Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes displayed her typical snark in reviewing Bristol Palin's "journey" on ABC's Dancing with the Stars this fall. The Post writer even sounded a little overwrought in asserting that Sarah Palin's appearances were causing death wishes in the audience, or as de Moraes put it "death where is thy sting-ish comments." (The writer seems to be mangling the Scriptures. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 55, the boast "Death, where is thy sting?" refers to the victorious resurrection of Christ, not to a death wish.)
This is not the first time politics has insinuated itself into the show like a snake into the Garden of Eden...But this is the first time the show has featured the daughter of a presumed presidential candidate -- seen wearing a Tea Party T-shirt on the show during rehearsal last week that clearly read: "Party Like It's 1773 with Rainy Day Patriots" -- the same week producers pixilated whatever was going on on the front of Kyle Massey's T-shirt. It's also the first time a presumed presidential candidate has been seen in the audience many weeks rooting for her daughter, in taped sequences at home, being interviewed by show host Tom Bergeron, watching her daughter rehearse, congratulating the show on reaching its 200th episode, etc., eliciting death where is thy sting-ish comments from ardent fans of the escapist fare.
"I will never be watching Dancing with the Stars again...Are people afraid to get rid of Bristol?," ranted an exasperated fan on a "Dancing" chat room.
"I have enjoyed the show and the judging since the program's inception. If this [voting for Bristol] continues next week...I will be finished watching and many folks I know agree," wrote in yet another.
These comments sound disgusted that the voting seems stacked for Bristol, but neither seems to hate Sarah (or Bristol) to death. (Okay, maybe they want Bristol to lose, but that's not death.) The story continued with ABC's defense:
"Dancing" exec producer Green disputes the idea the Palins have gotten special treatment on the show. He notes that the season in which Kelly Osbourne -- another young woman famous for her parents -- danced on the reality show, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were often seen in the audience, Sharon was interviewed by Bergeron, and the Osbourne parents also were shown at home.
Green says that so far as he is concerned, a celebrity is a celebrity, and his only concern is about their ability to draw viewers to the show.
Anyway, he added, he would love to have a Democratic political figure compete on the show, "but Bill Clinton turned us down very politely...I think [the casting director] got as far as 'Dancing With.' He would be my ultimate booking on the show."
Watching Bill Clinton leer weeklyl at dancers in their skimpy, glittery costumes would be a ratings-drawing spectacle, but that's exactly why it won't happen.