What is it, America? Heat stroke? Mad cow disease? West Nile virus? C'mon, I'm just looking for a rational explanation as to why you've gone and made the D-list-celebrities-do-salsa series “Dancing With the Stars” the runaway smash hit of the summer. ... Paint fumes? Is it paint fumes?
I've been saying for years now that America is fed up with reality shows. You're making me look like a chump here. Back when “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was topping the ratings five nights a week, I predicted that game shows would burn out soon. And they did. Aren't you glad we're no longer subjected to the likes of Regis Philbin and Anne Robinson during prime time? For god's sake, people, John McEnroe had his own TV game show! It tanked. Aren't we all better off for it?
Why then isn't “Wife Swap” being swept off the air in a wave of indifference? How come Tommy Lee is being given his own reality show? Wouldn't you be so much happier in a world where people aren't forced to eat sheep rectums on TV for fame and fortune?
Honestly, America, I was willing to give you “American Idol.” I concede that bad pop music does and always has ruled the airwaves. Maybe the world would be a better place if you and your mom both bonded over your mutual love for Kelly Clarkson. But why, oh why, are you suddenly giddy over ballroom dancing? And bad ballroom dancing at that?
Perhaps, like “American Idol,” you revel in the “dumb fun” of failures. Maybe you feel better about your own meager allotment of talent after seeing a clueless, tone-deaf dork like William Hung make a fool out of himself on national television. Maybe you're mad that New Zealand-born model Rachel Hunter is so damn attractive and you would feel a little bit better if she moved like a drunk camel on the dance floor. But, really, is there any surprise in the fact that former heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield isn't an elegant tango dancer? And, if you're really only watching the show for the schadenfreude (look it up), then you're giving false hope to hundreds of Arthur Murray Dance Studio instructors who expect you to come flooding through the door any minute now demanding to learn the cha-cha.
The other remote possibility is that the nation has suddenly become entranced by the world of formal evening wear and the fox-trot. But, you know what: I'm not buying it. I know how much you bitched in fifth grade when coach Penski made you learn the waltz in the school cafeteria during PE. You hate ballroom dancing.
The season finale of this syncopated “American Idol” rip-off (complete with grumpy Simon Cowell substitute Carrie Ann Inaba) comes on Wednesday. After that, I expect you to start watching “Rescue Me” and “Entourage” and writing letters to FOX thanking them for renewing “Arrested Development.”
The grand finale of “Dancing with the Stars” airs Wednesday, July 6, at 8 p.m. on KOAT-7.