When a classmate mentioned to me a couple of months ago that there was a new ballet series, I put it on my to-do list for a future day. That day turned out to be over this past weekend, when I unexpectedly found myself with a copy of it on dvd.
I guess I should clarify that I hadn’t heard or read anything about this show besides that it was from one of the writers of Breaking Bad or something. Boyfriend and I binge-watched all the seasons of Breaking Bad about a year ago on Netflix, so I get it that it was going to be rated R. However, I was unprepared for just how… graphic the show is. Also, I’ve only watched the first three or four episodes so far; I decided I need to take a break and watch something more light-hearted for a few days.
The actual ballet dancing appears to fade into the background, with graphic nudity and explicit – not to mention abusive, exploitative, violent, etc -sex scenes taking main focus. There are way too many extended scenes taking place in a strip club. I mean,we get it, a character (or two?) works there (how they would have any time and energy left after rehearsing with a professional company all day every day is anyone’s guess). Why must we then repeatedly watch random other girls’ extended-take striptease dance when we can’t seem to get beyond a few short clips of ballet class here and there (including this beautiful adagio danced by Sarah Hay in the first episode that is seriously the only scene I’ve felt the urge to watch more than once – if anything, I’ve fast-forwarded quite a bit…). Perhaps I’m old-fashioned – no wait, I know I’m old-fashioned – but I just don’t understand how this level of gratuitous nudity is relevant to the plot. If the writers needed it to emphasize any character development traits and they couldn’t think of any other way, in my opinion they’re not very good writers. Come on, stop just going for the cheap thrills!
I don’t know… I watched Black Swan and was surprised when a different classmate had said it was graphic, but this seriers is so much more intense. It presents a (hopefully at least partly fictional or at least exagerrated – can’t say “exagerrated” with out an “r rated”, ha ha) picture of the professional ballet dancer world that definitely does not make me wish I’d could’ve been one. It takes people that we may admire (in the general sense, like their dancing), and makes them not just regular people, but incredibly messed up trainwrecks of people. I don’t think there’s one likable character in the whole bunch (except maybe the homeless dude, yes seriously). I’ve met ex-pros before (taken class from or with) and they seem like perfectly normal people. Well, extremely flexible, with good posture, and in better shape than average normal people.
And yes, I am also asking myself if it makes me somewhat hypocritical that I enoyed Breaking Bad but seem to find this show draining. I think it’s because with the other show I knew right from the premise that it was about something somewhat dark (the illicit manufacture and trade of drugs), whereas with this genre (ballet movies) I thought it could be something like Dance Academy, Center Stage, or at it’s most graphic, Black Swan. I was wrong.
Am I just super uptight and showing my age? (Ha!)
Anyone else watch it? What are your thoughts?