Is this why people watch reality television? To gawk in wonder as other people do the goofiest things for attention, like dancing the quickstep while dressed in Incredibles onesies? I guess so, because I’ve become one of them. Just one clip of Dancing With the Stars’ Disney Night and I’ve become trapped in the forcefield of withered smiles and questionable costumes.
Every year, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars fully embraces its corporate synergy with a cheesy Disney-themed night, filled with dance routines set to “popular” Disney songs. I use quotation marks because the content pool is feeling a little thin. No one wants to dance to Imagine Dragons’ Ralph Breaks the Internet song. Also, this dance is making me uncomfortable. Vanellope is a child.
I’ve never really watched Dancing With the Stars before this, but I think I’m correct in assuming there’s, like, dancing involved. And sometimes stars do it. Apparently, someone from the Harry Potter movies is on the show this season, but I didn’t see her. Harry Potter isn’t a Disney property, so maybe they refused to let her on the stage or something.
What else was there? Football player DeMarcus Mare played Hercules and it made sense because he could pick someone up. Gymnast Mary Lou Retton was Mulan because why not make us uncomfortable by having a white woman play an Asian character on stage. Oh, and there was a Tangled dance to “When Will My Life Begin,” where Rapunzel and Flynn Rider bond over one of those wine painting classes. Oh hey, there’s that girl from Harry Potter. Expellipaintbrush!
That’s not even getting into the Disney routines for spin-off show Dancing With the Stars Junior, which I won’t make fun of because they’re kids and life will choose whether to make fun of them later for this. Though I do want you to enjoy this shot of two slowly dying children haunting your nightmares for years to come.
But really, the crowning achievement—really, what we’re all here for—is Disney Channel’s Zombies actor Milo Manheim and Witney Carson attempting to do a quickstep to The Incredibles. Everything about it fails. Spectacularly. The awkward zipline arrival, the even-awkwarder dance fighting, the random children that show up near the end to do nothing except exist. I can’t look away from that damn YouTube clip, even though everything is telling me to.
Though, let’s be honest, it can never hold a handle to the true Disney Star that America will be Dancing With for the rest of time: Pinocchio. This dance from a previous season of Dancing With The Stars, starring The Bachelor’s Nick Viall, will never not exist. And I can’t tell you how much that means to me.
Folks, I might be a Dancing With the Stars fan now. It’s stupid and I know it, but dammit I don’t care. It’s a car crash of happy-faced human suffering that I can’t look away from. Beautiful in its misery, safe in its cocoon of fancy free. I’ve got no strings to hold me down. I’ve got no dignity on me.