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SHOW TRACKER

`Dancing' recap is just too long, dances around the bush

March 29, 2007|Claire Zulkey | Special to The Times

AH, the bloated, soulless, unnecessary results show. What better way is there to exploit the goodwill your hit reality-TV series has built up?

Of course we are referring to the "Dancing With the Stars" recap and results show on ABC on Tuesday, which very cruelly stole two hours from the lives of many Americans who probably could have used them better.

Better like how? Oh, like maybe watching another certain reality television show that's broadcast on another network at the same time. But by showing a recap, the producers of "DWTS" ensured that few of its viewers would be tuning in to "American Idol" instead of refreshing them with vital information as to what was shown just last week, and the previous night as well. Even the show itself seemed to be aware of its own lack of reason for existence, scrolling hopeful messages like "Live results show in four minutes!" along the bottom.

The faithful were rewarded with another hour nearly as scintillating as hour one. The live results show continued to serve as a deja vu episode: The costumes were the same as the night before, the makeup the same, even some of the live dancing and "celebrity audience members" were the same. And in case that wasn't enough, montages galore! (Although, can anything top the surreality of Robbie Williams chiding Leeza Gibbons for "lazy feet"?)

Dionne Warwick sang her usual songs fairly well (her new album is for sale!) and Jimmy Kimmel was mildly entertaining (stay tuned for his show!) and Donny Osmond was ... there (oh yeah, stay tuned for his ABC show too!). Even the professional dancing, although impressive, reminded us why "Dancing With the Stars" is more entertaining than "Dancing With the Professionals": Without that little bit of risk, it's just the plain old boring dancing we don't watch on PBS.

Poor Paulina Porizkova (who left with the good humor and aplomb that apparently don't make for good TV) probably wished she could have just learned she was getting the boot instead of having to stand around in heels -- we know it's possible that the recap could have been spit out in half an hour. Or, 15 minutes.

Put among the great scandals of our era the creation -- and consumption -- of two-hour shows that are meant to dole out 10 seconds' worth of information. If only there were some way to vote against that.

And, of course, now the most infuriating thing is that instead of getting to watch the "American Idol" performances, all "Dancing" viewers were left with Wednesday night was that results show. Life is not fair.

Show Tracker follows television series through their highs and lows.

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