‘Sibley Put’ is where Josh Sibley, real American hero, boldly and unabashedly dissects the hot-button issues of modern video gaming and its surrounding culture. Everything he says is to be taken as personally as possible, so get those brows ready for some serious-ass furrowing. You babies.
Another article so soon? You better believe it, especially when something this brain-bendingly absurd wanders my way. The other day, I went over to Hulu to watch an episode of something or other. Before I could even search for the show I went there to watch, big and bold on their front page was a group shot of a bunch of hip, diverse twentysomethings in a dynamic group shot, dramatically back lit (I wish I could find the image, but in what must be the worst advertising ever, the only existing dynamic group shot used to advertise this is nowhere to be found). Above it hovered a bold, simple logo in blue and gold: The LXD. Everything about the image grabbed my eyeballs and screamed “SUPERHERO SHOW” at me, so it immediately had my undivided attention. Then my eyes wandered to the right, and read the tagline:
Ordinary people discover extraordinary abilities through dance.
I then noticed what “The LXD” stood for: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. I then said, out loud directly at my computer monitor at the top of my voice “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?”. That was it. Whatever plans I had before coming to Hulu were immediately cast aside, because there was no way I could not see what this was like.
Let me run down for you what I witnessed for the next fifteen minutes. First, I’m greeted with a sorrowful yet wise old black man who gives probably the most cheesy, cliche’d “portent of epic times to come” speech that I’ve ever seen. He’s all talking about there’s a wave of amazing people coming, and the conflict between them will be earth shattering and our only hope is if these amazing individuals embrace their destiny and be who they were meant to be, Oh no. The whole time this dude is sorrowful, urgent, and serious as a heart attack. He’s clutching and wringing his hands over a mystical-looking Dr. Strange type book. Finally, he tells us he’s going to start us off with the Tale of Trevor Drift.
Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that at this point, knowing that I’m about to dive into a show about super-dancers, this intro did not bode well. Any illusions I had that this show was going to be goofy fun was immediately shattered into a million pieces. As I was about to find out, this set the tone for the show perfectly.
So we open our tale with a kid sitting in his backyard, being served lunch. He is clearly not enthused with what he’s been served, so he gets up and goes over to the laundry hanging on the line. He gets up on a step stool to… touch the dresses hanging there for some reason I guess, and then at the last moment he side-ninja-flips off the stool, landing perfectly. This made me go “wow, this kid’s pretty awesome”, and then I realize that the kid is absolutely astonished at what he’s done, as if some otherworldly power suddenly halted his quest for dress-touchery. “Don’t be gay kid, NUH!” says the Dance-Force. Slowly, I’m realizing that this isn’t a kid fucking around in his back yard, this is the mutant origin story of a SuperDancer. Later, we see the kid standing in front of a mirror and he takes a deep breath before busting out another flip or something. The birth of a legend. This really, really isn’t looking good.
Cut to a few years later. Trevor’s in high school! At least, I think it’s supposed to be high school as Trevor and everyone he knows is clearly at least 25. Anyway, Trevor likes a girl! He stares at her wistfully, knowing he can never have her thanks to his sweater vest. No wait! He can never have her thanks to her douchebag boyfriend who shows up and paws at her, asks her out to the upcoming dance, and leaves. Trevor watches the whole exchange and is about to leave after the douchebag boyfriend does, but what’s this? The girl he’s had his eye on comes over and talks to him! She asks him if he’s going to the dance, and Trevor replies he doesn’t know, clearly conflicted. The girl says that she’d love to see Trevor there, and that he should get out more. He nods in agreement, and they part ways.
Let me stop again and make something perfectly clear: So far, this could not be ripping off the first Spider-man movie any harder. It’s not even a little bit different. Suzie Love Interest even sort of looks like Kirsten Dunst, except, you know. Attractive.
Moving on, Trevor wants to go to the dance, but overbearing mean dad won’t let him! No reason is given, which is so unfair! Parents clearly don’t understand, so Trevor goes off to his Fortress of Sulkitude, his roof. He then sneaks out to the dance anyway.
We’re at the dance! Trevor’s gotten all dressed up, and he sees Suzie Love Interest. He goes over to talk to her for a minute or two, but here comes Douchebag the Boyfriend to break it up. He shoves Trevor, and it’s clearly “on”. Trevor gets up in his face, defiant, and instead of taking a swing at him, Trevor falls back and starts break dancing his heart out. I want to make this moment clear: he doesn’t go “Oh yeah, well can you do THIS?” or something to that effect to set up his actions, he just starts fucking breaking it down like that’s just what you do to intimidate any would-be attackers. Like if someone got in your face, and while looking back at them stone-cold and unflinching you started doing balloon animals to get him to step the fuck off.
I’m going to stop here once again and get this out of the way now that we’ve reached the actual dancing portion of the show: Every single dancer on this show is incredible. It is the show’s singular saving grace. Most of each episode will probably be taken up by dance routines, and it’s the smartest thing they could do because these guys are almost superhuman they’re so good. Which is great, because it’s a show about fucking superhero dancers. Make no mistake: these guys will pull of shit that will leave your jaw on the floor. They do things effortlessly that if I tried, my body would just shear in half.
As soon as Trevor starts his dance-fight, we pan over to the dance DJ, (who has a fucking scar on his eye, by the way) who starts watching the unfolding events with great interest. He then nods to the crowd, and three heretofore unseen gentlemen come out of the crowd and join Trevor in his dancestravaganza. But wait! Also in the crowd and very interested in the goings on is a sinister looking asian man in a scarf. Uh oh! After a few minutes of incredible dancing, Douchebag boyfriend tries to get the crowd on his side by making fun of how ridiculous this scene is. He flops and flails in sad imitations of their dancing, and is basically like “how fucking stupid you guys, am I right?”. Of course, the crowd goes “Boo”, shoves him, and the dance-off continues. I’m going to be honest here, the douchebag boyfriend flopping around and being sad on purpose in order to make fun of this thing unfolding in front of him is the best actor in the show so far, simply because this is how every single sane person would react to this event in real life. It’s like the director put a caricature of what he knew every non-lunatic would be like when watching this show and tried to tear him down, except it didn’t work because he ended up being awesome and the rest of the show (save for the actual dancing) ended up being the worst thing made by human hands.
So after the dance, things happen fast for our hero. He’s seen in his Fortress of Sulkitude holding a letter emblazoned with the logo “LXD” and thinking his future over. He then slings a knapsack over his back and leaves with the three backup dancers we saw earlier. Before he leaves, he kisses Suzie Love Interest who shows up in his driveway and heads off.
We cut to Trevor’s living room, where Sinister Asian In A Scarf walks in and Leap Dance Kicks across the room at Trevor’s dad. Instead of taking it to the face like you’re expecting him to, the 40 year old dude break dance spins away from the attack. Yes, that’s right: Trevor’s dad forbid him from going to the dance because HE was once a SuperDancer and never wanted that life for his son, what with all the deadly danger and tragedy. Now, his dark dancer past has come back to destroy him!
I’m also going to summarize the second episode, because it’s very quick and even stupider: Two guys enter a warehouse, due to roughhousing they fall into a box filled with packing peanuts, they rub packing peanuts all over themselves, they both get super dance powers, and a conspiracy theorist secretly films it, saying they’re “defying gravity” (No they’re not). Sinister Asian Man In A Scarf shows up at the end and tears up one of the new SuperDancer’s LXD invites before he sees it. I did not make any of that up. They get dance powers thanks to packing peanuts. Keep in mind, this entire show is played as serious as a case of AIDS. This show is the worst thing. It is the worst.
I have never seen a show before where literally every single line is terrible. I’m not even talking about the incredibly, utterly, down to the bone retarded premise. From inconsequential small talk to the narrator to major impact lines, every single one of them is genuinely painful. Each line is like Jon Chu himself is in my room and giving me a purple nurple every time someone speaks. I wondered why the episodes were so short, and I did a little research. The show is a Hulu original, It’s created by Jon “Step Up’ and ‘Step Up 2” Chu, and the main choreographer (and star of the second episode) is Harry Shum Jr., otherwise known as “The Other Asian” on Glee. Finding out that something from Glee is also associated with this show is like finding out that your grandmother makes awesome cookies for you but also used to be in the KKK.
Yes, and let’s talk about the premise, shall we? This show could work if it went in one of two directions: super silly and over the top, a-la Elite Beat Agents, or you could draw from Michael Jackson’s videos. According to Chu, that’s where the idea came from: He watched Thriller and Smooth Criminal and went “hey, dancing can be bad ass”, except he missed one very, very vital part: Micheal’s dancing did something. He went nuts on the floor and then lightning struck people or enemies started dancing too or a hurricane materialized when he grabbed his balls or he turned into a robot or some shit. No, what Chu did is go “These dancers are incredible. Dancing is now a superpower” and then ‘wrote’ a drama.
How does something like this get funded? Granted, the episodes are miniscule and it’s just a Hulu show, but still. If Hulu is going to start their own original shows, this is the last thing you ever want to headline with. It’s a superhero show written and created by people who have never read a comic but know a shitload about dancing.