I am not above "Dance Moms" -- Season 1 was a surprise hit, and the beginning of Season 2 made for some of the best candid reality TV viewing in recent history. The second half of the season, however, definitely lost some of the magic. Everything good and bad with the current state of "Dance Moms" was seen in last night's finale, "Nationals 90210," which says two things: (1) There's still so much potential in this Lifetime series, and (2) The current storylines have peaked and it's time for a change. If Abby and the gang don't straighten some factors up by next season, we doubt we'll make it through much more of her drama ... after all, ahhhveryone's replaceable.
Oh my gosh, we get it: Maddie is the superstar and every mom hates Melissa and Abby for it. It's not like their frustration is unfounded, but I am so sick of watching the moms rehash the same stupid fight about Abby not loving their kids as much as she loves Maddie -- and I'm sick of Abby's blatant partiality. Just because the other girls aren't as freakishly talented as Maddie (though Chloe is getting better every day) doesn't mean Abby shouldn't play to their talents and give them attention, too -- last night, for example, Brooke and Mackenzie were fantastic, and we've definitely seen great work from Nia and Kendall earlier this season as well. (Paige has been getting no love recently, but she also once had a top-notch solo, back in the day.) At this point, it's become more boring and predictable than infuriating, and if we have to watch everyone poorly argue this obvious fact one more time, we're changing channels.
Same ol' rivalries
I think we've finally exhausted all of the feuding the current ALDC women could possibly have. It's been a long season of veteran mom vs. veteran mom, veteran mom vs. new mom, everyone vs. Abby, and Abby vs. Cathy -- and that doesn't even cover the same Chloe/Maddie rivalry the producers have created for us. Can we please get some fresh blood in here? I don't mean a new mom either, as we saw that this season with Nicaya and her mom and their short-lived time on the show. The energy needs to be taken from Abby and the O.G. moms and put into, say, a rival dance company that doesn't involve Cathy. Much as I love her crazy ways, her time in the "Nationals 90210" was too over-the-top and vicious to the degree of not being fun anymore. Given that so many people seem to have it out for Abby, maybe we can meet those studios -- it allows for all new kinds of characters and will prevent too many recycled storylines about who hates who this week.
The worst moments of "Dance Moms" (aside from when Abby is making children cry) are when storylines are obviously manufactured. Christi, Holly, Melissa, Kelly, Jill, and especially Cathy cannot act for their lives -- and given that Abby will never take responsibility for anything ever, sometimes episodes just turn into forced arguments between the adults. Even the kids are so used to being on TV that their THs have gotten stale. If there's nothing to fight about each episode, that's fine. The dancing is honestly usually good enough to keep our attention.
Even though the side projects are usually short-lived and low-stakes, I actually really enjoy when the individual girls venture out and do something other than train for a weekly competition ... I don't even mind when a whole episode is based around a plug for another Lifetime show. (I mean, who could possibly get mad at "Drop Dead Diva"?) It was so nice to see Paige get some time to shine in the finale with her photo shoot, and I would love to see more of that next season instead of the same shtick every week. Also, to say I'm excited that we're getting a "Dance Moms" reunion special is the understatement of the year. Small tweaks and little additions like that go a long way.
At the end of the day, "Dance Moms" is nothing without Abby Lee Miller (as we've learned from "Dance Moms: Miami"), and our girl needs a personality makeover. Her attitude about something, anything whatsoever, needs to change, because she's not fun when she's predictable and ceaselessly cruel. Can the editing monkeys show us more of the nice moments where she's cheering on girls other than Maddie? While we're on the subject, we would seriously love to see some of Abby's personal life outside of the ALDC -- maybe a glimpse into her personal life will make us feel so bad for her that we start enjoying her in-studio power trips a bit more.
More from Television Without Pity:
- Fall TV preview: returning favorites
Fall TV preview: best & worst new shows
'Teen Mom': what we'll miss about the cast
- Arts & Entertainment
- Dance Moms