flirty dancing

Am I Being Punked or Is Flirty Dancing a Real Show?

Photo: Robert Parfitt/Channel4

You’re not going to believe me when I tell you this, and I still don’t really believe it myself, but there exists (on this planet!) a reality-television show called Flirty Dancing. Like more than a 100,000 other people, I was introduced to the show (which originated in the U.K., and premieres in the U.S. on December 29) over the weekend, via this tweet:

This video is a lot to digest. I found that I could only process one piece of it at a time — probably an evolutionary defense response to overstimulation.

Initially, I just saw two cute boys dancing. Fine so far! Then I understood that the cute boys had learned this routine separately (how long did that take, I wonder?). Then I understood that the cute boys were performing for the first time together. Fine. A little weird, but not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Sure, the choreo is a little So You Think You Can Dance — lots of flung limbs — but the cute boys are so smiley that I don’t mind so much.

If you’re still with me, you’ve made it through stage one.

Stage two begins with the realization that this is a first date. A BLIND first date. That’s why the cute boys looked at each other through the window like that. That’s why it’s extra weird that they are clasping each other’s heads like that. This is when it occurs to me that this must — MUST!!! — be a joke. There is absolutely no way that a show with a premise this absurd would be green-lit in not just one, but two countries. I rewatched the video. I reread the tweet.

Stage three is accepting that this somehow-real show is called FLIRTY DANCING. That’s the name. Of the show.

Stage four, which I am still working through, is learning that the U.S. version will be hosted by Jenna Dewan, formerly of Jenna Dewan-Tatum. I hope she is happy. If she’s involved in the choreo, I’m sorry for what I said earlier.

Only today, after many hours of serious reflection, am I able to move past these details to consider the show’s worldview. Like … of course most attractive people who do a weird sensual dance together in a garden are going to think they’re in love for a few minutes. They’re all flushed and high on adrenaline and hormonally confused. How often can that chemistry possibly translate to normal life interactions? (And will there be couples that repulse each other immediately, but have to keep dancing anyway? That I would watch.)

I still cannot believe this show is happening. And yet, it is.

Am I Being Punked or Is Flirty Dancing a Real Show?