Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin, “The West Wing”, 1.08, “Enemies”

Haven’t done one of these in a while. Be warned, I have a terrible head cold right now. I don’t know how much sense I’m going to make. But watching “The West Wing” is a great sick-day activity, so y’all are along for the ride.

To remind you, I am using these posts to a) recap a much-beloved (by me and in general) TV show, and b) point out the misogyny in it. Because I like to combine my two favorite activities – watching TV I love, and hate-watching! Here’s what we’re looking for:

  1. Physical comedy is used to undercut a female character’s competence.
  2. A female character’s sexual appeal or sexual/romantic relationship with a male character is primary.
  3. A female character displays “feistiness”. “Feistiness” is a frequent shorthand in liberal misogyny for “See? She’s strong and independent and we find that adorable! What’s the problem?”
  4. Femininity or feminine concerns are disparaged, by male or female characters.
  5. Any character is rude to his/her female subordinate with no consequences.
  6. A male character is lauded and glorified in an unlikely way by a female character or characters.
  7. A female character screws up at her job.
  8. Anger (or other emotions/behaviors) coming from a female character is unreasonable or mysterious, either to the audience or to another character.
  9. A female character plays the Exposition Fairy. Note: Having Exposition Fairies is not in and of itself a problem. It’s necessary in most fiction. But in The West Wing, the Fairy is almost always a female character, and is almost always asking a male character for explanation, and would almost always certainly know the information she’s asking for, so that the fact that she’s asking indicates that she’s not that good at her job.
  10. An episode goes by that does not pass the Bechdel test.
  11. Lip service is paid to female power or agency or simply the existence of females in this world without, oh, say, actually casting one or giving one something cool to do.
  12. A male character or characters act(s) as white knight to a female character or characters.


!. When we see evidence that Toby & C.J. are doin’ it. Not misogynist, just entertaining to me personally.

Last time on “The West Wing”: the Veep was rude to C.J., Leo told him not to be because she represents the office of the president, and Hoynes did not feel that the office of the president got to tell him shit; we learn that Leo’s daughter is protesting too much about her thing for Sam and Danny is being full-on aggressive about his thing for C.J. (which, in case you’ve forgotten, is bad because Danny is a reporter and C.J. is press secretary and those two things do not go together); and Leo’s wife, meanwhile, is so over him and has asked him for a divorce.

This time on “The West Wing,” the president is in the Oval office with Josh. They’re talking about Yellowstone National Park. Well, the president is talking. Josh is trying to leave. I really don’t know what’s wrong with these people. In Josh’s position, I would want NOTHING MORE than to listen to Jed Bartlett talk about national parks for hours. But Josh is not having fun. He’s being pretty obvious about it and also calls the president a nerd. Josh has some pretty secure feelings about his job, no?

Also, I did not know that the Everglades have an extensive mangrove forests. And I am interested. And I would totally look at the president’s slides of all fifty-four of the national parks, which he has because he’s visited all of them. Can this be a job? President-tender? For when the president is waxing nerdy and his staff is tired? I bet Obama waxes nerdy a lot.

I mean, the president wants to take the staff on a field trip to Shenandoah and to act as a guide! And Josh thinks this is a bad idea! I want to go to Shenandoah with Jed Bartlett as my guide!

Credits. Boy, I sure do feel patriotic and important.

Leo is having breakfast with his daughter Mallory at his I’m-about-to-be-divorced-but-I’m-still-crazy-rich hotel’s restaurant, where the coffee is $6.50 a cup. Mallory was going to pay for breakfast until she heard that. You guys, I’ve tried to pay for meals for my dad. It never works. My mom sometimes will allow me to get a bill, but that has been a struggle.

Leo is about to interrogate Mallory about her mother when a congressman stops by to congratulate Leo. Mallory correctly guesses that the congratulations is as regards “the banking bill”, which Leo claims will pass but has not yet, so I’m not sure that congratulations are in order.

Mallory wants Leo to just call Jenny (Mallory’s mother, Leo’s almost-ex-wife) if he wants to know how she’s doing. Conversation turns to opera tickets. It’s Leo and Jenny’s subscription night but neither of them wanted the tickets. Leo wants to pick a fight with Mallory and starts complaining that she hasn’t congratulated him on the banking bill – which has not yet passed – with a sufficiently impressed tone. But Mallory’s not having it, so Leo drops the hissy fit and instead gives her the tickets and asks her to walk him back to work.

Over at the White House, C.J. is marveling to Mrs. Landingham that Josh was talking to the president until 2 am about national parks. So I guess Mrs. Landingham couldn’t leave, either? And she didn’t even get to hear the president’s discussion of Yosemite. That’s not nice, Mr. President. It’s so not nice that I’m going to give it a 5.

Also, this is another one of those cases where I can’t tell if this passes the Bechdel test or not. I mean, on the one hand, two named women are talking. On the other hand, they’re talking about men – the president and Josh. On the other hand, the men are not romantically connected to them, so they’re really talking about work. I’ll reserve my judgement for the end of this post.

The president bursts out of the Oval, declaring with much hubris that the banking lobby has been defeated and that the banking bill will pass. But it hasn’t passed yet, Mr. President, so maybe tone it down? C.J. asks about the national parks conversation, which almost starts the president on a discussion of Yellowstone, but then Mrs. Landingham reminds him he has a phone call to gloat on. He reminds C.J. to talk up this bill (that has not passed yet).

Can you tell I’m not a counting-chickens-before-they’ve-hatched type of person? And also that I’ve watched TV before?

People mill about the Roosevelt Room (which I now recognize from the picture of Teddy Roosevelt in the background!!!) and pass folders about. The Veep enters and calls the meeting to order, saying that the president is running a bit behind. It’s a cabinet meeting, and the first in six months. The Veep starts with pleasantries about exchanging ideas and says that their first goals should be finding a way to work with Congress. Then the president walks in and starts glad-handing. He introduces himself to the woman taking minutes, Mildred, and gets her to repeat the thing about first goals so that he can harangue the veep about it. “You don’t think our first goal should be finding a way to best serve the American people?” He’s really quite a dick about the whole thing. Hey, I guess this gets a -5 because the president is being rude to a male subordinate. Although using Mildred in this way is kind of rude, too, so another 5 for you, Mr. President!

In Toby’s office, Toby and Sam agree that their latest speech is a little flat. They argue about whose writing is failing to hit the mark and then Josh comes in. Josh wants to know if they’ve heard anything about the banking bill. He is not as confident as the president was. Toby assures him that everything is fine and that he’s having lunch with Crane, who is presumably a congressperson involved in the bill? Josh leaves, not really reassured, and Toby, more invested in the writing, says to Sam, “Somewhere in this building is our talent.” Oh, Toby. Your talent is always with you.

Danny comes to C.J.’s doorway and C.J. wonders why her staff lets him waltz around. This is treated as a part of adorable banter, but, for real, though, why is the press secretary’s staff letting a reporter meander freely through the press secretary offices of the White House? I’m not sure what number I should put here so I’m going with 2 because the fact that Danny has a crush on C.J. is being placed above the logic of a press secretary’s security for storytelling purposes. And you can tell it’s for storytelling purposes because C.J. points out the illogic, and then they brush it aside. It’s a favorite writerly technique for dealing with an editor’s or fact-checker’s note without actually changing the scene you’ve written.

Anyway, Danny has heard that the president was rude to the veep at the cabinet meeting and also does C.J. want to have dinner. C.J. wants to know where he heard this. Danny wants to press his dinner invitation. He’s getting pretty effing close to a backing-away C.J. here. I’m going to give this another 2. Finally he goes away.

Hoynes is chatting with people I’m taking as reporters, since they’re all sticking their tape recorders in his face. Also, Danny is there. Sans tape recorder. They’re saying something about stocks and the internet. I’m not even sure it’s supposed to make sense.

Danny peels away from the herd with the veep and tries to get information out of him about the cabinet meeting, but the veep is not giving anything up.

C.J. asks Sam if he’s heard anything about the cabinet meeting and he has not. She peels away from him and he greets Mallory. Mallory takes the very long route towards asking him to go to the opera with her that night, but not as a date, because “there will be under no circumstances sex for you at the end of the evening.” Okay, then. I think a 3 is appropriate here. And, look, I married the guy I started hooking up with when I was eighteen. I don’t know how first dates work. But . . . don’t many of them include not having sex at the end and still count as dates? Is she implying that there will be no sex for Sam with her ever? If so, why does she want to go to the Chinese opera with him? Anyway, Sam thinks Chinese opera and no sex sounds like a great night. Mallory says she’ll come get him at 7:30.


C.J. and Sam both sit in front of Leo’s desk, silently, waiting. Neither of them will tell the other what they want to talk to Leo about. Leo comes in and asks what’s up. C.J. tells him that Danny has the info about the cabinet meeting. Leo tells her to deal with it. C.J. says, “You’re a real details man, aren’t you?”

C.J. leaves and Sam tells Leo about Mallory asking him out. Leo is displeased but tells Sam he’s fine. Sam leaves. Leo insists to the air that he’s fine.

The veep is holding forth with another group of people. This time none of them has a tape recorder, although there does seem to be someone with a camera. He’s talking about a rocket. Again, I’m not even sure this is supposed to make sense. A secretary pulls him away and brings him to C.J. C.J. tries to talk to the veep but nothing productive is revealed, other than, the veep is pissed and C.J. is concerned.

Toby comes back from lunch, still convinced the banking bill is in the bag, asking Sam to help him draft a statement. Josh comes by and insists that the banking bill is not, in fact, in the bag. Two people named Broderick and Eaton have attached a land-use rider to the banking bill. They want to strip-mine the Big Sky Federal Reserve, which is apparently most of Montana. Sam thinks that’s fine. Josh thinks it’s not fine, not so much because Montana matters, but because winning does. (By which I mean, having the full victory, unmarred by . . . compromise? Giving in to shitty political tactics?) The three of them head off to make an appointment with the president.

C.J.’s at her podium, talking to the press. A reporter is asking about the attachment of the land-use rider to the banking bill. C.J. is, of course, only hearing about this now. Because the boys of the president’s staff don’t tell her things. 5?C.J. handles it with her usual aplomb and charm.

She walks off the podium and asks Bonnie to find Toby for her. I kind of wish there was a web series or something in which Bonnie, Cathy, and all the other barely-seen assistants could have their own stories.

Danny approaches C.J. and notes that the land-use rider was a shock to her. C.J. points out that this is a restricted area but beyond the banter about the signs that are usually but not currently posted, indicating that this is a restricted area, she does nothing to stop him from pedeconferencing with her. C.J. is not pleased with him and Danny continues to ask her out. 2 to everything going on here. Bonnie tells her Toby is in his office and C.J. heads over there to surprise him.

Leo is reporting the land-use rider to the president. The president is surprised, not in the least because it was Eaton and Broderick, which was basically Josh, Sam, and Toby’s reaction. Toby, who is in the Oval Office, with Sam, Josh, and some other people, says it’s retaliatory. The president wants to know what it’s in retaliation for and Toby says it’s for winning. Oh, boy, 1999 Aaron Sorkin. Believe me when I tell you, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Sam suggests swallowing it and Josh says, “I knew you were going to say that,” which, like, what a genius you are, Josh. He told you he was going to say that two minutes ago. Sam doesn’t want to screw up their banking victory with an argument about a bunch of rocks that are uninhabitable eight months of the year, and Josh says Sam means they can live without the environmental lobby on their side. Josh wants to veto and so does Toby, basically because they are puny White House staffers and this is how they flex their muscles. Sam thinks Montana doesn’t have enough electoral votes to worry about pissing them off and Josh snarks that he knew the day would come when Sam would willingly sell of states for political purposes. Excuse me, but isn’t this, like, the exact opposite of Sam’s usual personality? Isn’t he the least likely member of the staff to ditch principle for politics? No? Okay, then.

Toby wants a few hours to speak to some people. Isn’t that Josh’s actual job? What is going on here?

The president dismisses everyone with a “What’s next?” and we’re taken via b-roll to a D.C. sunset. Leo’s reading on his couch when the president meanders in, having nothing to do because they had most of the night blocked for “that thing” and then it got cancelled. Jed clearly wants company and Leo gives it to him. They discuss Leo’s divorce and his daughter. Jed points out that Mallory does not really see what Leo’s job is. It must be weird to have these discussions about your personal life with someone you have to call “sir”. Anyway, Jed reminds him that he’s next door all night.

Josh is typing when Donna comes by with Mandy. Mandy wants to talk about the banking bill. She’s on Sam’s side. Josh reiterates that this is more about pride than anything else. Mandy is being very 3 and that seems to be the whole point here.

Charlie comes by to let Leo know that some cabinet undersecretary is having a birthday and needs a card/birthday letter tonight. This gives Leo An Idea. He tells Charlie to give it to Sam, which he does. Sam realizes he’s cutting it close to his date but goes to accomplish his task.

Mandy is talking to Toby who is not listening. He’s being pretty rude. 5. Also, Mandy is being 3. I feel sometimes I should just replace 3 with Mandy. Toby tells Mandy he has hatred in his heart. Mandy asks towards whom. Toby says, “You go ahead and pick ’em.” Have I mentioned how hard I ❤ Toby?

C.J. stops by. She was probably hoping he’d be alone. ! Mandy wants to do that silly thing where she tells C.J. to tell Toby things that Toby can perfectly well hear Mandy say to C.J., what with him sitting right there. Because she’s 3! C.J. tries very hard to play along but it’s hard to get past the fact that she does not care.

TMPTF – 10

C.J. follows Mandy out. I guess Toby saying he needed to work was C.J.’s cue that there would be no booty call that day. !

What, you guys? I’m sick, okay. I have to get my fun where I can. (Oh, my God, people, I mean I have a cold. Not that I’m a pervert whose fetish is shipping unrequited TV couples.)

C.J. asks Mandy about her trouble with Danny and Mandy suggests giving him a half-hour with the president. I don’t know why C.J. couldn’t figure this out herself, so 9. Mandy asks for C.J.’s help with the banking bill thing and C.J.’s like, sorry, the boys must be boys on this one. Mandy says they’re idiots. C.J.’s like, yeah, we know.

So does this pass the Bechdel test? Two named female characters talking about work, which just so happens to also be about men? I am still undecided.

The president is looking over Sam’s birthday message and asks him to do another draft. Because he’s in on Leo’s Idea.

Mallory comes by in a totally sex red dress. For someone who’s not on a date . . . I’m going with a 8 here, not for being dressed the way she is, but for saying earlier that this is not a date when it clearly is a date. Irrational women use irrationality to flirt, right? Say no when they mean yes and “Get lost” when they mean, “Take me, I’m yours”?

Anyway, she won’t be on a date in a minute. Sam invites her in to his office.

Danny is typing in the dark. C.J. comes by and says she’s having a hard time believing one of the cabinet secretaries was gossiping with him. He points out that the cabinet secretaries weren’t the only ones in the room. C.J. figures out it’s Mildred and Danny insists that Mildred not be fired because it would be “mean”. Right, big important cabinet secretaries can be expected to be discreet, but female administrative staff? Pfft. Don’t be mean.

C.J. makes the deal with Danny for the president, after he pushily flirts with her and threatens that he’ll write about it if Mildred gets fired.

Mallory is in Sam’s office questioning why Sam would have to do such a lowly task on the night of their date. For some reason she thinks Sam is chickening out. He insists she stay for half an hour while he finishes up.

Toby is in a library-looking room with a portrait of the other Roosevelt. Josh comes in and says he doesn’t think it was Broderick and Eaton; he thinks it was Crane, the dude Toby had lunch with. Toby has already come to that conclusion but apparently the hatred has fled his heart, leaving nothing but apathy. The hatred still burns hot in Josh’s heart, though.

C.J. goes to the Oval and tells the president about his upcoming sit-down with Danny. C.J. also tells the president it was probably Mildred who talked, not the Veep. The president is also in favor of dropping the subject. Because ladies can’t be expected to not talk to reporters, right? Right. 8

Sam is nerdishly (and I mean that as a compliment) finishing his draft of the birthday message. Mallory is exasperated. Sam says he doesn’t care that it’s just a birthday message; he was asked to do this by the president of the United States. Mallory connects the dots and asks Sam if he told Leo they were going out that night.

Leo’s dictating some things to Margaret when Mallory comes in to 3 at Leo. Leo admits readily that he made Sam do the birthday message to show Mallory what it’s like to be romantically involved with someone who works for the White House. Then the president comes in and reveals he’s in on the plan. Jed reads some of Leo’s schedule from that day, to demonstrate how difficult this job is. Mallory 3s at him.

Mallory assures Leo that she’s not blaming him and offers to go see the rest of the opera with her. He does not think Chinese opera is a good way to make anything up to him. And, on the one hand, they’re his tickets. But on the other hand, Jason and I have season tickets to the Marriott Lincolnshire’s theater and sometimes things are included that I’d rather not see. Like, I made him take Zoe to Cats this year. And last year there was some sort of Andrew Lloyd Webber review so we gave those tickets to his parents.

Mallory thinks they should ask Sam and Leo agrees, reluctantly. But, hahaha, Sam would rather stay and perfect the birthday message. Even after Mallory gets Leo to admit that this assignment was bullshit. Because Sam’s enormously nerdy. In a truly, truly lovable way.

Mallory also thinks this is lovable, saying Sam is so exactly like her father. Sam says that’s the nicest thing she’s ever said to him.

Some assistant knocks on the Oval Office door to announce the veep. They have a friendly handshake but that’s the only friendly thing that happens. Turns out, the president hates the veep because the veep made him “beg” him to be his vice-presidential candidate. Jed claims that it weakened him out of the gate, but I notice that he still got elected, so Jed is still being an asshole.

Mandy is hollering at Josh because Josh is still trying to deal with the banking bill. Mandy closes herself in Josh’s office and tells him he’s fighting the wrong fights for the wrong reasons. Josh looks stunned but doesn’t seem to change his mind. He yells at Donna for not having gotten some files he wanted and Donna says the computer system is antiquated. This gives Josh an Idea.

Now Toby is nerdishly trying to help Sam with the birthday message and I swoon a little. Josh comes in to announce that the president can use the Antiquities Act to make Big Sky a national park. OMG, it’s like the thing that the president was talking about in the beginning of the episode was important for the plot or something! It was Chekhov’s Pager all along and I didn’t know!

The president is now telling a very bored Charlie about national parks. I guess president-sitter is Charlie’s actual job.

Josh comes in to give the president his idea. The president loves it. He says to Josh, “You understand it’s a bunch of rocks, right?” Josh says, “I’m sure someone with your encyclopedic knowledge of the ridiculous and dork-like will be able to find a tree ora ferret that the public has a right to visit.” The president wags his finger and says, “More than a right, Josh. It’s a treat.” I truly, truly love this exchange more than I love many things in the world. I know that I must come across in these recaps as a hater of this show but seriously? This right here puts a smile on my face. This whole scene, really, the writing, the acting, the humor and the seriousness – it really means so much to Josh to deliver for the president, and the president knows and appreciates that – it’s just awesome. And I’m sure the lighting and set design and cinematography are good, too, and if I knew anything about that I’d appreciate it.

Josh follows the president out onto the thing I’ve been calling a portico even though I don’t know if that’s right to say, “We talk about enemies more than we used to.” Who’s the “we”, Josh? You are usually leading the discussions on enemies. Didn’t you tell some guy that’s what the president employs you to do?

That’s the episode. Only 16 misogyny points, which isn’t bad. I don’t think I’m going to give them the Bechdel test pass, after all. Not because this episode is light, but because, look, Toby and Sam talk about “work” in their first scene without talking about women. In fact, none of the men have discussions about women as they relate to work at any point in this episode. Male characters can do that on this show; female characters rarely can. Also, in both cases where two named female characters talk to each other about “work,” they’re really talking about the men’s personalities and preferences. Mrs. Landingham and C.J. are talking about the president’s love of talking about national parks, and C.J. and Mandy are talking about Toby and Josh’s stubbornness and pride. So no Bechdel test passing.

See you next time!

SYTYCD Season XI – Top Four Perform

Group Routine – Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

[“Wind Beneath My Wings” by RyanDan]

Zoe: It’s beautiful! Way too beautiful to see!

Jason: So wait, they’re, like, gay couples or something?

Zoe: The music is beautiful! (Then the percussion comes in.) Oh, no. Wait a minute. This is not too delicate. Maybe I don’t want to do it. Maybe I’ll just do the first part.

Erica: Zoe did fabulously. I’m sure Ricky, Zach, Valerie, and Jessie also did beautifully. But I was mainly watching Zoe.

Kate: I wish I were watching Zoe! This was a lovely routine. And SYTYCD supports all types of couples, Jason.

Erica: Actually . . . it hasn’t been much on display this season but Nigel’s usually pretty homophobic. Maybe he’s changed since Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s been judging. Although Adam Shankmann was around before. But JTF is a more delightful judging presence.


Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: This is Cat at her finest!

Erica: Yes. That is how I’m feeling about this ensemble. Just, Yes.

Kate: Lurrrve the hair and dress. This is what she should wear, like, every week.

Erica: I am still confused as to how a final decision is getting made. Unless it’s not getting made tonight? And actually next week is the finale? That’s probably the answer, isn’t it?

Kate: Yes, although they kept/keep referring to tonight as the “finale”, it’s really just the performance finale. I think results are next week.

Erica: Jesse Tyler Ferguson is judging tonight and he is my second favorite (behind Christina Applegate). So yay!

Kate: And I am doing this while performing my first-ever Fantasy Football draft. My multi-tasking abilities have increased tenfold since getting engaged to Ian (i.e., wedding planning while working).


Valerie & Ricky – African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

[“Voices of Savannah” by DJ Chus]

Erica: I really can’t tell the difference between “offensive cultural appropriation”/”this is what the adorable brown people do” and a genuine and faithful representation of a culture’s (or many cultures’) dance traditions when it comes to African Jazz on this show. Especially when Cat references Simba. So I will just shut up about that and say that Ricky looked amazing and Valerie looked good.

Kate: I actually didn’t love this as much as I wanted to, but it might have been the choreography. I don’t know it just seemed a little sloppy, even Ricky. Wah!

Erica: I don’t know what Nigel is on about with the quitting and the winning and the losing and whatnot. And Mary talking about survival. Like, they’re in a dance competition. Not the Hunger Games. Calm the eff down.


Jessica & Zack – Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

[“Hernando’s Hideaway” by Ella Fitzgerald]

Kate: Adorable!

Erica: Ol’ Spence loves his props, doesn’t he?

Zoe: I love that outfit! And the stage! Well, I meant the stage-y thing.

Kate: Me too, Zo. This is the type of Broadway routine I very much enjoy.

Erica: Jessica is really built for Broadway. What is her native style? Contemporary? I guess I’ll find out when she does her solo later.

Kate: Methinks it’s jazz, and I agree she is perfect at Broadway. I thought this was exquisite.

Erica: Zach was reasonably impressive, too.


Valerie & Zack – Contemporary, choreo by Tasty Oreo

[“Pearls” by Sade]

Erica: Oh, good it’s an “issues” piece. Because she’s blind, see? And Tasty Oreo is a totally sensitive and deep dude.

Kate: I think we could have gotten “blind” without her using an actual cane, but ok.

Erica: I will say, they did an amazing job with this piece. It’s not their fault that Tasty irritates the crap out of me.

Kate: Yes, good, but not quite finale-level.


Jessica & Ricky – Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

[“F For You” by Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige]

Kate: Ermmmmmm YES!

Erica: Have they danced together before? (Yes, Nigel says they were together in the Top Twenty.) It was funny that Jessica said being with Ricky is pushing her. That’s what they usually say about all-stars. I guess they all know who’s going to win.

Kate: Er I swear, that is exactly what ran through my head while watching this. I think this was only the second time they were together, which is a shame because they complimented each other so well. I loved this.

Erica: This was pretty much the best she’s ever been. She really did elevate to Ricky’s level. I mean, not quite to Ricky’s level. But she looked really good.

Kate: I think it was my favorite jazz routine on this show, ever?

Erica: Ray also irritates me, but I end up loving his routines, usually. I loved this. Also, I loved Jesse Tyler Ferguson calling them sprockets and noting — AS I HAVE — that Ricky makes his dancing look like the natural expression of his body.

Kate: Everything just flows seamlessly out of his fingertips and toetips.

Erica: I’m not covering Jason Mraz. No one is dancing.

Kate: But this is an awesome time to link to that awesome Jeanine and Jason routine to If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz!


Jessica & Valerie – Bollywood, choreo by Nakul Dev Mahajan

[“Ghagra” from the Yeh Jawaani Hal Deewani Soundtrack]

Erica: So, not to be completely shallow, but when Nakul said that this was a dance about two diva-ish Bollywood princess-y girls…I was expecting cooler outfits.

Kate: And I was expecting cooler moves. This didn’t do it for me.

Erica: I did not think they were very precise at all. Lots of energy and they had the right expressiveness and joy, but without the precision it didn’t look that great.

Kate: Yea, Valerie had a better Bollywood personality than Jessica in that it was a little more authentic than cheesy, but neither of them really got the whole Bollywood thang down, you know?


Zack & Ricky – Hip-hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

[“The Antidote” by District 78]

Kate: Ok so Ricky started off a TAD awkward and I was worried he wasn’t going to pull it off, but he stepped it up and did a great job.

Erica: I went into this thinking, ‘God, if there’s one genre Zach might be able to do better than Ricky, hip-hop is probably it.’ But I thought they both did pretty well in this. Although their height difference didn’t really help things.

Kate: Zack is better suited to it, but Ricky pulled it out. They were both great at the stunts and lifts.

Erica: Is it wrong that I want a playing card baseball shirt?

Kate: I don’t think so. I don’t know why I still don’t have a Dillon Panthers shirt.


Valerie & Season 10’s Aaron – Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

[“Love Me or Leave Me” by Sammy Davis, Jr.]

Erica: I know you’re super-excited to see this all-star again.

Kate: Ugh. Ian and I were both very upset to see his face again.

Erica: This was all pretty literal and corny. Which is not to say I didn’t like it.

Kate: No, they’re both very talented tappers, and they were pretty good together. But I like Valerie doing other things more, now.

Erica: I just feel like the song was pretty loud for a tap number. Aren’t we supposed to hear the taps?


Erica: So why are Mira Sorvino and that other pretty girl in the room? And why is Nigel randomly pointing them out, other than to remind us that he’s heterosexual?

Kate: I didn’t notice that???

Erica: There’s this advice columnist I really like, Captain Awkward, and she’s also a film teacher, and she talked about teaching class and informing the guys that the opinions of their boners are not important to the discussions in class. Like, when she’s showing the cinematography of, let’s say, Out of Sight, and the boys feel the need to open with, “Jennifer Lopez is hawt,” and she’s like, yeah, now that we know how your boner feels, let’s talk about the film. I feel like Nigel could use this lesson. We don’t need to know how your boner is doing, Nigel.

Kate: Ew, Nigel boner.

Erica: Sorry.


Ricky’s Solo

[“Skin & Bones” by David J. Roch]

Kate: BLERGH I love this songgggggggggggggggggg.

Erica: I got nothing.

Kate: I mean, he’s just perfect. That’s all there is to it.


Ricky & Season 6’s Kathryn – Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

[“Not About Angels” by Birdy]

Erica: Lighting?

Kate: I love this song too but when she says “Not about angels” I always imagine she’s saying “Naughty by nature”. He he.

Erica: Hee. I can barely see Ricky. And good lord, he’s maybe the only dancer that might make you want to look away from Kathryn. I mean, I get what they were going for. You know, she’s the light angel who brings him out of the darkness. But I can’t see him.

Kate: But it was a beautiful routine. They were made for each other.

Erica: Oh, Jesse Tyler Ferguson. You do, in fact, give away standing ovations. But it’s okay, I love your poetic stylings. (For those of you who read this but don’t watch the show (?), Jesse Tyler Ferguson started singing, to the tune of “Hey, Mickey”, “Hey, Ricky, you’re so great/If you were older, we could date.”)

Kate: To be fair, Jesse doesn’t give away standing ovations; Nigel and Mary do. Especially this season.

Erica: And then Nigel’s got to bring in suicide. Thanks, Nigel. We were all laughing and feeling good.

Kate: Yeah, that was too much. And he made Ricky cry, which made me very sad.


Valerie’s Solo

[“Valerie” by Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse]

Erica: I love this song.

Kate: Oh, I get it.

Erica: And it still took me hearing Cat say, “If you love Valerie,” to realize she picked the song because it’s her name. I swear, having children does so make you dumb.

Kate: I dislike tap solos, so. Yeah.


Zack & Season 10’s Aaron – Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

[“Piano Man” by Billy Joel]

Kate: Oh joy, we get Aaron for two routines.

Erica: Well, the good thing is, this song doesn’t already have a strong percussion. So the tap can function as tap is meant to.

Kate: I thought the SAME. THING. Finally, first time ever on this show, I heard the taps clearly. And they sounded ok. I think I liked Zack better than Aaron?

Erica: Damn, girl, it’s like we’re related or something. Yes, I did, too. I really like Zack tapping. I know you have an anti-tapping bias, which I do not share, but I agree – I like Valerie better when she’s doing other things. But I like Zack best when he’s tapping.

Kate: Yea. I liked this, but I don’t like that I liked it.

Erica: You know, Mary might be annoying, but wouldn’t you want her to be, like, your aunt or the lady who runs the coffee shop you go to on the regular or something? Have her be so supportive and enthused about you all the time?

Kate: Um I am a huge fan of Mary, voice and all. I love when she screeches and puts people on the Hot Tamale Train.


Jessica’s solo

[“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by Juliet Sims]

Erica: Ugh, I hate this song. No matter who’s singing it.

Kate: This is a horrible version of it.

Erica: Also, I guess you were right; this is more jazz than contemporary?

Kate: Yea, her main style is jazz. I’m fairly certain. This wasn’t as good as her other solos, or her partner routines on this episode. I just knew she was gonna do that little hat/hair-whipping trick.


Jessica & Season 6’s Robert – Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

[“When I Go” by Over the Rhine]

Kate: So I’m pretty sure I’m still in love with Robert. Yum.

Erica: My heart hurts.

Kate: This could be the best of the season, definitely top 3. Definitely Jessica’s best ever — if Ricky pushed her, Robert elevated her to an entire different realm of dancing.

Erica: This was too good. Travis, how could you do this to me? I feel wrecked. Can someone do a jive now or something?

Kate: That’s the Power of Robert Roldan. ❤

Erica: And Travis. I don’t know why, when the theme of a dance is “blindness” or “breast cancer” or “like, war, man,” I’m all sarcastic and irritated, but when it’s heartbreak, I turn into a sobbing baby. But I do.


Zack’s Solo

[“Superstition” by Adam Raherty]

Erica: And again, good tap song choice because it doesn’t have its own percussion.

Kate: I suppose.



Erica: Right, no results tonight. The votes from tonight and from last week will be totalled to get the winner. Right? Right. I think I get it now.

Kate: Right. And I voted! For Ricky! Everyone else, do the same.

Erica: I’ve never voted.


Emmys 2014

We’re organizing by TV show, then alphabetically. Well, by “we” I mean Kate, because she’s cool like that.



Lena Headey

Lena Headey emmys 2014


Kate: She is so gorgeous but she always looks so BAD at award shows! Just, like, too masculine and bulky/boxy.

Erica: See, normally, I’d agree with you, but I kind of like this. It’s not perfect, but it’s a little more fun/glam than she normally wears. Also I totally dig her facial expressions.

Kate: And I feel like she always wears black. That’s, like, ok for ME to do, but she should change it up a little.

Erica: I get the feeling that her investment in fashion is pretty nil.


Natalie Dormer

natalie dormer emmys 2014

Kate: Is this the chick who married Joffrey?

Erica: Indeed.

Kate: I like this dress, it’s kinda hot. Halloween colors are my thang.

Erica: Halloween colors are not at all my thang. But, other than my hating the color, it’s a nice dress. It seems the right amount of fancy for the Emmys.

Kate: Hair is a little too big, though.

Erica: I prefer her as a brunette.


Rose Leslie

rose leslie emmys 2014

Kate: RIP Jon Snow’s slam piece.

Erica: Kate! Such language!

Kate: This is a pretty color on her skin/with her hair, but it’s ill-fitting. Especially on top. Great makeup, though.

Erica: Royal blue on pale redheads is EXACTLY my thang. I don’t know about ill-fitting — I missed any and all telecasts and am just looking at pics online — but the placement of the waist-belt-jewel thing could use some rethinking.


Sibel Kekilli

emmys 2014 sibel kekilli

Erica: That is quite a name. I didn’t know the actress’s name before. What is her nationality? Do we know?

Kate: We do not. She basically looks exactly like her character, which I’m not sure I like. It’s a great color but the whole look is overall quite plain.

Erica: This whole thing looks like, “Oh, shit, the Emmys are tonight?! Okay, well…I’ve got this schmatta. Put a belt on it and it’s a formal dress, right? Oh, we’re leaving now?! Okay, let me just throw my hair up.” Also this pic of her and Tyrion hanging like she didn’t UTTERLY BETRAY HIM and also SLEEP WITH HIS FATHER is weirding me out, yo.

sebil kekilli and tyrion lannister emmys 2014




Allison Williams

allison williams emmys 2014

Kate: She continues to be too skinny, right?

Erica: Yeah. Her arms, man. I mean, maybe that’s just her body and we should stop being snide, but the entertainment industry being what it is, I doubt that she’s not feeling some pressure.

Kate: Very pretty dress, though, very couture. Actually, very Audrey. I just wish she would wear that gorgeous hair down.

Erica: I am so digging the dress. It is, it’s modern Audrey.

Kate: What’s funny is, she and Zooey Deschanel presented together and looked like they were wearing each other’s dresses.


Lena Dunham

emmys 2014 Lena Dunham

Kate: This just isn’t even funny.

Erica: Wait a second, there’s a specific reference being made here, right? Like…Gwen Stefani circa 2000? I don’t know. I’m feeling some kind of deja vu.

Kate: It could be a nod to Gwen’s wedding dress, but my eyes are deeply insulted by having seen this entire thing.

Erica: I don’t mean to be mean, but the thing is, Lena Dunham is not very attractive. I mean, not by entertainment industry standards. And even by regular people standards, she’s okay looking but not gorgeous. So when you look like Lena Dunham and you work in an environment like this one, I can definitely understand the impulse to be like, “Fuck it,” at awards shows, you know?

Kate: No, I don’t know. I don’t understand the concept of purposely looking bad. Or making that face in pictures.




Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks emmys 2014

Erica: Meh.

Kate: She has lost too much weight. She was gorgeous before, and the result of the weight loss has made this whole thing look unkempt.

Erica: Is it weight loss, though? She doesn’t look remarkably skinnier to me. I think it’s that the dress is kind of cheap and sh!tty-looking. Like an even cheaper version of Sofia Vergara’s usual style. Also, what’s happening with her hairline?

Kate: I do think she lost weight, but there are other factors here. Agree on the hairline.


January Jones

January Jones emmys 2014

Kate: Hate it.

Erica: Don’t…Mind it? I don’t know, it’s not my thing, but for her, with her usual whack-a-doo-ness, it’s fine.

Kate: I thought it looked O-KAY on the pre-show, but it looks terrible in pictures. Hate the bangs, hate the cut of the dress, hate the shoes. Damn you, Betty. Damn you.

Erica: The bangs are truly horrific.




Julie Bowen

julie bowen emmys 2014

Erica: I’m not commenting on her because I know she’s just f*cking with me.


Erica: I mean, it’s better than usual, but it’s a trick. It’s to lull me into a sense of complacency, a sense of, “Oh, look, maybe Julie Bowen got a new stylist and she’s not going to walk around looking like a crazy person at awards shows anymore!” But then the SAGs or the Golden Globes will happen and BOOM! Back to crazytown. I’m not falling for it. Julie. NOT. FALLING. FOR. IT.

Kate: Fun pattern and overall style, including the shorter hair and nice makeup, but TURTLENECK.


Sarah Hyland

Sarah Hyland emmys 2014

Erica: On the one hand, THE ‘90S ARE BACK, BABY! YEAH! On the other hand, I hated the midriff-baring-top-with-poofy-skirt the first time around.

Kate: Um, this is cute? It’s kind of what Kerry Washington wore that one time? (Can’t find picture)

Erica: And also what Bianca wore to the prom in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Kate: I generally feel that she dresses too old.


Sofia Vergara

sofia vergara emmys 2014

Kate: Brace yourself…

Erica: Bracing…

Kate: Are you ready for this? I don’t think you’re ready for this.

Erica: I’m trying to be…

Kate: …I like Sofia Vergara’s dress.

Erica: *Gasp*

Kate: On the right person I like that very structured strapless top look, and Sofia is the right person. And I like that she played on the bright white trend with a little silver. I don’t, however, like her hair lighter.

Erica: It does look much nicer than previous gowns. Still totally a “her” dress but not so boring or cheap-looking.




Danielle Brooks

danielle brooks emmys 2014

Kate: Taystee!

Erica: I do adore her.

Kate: I love the character and the show so so much, but this dress does not look good on her. I won’t rip it apart out of respect for Taystee, but it’s pretty bad.

Erica: Really? I’m not having much of a problem with it. I’m not loving that puckering at the hip but overall it’s not bad. And I love white on a very dark-skinned person, and her hair is cute and spunky.


Dascha Polanco

dascha polanco emmys 2014

Kate: Oh my good gracious, that is so ill-fitting on top I cannot even.

Erica: Yeah. You must accommodate the boobs.

Kate: Also, horrible makeup. Lovely hair and dress silhouette/color, but I cannot get past that top. Oh my gosh.

Erica: Lovely hair.


Kate Mulgrew

kate mulgrew emmys 2014

Kate: I share a name with Red in real life! I’m honored.

Erica: As well you should be.

Kate: So I don’t mind this at all for an older woman red carpet look. It’s not amazing, but it’s Red. Yayyyy Red.

Erica: Royal blue on a pale redhead. Lovin’ it.


Laura Prepon

laura prepon emmys 2014

Kate: Oh no.

Erica: Attack of the peplum!

Kate: Oh no no no no no, no.

Erica: Seriously, though. That peplum decided it would not be confined, as so many peplums had been before. It wanted to run freeeeeeee!

Kate: She is so pretty on the show — except, you know, no prisoner has perfectly flippy/wavy hair like that — but this is just the absolute worst!

Erica: Hey, maybe Alex and Sophia are really tight and Sophia does her hair every day. You don’t know.


Laverne Cox

laverne cox emmys 2014

Kate: Um, is this a transvestite in real life, too? Or this is actually a woman?

Erica: Dude, learn to be a little more progressive. As far as I know, Laverne Cox is transgendered (not a transvestite), which does not mean she’s not ACTUALLY a woman. She is ACTUALLY a woman; she just wasn’t born with a woman’s body. (And I just learned that she has a twin brother, who played pre-transition Sophia on the show. Which I had actually been wondering about, and now I know. Yay, Internet!)

Kate: Well, man or woman, this doesn’t work for me. It’s too bright a white and looks cheaply made.

Erica: Yeah, I can’t disagree with you there. She can do better.


Natasha Lyonne

natasha lyonne emmys 2014

Kate: So this is nice, but I don’t like the length at all. I really like the lace, I just wish it were cocktail or floor length and flowy-er, as opposed to that awkward length that looks good on, um, no one.

Erica: I feel like she and I should be friends.

Kate: Good color, though. Also, I want nothing more than to put her OITNB character’s hair in a sloppy bun.

Erica: The length and the structure of the frill at the bottom are not terrific. And are those black shoes with a navy dress? See, we should be friends; I could help her.


Samira Wiley

samira wiley emmys 2014

Erica: Poussey! I love Poussey, too.

Kate: She is a striking individual, and I think this dress looks great on her. It’s not my favorite shade of yellow, but she pulls it off with simple makeup, minimal jewelry and toned-@ss arms.

Erica: Yes, Hollywood actresses, take note. Samira Wiley can pull off bright yellow. Most of the rest of you cannot.


Selenis Levya

selinis levya emmys 2014

Kate: Mendoza!

Erica: Holy sh!t, I didn’t even recognize her.

Kate: Excuse me but I think she looks great. She’s giving us Rita Moreno as Anita with those ruffles and that sass pose, and I am a big fan.

Erica: She does look pretty good.


Taryn Manning

taryn manning

Erica: It’s not so much the dress I dislike. It looks a lot like something Kristin Chenoweth wore and I liked it on her and they have similar body types. By which I mean they are both teensy-tiny. But…How does she look like a meth-head even when she’s not on the show?

Kate: No, it looks like something chewed up and spit out Kristin Chenoweth’s dress onto Taryn Manning, who absolutely looks like her meth-head character here. Very disappointing.

Erica: She is always cast as the white trash girl. (Sorry, I just yelled at you for not being progressive enough, and then I used the phrase “white trash”. But, I mean, that stereotype exists and that’s what she’s cast as. I’m not being terrible and hypocritical; I’m just responding to the entertainment industry’s terribleness. Right? Right.)

Kate: I recently looked her up to see if she is actually super pretty in real life, and she looks different in every single photo. Different in a bad way. But, she’s in the Manning family, so she’s pretty well off.

Erica: Wait, the Manning family, like Eli and Peyton are her brothers? For real?


Taylor Schilling

taylor schilling emmys 2014

Kate: This didn’t photograph as well as it looked on the pre-show; I thought she looked very elegant and Naomi Watts-like.

Erica: Not to be my own grandmother, but I think it needs a slip or something. And a bra!

Kate: I think it’s the photo; it really looked great on the pre-show.


Uzo Aduba

uzo aduba emmys 2014

Kate: Amazingly enough, Best Dressed Orange is the New Black Actress goes to Crazy Eyes!

Erica: Yeah, she is doing everything right with that look.

Kate: Seriously, she looks so elegant. I love that shade of red, and it’s a great neckline.

Erica: She accommodated the boobs! Very important.




Anna Chlumsky

anna chlumsky emmys 2014


Erica: I like the shape of the top on her. It’s not bad.

Kate: This isn’t bad but it also isn’t great — why is everyone wearing this bright-@ss white?!

Erica: That is a good question. And her hair could use a little more oomph. She has that Connie Britton look of “What the hell am I doing here?” a lot of the time.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus

julia louis-dreyfus emmys 2014


Kate: I mean, how do you spell perfection? J-U-L-I-A.

Erica: You’re so cute, Kate.

Kate: I just always love her red carpet choices; they are always so elegant, perfectly tailored to her, fun colors, just obviously quality design. And that hair? Can I, like, have it?

Erica: Have you looked in the mirror? Don’t you already have awesome hair?





Amy Poehler

amy poehler emmys 2014

Kate: I feel like it’s so unlike Amy to wear so much sparkle, but I think it works well on her.

Erica: There is so much about this that is not very Amy. I thought she was Miranda Lambert for a minute.

Kate: I’m also a big fan of the hair and makeup. But wait, where’s Tina?

Erica: Not on TV anymore. “30 Rock” is over.

Kate: So? She should still attend these things.


Cat Deeley

cat deeley emmys 2014

Kate: Cat!

Erica: I literally gasped when I saw this.

Kate:  I think this is quite lovely. Not so much the hair and makeup, but the dress is very elegant and perfectly suited for her.

Erica: OhmygodsoprettyveryfavoritethingI’veseenonher.


Claire Danes

claire danes emmys 2014

Erica: Stand up straight!

Kate: Not good. Not good at all.

Erica: No.

Kate: The red is too red, the cutouts are off, the belt over the cutouts is awful. Bad girl, Angela!

Erica: Everything is awful. What is happening around her neck? What is happening with her hair? Is she okay? Is this a cry for help?


Debra Messing

debra messing emmys 2014

Kate: Luuurrrvveeee. Lurve.

Erica: All the redheads are in blue tonight (although this is more midnight than royal). I approve.

Kate: This is how you do couture cutouts, people.

Erica: This dress is not in my personal catalog of preferred styles, but it is an excellent example of the style it is, and it looks great on her.


Gwen Stefani

gwen stefani emmys 2014

Kate: I have such a vivid memory of listening to your No Doubt TAPES, like, all the time.

Erica: Excuse me, I had No Doubt on compact disc, lady.

Kate: Ok then the CD on that silly little white “boombox” you had. I don’t want to like this ensemble since it’s basically a silver sparkly t-shirt with matching skirt, but somehow, on her, I do.

Erica: Yeah? I don’t really. I don’t like the fit. I dig the make-up.

Kate: I recently saw a promo for her on the new season of The Voice, and I am just amazed at the gorgeousness of her skin. Seriously, wow.

Erica: She is blessed in that department.


Halle Berry

halle berry emmys 2014

Kate: I mean, seriously.

Erica: And, in other news, Halle Berry continues to be as beautiful and well-dressed as Halle Berry.

Kate: How does she even exist? How is she here on Earth?

Erica: She was sent by the Mean Girl goddess to make the rest of us look bad.

Kate: She’s just 10000% perfection 10000% of the time.


Heidi Klum

heidi klum emmys 2014

Kate: Well, that’s just a vision right there.

Erica: Very pretty. Maybe cool it with the tanner, though?

Kate: Her red carpet choices have been lacking lately, but this is classic Heidi. Meaning, very nice.


Julia Roberts

julia roberts emmys 2014

Erica: Great color. Great look. Unusual but still appropriate. Plus she always looks like she’s having a good time.

Kate: I obviously love this.

Erica: Yeah? Good. I’m sort of surprised you do, but I’m glad.

Kate: Honestly, on someone else I might not, but I love that Julia is still showing off those stems. I also love that this is a new take on the sparkly/metallic trend, and that she is showing skin while being tasteful. And what a great color on her.


Kate Walsh

kate walsh emmys 2014

Erica: Who is this person?

Kate: Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, DUH! This is a peplum gone very, very wrong, and I don’t like peplums to begin with.

Erica: Really? I think that, if it were possible to do a peplum right, this would be in that category. Laura Prepon’s is a peplum gone very, very wrong.

Kate: It’s a horrible color on her. It’s a horrible silhouette. The jeweled collar — or is that a necklace? — does not work whatsoever, and her normally gorgeous bouncy red hair is too slicked back. Worst dressed nominee.

Erica: It’s a necklace. I think. And, see above — Samira Wiley can wear that color. Kate Walsh, less so.


Katherine Heigl

katherine heigl emmys 2014

Kate: Ugh I HATE dresses with long sleeves and collars like that. Heigl WOULD wear this.

Erica: This is way too old for her. This better not be 2014 Katherine Heigl. This better be 2044 Katherine Heigl who travelled back in time to take Katherine Heigl’s place at this particular function so that 2014 Katherine Heigl could go, like, stop the world from ending or some sh!t. And we’ll never know, and the only thanks she’ll get is girls on the internet making fun of her dress.

Kate: The thing is, the rest of the dress is fabulous and would be fabulous on her if it had no sleeves or ridiculous collar.


Kerry Washington

kerry washington emmys 2014


Kate: Am I looking at the bottom half of her spanks? Or is that a weird piece of material in the middle of her too-high slit?

Erica: So, the lining of the dress is black, so I think that is in fact a piece of material that allows that dress to be less gynecological-exam-ready. Which doesn’t make it right.

Kate: I tend to dislike her red carpet choices while everyone else fawns all over them, and this is no exception. I am digging the orange, but the overall dress sucks. As does her makeup, way too dark. Hair is nice, though.

Erica: As I have said, I do not love orange and black, although this shade of orange looks nice on her, and the dress structure looks…Okay. But she makes some really weird red carpet choices. This is not one of her better ones.


Kristen Wiig

kristen wiig emmys 2014

Kate: People loved this, and I hate it. It looks like it doesn’t fit her well at all. And AGAIN with this bright white!?

Erica: Maybe people are loving it because she doesn’t normally go so sex-bomb? But it’s a cheap-looking dress.

Kate: The slit is a very awkward height, and I cannot with the black T-strap shoes with a white dress. Cannot.

Erica: You are so not wrong on that.


Lizzy Caplan


lizzie caplan emmys 2014

Kate: Um, wow?

Erica: Janis Ian! I always thought she was so beautiful.

Kate: Seriously, this is great. Very elegant, the hair and makeup perfectly match the dress and compliment her features. One might argue that it’s too much of a dress for someone not really nominated/not that big on TV right now, but then one would have to shut up because she looks so great.

Erica: I do not like black-and-white formal dresses. It’s just a thing I have. So I would like it a lot better if the train were black. That said, damn, she looks good.


Melissa McCarthy

melissa mccarthy emmys 2014

Kate: Well this is slightly updated from her usual red carpet look, no?

Erica: Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

Kate: I can’t say it’s updated in a good way, though. I am just so anti-poofyness for all occasions.

Erica: Just nope.


Mindy Kaling

mindy kaling emmys 2014

Erica: I don’t much like it. I don’t much dislike it either. But it’s not really my cup of tea.

Kate: I like this! I like her hair looking slightly more polished, and I think the dress flatters her. I don’t love the belt and strip of material down the left side — is it some kind of metallic leather?

Erica: I don’t know. Maybe. I’m not a fan.


Minnie Driver

minnie driver emmys 2014

Kate: Very pretty color and a gorgeous jeweled neckline, BUT: 1) She is too skinny now; 2) She needed some better undergarments. Not only does she look awkwardly bumpy in her midsection — not FAT bumpy, just bumpy — but I’m pretty sure I saw her strapless bra from the side. Big no-no!

Erica: I find it hard to believe she is wearing a bra. I can see two very prominent bumps right now.

Kate: Alas, she is quite gorgeous.

Erica: Yeah, I like her a lot. But damn, she looks skinny.


Robin Wright

robin wright emmys 2014


Kate: Oh, Princess Buttercup. Where is your sweet Wesley?

Erica: Not doing nearly as well career-wise as she is.

Kate: This is a no for me. I get what she was going for, and I get that she has the type of look that could pull it off, I just don’t like it.

Erica: The silhouette is right for her. But whatever is happening in the front cheapens the whole thing.


Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel emmys 2014

Kate: Love!

Erica: Yeah?

Kate: Excellent color. Excellent shape. Excellent hair. Best dressed nominee, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

Erica: Maybe it’s the difference between telecast and photograph but to me, while the color is great and the overall shape is great — and the hair is super-fun — the tailoring looks really sh!tty, the length looks weird, and the makeup looks like an afterthought. Also — it’s on the boring side for her. And I’m blaming Tommy Hilfiger for that.

Kate: I like that it’s different from her usual quirky style. And yes, it looked very good during the show (when she was on stage with Allison Williams it looked like they had switched dresses), maybe not so much in the pictures.

Erica: Anyway, my favorite for the night is Cat Deeley. Hers is the only dress that made me gasp. Also a shout-out to Julia Roberts, because there’s always a balance to strike between “new and fresh” and “event-appropriate” and she hit that sweet spot with a big smile on her face.

Kate: My favorite is obv-i-ous-ly JLD. What about worst dressed?

Erica: Claire Danes?

Kate: She’s up there, but I’d go with Laura Prepon. (It’s a shame OITNB didn’t win anything, though).

Erica: Well, we can give them “Worst-Dressed Actress on a TV Comedy”, then.

SYTYCD Season XI – Top 6 Perform

Group Routine – Hip-hop, choreo by Nick DeMoura

[“Hide (Tropkillaz Remix)” by N.A.S. feat. Aynzli Jones]

Erica: I am not huge on the gimmick of the black light glowy sh!t with which this routine started. Some of the choreography was fun and boppy and super-cute, but this group remains the least sharp at hip-hop of any group so far.

Kate: You took the words right out of my mouth — I feel like I say this every week, but they were not sharp enough. This routine was straight out of America’s Best Dance Crew, costumes and masks included, ergo I expected to see another level of sharpness.


Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: Unnecessary Necklace Syndrome.

Erica: Her whole look has a very ’70s vibe. I like it. I don’t love it, and I feel like their needs to be a little more lipstick. But overall, I approve.

Kate: I don’t like when hair is too straight and not layered enough, but I think I am projecting my feelings about my own hair onto Cat. Sorry, Cat.

Erica: So tonight, they’ll be dancing with an all-star, dancing with a fellow contestant, AND dancing with themselves. You know what would make solos infinitely more amusing? If they all had to do them to the song “Dancing with Myself“.

Kate: I hate that song almost as much as I hate solos on this show.

Erica: Mary looks like a totally normal human being, and Christina Applegate is here! What a night!


Ricky & Valerie – Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

[“I’ve Got the World on a String” by Frank Sinatra]

Erica: I feel like this is pretty much a dream team, for me personally. Style, song, costumes, dancers. I’m in.

Kate: What a great dress!

Erica: Valerie has totally improved through the season. She was good before but she’s got more confidence and style than she did at the beginning.

Kate: Agree, but after a few weeks apart, this routine made it obvious how much better Ricky is than her. He is on another level of grace.

Erica: I’m not even talking about Ricky because what needs to be said? What can be said? He is everything that is wonderful.


Jessica & Casey – Disco, choreo by Doriana Sanchez

[“Dim All the Lights” by Donna Summers]

Erica: Right before the break, Cat observed that her costume looked like these guys’ costumes. Why do they keep stealing my jokes? Should I be writing for this show?

Kate: I like how she said “frock”.

Erica: And then after the break, we learned that the top six are not dancing “with fellow contestants” as I said before; they are dancing specifically with their former partners. Which is interesting. I don’t know that we’ve ever had a top six where all six were previously partners.

Zoe: I love the outfit but I hate the hairstyle. The outfit would go nicely with a braid.

Kate: Hi Zo!!

Zoe: Such a big crowd. Wow, I never knew they would be so famous. Like, how many seats are there? 70?

Kate: At least.

Erica: Jessica’s faces really work for this dance. She is the best I’ve seen at being both sunshiney and sexy and having neither look phony.

Kate: Faces yes, moves no! This was so awkward for me.

Erica: I mean, look, it’s disco. It looks the same to me just about every time. And I’m not a huge fan of the genre. But they did pretty well with it.

Kate: Disagree. I thought it was super-awkward, and I’m back to disliking Casey.

Erica: Alright. BTW, I LOVE Christina Applegate so much. “You looked like you were holding back snot.” Of course she would notice that, and of course she would say it out loud.

Kate: I know.

Erica: So, I’ve been trying not to pay attention to anything lately. But even I have noticed that the ALS ice bucket is, like, a thing. But here’s what I don’t get. How does this benefit ALS research? Is there some form of money that gets donated or something? Because I would totally dump a bucket of ice over my head if it would help but I don’t get how that works. (I ask because apparently we’re going to see Nigel do this later.)

Kate: Don’t even get me started with that.


Ricky’s Solo

[“My Tears are Becoming a Sea” by M83]

Kate: *Sigh*

Erica: I mean this kid is just a crazy talented dancer. His feet. His everything. Crazy.

Zoe: It’s gotten to commercials now, so we’ll be waiting.

Kate: DVR, Zo!

Zoe: We’re totally skipping them now.

Kate: 🙂

Erica: In case you can’t tell, Zoe is dictating things for me to say on her behalf as we watch. But she’s going up for her shower soon, so we’ll be without her voice for a few dances.


Jacque & Zack – Foxtrot, choreo by Jean-Marc Genereaux

[“Anything Goes” by Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga]

Erica: I swear I used to like Jean-Marc Genereaux. I used to find him charming. And can we discuss for a second — Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga doing “Anything Goes”? When and under what circumstances did this happen?

Kate: Gags is a true artist, didn’t you know?

Erica: Zack, during rehearsal footage: “I’m totally straight, I swear!” I mean, not that I think he’s not. It’s just that sometimes the male dancers make these comments about the female dancers and it sounds like they doth protest too much.

Zoe: Too French. Oh, oh, oh, too French. Oh, now it’s too New York. Did you see how he lifted her up? It was crazy, right?

Kate: It was crazy, Zo. Wait, what do you mean “too New York”? Should I take offense to that?

Erica: It sounded disapproving, but sometimes she means “too” as a compliment. I don’t know.

Kate: This was a cute foxtrot but there was a lot of bumpiness in their transitions. I felt like her hand was constantly just flailing about without connecting with his.

Erica: What about this was foxtrot-y? Did I miss it while trying to type Zoe’s comments?

Kate: Um…

Erica: And Mary doesn’t like it so I feel totally justified in not being moved. I am also totally confused as to how the votes are going to work for this and for the finale.

Kate: Didn’t even pay attention to that part.

Erica: And I completely still love Christina Applegate. She’s just so awesome.


Jessica’s Solo

[“I Was Here” by Beyonce]

Kate: See, she was so good here but not at the disco!

Erica: She was wearing, like, no clothing. Hasn’t it been a while since a dancer’s been this nakey?

Zoe: She looks fine like this.

Erica: I’m skipping the prepubescent singer, okay?

Kate: Please yes.


Valerie & tWitch – Hip-hop, choreo by WilldaBeast Adams

[“Yeah” by Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris]

Erica: So, Kate, is this what you and Ian will be doing for your first dance?

Kate: ObviousLY.

Erica: Valerie is so cute here.

Kate: Yes but she looked so much more hood during rehearsal! I think it was the Madonna-esque dress. Either way, I loved this. Obviously.

Erica: Yeah, I think it was just the outfit. I thought she did very well. Nigel, they looked like a very happy couple. Shut it.


Casey’s Solo

[“Lay Me Down” (Acoustic Version) by Sam Smith]

Kate: I just closed my eyes and listened to Sam’s blissful voice. Casey who?

Erica: So this Sam Smith character is one I should be paying attention to, huh?

Kate: Oh my god.

Erica: I thought this solo was pretty boilerplate.


Valerie’s Solo

[“What I Like About You” by The Romantics]

Erica: Appreciate the song choice.

Kate: Eh. Fine.

Erica: Also appreciate the brevity and humor of her brothers’ comments.


Jacque & Will – Contemporary, choreo by Sean Cheesman

[“99 Red Balloons” by Sleeping At Last]

Erica: Will! Oh, Will! Also, was there some sort of competition among the choreographers to see who could cause injury to the dancers via prop?

Kate: Omg the song was called 99 red balloons and a bunch of red balloons fell from the ceiling at the end. SOOO CLEVER!

Erica: I really liked the choreo and the concept — despite my snark — but did Jacque look sort of…Awkward and clunky? Or is it just because I don’t really like her?

Kate: She looked way less awkward and clunky here than during the foxtrot. This was just ok for me.

Erica: By the way, the Grand Duchess of Snark, our mother, is in the house tonight, but she was napping until a few minutes ago, and now she’s reading next to me, so I don’t know if she’ll be the source of any good lines. I’ll keep you posted.

Kate: I was wondering if she was watching.


Zack’s Solo

[“Butterfly” by Jason Mraz]

Erica: I think this was a better tap solo than Valerie’s. But I still like Valerie way more as an overall dancer.

Kate: Yea, this might be the best I’ve seen of Zack. Very sleek.


Jessica & Ade – Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

[“Boneless” by Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo]

Erica: Boy, Jessica really drew the short end of the stick when it came to costumes tonight, didn’t she?

Kate: If the Valerie-Ricky-Liff routine was your dream team, this was my nightmare team.

Erica: Also, they keep talking about how 18-year-old Jessica’s never been to a club. But she’s been a dancer for a while, right? So…Why should her lack of club experience be relevant?

Kate: Seriously, this routine nearly gave me a seizure.

Erica: I think she’s a fabulous little thing, but I didn’t love choreo, and the costumes were distracting.

Kate: Her solo was so great, her partner routines so far from great.

The Grand Duchess (Mom): You know what’s interesting about these performances? There doesn’t actually have to be any talent. It’s all about the gizmos. Not that they’re bad, but with the costumes and the lights…You know what I mean?

Kate: I always know what you mean, Mom.

The Grand Duchess: (regarding Mary Murphy) Maybe she could have some surgery to fix that voice.

Erica: OH MY GOD NIGEL IS CRITICIZING RAY LEEPER. I love it when he does that. But then he’s back to criticizing Jessica. Boo, hiss. And I don’t mention this enough but I love Cat, too.


Jacque’s Solo

[“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters]

The Grand Duchess: You know, I watch these young ladies, and there’s no one as good as Kate was.

Kate: Mom.

Erica: I told her you can’t dance on your toes. Interesting song choice for a ballet solo. I kind of liked it. Mom didn’t.

Kate: I actually love that she chose a non-traditional ballet solo.


Ricky & Anya – Cha-cha, choreo by Jean-Marc Genereaux

[“Dare (La La La)” by Shakira]

Erica: So this is another number basically designed to make me happy. I was afraid that he’d look like a little boy being led around the dance floor like she always makes the guys look, but he didn’t. And Anya is all that is sexy in this world. I want to write her as a romance heroine.

Zoe: Mom, can you come in and help me find Rebecca’s robe? (Rebecca is one of her American Girl dolls.) Dad is really pissing me off.

Kate: Such language Zoe!

Erica: Ricky: “Seriously, I’m totally straight.” Look, Ricky, I’m sure even gay guys will consider Anya.

Kate: So I don’t think I could love this more. I really don’t. Favorite of the night. Favorite of the season?!?!???!!!!!

Erica: I mean, I don’t know if it’s my favorite of the season, but it was definitely one I could watch any old time.

Kate: And, gay or straight, I thought Ricky was sexy in this. AND…Anya is such a REAL dancer; like, she was strutting and twisting and doing her thang and then just brushed her hair out of her face while giving a smoldering look. That was not in the choreography, that was just her. Damn.


Casey & Makenzie – Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

[“Over You” by Ingrid Michaelson feat. A Great Big World]

Kate: Ugh, there Casey goes again making me like him because of a good contemporary routine.

Erica: I like Makenzie sexy better than I like Makenzie sad. I mean, overall, I prefer all things that are sexy or funny better than sad, but with Makenzie, I especially prefer it.

Kate: This was extremely lovely. I agree with Mary; it flowed so smoothly and every move just melted into the next.

Erica: The thing in the beginning when she was sort of leaning on his shoulder looked awkward but after that it got a lot better. Like when she gripped his waist with her knees and dropped backward. Holy moly.

Kate: Yea, great lifts.

Erica: I mainly liked Makenzie, though. Casey continued to be prop-esque to me.

The Grand Duchess: Has anyone been allowed to choreograph since Bob Fosse?

Kate: What? There are lots of choreographers in the world now.

Erica: And then Nigel doesn’t do the ice bucket thing. Because he has a heart condition. So that was a big (well, medium) build up for nothing. But he did write a check, which I have to imagine is more useful.


Zack & Fik-Shun – Hip-hop, choreo by Season 5’s Phillip Chbeeb

[“Sail (Unlimited Gravity Remix)” by Awolnation]

The Grand Duchess: Well, they’re pretty good.

Kate: Right before this routine I said, “Poor Zack”.  I stand corrected.

Erica: Maybe tappers are good at hip-hop because their movements are already pretty sharp and staccato. I loved this concept — actually, I thought that the concept was very confusing until I saw it and then I thought it was really cool, so good job, Phillip. I thought they danced it really well. Fik-Shun is still the better character actor but Zach did really well.

Ian: It’s hard to dance next to Fik-Shun, but Zack really did a good job.

Kate: Agree with sister AND fiance — Zack kept up with Fik-Shun very well here. I think he did luck out, though, with awesome choreography that allowed him to keep up with Fik-Shun, you know?

Erica: Nigel tried to walk back his meanness but it didn’t work very well. Nigel, you shouldn’t say that you’d be surprised if one of your contestants is in the finale. On the show. It’s not right.

Kate: That was SO MEAN! Even Christina was like, “Um, no”.

The Grand Duchess: These women all have the same dye job.



Erica: So in the finale it’s Jessica, Ricky (who looks surprised — don’t be ridiculous, Ricky), Valerie and Zack. I know Nigel is surprised but I’m not. Ricky is going to win for the boys anyway (and he’ll win the whole thing if there’s not a female winner, too), and I’m not surprised Jacque is gone.

Kate: I’m not either. Jacque is technically a better dancer than Valerie, but Valerie has been much more fun to watch. I want Ricky to win everything ever. (Also, might this be the first time two tappers have made it to the finale?)

Erica: Me, too. Okay, folks, we’ll let you know if they change the prizes next week from “some amount of money, something in a magazine only dancers read and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it number in the Broadway revival of On The Town” to “everything ever.”


SYTYCD XI – Top 8 Perform

Erica: So I am in the Berkshires. My TiVo won’t stream the episode to me. I don’t know why I thought it would, except that my husband told me it would. In any event, I am utilizing the work of the fine pirates of YouTube, who already have the videos up half an hour after the episode aired. Good job, pirates!


Group Routine – Jazz, choreo by Travis Payne

[“A Place with No Name” by Michael Jackson]

Kate: Ugh, an all MJ episode? So all dances will be to MJ songs? Not sure how I feel about this.

Erica: Well, I mean, he had some pretty good songs. Even if I feel weird about the intense valorization of him posthumously.

Kate: But they have Michael’s actual choreographer, so I guess that’s cool?

Erica: I mean, yeah. It is.

Kate: Either way, the opening number was OK. I didn’t like it starting out with a close up on Rudy’s not-ready face, and they were not quite as sharp as people should be while wearing silver suits and dancing to Michael Jackson.

Erica: Yeah, Rudy’s face is not nearly as cute as I think they’d like us to believe. I really liked the choreography. It did look just a smidge under-rehearsed, like one more day could have really sold the movements.

Kate: On the other hand, Mary Murphy is apparently going to her daughter’s wedding after this because that is a straight-up MOB dress.

Erica: Did you think that Valerie looked like Mac from “Veronica Mars” in this piece?


Erica: I noticed Jessica’s face-pulling. There’s a fine line between adorable and annoying. I’m not sure which side she’s on yet.


Cat’s Ensemble

Kate: I luuuurrrvvee the dress. Well, the front of the dress; the back looks to have some kind of cape, which I am anti.

Erica: Oh, I am not anti-cape, but I can’t really see this one, as I’m just watching YouTube clips and not the full episode.

Kate: I also do not like when long hair is pinned up to look short like that. Good makeup and fun, blingy jewelry, though!

Erica: See, I thought that looked cute. I mean, it’d be irritating as an everyday look but for funsies, why not?


Erica: So I just shouldn’t watch those clips?

Kate: Tanisha’s was actually horrible. I feel like that skirt messed her up majorly.

Erica: So I should, in fact, watch the clip of her.

Kate: If you do so choose.

Erica: I disagree with your assessment. While it was high in acrobatics, given that it was a ballroom routine, it wasn’t bad and I thought she used the skirt to decent effect. I mean, we’ve discussed this before. Solos are boring; ballroom solos are nearly impossible. On the scale of all things being meh, this was no meh-ier than anything else.


Ricky & Season 3’s Jaimie – Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

[“Smile” by Michael Jackson]

Erica: (Sigh)

Kate: Beautiful. I didn’t think they connected great as partners, but his dancing is just beautiful.

Erica: I thought they connected well physically, if not emotionally, if that makes any sense. And actually, I felt that more from Jaimie than from him.

Kate: I still can’t get over those feet. Or how creepy MJ sounds singing that song.

Erica: His feet are insane. I’m not super-big on MJ’s version.


Erica: Then I won’t watch.

Kate: Zack’s was very MJ-ish in costume and dance style, I suppose.


Valerie & Season 6’s Ryan: Samba, choreo by Jean Marc Genereux

[“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’’’ by Michael Jackson]

Kate: This could be the most annoying Michael Jackson song ever, if not the most annoying song ever, period.

Erica: Oh, come on. There are way more annoying songs out there.

Kate: But um excuse me Miss Thang! Look who’s sexin’ it up!

Erica: I know, right?! Someone looked all grown up tonight. Even with the stupid thing on her butt.

Kate: I was starting to get over her last week, but I think she was great in this!

Erica: Yes, last week was a sad misstep. This was fantastic.


Erica: Didn’t see it.

Kate: I like this song though. Casey did well enough. Still not as good as Ricky.

Erica: What song?

Kate: One of those emo instrumental-ish songs that is now on various commericals. MEH MORE SOLOS

Erica: I’m sorry to hear that.

Kate: I didn’t like Rudy’s.

Erica: Of course you didn’t. It was a male ballroom dancer solo and it was paso-esque. You hate that sh!t.


Casey & Season 4’s Comfort – Hip-hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

[“Xscape” by Michael Jackson]

Erica: I’m always happy to see Comfort. Her hips were insane in this routine. (Her faces were kind of insane, too, but not in a good way.)

Kate: We’ve done a spider kiss of death routine before, no?

Erica: Yeah, but, you know, it was Broadway that time. Also they love “strong,” deadly, sexy women. The choreographers have some issues.

Kate: I can see how Casey tried to keep up with Comfort, and it was a valiant effort, but he just couldn’t do it. She was too quick and crazy and sharp and tough and aggressive for him to even come close, he even looked goofy doing it. In a bad way.

Erica: Yeah. Kind of. He looked like a prop.

Kate: “Here you dancers are doing these styles that you never did before” — THAT’S THE POINT OF THE DAMN SHOW, NIGEL. THE. ENTIRE. POINT. !!!

Erica: For realz. We’re down to the Top 8. We’re expecting them to do this now.


Erica: 🙂

Kate: Jacque’s was good, though. She’s very elegant.


Tanisha & Season 1’s Nick (Winner) – Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

[“She’s Out of My Life” by Michael Jackson]

Kate: Well, this was way better than her solo.

Erica: I thought she danced quite beautifully.

Kate: It was hard to focus on her and not Nick.

Erica: There’s something about him I find extremely off-putting.

Kate: I also feel like there wasn’t enough dancing in this — too much embracing, not enough synchronized movement.

Erica: I did not like the choreography. They moved pretty, but there was nothing that drew me in or excited me.

Kate: Wait, why does Nigel want her to show weakness? How would she show that while being a good dancer?

Erica: Because she’s a girl. And girls are weak. And Nigel is a misogynist pig. Actually, I think he’s saying that a dancer being in touch with his/her vulnerability makes them more in tune with the emotionalism in the dances, and Mrs. Channing Tatum did say that the emotional component of this dance was a bit missing for her, and I think she was right. So Nigel might have a point. But I’m not wrong, either.


Erica: I’m not watching them.

Kate: Jessica showed excellent control in her turns here. I continue to like her very much.


Rudy & Season 2’s Allison – Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

[“Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson]

Erica: This one’s not up! YouTube pirates, you’ve failed me!

Kate: They had GREAT chemistry together. Watch out, tWitch and Jacque!

Erica: Yeah? I’m not such a huge Rudy person so I can’t imagine that tWitch needs to watch out for anything.

Kate: Seriously, I really loved this. Allison is so good, and she brought out the best in Rudy. They had some ca-ra-zay lifts!

Erica: Man. I love Allison.

Kate: This was also a perfect combination of awesome choreography perfectly timed to the song with very, very skilled dancers.

Erica: Blergh.

Kate: Oh please send Casey home instead of Rudy!

Erica: Yeah? I can’t see this dance so I continue not to care about either of them.


Erica: I don’t think this is up, either.

Kate: And Valerie dressed up as Michael Jackson. At this point I’d rather watch her do anything but tap.


Zack & Season 10’s Makenzie – Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

[“The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson]

Kate: This song will never mean anything other than Center Stage. Also, THIS is the kind of Broadway routine I’m talkin’ about!

Erica: Oh my goodness I’m so excited for Makenzie.

Kate: I loved this routine. Zack is very good for Broadway. That said, he did not completely shine in this on his own, if that makes sense.

Erica: I thought he was terrific. I mean, he was terrific with Makenzie, but that’s what’s supposed to happen in a partner dance, right?

Kate: Why is Nigel putting down his own show? (He did have something to do with American Idol, right?)

Erica: I thought he was an executive producer. But I don’t think that was a big put-down. He was just pointing out that Broadway sometimes gets a bad rap in the entertainment world and it doesn’t deserve it.

Kate: I don’t mind solos when they’re Ricky’s, I suppose.

Erica: Which is why he’s going to win. He reminds me of Season 9’s female winner Eliana, in that he dances like it’s a natural expression of how he feels.

Kate: I mean, do we even need to say anything else about him?

Jacque & Season 4’s tWitch – Hip-hop, choreo by Dave Scott

[“Slave to the Rhythm” by Michael Jackson]

Erica: I take for granted sometimes how completely awesome tWitch is. He’s so freakin’ good.

Kate: I don’t know if this was because of the choreography or the fact that this is tWitch’s style and the opposite of Jacque’s, but at times it felt like Twitch was dancing to the fast beat of the song and Jacque was dancing to the slow beat, and it didn’t exactly synch up.

Erica: I get what you’re saying but I thought she did really well. She has a more flowy style than tWitch but I thought it mostly worked. I was more, like, what is up with the stage? Are they post-apocalyptic but finding joy in each other’s presence? And…Okay. But why? But okay.

Kate: Yeah, I got the post-apocalyptic feeling too, and I could have done without that corny beginning. She did loosen up her ballet stances enough for hip-hop, but she made really bad facial expressions and didn’t match tWitch enough.
Erica: I didn’t notice her face too much. Maybe I was too busy looking at her belly. Or her hair.

Kate: I also can’t wrap my mind around how difficult that hairstyle must have been to put in, and must be to get out. Ouch.

Erica: Yeah. Also, Nigel, you should not use the word “swag.” It sounds dumb coming from you. I’m just telling you because we’re friends.

Kate: You are not friends, you hate him! Ugh, Jacque in the bottom? Please oh please send Tanisha home over her. Come on you stupid country.


Jessica & Season 4’s Will – Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

[“Earth Song” by Michael Jackson]

Kate: Quite a silly song/routine theme combination, but they were very passionate together.

Erica: Sigh. Will.

Kate: I kind of hope she wins…?

Erica: Yeah, you know, I didn’t even notice her for so long and now she’s the girl I’m rooting for. But — have we determined if there will be one boy and one girl winning this year? Because if not, definitely I’m in Ricky’s camp.

Kate: Oh right, me too. The Control Freakz routine was very cool and interesting and fun. I love that little moonwalk move where the do it while turning in circles.

Erica: I need to go to sleep pretty soon. I don’t think I’m gonna watch.



Kate: Oh, boo. I wanted Casey to go home because I feel like Rudy has more potential and versatility, Casey is a little corny. But ok. Byeeee Tanisha!

Erica: I’m not sure I care about Rudy at all but then again, I didn’t see his routine tonight.

Kate: Did you see her snub Jacque for a hug? Wonder what’s going on there.

Erica: I didn’t really notice. And I was looking. But maybe they hate each other. Valerie had a pretty unhappy look on her face. Wonder who she didn’t want to see go? Or who she didn’t want to see stay?

Kate: Oh wait, that’s Jacque’s little boyfriend! Awww shoot guys.

Erica: Yeah, shoot. Because I’m sure that they are totes having an actual relationship and that this hurdle is a reason to be concerned for them.

Kate: Eh, they’ll get over it. Tune in next week for the top 6 everyone!


SYTYCD XI – Top Ten Perform

Group Routine – Hip-hop, choreo by Jamal Sims

[“Bang Bang” by Jesse J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj]

Erica: I don’t know if I feel better about myself or worse because I know who all three of the artists responsible for this song are.

Kate: You know how I feel about 1/3 of them.

Erica: So I’ve been having some pretty outlandish dreams lately, and when this routine started, I wasn’t totally sure I was awake. Because there were cowboy outfits? But in, like, ‘80s neon brights? And the song was kind of pop, kind of hip-hop, and a little…folk? But no, it was not a dream. Though images from it will probably appear tonight.

Kate: I didn’t love it; they weren’t completely together until the end. Valerie looked good, though.

Erica: This did not work on TV, like, at all. The dancing was kind of disjointed in places and the way the camera kept moving around did not help at all. It was probably pretty good live but on TV it was a swirling mess.

Kate: Agree, VERY BAD camera work.

Erica: Even live, though, there were parts of the dance that kind of dragged, like the bright, poppy costumes were doing most of the work. Well, the costumes and Ricky, of course.

Kate: Speaking of costumes, how the H did they change out of them so quickly?! Was the group routine — gasp! — prerecorded?!

Erica: DUDE! I think you’re right. And I’m very sad about that.


Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: This is the Cat I know and love!

Erica: LOVE so much the hair. That is exactly what I wish my hair looked like all the time. I mean, I don’t follow that wish up with, like, a blow dryer or anything. But I do wish.

Kate: Me too, but my color.

Erica: Yeah, we’d both look pretty silly blonde. The dress is…not the worst thing I’ve ever seen on her?

Kate: No I like it, but my gosh can we get this woman a belt? Or a seamstress? I get that it’s supposed to be loose fitting but it just plain old doesn’t fit her.

Erica: Mary looks refreshingly like a normal person.

Kate: As normal as Mary can get.


Bridget & Season 5’s BrandonBollywood Disco, choreo by Nakul Dev Mahajan

[“Disco Khisko” from the Dil Bole Hadippa soundtrack]

Erica: So…This is different from non-disco Bollywood because…Brandon spun her on his shoulder?

Kate: They 1000% made up this genre for this episode, because Brandon was good at disco on his season.

Erica: I was really impressed. She really kept up the joy and spirit of Bollywood while doing what looked like a really challenging dance routine, and she was pretty sharp. Not as sharp as Brandon, who was a dream, but really very good.

Kate: Not as sharp as him at all, or as quick/bouncy. I didn’t love her in this.

Erica: So now each of the dancers will find out if they are in the bottom four right after they dance? And Bridget is in the bottom two? This is pretty weird. I mean, the way they’re structuring this is weird. Bridget has for some reason not been getting very high votes consistently, even though she’s pretty fabulous.


Tanisha & Season 6’s Ryan – Argentinean Tango, choreo by Miriam Larisi & Leonardo Barrionuevo

[“The Gaucho’s Pain” by Tango Jointz]

Kate: Why don’t I remember him???

Erica: I had forgotten him, too. I didn’t keep very careful track of Season 6. But he was a ballroom dude who was in the competition with his wife. Here’s him doing samba with Kathryn. And here’s a Broadway routine with Ellenore, who I loved that season and kind of lost interest when she was kicked off.

Kate: Oh I remember the wife thing.

Erica: I had forgotten (or possibly never knew) that ballroom was Tanisha’s style. Damn, it showed. She was even sexy. Maybe Ryan brought it out in her.

Kate: She was extremely sharp and strong here. Sexy? I’m not there yet.

Erica: There was that one lift where her arms didn’t look right to me, but I don’t know anything about tango besides what I’ve seen on this show. And, you know, that dance movie with Antonio Banderas.

Kate: Take The Lead!?

Erica: That’s the one! Tanisha is safe tonight. This remains a stupid way to do this. There has to be a better way of registering the public’s votes when Fox won’t give them a second day.

Kate: I’m ok with it? It saves time?

Erica: I don’t think it does, though, because now we have to go through the suspenseful opening of the envelope after EVERY dance instead of just all at once.


Emilio & Season 10’s Jasmine H. – Hip-hop, choreo by NappyTabs

[“Get Low” by Dillon Francis & DJ Snake]

Erica: It’s interesting that Jasmine’s doing hip-hop, because she came in last season as a contemporary dancer. Then she did “Run the World” with Comfort and was all, “I want to do hip-hop!” and I thought so highly of her for stepping out of her style instead of playing it safe and now I guess she’s sticking with it.

Kate: Weeeeeeeeeeee NappyTabs!!!!

Erica: Aw, I missed NappyTabs. They have the kookiest stories.

Kate: Weeeeeeeee!!

Erica: I mean, it was a fun routine. I thought Emilio was pretty good. I thought Jasmine’s pants didn’t fit her right. They were bagging all weirdly in the crotch region.

Kate: I loved this. Obviously. She was much better here than at hip-hop during her own season. Emilio was good too, but I was honestly watching her for most if it

Erica: Nigel: “Young man, do you know how good this show has been for you? Kiss the ring.”

Kate: *LOL* (For real though.)

Erica: And Emilio is in the bottom. This continues to be weird.

Kate: Eh, I’m not too broken up about it.


Valerie & Season 5’s Ade – Jazz, choreo by Tasty Oreo

[“Hearts a Mess” by Gotye]

Kate: She said in the little Dove-promoted clip that she holds back sometimes, and she did just that here. The energy and intent was there, but she could have elongated 85% of her movements in this and it would have been wam-bam-WOW.

Erica: There were some really cool moments in this, and then some moments that I thought looked really awkward, and I really can’t tell whether the issue is with the choreography or with the dancing.

Kate: Possibly somewhat the choreo, but I do think she should have given more. Even though I like her as a dancer very much.

Erica: I tend to prefer blaming the choreography, and not just because I don’t like Mr. Oreo. I just think it’s always a better idea to critique the system in which people work and not the people themselves, unless the system is a good one.

Kate: I don’t remember the reason for your hatred of Tyce?

Erica: Yeah, I don’t, either. But just because I can’t remember doesn’t mean that the hatred isn’t TOTALLY LEGITIMATE AND DESERVED. And of course, the judges are blaming the dancing, and not the choreo, but they almost never blame the choreo.


Rudy & Season 10’s Jenna – Cha-cha, choreo by Louis van Amstel

[“Maps” by Maroon 5]

Erica: So, you all may remember that Kate and I had it in for Jenna last year.

Kate: Way in.

Erica: I just want to clarify that we didn’t think she was a bad dancer. It’s just that she was consistently voted to the bottom and they saved her over other dancers we liked a lot better. Like Makenzie.

Kate: Totes.

Erica: That said, I was not so into this. Isn’t cha-cha supposed to have hips? I mean, I went in fighting my “Ugh, Jenna” and my “Ugh, Adam Levine” feelings, and then they were so much with the faces and I just…Bleh.

Kate: She was good because ballroom is her thing, but Rudy was way too corny. I like just could NOT.

Erica: Oh my God, Mary needs to stop trying to fake out the audience. She is fooling no one. Ever.

Kate: Not with that voice she’s not.

Erica: And Rudy is safe this week. For those of you keeping track.


Jacque & Season 9’s Chehon – Contemporary Ballet, choreo by Travis Wall

[“Adagio for TRON” by Daft Punk]


Erica: Are they just making up dance categories for the hell of it?

Kate: But this made-up genre seemed less made up than “Bollywood Disco” (come on now), and I LOVED this. I loved that there were traditional ballet movements and a traditional overall tone, with a contemporary spin (including music and costumes). Hah, SPIN, get it?!

Erica: Does contemporary ballet just mean “not wearing glittery tutus”?

Kate: Excuse my why aren’t we squealing over Chehon being back!? Weeeeee!

Erica: Weee! So what I could see of this dance looked good. Too bad it looked like they were performing through some sort of California brownout.

Kate: Oh the spotlight in the beginning was dreadful. But the movement was so beautiful.

Erica: I felt like I couldn’t see the whole damn thing. Jacque is the other girl in the bottom two.

Kate: Wah!


Ricky & Season 7’s Lauren – Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

[“Bossa Nova, Baby” by Elvis Presley]

Kate: Lauren is one of my favorites, and I was ecstatic Ricky got her (a show winner).

Erica: Oh my God, Ricky has been dreaming of this since he was eight. I am so f-ing old.

Kate: Yea, you’re 33. Gross.

Erica: So this was basically everything I ever want from this show. Like, if you went into my head and designed a routine based on what I personally want to see, this would be it. Fantastic choreo, fantastic dancing, fantastic performance, and tons of fun.

Kate: They were obviously perfect together.

Erica: I liked Mary’s phrase, “the skills that pay the bills”. I don’t have any of those. Ricky is safe because duh but Nigel making a big thing of how not surprising that is, I find a little unprofessional. You’re still a judge on this program, Nigel.

Kate: He really should win.


Casey & Season 6’s Kathryn – Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

[“Maybe This Time” by Liza Minelli]

Erica: This song kills me.

Kate: I like Kristen Chenowith’s version from Glee.

Erica: Casey really did luck out to get Kathryn but he held his own. He has such a baby face but he really can dance like a grown-up.

Kate: Yes but I didn’t think he was outstanding here — he had some good moments, but he was a little hesitant in some areas. He’s super lucky he was saved last week via that wonderful routine.

Erica: Making Kathryn do some of those kicks in such a long skirt looked a little silly. I mean, she can make anything look good; I’m just saying.


Jessica & Season 4’s tWitch – Hip-hop, choreo by NappyTabs

[“U Got Me Up (Underground Goodie Mix ‘93) by Cajmere feat. Dajae]

Kate: I love when I get Twitch + NappyTabs.

Erica: A number about an old man creeping on some young gorgeous dancer? Is this a tribute song for Nigel? This was terrific, though. I mean, tWitch is always a joy, and I really did think Jessica held her own. I hadn’t even registered her until last week, and now I am really impressed with her. I mean, are we looking at her legs? Her legs are so freaking strong.

Kate: (So he says during his critique!) I thought she was great with him too. The type of Jazz she does obviously translated well to hip-hop, and she definitely kept up with him.

Erica: OH MY GOD NIGEL STOLE MY JOKE! I don’t know if I’m mad about it or impressed as hell that he’s that self-aware.

Kate: You are probably mad about it.


Zach & Season 10’s Amy – Jazz, choreo by Sonya Tayeh

[“Europe, After the Rain” by Max Richter]

Erica: I love Sonya Tayeh. And I have to give props to Zach and Amy. She did so well at hip-hop with Fik-shun that I forget that contemporary is her home. Those lifts were absolutely unreal.

Kate: Me too and me too, but the beginning and end dancing to JUST the sound of thunder and rain was WEIRD in a bad way. None of the movements looked/felt right.

Erica: I loved the dancing when there was no music, only rain. I loved the piece as a whole. See, I like blaming the choreo, but I like praising it when it deserves to be praised. This choreo so deserved it.

Kate: So we disagree there. At least they didn’t spend 10 minutes crying about the dance’s subject.

Erica: Hee. So Zach is in danger and I guess we’ll find out in a few minutes if he’s the one who’s gone. Honestly, I thought he danced this well, but I am not crazy about him. But this was good.

Kate: This was, but more because of Amy than Zack.

Erica: Oh, jeez, and then Nigel goes on about how all of his choreographers deserve Emmys and why aren’t they getting them and I love Sonya but for real, Nigel? That’s not classy.

Kate: Yea he went off a little there. Calm it down.


Guest Singer – Christina Perri

Erica: Hey, did you know this show discovered Christina Perri, too? Kiss the ring, Christina Perri.

Kate: Dumb. She sounded horrible.

Erica: I’m only commenting because Kathryn and Chehon are doing the dancing. It’s a really cool performance – they’re, dancing around the platform on which Christina Perri is singing and the camera is having a hard time with it. But they look amazing together. Kathryn and Chehon, I mean.

Kate: I would have preferred to see Kathryn and Chehon dancing together without Christina Perri.

Erica: The song of hers that Stacey Tookey used was “Jar of Hearts”. I kind of like that song, for all its emo-osity. This song did not thrill me. But watching Kathryn and Chehon did.



Kate: Not surprising, but I did like Bridget/saw a lot of potential in her.

Erica: I’m sad to lose Bridget. I liked her personality-wise and I thought she was a pretty terrific dancer. I won’t remember who Emilio is tomorrow.

Kate: But I am glad to still have Jacque.

Erica: So now they’re going to tell us every week which all-star each contestant is dancing with next week? I don’t know why but okay. Here it is: Tanisha will be with Nick (Season 1’s winner?); Valerie is with Season 8’s Ryan; Rudy is with Season 2’s Allison (and he is very excited about it, as well he should be); Jacque is with tWitch; Ricky is with Season 3’s Jaime, she of the flower/hummingbird number with Hok; Casey is with Comfort – that should be a sight to see; Jessica has Season 4’s Will (OMG I’m so excited Will is coming!); Zach is with SEASON 10’S MAKENZIE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DAY!!!!

Kate: Ian is thrilled for Makenzie.

Erica: You know what the hell of it is? I don’t know what my tech situation is going to be next week; I don’t know how I’m even going to do this recap.

Kate: We always find a way!