This week’s episode was simple. The lessons for my girls, not so much.
1.) The moms / “the world” learn of Abby’s criminal charges.
2.) Abby yells at Mackenzie. A lot.
We begin in blissful ignorance with Abby acting “erratic” — i.e. walking around screaming for someone to get her a teasing brush for her hair and staring at herself in the mirror commenting on how she has no eyebrows — rather than teaching the dancers. Hmmm. “Something must be wrong. L.A. brings out the crazy in Abby,” comments one of the moms.
Then we find out through the moms, who play a morning show news clip, that Abby has been charged with 20 counts of fraud and could face up to five years in prison. The moms are a little concerned about what this means for Abby, and A LOT concerned about what this means for themselves and their daughters.
At this point of the show (which is five minutes in) I have to explain to my daughters what terms like “counts” and “bankruptcy fraud” mean. “What did Abby do that was bad? Why would she do that? Why wouldn’t she choose just to pay a fine, rather than go to jail? Is she in jail now? Could you go to jail mom?” All great questions, but not in the middle of Dance Moms. I can’t Google bankruptcy fraud and and poorly summarize the justice system to 8-year-olds right now. The frightening thing is, the moms think Abby is guilty, but they don’t want her to go to jail because it wouldn’t be fair to Maddie, Mackenzie, Kendall, Jojo, Kalani, and Nia — or the taxpayers. Oh wait, no, it would be fair to the taxpayers.
For the rest of the episode Abby walks around as if nothing is wrong. She won’t acknowledge any of the charges brought against her and ignores the moms when they bring it up (good tactic). Instead she takes all the anxiety one harbors when facing 20 counts of bankruptcy fraud, and takes it out on Mackenzie (who has one of the solos this week). “You’re not good enough!”; “You’re lazy!”; “You have bad feet and ankles!”; “Work harder!”; “You are no Maddie!” and finally driving the kid to tears by calling her a “smart ass.”
At this point, Mackenzie’s mom Melissa decides it’s a good time to step in and defend her daughter (something she has never done in the past). At which point, I decide to pause the show and ask my girls if, after watching this horrible abuse, would they still want to be on Abby’s dance team. Both say yes. Both say they would be afraid of her. Both also say that if I was on the show, I would be afraid of Abby and I wouldn’t defend them. What? Is this how they see me Did it take an episode of Dance Moms for me to find out they think I’m a maternal failure?
I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the episode. None of the girls win the solo and they don’t win the group competition and Abby gives a warning to the moms that they may wind up in jail, just like her … blah, blah, big deal, I had other things on my mind.
I just found out my girls would take the abuse of Abby in order to be on her dance team! And they believe that I (me!) would allow said abuse to happen! Is this a personal commentary or is that just what they think all moms would do, because well, that’s Abby and moms? Right now I’m so confused. The meaning of life is right here in Dance Moms and I can’t figure it out! I must keep going. I need to prove to my daughters that I would protect them, by continuing to watch.