Pants Off Dance Off

Since Quizmania died a death, there’s not really been anything on TV that as flabbergasted me. It seemed that TV execs were playing it safe and preferring to rely on property shows and an endless stream of foodie lifestyle shows, neither of which reflected the world’s current financial breakdown.

We needed something to lift us through the economic gloom. Something so cheap that it galvanised us in to thinking “Jesus H. Corbett! I actually could’ve made that gaudy crap!

Then, like a knight in a shining thong, came Pants Off Dance Off (Viva).

The premise of the show is mindnumbingly simple. Basically, it asks members of the public to appear on our television sets… they will then take off their clothes while they dance to a music video… yet… there’s so much more to it than that.

The show is an assault on the senses. So much so that, by the time you’ve finished watching it, you’re left lying on the floor, foamy saliva erupting from your nostrils, convinced that you’ve been taken hostage by neon baddie. This is the kind of show that will prompt the people of Britain to wander through the streets, naked, lost and confused.

Each person introduces themselves with an awkward interview, where they tell people just who zany and wacky they are, before they launch into an even more dreadful and awkward dance. During the sexless strip, a giant music video plays behind them and a myriad of graphics hit your retinas with countdowns to a ‘mystery object’, which can include an umbrella, a surgeon’s mask or a string of onions. Then, we get the countdown to the pants coming off.

I wish I was making it up.

So while people say things like: “My favourite part of my body is my bum. I fink it’s excellent. It’s grabbable,” this dazzling mix of Eurotrash and Banzai slopes directly into your brain like those slug things from The Wrath of Khan film.

During last night’s shows, we were treated to a double-header, and it was nice to see the return of people willing to perform a mangina. We were also given the dubious delights of some tubby cockernee trying to peel off his leather trousers whilst dancing like a drunk karate instructor to ‘Simply The Best’.

At some points in the show, it feels like you’ve got drunk and blacked out a couple of times, only to find yourself waking up in a strange bedroom. There, looming down on you, is a man trying to arouse you with a dance that makes you feel giddy, ill and frightened, soundtracked by his inane talking and ear-splitting power-ballads on his ’80s hi-fi system. It’s then you find out you’ve been force fed PCP all evening and someone has been cutting chunks of your face off and feeding them to their dog.

This is what it must be like to be dyslexic… however, instead of letters blurring into a jumble of confusing symbols, your entire vision doesn’t make sense. It’s like every horrifying image you have ever seen melding together in front of an enormo-screen that relentlessly shows clips of The Hitman And Her spliced together with Keith Chegwin’s Naked Jungle.

Now, what with this show promising people getting their pants off, you might think that the reveal of genitals is the key moment in the show… but weirdly, it isn’t… the best bit of the show is without question the moment when every bloke gets to the undignified ritual of trying to get their trousers off without looking like a huge tit. As this is impossible, you’re guaranteed at least three panicked looks with a failing ice thin veneer cracking over shit-eating grins.

There’s nothing this show won’t stoop to. Mingers, people who think they’re sexy, middle aged nervous breakdown types are all included. So was a midget. Yep, a little fella whipping his kecks off for absolutely no reason to the half a dozen viewers who were mad enough to tune in and not switch it off immediately. Did I say ‘no reason’? Sorry. They get to hold a trophy that’s clearly a pair of old y-fronts glued to a vodka bottle for their trouble.

It doesn’t matter though… you get the impression that most of these would tear off all their clothes as soon as you booted them onto a dancefloor anyway.

This is clearly the future for all music shows on TV. It’s ten times more horrifying than Jedward and infinitely more interesting than Jools Holland. Failing that, then this show is a peer into the future of the dating video. Instead of people drily talking about their interests, they are forced to show their moves and naked bodies to potential mates while a camp bloke slaughters them in a voiceover. There’s no guarantee that the participant is allowed to hear the music they’re dancing to either.

There’s something magnificently depressing and desperate about the whole set up that it feels like loneliness, wrapped up in a blanket of decaying glamour. It’s the living, waking dream of a man whose letters are consistently ignored by Page 3 girls… a man on the brink of suicide, yet with an insatiable horn.

I haven’t stopped violently vomiting since I watched it and, of course, we all know that with spewing comes a weird euphoria. This is a monumentally wretched show. You’re not a complete person unless you’ve seen it. Honestly. Tune in. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry… you’ll never sleep again because everytime you close your eyes, there will be a mentally ill person taking their clothes off whilst trying to dance to ‘Love Shack’. And it’s seemingly on every night of the week.

Awful, invigorating, mental, excruciating, exciting, inspired, stupifying and clueless entertainment.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1