Imagine if television broadcast nothing but top quality shows. Explosive action, emotive drama, cutting comedy. Hour after hour after hour. Nothing but the best. For you. For me. For everyone. Just take a second to process that thought. Your only trouble would be finding the time to watch everything, because everything is must-see TV. You couldn’t get a DVR with a big enough hard-drive!
There is literally nothing on that doesn’t appeal to you. Every one of the hundreds of channels is packed with incredible shows. Your every televisual whim is catered for. Imagine what great cultural taste we’d have as a race. Imagine what we’d learn, see and enjoy. TV Heaven on Earth.
Crucially, there is one problem with this theory – what would the stupid watch? They need something. We can’t just lock them away and allow their genes to wither and die because apparently that’s ‘wrong’. That’s why for every – The Sopranos, for every The Wire and for every Mad Men there is unfortunately – Pants Off Dance Off.
There are many things in the world I have not seen – Twilight, 2 Girls 1 Cup, the Execution of Saddam Hussein are but a few examples. Then there are things in the world I wish I had not seen. Pants Off Dance Off is one of those things. Have you seen this shit? Have you actually seen this shit? There’s a good chance you haven’t. Please keep it that way.
Essentially the show is nothing but ‘ordinary’ members of the public, prancing around whilst pseudo-strategically removing items of clothing. The backdrop to this miserable expression of individuality is a music video presumably chosen by the foreground to convey his/her cultural tastes. These spectacularly simple citizens are known as Pancers, thrash around like epileptic fish in a desert, struggling awkwardly to rid themselves of their fabric chastity suits. All in the name of entertainment. All to entertain you.
The dancing is interspersed with vox pops of the Pancers discussing aspects of their lives and personality. Their favourite song. Their favourite underwear combination. Their favourite method of brain cell obliteration. I couldn’t really pay attention because the show had warped my whole reality until all I could hear was an intense high-frequency hiss.
In case you find the concept of of a simple striptease stale, the producers kindly issue each Pancer with a mystery object. The object is presumably to help add another flavour to the routine. It was a resounding success. A particularly potent flavour of disdain for all Earth-dwellers struck me as I watched Insufferable Whore #6 dance around a chair and Generic Twat #3 piss around in a pink wig.
Despite this venomous nonsense being twisted and presented as colourful fun, it’s not the sickening levels of exploitation of the worlds waste matter that disturbed me the most. What almost inspired me to dig out my own eyes with a blunt pencil and hurling them at the TV in disgust, before hacking off my ears and feeding them to an imaginary dragon, was the narration.
The voiceover is painfully unfunny. It’s possible the least funny thing in the history of history. More humour could be derived from a global takeover by a Megazord conglomerate comprising of Dr. Josef Mengele, Josef Fritzl, Joseph Stalin, Osama bin Josef and Mojo Jojo who brutally raped, tortured and finally murdered everyone alive. Then again, being raped by Mojo Jojo is funnier than most things.
The US version of the show previously involved audience participation. Viewers could text in and vote for their preferred winner. For the third series this was discontinued in favour of favour of a judging panel who chose a weekly winner. The winner of each episode received $200 and the chance to compete [I use that word extremely loosely] in a championship at the end of the season. That’s right, a championship. I suspect this show is the reason Queen penned that song.
Viewers can also vote online for their funniest, most disturbing and best dancers. This at least gives the impression that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. But I know crack dealers that don’t take themselves too seriously. They still deal crack. That’s what Pants Off Dance Off delivers – crack. Crack without the high. Crack that leaves you alone in a grimy, foreign toilet cubical, sat on a bed of broken syringes, your knees tucked into your body as you rock back and forth in a puddle of your own discharge, foaming at the mouth wishing the bad people would go away.
Still, it’s something. The US version of the show offers something. A tiny portion of interactivity and a cash prize. What do we offer in the UK? Nothing. I’m not exaggerating. Nothing. No winners. No prizes. No interactivity. It’s not a competition. It’s a nightmare. Mentally damaged plankton flailing around in the dank depths of anonymous obscurity to the sounds of a dystopian future. It’s like Total Recall meets Babestation.
Given that the show is essentially one long striptease, there’s a chance of seeing a tit or three. Which renders the must watchable right? Wrong. It renders the show several rungs below badly produced soft porn. Somewhere between neurotoxic poison and shameless exploitation. It’s about as much fun as having uranium tonsils.
Pants Off Dance Off is an abomination. Mankind, what the fuck are you playing at? Never in all my years of TV have I seen something so lacking in substance. I wouldn’t subject this to a coma patient. I wouldn’t feed it to my dog. I wouldn’t piss on it if it were on fire. Who is the primary demographic for this shit? Is it you? Then you should do the world a favour and dance your pants off. Then use them to hang yourself.
I often talk about shows in this callous and pretentious manner. Yet most of them can be defended as trashy, but altogether harmless fun. But this has no place in a sane world. Though perhaps we can salvage something from this televisual disturbance. It could be utilised by the government as a national screening process. Anyone who wilfully watches or participates in any way should be sectioned and subjected to the Ludovico technique.
Article first published as Death by Pants Off Dance Off on Technorati.