Hello! Have you heard of this little show on ABC called Dancing With the Stars? Maybe you watched it out of politeness when your mother-in-law came by to visit, or you may be currently held captive and it's on in the background but those bonds around your wrists won't allow you to change the channel.
Or maybe you haven't seen the show because you think you're too good for it, and if that's the case, grab a slice of humble pie and scarf it down. Second, get your eyeballs ready because I'm here to tell you — and everyone — why you should watch this season of Dancing With the Stars (Monday, 8/7c on ABC).
1. It's not actually about dancing!
You: But Tim, it's right there in the title: Dancing. Me: Well, yeah, but Dancing With the Stars is about dancing in the same way the Super Bowl is about football. Dancing is just the trick the show uses to get people who like dancing to watch, but Dancing With the Stars is really a human-being pageant with no qualifications, so anyone can join. Everyone loves pageants, they're like human cattle auctions, and everyone loves a cattle auction. This is a no-brainer, people. Yeah, there's dancing, but really it's about personality. And hard work. And tight buns.
2. It's not actually about stars!
You: But Tim, it's right there in the title: Stars. Me: Didn't you learn your lesson with item number 1? The term "stars" here is loose. Really loose. Sure, these people who are participating are more famous than you and me, but many of them will still need to wait for a table at a restaurant, with some of them waiting to hear the hostess call, "Desperate, party of one." There's Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch and then walked the dark path that most child actors do. There's an IndyCar driver named James Hinchcliffe, who, uhhh... drives really fast (bonus: he's Canadian!). There's Jake T. Austin, who used to be on a show that you didn't watch. The point is, Clooney said no again. But it's where these people are in their careers that makes DWTS (how people "in the know" refer to the series) a perfect fit for them.
Instead of being about dancing with stars, Dancing With the Stars is a redemption tour or a second shot at regaining the slowly dying flame of fame that contestants have lost, or a chance to introduce oneself to a whole new audience of housewives who thought Chad Ochocinco was an enchilada and double-stuffed taco combo from El Taqueria Loco. Because of this, some contestants will do whatever it takes to stick around for another week. Take for example Season 7 star Cloris Leachman, who spent some of her routines mopping the floor with her buttocks. Or Billy Dee Williams, who once again plumbed the depths of the Star Wars franchise just for another chance at distancing himself from Colt 45. You never know what's going to happen or how far someone will go for some Dancing fame.
You know that bro-dude who swam at the Rio Olympics and then smeared the reputation of an entire country because he didn't want people to know he got mad at a soap dispenser at a gas station bathroom after pounding five too many caipirinhas? He'll be there in full apology mode, and it's your American duty to watch him grovel and not accept his, "Sorry, bro, I was immature and, like, totally hammered."
5. Rick Perry, former Texas governor
There's a chance the wannabe Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry can fall on his face and break a tooth. You don't want to miss that.
6. Vanilla Ice
Don't you want physical proof that Vanilla Ice is still alive?
7. The dancers are smokin' hot
Are you sexually attracted to women? Bam, bam and bam. Men? Bazinga, bazonga, bazoonga. Don't care as long as they're a 1,000,000 on the 1-10 attractiveness scale? BLAMMO. Even the judges are hot fire. Watch this show and you're sure to find the ideal soulmate for grandson/daughter.
I know the Google Image searches in item 7 made it look like DWTS is a meat market, but these pro dancers don't get overshadowed by their celebrity pairs. Take Maksim Chmerkovskiy, for example. The hot-headed uber-competitive dance master has a 200-percent chance of screaming at his partner, slamming a door and punching a wall each season as he tries to coach his flat-footed partner, and those chances will double this season with his other half, the fiery Amber Rose. And then there's Whitney Carson, the all-American ball of energy who will test Vanilla Ice's stamina with her upbeat routines. Point is, you'll come for the stars, but stay for the dancers.
9. There are actual, real, authentic human interest stories at work here, for realsie
No one wants to watch three months of faux-lebrities twisting ankles and making fools of themselves, so DWTS offers legitimate arcs for those who deserve it. Take Jennifer Grey, for example, the Dirty Dancing star who no one had heard from in centuries but came back to win the crowd's favor and the eleventh season (and defeat Bristol Palin). Or J.R. Martinez, a war vet who sustained burns over a third of his body and samba'd to victory in Season 13. Or last season's champ Nyle DiMarco, who became the series' first deaf winner. C'mon, you put up with personal stories all through the Olympics, you can do it again here.
10. Okay, it's actually a lot about dancing
I have three left feet, so I move about as well as a bulldozer with a broken steering wheel, but these people do things with their bodies that seem impossible (except for old stiffs like Geraldo Rivera). Appreciate the art form, appreciate the hard work that goes into it and appreciate the guts it takes to give it a shot on national television. It's entertainment for us, but there's a lot on the line for those who participate.
Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 12 at 8/7c on ABC.