Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Strictly Week 6: in which my gears get grinded

You may have noticed that I've stopped doing weekly Strictly reviews. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) I'm so busy with work at the weekends that I'm not even watching (all of) the show some weeks, 2) I don't really enjoy writing the detailed reviews, they take forever and according to my statporn comparatively few people actually read them. So they're gone. For now at least. I'll probably change my mind. I do that.

But that doesn't mean I've stopped blogging about Strictly. Hell no! And this week, I'm annoyed. There are several reasons for this. The biggie (which perhaps you can guess) I'll come to in a bit, but there are a few other things that are grinding my gears.

Now this is a tiny thing that most people won't care about, but I am a music geek and I do. Brendan and Michelle (who I thought was much better this week than she's been, and was dancing something other than the Time Warp) purported to be dancing a waltz. Well, they weren't. The song was in 4/4, a waltz is in 3/4. That angered me. But as I said, I guess most of you won't care about that so I'll move on.

The thing that really wound me up this week was the judges. I mean really. What even?! When they weren't being rude and insulting and generally acting like children with each other, they were being rude and insulting and giving ridiculously inconsistent marks to the contestants. If we're supposed to take their opinions and scores in any way seriously perhaps they might want to have a look at what they're actually saying. Of course, that's not really why they're there but still.

So we come to the thing that's winding me up big time this week: Widdygate. Perhaps it won't surprise you to learn that I adored Ann and Anton's charleston this week. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much at something on TV, though I rather suspect it was when I saw their salsa. It was a couple of minutes of genuine entertainment, what Saturday night TV is all about.

But, as I've said before, some people take Strictly far too seriously. These people think Ann is ruining a dancing competition and should quit the show if she's not eliminated. And then Jimi Mistry got eliminated from the show and these people went into overdrive. Now I'm not saying for a moment that I think Jimi should have gone - he clearly shouldn't - but the fact he did is not Ann's fault. Nor is it anyone else's on the show. Jimi went because people didn't vote for him. Why should other people be at fault because people did vote for them?

At this point I'm going to shut up. I find this debate completely infuriating. To define Strictly as a dancing competition is to completely misunderstand it. If the BBC wanted a flagship Saturday night dancing competition then they'd have brought back Come Dancing in its original form. If it was only about the dancing then why have celebrities in it at all? I genuinely don't understand how people can't see this and it drives me mad.

You see, I'm getting ranty and overexcited. It's not good for me. So I'm going to defer to other people.

Brendan Cole was in the bottom two - again - on Saturday night. Does he think Ann is devaluing the show and should quit? Of course he doesn't. Here's what he tweeted last night:
"Ann & Anton deserve their place in the show! The public are keeping them in & the papers need to stop the nonsense! Not fair to them! As contestants on SCD, it's our job to inspire the audience to vote for us! If we fail to do so, we run the risk of going home! If others succeed then their place is very much valid on the show! We can't blame the couple that get the vote over us, only ourselves!"
Apart from an overuse of exclamation marks, the man speaks the sense. Or rather, the sense! As does The Telegraph's Michael Deacon, writing on his blog yesterday:
"If anybody thinks the continued presence of a leaden-footed rhythm-phobe like Widdecombe “devalues” the show as a “dance competition”, they should seek urgent psychiatric assistance. Strictly Come Dancing can’t be devalued as a dance competition, because it has no value as a dance competition. Never has had, and was never meant to have. If this were a serious dance competition, why would there be celebrities competing at all? 
My own view, innocent though it may seem, is that if the BBC had intended Strictly to be a serious dancing competition, they would have ensured that all the competitors were professional dancers. By instead hiring celebrities, I would argue, the BBC sent out a reasonably clear signal that the programme is intended to be light entertainment.
If people insist on voting for Widdecombe to remain, they presumably think that watching her after all these weeks is still funny. They may be deluded, but not quite as deluded as those who think those voters’ actions are harming the programme’s reputation."
I don't usually agree with The Telegraph, but this had me jumping up and down shouting 'YES! EXACTLY!' at my laptop when I read it this morning. And I'm not a jumping up and down sort of person. I'm usually quite anti-jumping in fact.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go and oil my grindy gears. Probably by looking at photos of Anton. Probably topless. Om. Nom. Nom.

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