“Dance Moms” recap part one: Ode To A Whole Bunch Of Clowns

Oh fer the …

First Lifetime takes away the next-day full-episode video on their own website and now it’s gone from iTunes and Amazon, too? And just when I was starting to enjoy being able to exchange the laptop for a bowl of popcorn (snackies AND missiles that can be launched at Abby without harming the flatscreen!) and call the play-by-play come morning at my desk. A fistful of greasy kernels in your general direction, Lifetime. You guys know my memory’s not that good. Cough up those shows.

In any case, I’m guessing this one may have a laundry list of things to do with the peculiar legal situation that cropped up in last night’s episode — one which would render every high-school hallway and office lunchroom in the universe a hotbed of malfeasance that puts organized crime to shame. And also, my cubicle.

But you don’t scare me with your silly “shut your pie hole” letters, Melissa Gisoni. Or Melissa Gisoni’s maybe-maybe-not fiance Greg. Or Melissa Gisoni’s maybe-maybe-not fiance’s lawyer. Who probably got wind that, according to the TV last night, he or she sends out letters making harmless chitchat about a major happy life event that is actually occurring grounds for a week’s worth of lawsuits — and possibly threatened a real live one if that portion of our program was not removed before the thing is immortalized for all time on the Interwebs. This is just my speculation now. Do not go starting gossip based upon it. Do not send me letters. OK, you can send me letters. Just not about that.

Before we get started, I would like to thank reader Bek for teaching me a new dance-related vocabulary word which I could not love more if it earned me money — “dolly dinkle.” As in “dolly dinkle dance studio.” At first I figured this was something akin to Dolley Madison, mother of the role of First Lady, or Dolly Madison, fictional patron saint of snack cakes, except that Dolly Dinkle is actually the mother of the hometown, rinky-dolly-dinkle dance school. There is no Dolly Dinkle. Depending how testy you are, a dolly dinkle dance studio or instructor is either one that is decidedly second rate or one that is simply small-town but quality all the same.

You will not get me to say which kind of dinkle I thinkle is Abby Lee — or if she’s a dolly at all. Now Cathy on the other hand …

Speaking of Cathy — and yes I am rambling. No next-day video, remember? — how many of you laughed out loud like I did when we got a couple of grimy, oinking, porcine additions to our customary Welcome to Ohio, John R. Kasich Governor/Cows of Appalachia/We’re Going To Candy Apples Now montage? Oh Ohio, how can you bear the bruising?

Hey! “Melissa Pleads The 5th” is now available on iTunes and Amazon. Patience, Lori. Just a little patience. Now who gets my cash?

Let’s see what we have here — and how much intact.

Pyramid time  — and anybody else besides me hope we retire this thing in the Season 3 that we’re all willing to happen, since Abby has outright admitted that it didn’t exist before the show started and its irrelevance is dang-near astounding? Case in point: Nia is the bottom of the bottom for nearly stopping Abby’s heart by stopping her solo last week when she could not think up the next move. Never mind that she came back and did the routine in prize-winning form — or that forging ahead with on-the-spot choreography would have earned her the same on-the-pyramid-spot anyway. Next is Mac, who I’m beginning to think is down there nonstop for upstaging Abby in her asides. Ya can’t judge dancing that doesn’t happen, Abby Lee. And rounding out the bottom is Brooke, who earns the spot for doing a great job. Abby’s words, not mine. Yes, ma’am.

Row two begins with Chloe because Abby thinks her role in the trio was a little bit shaky. Go back and watch it. You see anything shaky from Chloe? Me neither. One spot from the top is Paige, who is sporting the cutest hairstyle ever and gets major props from Abby for dancing through her excised-warts pain. Remember when the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day? I think Abby’s heart may actually be growing this season, too. At least one size, anyway. Over many, many days. Dah-who foraze, Dance Mom fans!

Top is Maddie, because she never took her eyes off of last week’s judges … even as they lapsed into boredom-induced comas because I’m still pretty sure the girls were down there for exhibition and not to be judged at all. Abby proclaims them sucked in. You can be the judge.

 

Um, Puck? Is that you there on the right? Are you judging dancing now?

Anyway, the new and improved Abby goes on to say that the group dance will be about the plight of homeless children to remind the girls how lucky they are to have big, beautiful homes and everything they need. Then she ends practice early to go set up a scholarship fund to allow homeless kids in Pittsburgh to learn dance at Abby Lee’s. Nah, she doesn’t. But a Who like me can dream.

Maddie gets the sole solo. Even though Holly has returned to her nasty habit of choosing work over gossiping and gluing rhinestones to stuff in the mom loft, Abby makes her last-week’s dream come true and puts Nia in the trio in Paige’s place, despite Chloe looping her arm through Paige’s with a hopeful smile, clearly wishing Maddie away.

Ah. Mah. Gahd. I just noticed now that what I thought were merely hot pink blobs on Abby’s necklace in her asides last night are actually hot pink lips. Big ones. Three of ‘em. Rewind. Rewind. Rewind. Google. Nope. Etsy. Nope. Where the hell did she get that thing? And it’s ebay for the win! Get yours now, boys and girls.

 

This week the Pitt Crew is headed to a Co. Dance competition in Chicago, where they’ll go head to head with the Candy Apples. No rhinestones will be required for the homeless children dance costumes, freeing the moms to make plans to whoop it up Windy City style. Then Holly appears (in a mustard-colored jacket that could team up with Melissa’s pale gray jacket and solve the universe’s ruffle famine for a year) and lays down the most concrete evidence  of the whole entire season that none of this is really happening. Which is saying a lot. Dr. Frazier announces that she will be making the most of that newly acquired doctorate in tennis balls education by taking a leave of absence from her job and fulfill her dream of sitting in the mom loft, trying on wedding dresses, interrupting practice and babysitting the dancers while the other moms party. Needless to say, her obligatory aside is not all that convincing, but I sure hope it is true.

Also, for those of you who are still worrying about the possibility of a Season 3, I think you can get some sleep now.

Helloooo, little Apples. And Mr. Justice, our knight in shining, Maddie-trouncing armor. And realistic-looking (dare I say, dolly dinkle?) dance moms, save for Jill who is wearing a shiny jacket of steel-colored leather. To take down Abby Lee and her altruistic group dance, Cathy has crafted a scary clown routine, you know, to tick off that scary clown in Pittsburgh. Who is currently complaining to Gia about how the other moms are mean-girling her dainty butterfly Melissa by suggesting that her engagement ring means she’s getting married. Because they’re jealous of Maddie. Or something like that. And they better beware because Melissa’s gonna lose it.

Not to worry. Melissa’s already lost it — she’s meeting Jill at a diner for tea and soda. Jill explains that she’s wasting away because there’s no time to eat, what with Cathy setting Kendall up with the Globetrotters and all. Melissa loves Globetrotters! And then they settle down to talk in earnest about how Melissa is not talking about her engagement and can only be congratulated after the wedding … because that’s how friendship works, you know. I am guessing that what this is really about is that her Westinghouse-executive fiance does not find being an unseen and unintended character on Dance Moms much in the way of career burnishment, and since he didn’t sign up for this thing, is doing everything in his power to fire himself from the show, putting Miss Missy in a hell of a spot.

Welcome to back to Ohio, John R. Kasich Still Governor, and your first look at that pair of Ohio porkers. If they end up in pieces and vacuum-packed at the Sausage King of Canton Wrangler Jeans MikeTommy’s Jerky Outlet, I swear I’m going to freak. On the other hand, Cathy’s faux ad did not say they have porky jerky, so perhaps they are just for decoration after all.

“Ode to a Clown” looks pretty interesting, save for Justice’s part, which — at the moment, anyway — is to squat like a Sumo wrestler behind the girls as they act like marionettes. Cathy looks intent.

Back with the Pitt Crew, a suddenly morose-looking Melissa — for she was just a few minutes ago happily discussing the trio — is not wearing her engagement ring because that’s just how she and he who shall not be mentioned are doing it. The other mothers don’t buy it a bit. Kelly, who suddenly seems tipsy, volunteers to wear it for her. Melissa stews. Then Holly asks if her girls notice the “now you see it, now you don’t” nature of said ring and Abby’s prediction comes true. Melissa loses it. Again. She’s taking Abby’s toys and going home AND she’s not going to Chicago either. SO THERE!

She storms into practice, bellers at Abby about “these people,” bellers at Maddie to come hither, bellers at Big Mac to do the same. Abby says nothing. Maddie bursts into tears and protests of Chicago, “I’m going! I’m going!”, which completely breaks my heart. Because Melissa is all about her children, which she demonstrated by leaving them with Abby on multiple occasions while she traveled with her honey last season, leaves Maddie with Abby again and splits with MacKenzie. But not before reaching for her cellie within earshot of everyone and commanding Greg to call his attorney because These People are at it again!

Abby stares murderously upward, then unleashes her fury on the people who are responsible for the meltdown — the children. Because if maybe … if they would only tell their muh-thers …  to keep their mouths shut … and stay awaaaaay from Melissa (who planted herself in the middle of all of Those People when she knows she’s their bestest topic of convo) none of this would have hap-puhned!

This is last straw for the mothers — well, and possibly that classy blow-your-brains-out move Abby pulls as a capper — who storm down, grab their shellshocked kids and leave.

The next day, Holly, Christi and Kelly stand silently in front of Abby’s desk, looking for all the world like a chastened gang of schoolyard bullies waiting to face their accuser in the principal’s office. And here she comes, clad in a wool coat that matches Abby’s lips necklace and righteously asserting that she shall not let her personal life get in the way of her daughters’ happiness.

Somebody quick remind me — weddings are happy things, right? Unless you’re 16, pregnant and your daddy has a shotgun?

In any case, Kelly calls it like she sees it and says that the real reason Melissa came back is because everybody knows that Abby owns Maddie and if Melissa would ever like to see her little protege again, she better get her hiney back here and fast — and in ALDS colors to boot.

Back in the studio, everyone dances while Mackenzie sits on a box, probably pondering how on earth she’s supposed to improve her dancing while doing crap like this. Or maybe she’s thinking about gum. I vote the latter. Lawd, I love that Mac.

What the sam-hell is this? After all the theatricality that was the day before, surely Melissa would take in practice from as far away from those tale-tellin’ yahoos as she could get, am I right? I am wrong. Here she is camped cozily between Kelly and Holly and burbling away as though nothing happened. Because the producers appear to have realized that even we most faithful have a limit to how far we will take this “because none of this is really happening” business, we get a helpful aside from Holly using her about-to-grow-mold education to teach us that Dance Mom friendships are a different breed from other kinds of friendships. You got that right, sister! Especially normal ones.

Best of all, Melissa is leading a gossip session about her tea-and-soda buddy Jill and what a nim she is for trusting Cathy. Pots and kettles, Gisoni. Pots and kettles!

Cut to Abby teaching Maddie her solo, for which she will play Snow White checking out her reflection. Best professional dance tip of the day and possibly ever: “Don’t throw your head up!” Good advice for any number of occasions. Do not throw up your head.

Dance Moms” recap part two: A Big Baby Sent Me A Letter”

Video and images: ©2012 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A&E Networks.

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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