Friday, January 06, 2006

Dancing with Tatum O'Neal

Yes, I watched Dancing With the Stars last summer. I think it established a whole new genre: the romantic horror musical. Even though I enjoyed it in one of those "will not admit this to anyone" way, I was not really plannning on tuning back in this time -- until I heard that Tatum O'Neal was on. I've been a fan since I was a little kid, saw Paper Moon twice, and though I couldn't bring myself to read her recent memoir, I did seem to keep running across excerpts and reviews that told me more than I needed to know about how her life has not gone well. Which is part of the reason I really wanted to see her do well on this show.

How did they know to save her until last? I tuned in late, so I missed George Hamilton, but I saw the woman wrestler with the ten foot legs. And Master P's gangsta rap cha cha. He must be voted out first based on lack of movement. It was almost comical to watch his partner flitting around him like a butterfly on speed while he practically just stood there. Giselle Fernandez was too fake, yet I did feel for her need to make her daddy (a professional dancer) proud. Pour Tia Carrere was matched with the meanest dancer who couldn't even find anything nice to say to her after the judges gave her all sorts of compliments.

Finally, I made it to Tatum. I mean, I was even watching the ads so I wouldn't miss her. I almost NEVER do that. Things looked bad. In the bio clip, they showed her complaining about the spins -- they were making her get headaches. She did not seem happy. When she began dancing, I thought it might be possible that she would totally fail. Have a nervous breakdown. Fall and injure herself at the very least. The music started. It was one of my old favorites. "What the world needs now, is love sweet love..." She and her partner were in black. Her hair was up. She looked great. And... apart from the fact that my body was tense for her the entire time (or maybe because of it?) it was wonderful. She did it!

The judges heaped praise on her. The only uncomfortable part was when she tried to respond, and her face went in all sorts of directions, because she was so emotional and I think she didn't know what was appropriate to say. When she admitted she was going to cry, I even started to cry a little myself! Then she did say, "I'm glad I'm an actress" and I guess she should be, not only because she needs someone to write her lines, but also because she was the only one, I think, similar to John O'Hurley from last time, who really gave the dance that intense sort of exagerated dramatic flair. I am so relieved for Tatum. I hope her headaches go away when she spins. I hope she makes it to the end.



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