Hello Underdogs, Welcome to My Monday which is going to a day where I pick whatever I want to write about that is not under another theme day.
This Monday, I am picking my favorite and most hated television guilty pleasure, “Dance Mom’s.”
Dance Mom’s is a show that is featured on the channel, Lifetime and has had several seasons. We have seen some of the very young girls featured on this show turn into teenagers. The premise of this reality show is to follow The Abbey Lee Miller Dance studio and their dancers. To narrow it down much more, it’s about a small competition team within the studio and the famous Dance Mom’s of these girls. The Mom’s, and daughters are in constant competition to gain the attention of supreme overlord, Abby Miller, who decides the fate of each child who dances. Not only does Abby try to dictate the dance world of these girls, but their home lives and outside activities as well. Abby tried to become a manager to several of these girls to help them with acting, singing, and other artistic endeavors. She even convinced some Mom’s to pull their children out of traditional school, so they could be home schooled so they could concentrate on dance.
While we all must remember that a reality show is not anywhere near actual real life, there has been some real damage done to these children. These kids were not actors and even though many of the people on the set, including Abby, and the Mom’s were acting, the children didn’t necessarily understand the difference. Abby was famously cruel to the children, including yelling, shouting abuses, and telling them that they were always replaceable. While there is some method to this madness, you truly don’t see the other side portrayed on the show. We see the breaking down of the children but never the build up, and we as an audience never know if this happened.
The world of professional artists such as dancers, actors, and singers is very hard and fickle. While I don’t disagree with letting the children know that there is always someone better, and this is temporary, it is not necessary to play mind games, pit one child against the other, and be blatantly racist. It is also hard and emotional to see anyone fight. These children were subjected to seeing their Mom’s fight with each other, Abby, and sometimes the adults fighting with a child. Again, while most of this was for the cameras, these kids did not know the difference and the toll was evident. People slowly left the show because of the mental abuse that these kids were being subjected to.
So why do I watch this show at all when it is so bad? I hate to admit it, but it sucked me in. I saw some very talented children and I saw some who were okay. I believe the first season of Dance Mom’s was probably the truest to life. While you saw a harsh Abby Miller, she was teaching the children, and trying to help them understand that the world is very competitive. After everything that was a bit too harsh, Abby showed the girls that she cared for them. The show slowly morphed into an unrealistic competition show, that was surrounded by mind games and hatefulness. There was so much more than meets the eyes with these competitions, however.
If you ever wondered why the ALDC did so well when clearly their dances weren’t that great? First, the ALDC were allowed to do their dances over and over again while the crew got the best shot. This was in front of the judges so they either liked what they saw, or they just saw so much of it, their dances stuck out in their minds over others. Second, Abby had an investment in many of these competitions. This means that she owned part of the completions that the girls would dance at. I know this for a fact because I worked with a head of one of these dance competition. This person mentioned the investment and even joked that they knew who was going to win even before anyone competed. Anytime that I saw them on TV competing in this certain competition, I would know that all of Abby’s kids would place the top scores. Without fail, this happened with every single time. If that happened with this one competition, I am sure it was true with others.
One of the biggest controversies to come out of this show outside of the abuse, the cheating, and the unrealistic representation of the dance world, Abby Lee Miller was a criminal. Abby was hiding money from the IRS, while she filed for bankruptcy. While in some people’s eyes, that isn’t a bid deal, it s a crime and it’s fraud. It wasn’t a little bit of money, but hundreds of thousands of dollars. She is going to be jailed for her crimes and will have to pay fines. While many people don’t agree with her having to spend time in jail, I must remind you that she broke the law in real life. While I don’t agree that she needs to be in jail so long for this crime when we already have over crowded jails with hard criminals who serve less time than Abby will, she still needs to be punished.
It also has come to light that Abby has been stalking her former students, Maddie and Mackinze. Maddie and Mackinze left Dance Mom’s a few seasons ago to go after other interests. Abby held Maddie is such high esteem, it was to the point where it was abusive to the child. She worked her to the bone and made her afraid to say no to any dance, any project, even things that made her uncomfortable because she thought it was provocative. If Maddie fell out of Abby’s favor, she punished her, harshly. Abby kept pitting the girls against Maddie to the point where it was isolating. Dance was such a part of there lives, that Abby convinced their Mom, Melissa, to take both her children out of school and give their lives over to dance and other projects.
While Maddie got many opportunities because of this show, she was also being held captive by Abby’s obsession over her. Her head was filled with an unrealistic view of herself because Abby built Maddie up to believe she was the best dancer ever. When Maddie started competing in the real world, she found that it was her name, and reputation that was winner her the competitions, and not her talent. There were much better dancers out there, and Abby’s idealist view of Maddie did nothing to help her in the real world. This is very evident in the show when Maddie has breakdowns when she can’t handle other’s being better than her. It was to the point where it was not only childish, but showed how this poor kid had been set up for failure. While Maddie is doing great now, it has nothing to do with dancing. Yes, she was famous for her Sia videos, but now she is known for her acting, and tries to distance herself from the dance world as much as possible. At least the world of competitive dance anyway.
Maddie has been recently accused by Abby that Maddie dropped out of a clothing project. The two of them were supposed to have a deal where they both were working on this company. Maddie’s Mom, Melissa, dropped the project and Maddie went on to start her own clothing company independent of Abby. This while Abby was being investigate and it looked as though she would end up in jail. Every since this, both Maddie and Mackinze have blocked Abby from all social media and do not interact with her. While Maddie has gone on to have her own clothing line, she should not be held responsible for anything to do with a company when she is a minor. Plus, Abby has a very bad professional and personal reputation, and many people are disassociating themselves from her as much as possible.
In the last week, Maddie was surprised by Abby at her premier for her first movie called, “Book of Henry.”
Abby was not invited, and the terrified look on Maddie’s face says it all. (See link below) There is no picture of the two of them together at this event because Maddie asked to be kept away from Abby. Abby’s unhealthy obsession over this child and her on a lesser scale, her obsession with her little sister, Mackinze is pretty scary. Abby has apparently been posting almost non-stop on social media about the girls. Yes, one of the post was wishing Mackinze a happy birthday, and it is understandable even though she has been blocked, she still cares for the child. However, the posts have been to the point where people have taken notice and call it unsettling and she’s acting like a stalker.
It was rumored that Abby had to pay over $1000.00 to come to this event. That’s not a great move since she is going to have to pay lots of fees for her crime. People are saying that Maddie owes her career to Abby and she should be kind to her. Maddie should have welcomed Abby with open arms. At the same time, Abby publicly calls Maddie ungrateful, but also in the same breath, begs Maddie for her love and attention. It’s a very strange situation. Maddie never would have been known if it wasn’t for the show “Dance Mom’s.” However, it was her own hard work that got her where she is today. Maddie credits Sia as the reason where she is today, and there is a lot of truth to that. Sia hired Maddie for a video and was the one who mentored her and helped give her a lot of opportunities.
It is a very tricky situation to say if this child owes this adult any credit at all. Like I discussed above, the show is a shame. But these children were not paid to be actors. They were paid to be a reality star, which means there was loose scripts, direction, and editing involved. While it is easier for a professional actor and the adults to understand that this all all make believe, these children were still going to school, practicing, dancing, and going to completions. Their injuries were real. Their time away from friends and loved ones was real. The dancing was real. So could tell the differences between the adults fighting, and Abby being horrible to their children, or did they understand that it was an act. Was Abby’s cruelness an act? At the very least, Abby is unhinged and she has damaged the lives of these children and their families. She has done a lot of questionable things that is making her end up in jail. Abby allowed these children to be mentally abused for the sake of a TV show, and it should come as no surprise that the kid that she obsessed over so much doesn’t want anything to do with Abby any longer.
Saying that this minor child owes Abby anything is kind of laughable. Abby didn’t teach her how to dance, her teachers did. Abby only spent a class to polish dances, while her other staff members did the real work. They helped the kids learn the moves, they helped these kids learn different techniques. Abby really spent very little time with these children while the real work was being done by other teachers. There was no break for these kids when they had to watch their Mother’s get into physical altercations with Abby that resulted in real lawsuits. So where is the line? Does Elvis owe his career to the abusive and crazy Colonel Parker? Was he the one who made Elvis have an amazing voice and dance moves, or was it Colonel Parker’s connections that got him where he was? Maddie got the chance because of the show, but people saw talent in her that opened doors, even without Abby’s influence. I think that she should acknowledge the journey, but she doesn’t have to owe thanks to anyone. Especially when she came from such an unrealistic, and abusive situation.
Whatever is next, I will still watch Dance Mom’s, with or without Abby. I wanted to see these talented children. Yes, I did like the drama, but I hated seeing these children hurt, scared, and abused by the situation that they were involved in. That is as much their parent’s fault as the producers and Abby’s. If they could have kept the drama away from the children as much as possible, it would have been a lot better show. It turned into a train wreck that was so bad, we just couldn’t look away. Now, we are waiting for Abby to be ran over.
What do you think? Leave in the comments if you feel that Maddie owes her career to Abby, and if you think Abby is stalking Maddie and her family.