa did not tell me that she was living with another man and going through a divorce, Cathi says innocently. Then the room goes dark as her look of wonder turns to a sinister smile. “I got that from the other moms, so I already knew that. Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha.”
Cathi manages to dig up a little more dirt and the two bond quickly. Cathi informs Melissa she can come confide in her anytime. “I have a new BFF,” she tells Melissa before turning to the camera and revealing her evil plan: She has only befriended Melissa because she does the private scheduling and Cathi could use a favor from time to time. In fact, she could care less about Melissa’s divorce. Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha (that’s a sinister laugh for those of you who don’t get it).
Evil. Pure evil.
All of Brooke’s whining has made her late for rehearsals. Luckily, Abby’s not too hard on her. Since Abby has nothing better to do but sit on her ass and point and yell at the girls, we might as well watch something more interesting. Let’s cut to the dance moms’ viewing room, where the women are talking about Cathi and Melissa’s lunch date. Melissa seems to be putting two and two together about their conversation. After some menial conversation about what Cathi thinks about the studio, Kelly asks what Melissa has to say about her – a question that greatly offends Melissa.
No, that’s just how my face looks.
Nothing, of course. Why would I say anything about the woman who constantly bitches about her daughter not being at the top of the pyramid? To cover her tracks, Melissa tells them that Cathi asked about all of their husbands, which doesn’t go over well with the moms. They freak out, asking her what she could have possibly said about their husbands. What do they really do at work all day? Tell me, tell me.
Christi thinks it’s ironic that Melissa talked about their husbands when Melissa is the one who is getting a divorce and living with another man. Which is ironic because Cathi only found out about Melissa’s husband through the other moms. Melissa backs off. We had a good time, she mumbles. Poor kid.
But do the problems end there? Nope. Kelly is still talking about Brooke’s teenage rebellion. According to Kelly, Brooke is way too advanced to be dancing with these little girls. She’s bored. Yeah, that’s what they say when kids don’t want to do their homework and fall behind in school. Excuses, excuses.
Brooke seems off today, and it turns out her hip hurts. Yeah, she gets that from all the new routines I make her do, says Abby. Carry on. Yeah, says Kelly. Working through an injury is common for a dancer. Suck it up.
Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of the interior of Cathi’s colonial house. It contains one crazy mother and a little girl who’s not allowed to be a little girl. “If I start to discipline Vivi-Anne on etiquette and appearance now, she’s going to grow up to be a very poised young woman,” says Cathi as Vivi-Anne chews on her stuffed animal.
But Cathi has bigger problems. Vivi-Anne doesn’t want to do a solo this weekend. In fact she doesn’t want to dance at all. “My mom wants me to dance more than I want to,” she says. Vivi-Anne is just plain terrified of dancing alone on stage, and that concerns Cathi. So she tries everything in the book to make Vivi-Anne more comfortable, including dressing her like this.
I don’t really like to wear make-up, but my mom makes me do it.
Mentally Vivi-Anne is not prepared for dancing solo. So does Cathi pull her from the competition? Nope. She has another plan up her sleeve.
But you won’t learn what it is till we get there. Kelly is really torn over whether she should make Brooke dance on her bad hip this weekend, so she decides to take Brooke to a chiropractor for a professional opinion.
After series of tests, the good doctor decides Brooke has “serious problems” (he does not elaborate) and should not dance today – or this weekend, for that matter. Just whatever you do, says the good doctor, DO NOT DANCE!
I’m a sorry. No speaka the inglesh!
Well, it’s competition time and the women are super-excited. They’re on their way to “Starbound” in Voorhees, NJ, which is like, next to New York (it’s not). It’s a long bus ride, so there’s plenty of time for everyone to bitch about each other. Abby complains about the moms, the moms complain about Abby – there’s love in the air, alright. Kelly is about to complain about Cathi when she realizes hey, where is Cathi? Well, it turns out that Cathi gets bus-sick. But she’s perfectly fine in the car.
But this is good bonding time for Cathi and Vivi-Anne. Well, coaching time. The entire ride consists of Cathi coaching Vivi-Anne on her smile, her posture, how to blow her nose… she even informs her how pronounce “okay.” Apparently she wants Vivi-Anne to speak like a sorority girl, emphasizing the final syllable. Did I mention it’s a six-hour ride? Poor kid.
Hmmm… Maybe I should be investing in speech therapy instead.
So what’s going on in the special bus? Well, Brooke’s hip still hurts. Kelly informs her she will be dancing anyway. Because if she doesn’t dance, they’ll lose the competition – and this little competition in Voorhees, NJ is much more important than a lifetime of good health. Abby tells her improving her turnout will “grind her hip,” which will take the pain away. No way, says Brooke – I don’t really trust Abby.
Get me the hell off this bus!
They finally get to the Starbound competition, but there’s a slight problem. The show runners have the wrong song. Oh, I forgot to tell you, says Cathi, Vivi-Anne’s not doing your choreography, she’s doing MY choreography. Mu-ha-ha-ha!
Not only has Cathi broken rule #1 – not to overstep Abby, but she’s about to break rule #2 – not to insult her. Well, says Cathi, she was uncomfortable with YOUR choreography and YOU didn’t give us enough rehearsal time, so it’s YOUR fault.
Rather than totally freak out, Abby calmly changes Vivi-Anne to an independent entry. After all, she can’t have Vivi-Anne represent the Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio if they didn’t teach her the choreography – that would be cheating. Plus, Vivi-Anne sucks, so no big loss.
It’s become quite apparent that Cathi is totally irrational. We went against the policies of Abby, so we had the wrath of Abby upon us, she explains. Yeah, because you went against her policies and created conflict. What don’t you get about that? Nothing, apparently. “Can I see you outside for a second?” Cathi asks in the most condescending tone I have ever heard. Trust me – I am not that hysterical dance mom, she tells Abby. I tried to get her to do your dance – she didn’t want to. I even tried to bribe her with an iPad, because I’m trying to teach her the value of hard work.
Did you try rehearsing, asks Abby.
Finally, Abby agrees on the condition she watches the dance and approves the costume first. Fine, says Cathi, but Abby better start getting used to the fact that I’m her peer, not just a dance mom – so I deserve special treatment. Abby’s response?
Well, it’s finally time for the competition. Vivi-Anne does a cowgirl routine that I’m positive I’ve seen on “Little Miss Perfect.” But despite the nerve-wracking side coaching from her mother, she gets through it. Vivi-Anne looks proud that she made it through her first solo and all the moms support her with loud cheers – well, except for one mom: her own. You made one boo-boo, Cathi says to Vivi-Anne as she runs into her arms.
Can you divorce your parents?
But in the end, it was all worth it for Vivi-Anne. She comes in seventh place – out of what looks like eight girls – but who cares? She won something.
Who’s the loser to my left with the eighth place trophy?
This must be a major awards show, because Vivi-Anne is asked to give a speech. When asked who taught her the dance, she states her mother’s name. Then when asked which studio she represents, she gives this answer:
Am I being set up here?
Hey, I had nothing to do with it. Literally.
I did. Mu-ha-ha-ha.
(Yeah, I know. Shut up.)
Well, I have no idea what happened, insinuates Cathi. I apologize. I mean, how did I know they were going to ask those questions? I’m only a DANCE TEACHER, not a dance mom, remember?
Abby’s not taking her s**t this time. She explains how Cathi could ruin her reputation with stunts like that. I think this time around Abby’s entitled to speak her mind – but apparently Cathi doesn’t. “We. Are. Moving. On,” she speaks over Abby’s speech. Abby continues to talk, so Cathi believes the only way she can win this one with an interpretative dance of her own. She sings “we are moving on” over and over while doing the locomotion. I didn’t know you could sing in condescending.
Come join the crazy train.
Well, at least it can’t get any worse. Oops, I spoke too soon. Rather than stick around to support the other girls, Cathi decides to leave early. But we came 2 hours early just to watch you, says Abby. Yeah, well, not our problem. Later, losers, says Cathi.
Good riddance. We finally get to watch this acrobatic dance Abby’s been raving about for the last hour. I hope. Brooke is either in so much pain or so emotionally wrecked she’s in tears – but she’s not telling her mom what the problem is. Maybe she’s afraid of getting chained to the wall of the dance dungeon again.
Brooke manages to pull it together and she’s great – all the kids are great. And when Kelly sees Brooke do this move:
…well, she knows it’s all been worth it. Yep, all dancers get injuries – it’s part of the job. So I guess you’re stuck with this career you don’t want, sweetie. Good luck. You are a beautiful dancer and I hope it works out for you.
I guess the six hour drive, the drama with Cathi and Brooke’s future hip replacement are all worth it – because THEY WON FIRST PLACE! They even win a special judges’ award, so they sweep it!
Brooke missed two parties and one trip to the mall while she was at that dance competition – but wasn’t it all worth it? I don’t know, she says – I don’t know how good the parties were. Yep, she made the right decision, alright.
Well, if Brooke doesn’t make it to the top of the pyramid then you know there’s a conspiracy against her. I guess we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see. Of course, Abby won’t let the success get to their heads – she’s already planning how she can crush their spirits during their next rehearsal.