Once, when I was home sick from school as an 11-year-old, I watched an episode of the cop show, "Hunter." In the episode, there was this guy going around murdering people. But, before he murdered a person, he would call them on the phone, and in a low, raspy voice, say the word, "Murrrrderrrr." It scared the living shit out of me. For months after, I would lay awake at night convinced I could hear "Murrrrderrrr" emanating from somewhere in the house. Not since that episode of "Hunter" have I been so disturbed by a television show as I was by "Dance Moms."
This season two episode is titled "Return Of The Candy Apples." Appropriately, because it shook me to my core.
The show opens with dance studio director, Abby Lee Miller, being IMMEDIATELY THE WORST. The show has just started and she's already ruthlessly berating little girls WHO ARE DRESSED IN LITTLE GIRL DANCE CLOTHES.
Let's just call her Immediately The Worst from here on out.
Immediately The Worst continues being truly terrible to the girls, and you start thinking, "These girls' parents are NOT going to be happy when they find out about this!" But, then we cut to the parents who are standing in the back of the room, and Immediately The Worst starts berating them, too. Suddenly, you realize this woman is wildly abusive to everyone around her and that the mothers in the room are so beaten down that they can't even defend their own children. I've never before been made so desperately sad from a television show in a 45-second time period.
As Immediately The Worst goes back and forth berating mothers and daughters alike, she turns her focus to a dancer named Brooke. Apparently, Brooke cried during a previous dance competition. Immediately The Worst exclaims, "Brooke, the crying and hysteria... that's not a young adult!"
Hey, Immediately The Worst... Brooke isn't a young adult. She's not even an old child. Like... I feel like I'm barely even a young adult and I just turned 28. In fact, there's a high school near my apartment that has a big sign above the door that touts "Young Writers," and I'm always like, "That's me!"
As the episode goes on, there are testimonials from the girls wearing an amount of makeup that is really inappropriate.
So, that's haunting. In this particular testimonial, Jill talks about having to be at the bottom of the pyramid. You know... the pyramid.
We cut to Jill's mother, Kelly who is very upset about Jill having to be at the bottom.
She complains, "No matter what I do, my daughters are always going to be at the bottom of the pyramid!" Well, Kelly, there's actually a lot you could do to make your daughters not be at the bottom of the pyramid. Off the top of my head, I would say one easy way out of it is NOT HAVING YOUR DAUGHTERS ENROLLED IN A NAZI DANCE CLASS.
Back in the studio, Immediately The Worst preps the girls for their upcoming dance competition against a rival studio called Candy Apples. She tells them they are going to do an oldies dance that will require them to wear a rat and a snood. The girls have no idea what a rat and a snood are. Immediately The Worst says, "If you don't know what a rat and a snood is, Google it, and figure it out." Or how about you just tell the kids what it is and then go fuck yourself, Immediately The Worst. You're the worst.
Later, the moms are all in a room together and get into a fight about whose kid should be at the bottom of the pyramid. Well, moms, I have a Solomonic solution for you. Cut Immediately The Worst in half, take your kids to get some goddamn frozen yogurt, and then nobody has to be at the bottom. This show offends me as a woman, and I'm not even a woman.
Next, Kelly comes downstairs to give her kid a hat and a bedazzled apple (don't worry about it). Immediately The Worst blows up at her for interrupting and kicks her out of the room. Kelly then heads back upstairs to a weird gallery part that overlooks the studio. Immediately The Worst continues to complain about Kelly, mouthing "Are you drunk?!" to her.
She repeats it over and over. "Are you drunk? Is she DRUNK?!" She won't stop.
We then cut back to Kelly saying "Whether I was drinking or not is none of her damn business." Kelly... I never even for a second considered that you might actually be drunk until you said that. Are you drunk? Is she drunk? Why am I on Immediately The Worst's side all of a sudden. Am I drunk?
Kelly cries about this for a while and then starts talking about her issues with Immediately The Worst yelling at the children so much. She asks aloud, "Would you want to go to your extra-curricular active and do nothing but get yelled at?" DING DING DING DING!! (Correct bell.) NO, KELLY I WOULD NOT WANT TO DO THAT! GET YOUR KID THE FUCK OUT OF THE STUDIO!
She goes on to say, "I don't know why I let my kids do this. I'm torturing my kids." So, like... I can't even... What the fuck, Kelly?
Also, at some point, one of the moms makes this face...
Which is how I feel about this whole show.
Finally the girls and dance moms take a bus to Columbus, Ohio for the competition. Here, we meet the woman who leads The Candy Apples dance studio. Her name is Cathy. Cathy, unbeknownst to Immediately The Worst, invites all the dance mom's to a party in her suite and tries to make them transfer their girls to her studio. It's really very creepy. This whole show is creepy. I'm not entirely positive that this show isn't a sequel to "The Cell. Anyway, the dance moms decline her offer.
Now, onto the competition. Immediately The Worst's dance troupe doesn't do all that well. They seem kind of out of synch.
And then, Cathy's team does REALLY well, but all of her girls look about 32 years old.
Somehow, Immediately The Worst's team wins anyway. And, then the girl Immediately The Worst entered into the solo competition wins, too! I assume it's because she did the best leg half-swastika.
Cathy is FURIOUS that her team lost. She approaches Immediately The Worst and the dance moms to yell at them. Don't get me wrong. All of these people deserve to be yelled at. But, Cathy is being a real asshole and a sore loser. One of the dance moms accuses Cathy of acting like a teenager which is totally accurate. Then, the dance mom says, "Go back to junior high, grandma!" which makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Grandmas don't go to high school. Try again, dance mom.
Finally, the show comes to an end. Thank God. That was horrifying, and not even in an it's-a-train-wreck-and-I-can't-turn-away kind of way. It was just straight up traditionally horrifying. I felt terrible for the girls, and I was upset that the mothers allowed their kids to be subject to such abuse. Furthermore, the mothers allowed themselves to be abused in front of their daughters, thereby teaching them that they can expect to be treated that way for the rest of their lives. There should be another show called "Dance Mom Moms" that would be about these Dance Mom's mothers berating them for not protecting their children.