Dance Moms: Well, well, well — Cheryl in and Abby Out?

Dance Moms always makes interesting reading — especially at 5:15 AM when I start my day.  It’s not every day that I find a most intriguing story in my inbox and then step back and go Wow!

This morning’s surprise dealt with the arrival of none other than Cheryl Burke as the replacement for Abby Lee Miller.  In case you don’t remember her, she did Dancing with the Stars and won two mirror trophies.  According to Jared Online (article here), Cheryl will lead the team during the final four episodes.

Abby has had a love/hate relationship with Dancing with the Stars over the years.  Who can’t remember her infamous stint behind the judges table and the instructions she gave Maks.  Remember this interview Abby’s Entertainment Weekly Interview and his comments to Maks.  Of course, there is always Derek Hough and Mark Ballas’s comments from ABC News (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBJDjM_S71o).  By the way, I love YouTube for finding this stuff!  I don’t remember that Cheryl made any comments but the guys were very vocal.  Granted, Maddie Ziegler has danced on the show but not as a contestant.

Now, reports from People say that Abby didn’t know that she had been replaced.  I have to ask this though of Abby.  To me, if you say in a post on social media that “I quit” or “I will no longer be associated with a show,” what did you expect to happen?  Did you expect episodes to be cancelled?  Did you expect that you were not replaceable?  I know you told that to your students but always thought you believed it yourself.

Unless Abby owns the show, she doesn’t control what the network does.  The show is shown on LifeTime and shows Collins credit.  To me, this means they control who does and who doesn’t perform on the show.  If Abby really did quit, she should have expected to be replaced.  If this is all a ratings ploy conceived by Abby and the producers, well, I think they’re in for a surprise.  People are tired of Abby’s hysterics and the fans are tired of the abuse.

Dance Moms: Abby Has Left and Other Matters

Dance Moms has once again cause a stir with the filming of a “season finale.”  While I don’t have all the details, I just know that the competition this weekend seems to have been filled with drama that has spilled out in every direction.  Twitter went hay-wired Sunday night while I was trying to watch Once Upon a Time. Let’s look at some details, shall we.

According to every major news outlet, Abby in an Instagram post quit the show after the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 26, 2017.  Here’s a link to one of the articles (http://tvline.com/2017/03/27/abby-lee-miller-quits-dance-moms-full-statement-jail/).  If you read her Instagram note, she not only slammed the show and the producers but she also took all the credit for the girls achievements and successes.  Well, after watching the show and following the girls’ careers, I know of at least one pupil of Abby’s who has made her own path — Nia.  She never had Abby’s support. (Remember the head shots Abby wanted.  Maddie’s, MacKenzie’s, and Kalaini’s she oversaw on camera while basically telling the photographer that they were the only ones who would make it.  I said at the time and do again today — “Hey Abs!  What about Kendall and Nia?”  Those poor kids overhead the whole conversation.)  Nia and Holly found a new road to take and know Kendall and Jill are also.

Brynn and Ashlee now have announced that they have quit the show.  Hmm!  I remember some tweets from yesterday that stated otherwise.  The link to her departure is:  http://radaronline.com/videos/ashlee-allen-brynn-rumfallo-leaving-dance-moms-abby-lee-miller-departure/.  So was Ashlee “shown the door” (as stated in her tweet) or did she really quit?  We’ll probably never know the truth about that one!

It seems much comment on Twitter appeared because of the Original Girls  costumes and routine.  Yes, it was mature costumes and yes it was a more mature number.  And yes, I saw the leaked link on it!  The costumes are very Chicago-ese which means basic in theater talk.  The girls are now seniors which means little girl costumes no longer are acceptable.  And while many have complained that the moms allowed them to dance in this dress, I would remind those who are complaining that Abby dressed them in the same type of costumes for a Chicago number back in year two or three of the series.  If we want to be more specific, there is one number that got pulled entirely from season two’s dvd and rebroadcast because of the uproar of the costumes.  The girls looked nude on stage.  So if it is acceptable for Abby to do this, why can’t teenagers dress appropriately for a dance.  In other words,  don’t throw stones without thinking of the past. Better yet, don’t give Abby Lee Miller a green light while condemning others.

I can guess much more went down than has appeared in print.  I think it’s time that Dance Moms moves on and gives the ones known as the “Original Girls” the opportunity to show us where their careers have gone.  Last June, one of my first posts was   “Dance Moms: When It’s Time Say Enough.”  I think Abby has given us enough before any drama from Sunday occurred.

Once Upon a Time: Season 7 and Beyond

Once Upon a Time became a favorite with me because of the love, hope, relationships and characters that I saw in episode one.  Have they always done right?  No and that’s what makes for good television.  While the show may have lost its way and had some really horrible seasons (2B comes to mind), I’ve been able to forgive or overlook some of the harshness (like tomb sex with a married man) because overall the stories and characters are enjoyable.  Let’s count the ways before I let lose on the rumor.

Rumple is the Dark One.  He’s supposed to be evil incarnate but has that little spark of good in him.  His family is always a concern.  He loved Neil so much he even teamed up with the heroes.  He’s currently trying to protect Emma from his murdering son.  While he uses magic and knows the price, since landing in Storybrooke it seems more focus on helping than on hurting.

Emma is the unbeliever who saw the light.  To me, Emma is everyman (see my English indoctrination coming through).  Emma has had struggles but she made her own way.  Then suddenly, the real world was turned upside down and she’s asked to face many beliefs that she couldn’t believe in before.  While as a bounty hunter she tracked down those who refused to pay for their crime, she knew the life of a criminal too.  Faced with a son, she became a mother in more than just name.

Regina was wicked as the day  was long during season one.  She hated Emma and the fact that Emma and her son, Henry, shared a biological bond.  What made her change?  Simply stated, she wanted what Emma had.  By looking inside of herself, she realized that to be part of Henry’s world, she had to learn to accept.  With the acceptance came change.  While she may not be totally good (as proofed by the Evil Queen), she has become a better person even before the separation.  She still is capable of hate, but now it is tempered by love.

The last one I’m going to mention is Henry and that will lead into the rumor bit.  Henry is the true believer.  He’s the author.  He’s the one who sees all and should be chronicling all.  Henry has had his share of problems.  He knew something wasn’t right in his world and started reading the book given to him by Mary Margaret and discovered his history.  He went in search of a long lost mother and found her and even convinced her to stay in Storybrooke.  He almost lost in life in Neverland to his great-grandfather’s search for youth.  Through it all, he’s remained strong and a voice of reason.

This brings me to the ugly rumors making the rounds.  We’ve heard that they’ve hired an actor to join the cast during the finale.  Granted this is nothing new as Hyde and Jeckyll did the same thing.  The rumors though are darker for true Once Upon a Time fans.  Rumors has it that he will be an older, reclusive and bitter man.  This man is an older, wiser Henry.  For this to happen then everything Henry knows and holds dear must be wiped off the face of Storybooke which means no mothers, no grandfather, and no magic.  The show might as well be cancelled if this happens and here is why.

Fans are use to the characters we have.  The “other world” didn’t work out too well during Season 6A so forget a reboot.  The President of ABC seems fixated on love and romance.  She’s even changing Designated Survivor.  Sure we need romance and mystery but we don’t need a change of a whole show.  We saw what happened with Castle.  The changes didn’t make sense and then the cancellation.  Why keep everyone in suspense?

I liked what they did with LOST.  They decided to end the series without doing  a rewrite.  While I was right (told you David Fury and Adam Horowitz you were moving toward Purgatory during season one), I must admit I enjoyed the last season.  It gave closure to beloved characters, had a plot that easily was followed.  For the mythology reader like me, it gave us plenty to discuss.

So instead of doing a reboot of Once Upon a Time, I think you should give a fitting closure to the characters.  We need some happy endings which would make Henry a well adjust young man who marries Violet. We need Emma and Hook to get together.  We need to see Regina and Zelena becoming stronger together as they move ahead raising baby Robin.  We need to see Rumple and Belle starting a life filled with hope and forgetting the sadness of the past.  We need Charming and Snow together mending each other’s lives.  We don’t need death and destruction and the setup for a new show that none of us understands.

While I’m sure the powers that be won’t read this, I had to get it off my chest.  I wonder how many Once Upon a Time fans feel the same way.

Once Upon a Time: Gideon the Savior?

Once Upon a Time gave us a clue last night to why Gideon is in Storybrooke and I’m not buying it.  He says he has to kill the savior to become a savior.  His logic is that by killing the savior, he gains her power and can return to another realm and make things right.  My thoughts:  Gideon, you are dumb.

Here’s what we know so far of the saviors.

  1.  The savior is born of love.
  2. You can decide to become a savior and go off and kill one off to gain the power.
  3. The savior may have been bad but comes into their power by doing good.
  4. Believing in the power of good seems to enhance the savior’s power.
  5. Being the savior has costs to personal, family, and life.

That being said, I’m sure the executives have more to reveal about the savior and how one becomes one.

Gideon has none of these characteristics.  While some would argue he was born of love, can say that with certainty.  Rumple and Belle have been at odds more than love.  While I honestly think Rumple loves Belle, she just can’t commit to him because he won’t give us magic.  For Rumple, magic defines him and allows him to have some say in situations.  While he may a “dark one,” he has never been as dark as some of the others we have seen.  He seems to have a inner sense that doesn’t allow him to go beyond a certain level of evil.

Gideon on the other hand seems to be one out for revenge.  He never really knew his mother’s love because the Black Fairy swooped down and grabbed him.  He, according to his visions, lived in torture and punishment mode all his life.  He has a guardian who is in control and his power doesn’t seem for good but for bad.

Another difference is that he has power.  Where did this power come from is now to be questioned?  If it was the power of good, he could already have saved the people of that realm because he would have been a savior.  We have seen no rules on how many saviors can exist and what realms can and cannot have them.  Emma didn’t even know of the extent of her power when she decided to stay in Storybrooke.  She broke the curse by love not by magi.  Her power began to grow when she assumed the role of sheriff and defender of Storybrooke.  Gideon is off base with his “assumption” there.

In my opinion, Gideon has only has intentions dictated (or given voice) by the Black Fairy.  He’s ultimate goal would be to hurt his mother and father.  Dream Gideon already tried to destroy the marriage.  What other kind of havoc can the revenging son bring?  His goal in destroying Emma is to “become good” but he’s been guided by a blackness that may be even worse than Rumple’s.  He’s never been shown kindness and I doubt that he could show kindness in his present state of mind to anyone.  His ultimate aim may not be Emma’s power.  He may need Emma’s savior ability to defeat his real foe, the Dark One.

We’ll learn more about his vision, his dreams, and his goals as 6b continues.  The one thing I do know is that if Rumple teamed with Regina, Emma and Zelena, they might could make Gideon a baby again and start over.  Hey, while magic comes with a price, this price would be on Gideon because of his schemes and Rumple and Belle might could raise him to be a good human being.

Once Upon a Time: Mid-Season Opener

Once Upon a Time returned for Season 6, part b last night and started questions.  While I have many, and some ideas along the way, I want to put the following to you immediately.  Ignore typos and any grammatical errors.

  1.  Emma remembers everything from both realms.  I love the story behind how she became known as Swan (good Hans Christian Anderson usage here) and the use of August in the story.  He’s her protector after all, but she ran away from a child care center.  Come on folks!  Wouldn’t they have reported her MIA.  And wouldn’t the cops or social services have had that report.  I’m sure there are many little blonde girls going missing but days would have been telling.
  2. Well, well, well — August is a carpenter in the wish realm.  Somehow I don’t think that’s quite all he is.  I’ve always had a secret hope that he was Merlin brought back.  Of course, we don’t know that but have we ever really seen Merlin and August together?
  3. And while I love August return as a good-looking man, I have to ask: did I miss an episode.  I thought the last time we saw him that August was in “boy” form.
  4. And another August question — what exactly was he typing away on and how did Emma know where to find him (besides the typing).
  5. The hiding place — come on folks.  I don’t buy that Prince Henry didn’t see his moms with their heads poking out.
  6. And while we are on Prince Henry, just who is his wish realm father.
  7. Loved fat, drunk Hook with the gray hair.  Too funny!  And it did lighten and otherwise strange episode.
  8. Robin of Locksley stole only for himself.  Heaven forbid.  That would ruin all the stories of Robin Hood.
  9. And on the Robin note:  Did I just feel a disruption in the time/space continuum?  Every good sci-fi show (that includes Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, Time Tunnel, and even Star Trek) warn that you cannot bring someone into a universe that doesn’t belong.  He/she could affect the outcome of the future.  Wouldn’t this apply to Robin?
  10. There was discussion on Twitter last night on how three could come through the tree.  It was mentioned that only one could travel through the original tree.  The tree was meant to bring Snow and baby Emma it our world.  Instead, August came through first.  I’ve always wondered what would have happened if Snow had tried to come?  Never mind.  Here’s my take on this.  The tree is now a wormhole that opens to other realms.  My question is:  how could they be sure where they would arrive.  And since the tree is a worm hole, does that mean that people can now travel between wish realm and Storybrooke?

Yeah Adam and Eddie probably wish my brain hadn’t been engaged last night, but interested minds want to know.  These plot devices could keep our present cast busy for a long time to come.  I plan to write more on August later.  Will post on Twitter when it is finished.

 

Dance Moms: Abby’s Day in Court Delayed AGAIN!

Last night (Wednesday, February 22, 2017), Abby Lee Miller and Dance Moms  hit the news again.  Deadline posted that Abby has been given a slight reprieve from sentencing.  The judge, for some unknown reason or her infinite wisdom, decided to postpone sentencing of Abby Lee Miller for her bankruptcy fraud and bringing money in from other countries.  Many people commented back on both the article and FaceBook that Abby didn’t deserve to be punished.  I was taught from an early age that if you “do the crime, you do the time (read punishment).”

I’m not sure why Abby hasn’t been sentenced yet.  I thought it strange that they called witnesses on why she didn’t deserve jail time.  I thought it strange that someone who is facing sentencing is allowed to travel.  I thought it strange that she was going to England just days before sentencing but I’m not the Federal Court of Pennsylvania.  I do know that Abby has admitted her guilt and should face her sentence.  Is it because she is a celebrity?  If so, it is wrong.  Others have done the same thing she has and done their punishment.

Celebrity status shouldn’t put you above the law. Celebrity status makes you more responsible to the law.  If you have committed a crime, the celebrity feature shouldn’t play a role in whether you face the charge or not.  Average people get caught for speeding and drinking and face lost of license and jail.  Celebrities on the other hand think they are immune and now Abby thinks she is immune because she is on a reality show.

Let’s review her crimes shall we:

She declared bankruptcy knowing that she would get money for doing
Dance Moms
.

She brought in money from Australia which she didn’t declare.  To make matters worse, she put it in some of her students and staff’s suitcases making them mules at the worst and accomplices at the least.

She wrote emails to her lawyers and others saying let’s keep Abby out of jail.

And there was more which I can’t remember.  But let’s also add a few crimes which wasn’t addressed.

She served as manager for the girls and took a good chunk of the change for herself without giving most of them any benefits of her “managerial style).

She intentionally tried to hurt some of her “clients” when they got more attention than the chosen few.

She used physical defects and bullying to make girls self-conscious or quit the team.  One of the children and mom who left gave Abby the chance to do the show in the first place!

She claims never to be the person portrayed on television and it is edited to make her look bad.  Abby, dear, unless you have a script, you acted that way during filming and got caught on camera.

Abby never takes responsibility for anything.  She doesn’t feel she’s being fairly portrayed on television and that the crimes she committed were because of fame.  Hey, Debbie Allen in a promo for the television show warns, that “fame comes with a price.”  Abby, pay your price for fame. It’s way overdue.

Dance Moms: How Can Abby Do It?

Dance Moms is at a crossroads with where it will go.  You probably have heard by now that the show is filming again.  This is on top of the fact that Abby faces sentencing on February 24, 2017.  There are hints the judge is going to let her off but I hope that isn’t true.  If you do a crime, you pay!

The reason I’m beginning to think the rumor is true can be seen in how easily Abby got permission to travel.  Granted, she’s been traveling all over the world while facing her trial and sentencing but the trial is February 24th.  So where is she heading — jolly old England who seems to love her.  The whole time she is there she will be doing Meet and Greets and other money making projects.  If she’s doing this, I hope it is to pay her legal expenses but somehow I think it will just go in her pocket.

In the past, she has traveled with the team or at least one of the girls.  This time, it looks like Abby is going solo.  She has also promised to talk about production of the show.  Anyone reading any of her press in the last few months knows that she is claiming Lifetime or the producers of making her do things she doesn’t agree with.  This includes giving Maisi and Camryn jackets.  When they pulled the mini-team, she brought back two and put them with the “elites.”  I’m beginning to wonder if management is getting tired of the shenanigans that Abby has done and listened to fans about her abusive behavior.

I’m not sure where we are heading with this story, but something tells me that Abby has a wonderful “get out of jail” free card that she plans to use.  Whether this is right or not is for the wheels or weights of justice to decide.  I know other reality/athletic/movie/television stars have done their time.  What makes Abby different?  If you have opinions, please share.  I’d like to know others take on this.

 

The Royals: More Dastardly than Ever

Okay, I admit it.  I’m a fan of E!’s The Royals and there’s something really bothering me with the plot as we move toward the end of the third season.  Here we have had all the drama about whether Liam and Eleanor being Simon’s son.  Then we have her apparently working with Simon’s brother, Cyrus, to allow him to become king only to have Helena turn on him and want Liam on the throne.  Granted, I know that the first reason was that Liam was typically young man — drinking, doing drugs, chasing women — but I never quite understood her change of heart.  Whatever!  This brings me to my real purpose behind this piece:  Robert.

Let’s review The Royals up to this point.  King Simon and Queen Helena had lost their son, Robert, tragically in an air force practice.  King Simon decided that he wanted to do away with the monarchy but Helena and Cyrus disagree and hatched a plot for Cyrus to become king.  The people didn’t like that at all and Liam stepped up to be king.  Cyrus ran a maneuver that tricked everyone into thinking that Liam and Eleanor was not Simon’s children so he took the throne.  Okay, we’ve got the plot so far and it’s really nothing new.  Power always corrupts.

So this season has been the struggle to prove that Simon was Liam and Eleanor’s dead.  If the proof could be found, they Cyrus is off his throne and back into being an ordinary royal.  That’s not Cyrus has in mind.  He gets rid of Simon’s body (in the Thames).  He shaves his head so Helena can’t get a DNA sample but forgets his personal trophy which she grabs.  His unmentionable proves the lie.  Liam and Eleanor are Simon’s children so Helena plans the announcement of the DNA results and Liam being king.  Sounds like everyone is happy so far, right.

Wrong!  Now here’s where the  problem lies.  Robert, it seems didn’t die but has been washed up on a deserted island.  We see him lying on the shore at the end of season 2 but we have no confirmation of it until mid-way through season three.  He’s been on that island for months with a flare and wants us to believe that no ship came by in that time frame.  Suddenly, Robert sees that fishing trawler and signals it for rescue.  Does something sound fishy to you?  Well, it does for me and his return couldn’t have been timed better.  Helena not only gets to reveal that her children do belong to her husband but the one true king is back.

Now, we have Robert on the throne thanks to the Privy Council.  While not surprised, I started noticing things.  Robert has that sly little smirk that is common with Cyrus. He has that look that he’s capable of everything.  We’ve seen him torment Liam and threaten Jasper.  Jasper knows something about the crash and Robert doesn’t want him to tell it.  Robert now has control over Jasper by saving him from prison and giving him a job.  I’m so hoping Jasper can bring Robert down but the next question is:  Where will that leave Liam?  Do you think the show has another season in it?  If so, who is going to be King?

A Remembrance to Richard Hatch

Growing up, I wasn’t supposed to watch soap operas.  Let me ask a rhetorical question:  During the summer, how do you stop teens from watching said soap operas.  You can’t and we watched which is where all the girls fell in love with Richard Hatch.

All My Children was in its infancy in the late 60s/early 70s with stories that were hitting my age group close to our hearts.  We were teens and the “teens” on the show spoke to us.  When Tara and Phillip, fell in love, we loved Phillip also.  Richard Hatch played Phillip Brent with a sincerity that came through the screens and reach all of us.  When the decided to address the Vietnam War and send Phillip off to fight, well that hit home.  All the teens I grew up with knew of at least one family who had lost a loved one to the war.  So when the show wrote that Phillip had died, not only his television mother but all of us went into shock.

I followed Richard Hatch’s career to Battlestar Galatica“.  Richard was Captain Apollo and the hero of the piece.  He was determined, brave, and fearless.  Plus, after losing his wife (during the pilot no less), he became a caring father.  I will always remember the “Ship of Lights” episode.  That one pointed out just how important the Apollo character was to the show and to the theme of goodness.

I watched Richard on shows like Streets of San Francisco.  He never seemed to want the star treatment.  He came across as humble and caring.  He was a quiet man who didn’t seek fame.  To me he should have served as a role model to those who came after him.

Rest in peace Richard Hatch.  You were a gentleman and respected.  Your wisdom came through to my generation and I hope others see it too.

Big Five Networks: The Status of Network Programming

I’ve been casually watching many articles over the past few days about the viewership of shows and the potential of cancelling shows.  It all started with the rumors that Once Upon a Time might either see it’s last year this year or be changed with a new theme next year.  Now, I’m hearing the same thing on other shows that either have shown potential or are getting older.  So it started my brain thinking and here’s what I see as reasons for this is happening.

  1.  Money — a standard contract for a television show with actors is 5 or 6 years.  Usually this doesn’t matter as the show doesn’t last.  Yet, at the end of that 5/6 year cycle you have to negotiate a new contract with the actor.  If the actor is major to the action, they may hold out for a big pay increase (Friends era comes to mind).  So the executives can either pay or threaten that character with the elimination of their character.  If the show revolves around the character, then the show could face cancellations (think Castle).
  2. New honcho — new thoughts —  in the past when a new head of a company comes into play, they make changes.  They want to shape the network to their view of what the public wants.  Sometimes this works but that hasn’t really been the case since the writer’s strike.  Here’s why.  During the writer’s strike, people found out that cable/satellite has more programming options.  While the Big Four/Five were using reality shows, the cable stations were offering more original programming.  People suddenly realized that they didn’t have to rely on the traditional stations for programming.
  3. Lost in the past — not moving to the times — While there have been some instances of new shows standing out, most of the time programming seems to be looking to the past.  I found this trend applicable in the 1990s when I did soap opera research.  The shows that were moving forward and addressing present topics on soap operas were actually better than the ones that relied on affairs and kept things in the 50s.  I’ve been this bouncy ball happen in programming since then.  We need to accept that things are not geared the way they were.  People want excitement and adventure.  While murder/crime shows are good and seem to prevail on television,  I like a good mystery now or then.
  4. Ratings — Ratings aren’t what they used to be for the big 4/5 networks.  Sorry about that folks.  There are other options for viewing on cable.  And guess what!  More and more networks are going with original programming and using buzz over ratings to decide if a show will succeed or fail.  Do you think that shows like The Librarians or The Royals last.  Would they be the same show under a network/big 4/5 theme.  The answer is no.

If I was a bigwig television producer, I’d rethink my whole approach to television.  Don’t lie and say “The ratings are bad” but why the show really isn’t being renewed.  Don’t look at the salary increase and use the threat of cancellation to get someone to sign a contract.  And don’t rely strictly on what you like to judge what people like.  We have enough of that going on in other places.