Guilty Pleasures: ''Dancing With the Stars''
ABC Thursdays, 8-9:30 p.m. ET; Fridays, 8-8:30 p.m.
Guilty Pleasures: ”Dancing With the Stars”
During the first season of Dancing With the Stars, I kept wanting to wake up my 5-year-old daughter to tell her, ”This is what TV was like when Daddy was little!” Back in those fun-for-the-whole-family, variety-show-dominated days, sparkly clothes were considered glamorous, any British accent was classy, and Italian men were dashingly Continental. Sixties TV removed all sharp edges: If a host had a personality, he kept it to himself, and pop hits were heard only in bland (and royalty-saving) cover versions. Before the invention of the term B-list, you either were a star or you weren’t; somehow, people like Bert Convy, Rocky Graziano, and Connie Stevens — the rough equivalent of Stars‘ stars — made the cut. (Do today’s parents have to explain to their kids why Joey McIntyre or Kelly Monaco, pictured, is famous?) And in the pre-porn era, the sexiest thing a 10-year-old was ever likely to see was a girl doing high kicks in a short dress that seemed about to fall off. (Live TV didn’t come back until 1975, so you knew that you never would actually see anything if the dress did fall off, but you still hoped.) DWTS‘s re-creation of vintage TV is so perfect that when they cut to commercials, I keep expecting to see the Marlboro Man galloping through the West, or Josephine the Plumber removing stubborn sink stains with Comet. — Tom Conroy