Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Dancing fools


“Breaking Pointe” chronicles bad behavior in a real ballet troupe


The CW, home of teen soaps like “Gossip Girl,” goes in a different direction with “Breaking Pointe” (Monday, 8 p.m.). Beginning its second season, the docuseries peeks behind the scenes of Salt Lake City’s Ballet West, where dancers dedicate themselves to an exacting art form.

Then again, the dancers’ love lives are not unlike those in “Gossip Girl.” Ballet West turns out to be a lot like your own high school, with nice girls and mean girls, good guys and rogues. Unlike your own high school, the troupe contains only people with amazing bodies.

That’s not a complaint. It’s easy to while away an hour gawking at the main characters, no matter how tawdry they get.

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The season premiere is an enjoyable hour of backbiting and bickering. When two romantically involved dancers start having problems, another dancer counsels them: “I feel like you guys have, like, been a little, like, different than you were, like, in the beginning of the relationship.” (I said they had amazing bodies, not amazing brains.) As Ballet West begins rehearsing “Cinderella,” the artistic director says he hopes to “bring out that sadness and that joy that is so much a part of the story.”

I’m not sure this bunch is capable of sadness and joy. Sneering and scheming is more their speed. But, as I said, that’s not a complaint.


“City Girl Diaries”

Sunday, 8 p.m. (Style)

This new reality series immerses us in the lives of five ambitious women in New York City. “This group of girls is completely crazy,” says Marianne, an editor at In Touch magazine. “We should not be loose on the streets.”

After an hour of “City Girl Diaries,” you feel like you’ve rushed from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side to Midtown and back again, hitting every party and café along the way. You can almost smell the taxicab fumes on your clothes. Entertainment reporter Raina picks up a guy in Leigh’s beauty salon. Fashion designer Leila hustles to get a publicist. Kelly throws a huge birthday party for herself to promote her business. “I just want everybody to get along and no drama,” she says.

Yeah, good luck with that. By the end of the night, Kelly is in tears and Raina has her tongue down the throat of Leigh’s former boyfriend.

These women probably shouldn’t be loose on the streets. But as long as they are, I’m happy to trail along on “City Girl Diaries.”


“High School USA!”

Sunday, 8:30 p.m. (Fox)

Fox previews a late-night animation block called Animation Domination High-Def, officially premiering next week. It comes courtesy of a new L.A. studio dedicated to cartoon creations. I’d love to say their work is bursting with fresh ideas, but the preview episode of “High School USA!” is just another cynical gross-out effort that falls way short of the “The Simpsons” / “South Park” gold standard. It’s a satire of wholesome high school clichés, nodding at “Archie” comics in the graphic style.

Speaking of clichés, is anything drearier in contemporary animation than trashing yet another institution we hold dear? In “High School USA!,” teachers are idiots, parents are creeps and life is (yawn) meaningless.

The cartoon puts you in a foul mood, but it’s nothing an issue of “Archie” couldn’t cure. CV


Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.

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