We're probably all still basking in a warm and fuzzy glow of nostalgia after watching Dancing With the Stars contestant Elizabeth Berkley relive Jessie Spano's epic caffeine pill freak-out, but should we be? Here's the thing about ABC's hit dancing competition show pulling from the pop culture histories of its contestants: It reminds us that these memories are the only reason these celebrities are still famous. Which A) makes us feel kind of sad for our so-called beloved celebs, and B) makes us feel kind of uncomfortable for enjoying it (even though it's kind of sad and uncomfortable already seeing them on the show).
Diehard and non-diehard DWTS fans alike will all remember Kate Gosselin dancing to Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" on the show, the performance serving a reminder of what she was most famous for: the media coverage surrounding her whirlwind divorce and the end of Jon & Kate Plus 8. Jennifer Grey proved that no one puts Baby in a corner... again (which she's probably had to do at least a dozen times at weddings) during her season on DWTS, reviving what she's most famous for: her Dirty Dancing routine. And, most recently, Bill Nye's dance to "Weird Science" had us all recalling what he's most famous for: the fact that he was once every child's "science guy." And Season 17 still has Corbin Bleu's High School Musical history to exploit for ratings purposes.
I can't deny that it would be fun(ny) to see Bleu jumping double dutch à la his Disney Channel Original Movie Jump In!, or gracefully waltzing about in his High School Musical basketball jersey. But all of that fun would come with an epic wave of sadness (a lot of said sadness would be contributed to remembering my performance of "We're All In This Together" in my high school talent show). Even though he's maintained a steady career post-Disney (with roles on One Life To Live and The Good Wife), his shining moments are High School Musical and his time with the Disney Channel. And we're never going to let him forget it. Trust me, folks — Dancing With the Stars' status quo won't allow Bleu to leave the show without at least one dance to "Stick to the Status Quo."
These nostalgia-based performances pull in votes and ratings, obviously, because no one can resist the warm and fuzzy "remember when?" feeling, but do they do these celebrities any justice? True, these are D-listers who agreed to be on Dancing With The Stars, a show that has helped the likes of Kelly Monaco and Nick Lachey steadily rise to the C-list. But exploiting their shining moment for our own entertainment only reminds us that they'll never rise above their past. We get to fangirl over how much we LOVED SBTB or the fact that Dirty Dancing is the cure to our every physical and emotional ailment for a brief and selfish amount of time... and then it's over, for us and for them.