We have been watching Dance Moms lately – it’s our Reality TV Du Jour along with The Glee Project. It is one of the most intensely crazy shows I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch, definitely must-see television in terms of character studies of insane, insane mothers. It follows the mothers of daughters training at a high-profile (I guess?) dance studio in Pittsburgh where the kids are drilled by the utterly terrifying Abby Lee.
And yet somehow, some way, the dance moms make Abby Lee (who really is a bit of a monster) look like the most reasonable woman you’d ever meet. This is because the dance moms, almost to a woman, seem to live in universes entirely constructed out of contradictions and paradoxes. It’s really mind-bending to watch them puzzle their way through show after show, believing two utterly conflicting things at the same time.
Example: in the most recent episode we’ve seen, a mom talks about how she was raised by her grandmother and regards her as her mother, loves her, couldn’t live without her, and so on. Cut to the day of a dance competition. The mom gets a phone message saying her grandmother has slipped into a coma of some kind and is on a ventilator after being rushed to the ICU. Dance mom weeps. Then dance mom says to another dance mom, “I don’t know what to do! Should I go to the dance competition?” Uh, no, you shouldn’t. But of course… she does. So, she loves the woman to bits, owes her everything, but potential death-bed stuff is not quite as important as going to one of the (millions of) dance recitals her daughters in.
Example: dance mom’s kid has an injured hip. Dance mom goes on and on about how concerned she is about kid’s well being, takes her concernedly to a chiropractor. They look worried! Will she be okay?! Chiropractor says that the kid really shouldn’t dance for that weekend as it’ll be bad for the hip. Dance mom: “but she has to.” Kid dances that weekend, it hurts.
Obviously we all muddle our way through bits and pieces of inane and poor reasoning in our lives, but these dance moms are something else. It’s like they actively seek out the most blatant of contradictions in their lives and then argue passionately and furiously on both sides, apparently never twigging to the bigger picture. So surreal.