Tag Archives: TV

What I’ve Learned From Watching Dance Moms Miami

The other night I couldn’t sleep.  Wisconsin was having one of its crazy fits of weather and we’d gone from cold and rainy to thunderous and muggy in a matter of hours.  I tried everything.  I read for awhile, I moved around, I turned off every light I could think of.  Wide awake!  So I flipped the TV on to zone out for awhile and what did I find?

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet my Newest Guilty Pleasure:

Dance Moms Miami

(image from neontommy.com)

Please, let me tell you more!  Staying up until 3am watching this crew, I’ve learned a lot.

The Cast:


Angel and Victor (image from channelguidemagblog.com)

Victor and Angel:  Longtime friends, Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, are the owners and choreographers of Stars Dance Studio.  Their motto:  “Turning Kids Into Dancers and Dancers into Stars.”  Victor you may recognize as he is now heavily requested for his choreography after being a finalist on Season Six of “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Victor is the young, mostly heart, pep talker of the duo, and Angel is the business side, very disciplined, with high expectations for his dancers.  Together, they’re shaping their dance team into professionals, learning when it’s time to work, you work, always earning your place on top of The List, a weekly breakdown of each dancer’s performance and behavior.  Positioning on The List earns you chances for solo competition.


Kimmy (image from channelguidemagblog.com)

Ani and Kimmy:  Are you ready for this?  Meet the only sweet pair in the bunch.  Kimmy is an adorable and kind hearted perfectionist.  She was recently given a solo to a song all about being bad, and the girl had never done anything bad!  Her homework assignment was to misbehave.  You know what she did?!  Another dancer threw pistachios at her, and she threw them back!  Scandalous!

Ani and Kimmy (image from mylifetime.com)

Ani is also the only adorable mom.  Staying out of the drama for the most part, her only anxieties show when she watches how hard her daughter practices to dance perfectly.


Abby and Sammy (image from mylifetime.com)

Abby and Sammy:  New mom on the block, Abby, better prepare herself as daughter Sammy climbs The List.  The other moms have their claws out and ready.

Adorable Hannah (image from tvgasm.com)

Which brings me to Debi and Hannah.  While I love how hard Hannah tries and the fun she clearly has dancing, her mom is a new form of batsh*t crazy!  Whether it’s gossiping, using the other moms as her minions, or full on sabotoge, Debi’s got it covered.

Giving Redheads Everywhere a Bad Name, Debi (image from lifetimemoms.com)

Susan and Jessi:  Rivaling Debi for the Most Crazy Mom award is Susan.  As daughter Jessi is the oldest and been working with Victor and Angel longest, there’s some entitlement issues happening here!  But Jessi recently went to the bottom of The List after her poor sportsmanship was caught on camera, ripping the team’s trophy out of her teammate’s hands!  Tsk, tsk!

But the pressure is totally on.  Jessi’s mom is ridiculously tough on her daughter to the point where Victor and Angel stepped in to tell her stop trying to train her at home because she’s coming to class tired!  After the whole trophy fiasco and teary apology scene, Victor gave Jessi a hug and a “there, there.”  Angel was immediately on him for reinforcing bad behavior to which Victor replied, “It’s not her fault her mom is crazy!”  That might be my favorite line of the show!

Jessi and Susan (image from mylifetime.com)

Lucas and Brigette (image from blogs.miaminewtimes.com)

Lastly, there’s Brigette and Lucas.  As the only boy in the group, Lucas, often gets to shine.  He’s an amazing dancer and his mother is his biggest fan.  Brigette is the lightswitch of the group, if Lucas is on top, she’s all happy and shiny, but if he has a bad week, expect things to go dark…quickly.

Check out this hilarious video of the team’s group number to the song “City Boy.”

So, what exactly did I learn from this new guilty pleasure that seemed absolutely amazing at 3 am in the morning?!

  1. Be fierce!
  2. Work hard!
  3. Own your mistakes, then let them go.
  4. Dance Moms are Crazy People!
  5. It’s not your fault if your mom’s loco!

Thanks for stopping by you guys!  I had too much fun gushing over this guilty pleasure!  What’s been your latest guilty find?  And stick around for one more fun video – where the Dance Moms show you there favorite dance moves!

Guilty Pleasure? Don’t Mind if I Do

It’s time I came clean about something.  I am a sucker for guilty pleasures.  So much so I could easily change the name of this blog to Jess Witkins’ Guilty Pleasures and have plenty to write about.  I unabashedly love bad movies, bad TV, bad music, bad food, and the occasional bad book once in awhile.  And I’m guessing, you do too.

So, I’m introducing a new theme here on JW’s Happiness Project, every other Friday, I will tell you about some of my guilty pleasures, and I’m hoping you’ll make me feel better about myself by sharing yours.  😉  Guilty pleasures keep me sane.  If I worked all day, came home to cook gourmet meals, and only watched cinema of the existential kind, you probably wouldn’t like me very much.  I wouldn’t like me either.  The guilty pleasures that we indulge in define us.  Take one example, the films we watch with our girlfriends may be different than the ones we watch with our partner or parents.  If I had to guess how those three groups defined me based on the movies we watch, I’d say: friends=quirky, family=snarky, and the boyfriend=crazy.  Why?  Because my best friend is the one that watches BBC series and makes cucumber sandwiches with me, my family has to sit through me quoting every movie, and my poor boyfriend is subject to whatever whim I’m in the mood for:  Jurassic Park marathon, yes!, Sphere, sure!, La Bamba, ok!, Twilight, if I beg!

So let’s dig in to the guilty pleasures that make life more manageable at times.  I’m talking TV, people!  September is around the corner and new shows and seasons will be starting up again, so to kick off Guilty Pleasure Friday, I’m going to share with you my favorite guilty pleasure TV dramas of all time.

      The Vampire Diaries: I just finished watching Season 2 and I can’t wait til September for the next season to begin.  Sure it’s your typical love triangle, you’ve got the vampire/werewolf war going on, you’ve got an endless amount of legends to keep you just confused enough but still invested.  I am in love with this show.  It may be based for the teenage crowd, but I can’t help but fall for it.  A big reason for that is THE WRITING.  No joke, whoever the CW put together to write the episodes is smart about their plotting.  Every episode leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting more, all the while you are getting new information, and even the side stories are interesting.  I give kudos to the writing team of Vampire Diaries and think any writer would because the show is action-progressed while still being believable (despite the fact it’s about vampires and werewolves).  Plus, hello, major chemistry with the cast!  I am as torn as Elena over Stefan and Damon Salvatore.  *sigh*


     True Blood:  Yes, I am bought in to the vampire craze.  It’s fun!  And the storylines between True Blood and Vampire Diaries are drastically different.  True Blood depicts a world where humans and vampires exist together, not always on good terms, but they know they’re there.  And a new substance called True Blood, allows vampires to drink blood without killing people.  Add a psychic waitress named Sookie, her shapeshifting boss, and hotheaded brother who always causes trouble, you’ve got great TV.  The lead vampire is Bill Compton, a southern plantation man in his day.  He and Sookie become bonded when she saves his life from Vampire Hunters.  New twists to the tale include humans drinking vampire blood, street name V, to get high.  Aren’t you intrigued yet?



     Six Feet Under:  No longer on air, it lasted 6 amazing seasons, this show about a family that runs a funeral home is one of the best out there.  Every episode begins with a death, the person whose funeral will take place in the funeral home owned by this family.  At times, Six Feet Under could be very dark, there’s a season where everything goes wrong, and you’ll want to stop watching and curl up thinking about your happy place.  Keep watching!  The final episode of this show is one of the best final episodes I’ve ever seen.  Mainly, this show is about finding yourself, despite all the loved ones lost, all the crap that happens, however dysfunctional your family may be, this show is about finding out what you’re made of.


     Dexter:  See a familiar face?  That’s Michael C. Hall starring as Dexter, but he also played David in Six Feet Under.  Polar opposite rolls.  Dexter is about a serial killer, but he only kills other serial killers.  He’s a good guy?  That’s what makes the show worth a watch.  You want him to get away even though he’s murdered quite a few people.  Apart from the killings, he tries to lead a normal life.  He works as a blood specialist with the Miami Police (convenient), has a girlfriend, and a sister who also works at the police department.  If you’re writing a suspense thriller, or want to study a great antihero, you should absolutely check out Dexter.



     Desperate Housewives:  Could be a drama or comedy, but due to all the murders that occur, I’m putting it here.  Suburbia.  It’s a scary neighborhood.  Primarily this show is about friends.  A group of women who get together and see each other through the thick and thin, but sometimes the thick includes dating each others’ husbands, burning down each others houses, poisoning one another, and general spying, lots of spying.  Another example of a tight knit cast, each woman is wonderful in her role.  The key players in the beginning are Edie, the blonde bombshell realtor, Lynette, the high strung mom with several trouble causing children, Susan the ever worrisome, low self-esteem, yet competitive housewife, Gabby, the saucy, selfish one, and Bree, the picturesque role model of a strong woman: excellent baker, homemaker, gun owner.


     Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman:  Ok, I had to put this one at the bottom or you might not have finished reading, but hear me out!  I love Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman; I grew up watching this show with my mom.  It’s a period drama about a woman doctor braving the Wild West frontier of Colorado Springs, CO.  She’s stubborn, incredibly smart, always stands up for the less able, proves her worth, and she’s a redhead.  What’s not to love here?  Dr. Michaela Quinn, or Dr. Mike, as they called her on the show was a great example of a strong woman for me growing up.  And the love story between her and Indian Agent, Sully, is a realistic example of a strong couple.  They had arguments in the show, but they always worked through them, not every show depicts that side of a couple.  I still rent a season or so from the library time to time, this show is still a favorite.

So how bout you?  Do you share any of these guilty pleasures?  What are the TV drama guilty pleasures you watch?  C’mon, I won’t make fun, as long as you play nice to Dr. Quinn!

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