Four(ish?) years ago Carly and I started a tradition that has become a linchpin in our friendship: we started watching “So You Think You Can Dance.” A friend of Carly’s/acquaintance of mine was a contestant that year, which gave us an excuse to start following the show. What started as idle curiosity and a desire to support a friend, however, quickly gave way to (literally) hours spent on the phone analyzing the contestants and the show as though we were leading experts in the fields of both dance and reality television.
Since I spent the last two summers in Tucson, and Carly was interning in New York last year, “So You Think You Can Dance” became another way for us to check in with each other and stay connected. The ritual of watching the show and calling each other to discuss it each week made me feel like we were in the same place, harking back to summers I spent in Phoenix on the couch at Carly’s parents’ house, yelling at the television together and earnestly discussing our favorite routines with her father. (By the way, you haven’t lived until you’ve talked “So You Think You Can Dance” with Mike McElroy.) I can’t speak for Carly, since I’m sure she was living a much busier, more g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s life in New York, but this tradition made lonely and boring summers in Tucson a lot more bearable for me.
Sentimentality aside, “So You Think You Can Dance” contributed something very important to both of our lives. I am, of course, referring to the “SYTYCD House Party” game. The premise is this: as a particular season goes on and we get to know the contestants, we assign them roles/character arcs in an imaginary post-show house party featuring the choreographers, judges, host, and ourselves (NATCH). For example, at the SYTYCD House Party — which has grown larger over the years but for some reason is still always held in Carly’s parents’ basement —Season 3’s Neil Haskell (a.k.a. Dark Prince of my heart) and I are dating, Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels is stoned out of her mind admiring the creative lighting in the basement, Season 3’s Dominic is probably crying about something, and Carly and Shane Sparks (former choreographer for the show, now best known for his work as a judge on “America’s Best Dance Crew,” also SHUT UP) are having a verbal altercation in the backyard, which inevitably leads to fisticuffs and furious making out. Typical party, am I right guys?
The point of all this is that the “SYTYCD House Party” has been an important part of our fantasy lives for several years, so I was extremely gratified to learn while watching this week’s episode that Cat Deeley (best host on television) had a 4th of July barbecue at her house over the weekend, and a good chunk of the cast and crew was in attendance. Not only does this prove that Cat Deeley is the nicest person alive, which we already knew, but MORE IMPORTANTLY — IT EXISTS! THE “SYTYCD HOUSE PARTY” IS REAL!!!!!! We could maybe actually go to it someday (this would require us to become highly skilled dancers and/or party crashers, but it could happen, damn it)!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, this was a highlight of my week. The only thing that could have made it better is if our other “SYTYCD”-related fantasy — being able to excuse ourselves from the living room, crawl into the television and insert ourselves into the show — somehow became a reality. I guess the technology hasn’t caught up yet, which doesn’t really make sense in a world where “Avatar” has already happened.
…What? I SAID THAT SUMMERS IN TUCSON WERE LONELY.