One night several months ago I was watching some of my favorite
escapist television shows: the reality juggernaut of (un)Real Housewives
from hell and worse (Orange County, Miami, Sydney, Jersey, New York and
Beverly Hills, oh, and Atlanta). Nothing new ever happens except maybe
a husband cheats, dick-tates, and even commits suicide. The wives do
pretty much as they please and all under the guise of self empowerment,
sisterhood, and brazen uncontrolled self delusion. In short, this is a
documentary on the lives of Americans with not enough of one thing and
way too much of the other. Visually, it’s all the same no matter the zip
code or their nationalities. Cheap clothes, joke jewels and houses
parading as homes. By sheer accident, I found another show whose
characters watch these shows and are filmed reacting to the
action/inaction. It’s called The People’s Couch….something or other. A few of the
families watching are really fascinating. Actually, they’re all fascinating. Much much more so than the crap they’re watching. The mom and dad and their 2
precocious sons all crowd into the parent’s bed to watch with food and
withering commentary. That the teenage sons sit between mom and dad and
have an acute understanding as to how the world of fucked up TV works is
in itself disturbing. At the same time, their parents show love and
understanding for their sons, who act more like daughters, giving their
reality a refreshingly nonjudgmental aspect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcvNSrjw2Bo

There
are 2 other characters who hold my attention almost as strongly as say a
State of the Union address or a winter storm warning: namely 2 women,
both white, one a lesbian and the other not…? or at least a
sympathetic/empathetic BFF. These women never fail to make me choke on
my popcorn or blow a mouthful of Root Beer straight out my nose
laughing. The  matter of factness of their reactions are almost
completely impossible to dispute let alone ignore.I have this very same
feeling when I look at the collections. Hang on….this is getting to
the collections. (indulge me just a bit longer, please.)

On
one evening the girls were watching a dance show, called Bring It! or
Dance Moms or something, and the teams were doing a medley of Beyonce’
songs with seriously athletic death defying moves. Kind of a pissing
contest in tights and outfits of questionable taste. Team one was given a
rousing pep talk from their no nonsense coach. She impressed upon them
that their lives, reputations, futures, even their self esteem, and hers
by extension, were on the line. All the money, hopes and dreams were
riding on the next 2 minutes or so and if they failed there’d be no more
potato chips, fruit, hair straightener or even a bus to get them back
(I’m paraphrasing and clearly driving without a Poetic License) if they
didn’t BRING IT! Watching the bathos their coach spews in that dingy
dressing room is enough to make even the most hardened cheer leading
dance squad weep into their pom-poms.

Their moment
comes, the routine revs into high gear and their 2 most ardent
supporters on the couch with their drinks in hand and their hearts in
their mouths, cheer them on, pray them on and plead to the heavens to
bring them through this valley of (dance off) death. Like an army of
divine believers they face their opponents in formations and drop face
first like a forest of felled (black) pines and fallen face first onto
the ground and all at the same time. The lesbian on the sofa declares it
a total triumph due to their signature move “the Drag Queen Death
Drop”. Well, I certainly was convinced that these little girls had done
the job, rescued their dignity and would bring home the prize on a bus
that had waited full of hopes, dreams and yes, popcorn. In short, these
little soldiers of song and dance had done nothing less than “BRING IT!”
but there was still the other team’s turn; The Baby Dancing Dolls and
the Divas of Olive Branch.

With a name like the
Rudettes (Dancing Divas) or something this team stepped forward in
answer to the question and started their routine. It was all
provocation. Some neck waving, hand gestures, barely there costumes (on
13 year olds….) gyrating to a very “grown up” beat, these (little
girls) had clearly been given a different pep talk altogether. These
girls twerked, gyrated and teased to the point of embarrassment. It was
actually hard to watch. One would imagine it might even be hard for
their parents to watch. This routine was well past the border of
propriety and firmly in that netherworld of questionable taste. I call
this world Conde’ Nasty. But unlike the previous team with their quaint
naivete, the Raunchettes wore very little and all carried a CHAIR. WTF
was the chair for? Well, these girls had a mission and it was punctuated
by that chair; the coda and exclamation point to their routine. If I
said they mounted more than sat on those chairs gives you enough
information. At the end as the judges tallied their scores, the 2 BFF on
the couch were appalled at the vulgarity of team 2’s display hoping
against hope that good taste would win out. Well we all know having
watched the collections from here to Paris and all points north and
south east taste rarely carries the day, Chanel, Valentino, and a few
exceptions excluded.

As I feared, but knew deep in my
gut, Team 4 the Little Vixens of Vacantville (The divas of Olive Branch)
stole the trophy. All the lesbian could say in defense of the first
team was that “We did what we had to do. But they had chairs…”. She’s
right. All the collections in this land and farther afield that managed
to twerk their way to reviews utterly devoid of comment, analysis or
fact  (a big hand goes out to Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times)
had one thing going for them…they all came with a chair. A chair that
fits neatly under the table at Cafe Conde’ where the menu special each
day and night is “Nasty in Asspic”! Now that that hairball is up and out, I
can get specific.