There are so few shows you can watch with your kids that are deemed “appropriate for all ages.” Dance Moms is supposed to be one, and in theory it is. In practice it’s not.
While there is nothing technically inappropriate about the hit reality show, I still can’t help feeling slightly uncomfortable with the mom-fighting, bullying, and children being put in giant hamster bubbles… and yet, this is the wonderful world of Dance Moms. I still can’t help but wonder if I’m a bad mom for watching it with my girls week after week.
SPOILERS: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SEASON 6 PREMIERE
Note: This episode is pre-Abby bankruptcy fraud charges.
The ALDC is back in Los Angeles and is coming off a MAJOR loss at nationals versus Jeanette’s team. After the girls (sans Maddie, who is filming a movie), hover board into the ALDC studio, they immediately get yelled at by Abby for losing nationals. She tells them that there will be no more outside activities (i.e.; auditions, other gigs), and that they need to focus on dancing. This does not go over well with the other moms, who ask why it’s okay for Maddie to be off filming a movie. Abby makes up some excuse that confuses the moms, while continuing to keep Maddie on the top of the pyramid. A new girl, Brynn, joins the cast, who Abby claims could be Maddie’s replacement. I ask my girls what they think of Brynn and without blinking they say, “I don’t like her.” Why? “Because she barged in and her mom is annoying.” Eek!
This week the ALDC is competing in another dance competition going head to head with Jeanette’s team… again. Brynn gets the solo and Jill freaks out and embarrasses her daughter Kendall (my daughters are just as annoyed!). Abby calls Kendall a “hot mess” and they quit 18 minutes into the show.
The ALDC group dance is called “Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” Jojo is in the bubble while the girls dance around her. At one point they can’t get Jojo out of the bubble and they cut to commercial before we can find out if she survives. My kids obsess for the next four minutes over the possibility that Jojo could be dead. Commercial is over, they get Jojo out of bubble. Whew.
Twenty minutes into the show, Jill and Kendall are back, but not without a lecture from Abby blaming Kendall’s mom for everything.
Brynn’s mom, Ashlee, finds out that Brynn is going up against Jeannette’s boy dancer, Gavin, in her solo. Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom) says that he will probably get “penis points” with the judges. This leads to another cringe worthy moment with my daughters. My girls think Gavin will beat Brynn. Why? They say, “I don’t like Brynn and I don’t like her mom. She called Maddie’s mom a coward and she’s the coward!” We also find out that Jeanette’s team is going to do the same dance that Abby’s team did in nationals, but they will show Abby’s team how to do it better!
The competition is underway. Gavin performs. My daughter says, “Even though I love the ALDC, I want Gavin to win, because I don’t like Brynn.” Uh oh.
Abby and Jeanette’s teams perform, but not without some drama that almost gets Jeanette’s team disqualified — almost. I ask my girls who they think will win and they say, “I don’t like Brynn. I just want Maddie back.” It’s almost all too much. In the end Brynn and Abby’s team win! The episode ends with a foreshadowing from a tearful Abby: “I feel like I am in shackles.” It comes out of nowhere. (Miller could face up to five years in prison for the fraud charges filed in October; she plead not guilty in November.)
In the end, my girls couldn’t stop obsessing over the new girl Brynn and her mom. They want Maddie back! They want Kendall to get a solo! They want her mom to be respectful to all the other moms! Maybe this show teaches loyalty? Am I reaching? I hope not, because in the end, the three of us still really want to keep watching.