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'Dance Moms' recap: Lucky number 13

Season 4 | Ep. 14 | “Family Comes First” | Aired Apr 1, 2014

Last week on Dance Moms: Abby Lee Miller screamed at tiny, defenseless creatures in dance shoes. Candy Apples were devoured, while Costume-gate threatened to take the whole operation down. Now let’s return to the wild, wild world of the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC if you’re cool).

Family First
This week’s episode takes on a more somber tone due to the deteriorating health of Mrs. Miller (Abby’s mother and the original founder of the ALDC). Abby doesn’t pull any punches with the girls, explaining that her mother will not be getting well, and all they can do is make her last days as comfortable as possible. It’s a sad situation, and Abby is gone for most of the episode, putting her focus exactly where it should be — on her family.

Pyramid Madness
This week’s pyramid is unusually upbeat, considering the circumstances. Abby gives Kalani the top spot for winning best overall score last week and ties the other girls for second for their successful group number. She announces they’ll be competing next at the Dance USA Competition in Columbus, Ohio, then assigns two solos (Kendall and Nia), a duet (Chloe and Kalani) and a Bollywood-inspired number for the group. She also notes that she’s forming a second ALDC team to compete with this team, injecting the requisite amount of fear into the girls.

A Kinder, Gentler Abby
It’s interesting to see a softer side of Abby. Even the mothers empathize, and for a brief moment viewers get to imagine what the ALDC would be like with a kinder, gentler leader. While giving a speech about her mother, Abby says, “There are good dance teachers and there are bad dance teachers, but every dance teacher has to love children.” This is perplexing, because I often look at Abby and wonder if she even likes children. Sometimes it seems like she despises everything about them — their innocence, their tiny feet, their feelings. She is truly one of the most confusing characters on reality TV.

The Board
That kinder, gentler Abby was too good to be true! She drives the “Everyone’s replaceable!” point home by posting a board with pictures of the new ALDC team in the main studio, psyching everyone out in absentia. That’s cold, Abby.

Costume-gate: Part 2
While the girls fret about competing with a new team, the mothers fret about what that will mean for their costume supply. Their fears are proven correct when, once again, there aren’t enough costumes available for the group number. Instead of finding an additional costume, Abby cuts Nia from the group, breaking her little heart and escalating Holly to a 5 on the anger scale. (God help us if she reaches a 6. She may lecture us sternly!) Someone please explain why this studio never has enough costumes! Is there a rhinestone shortage in Pennsylvania?

Oh, Melissa…
I appreciate the fact that Melissa is an emotional person, but is anyone else turned off by her constant need to co-opt Abby’s tragedy for herself? Yes, Melissa knows Mrs. Miller better than the rest of the ALDC, but going so far as to call Abby’s mother her own and flipping the situation so that Abby comforts her is a bit much. It really begins to feel disingenuous when she updates the other mothers as if it’s happening directly to her (I feel horrible for saying that, but there it is).

Mack Z is in the House
Apparently Mackenzie’s new alter ego is “Mack Z,” a pop star in the making. She has a single titled “It’s a Girl Party” and a video in the works (both produced by Abby). They audition dancers for the video, cutting Chloe and waffling over whether or not to cut Mack Z’s own sister, Maddie, from the lineup (spoiler: She makes the cut). Whoa now, the artist formerly known as Mackenzie is getting a bit cutthroat.

Stand-in Abby
I have to note that Gia seems pretty excited to be Abby for a day, and echoes all her talking points at competition. Watch out, Abby – this could be your “All About Eve” moment!

The Winner’s Circle
The girls win first for their group number, “Bollywood and Vine,” giving them 13 consecutive victories in the group category. Chloe and Kalani also win first for their contemporary duet, “For You Too,” while Kendall takes second place in the solo category for the jazz piece “Dream It.” Last but not least, Nia takes third for her animated Broadway solo, “Damsel in Distress,” beating the odds, much to everyone’s delight.

Next week on Dance Moms: Abby’s mother continues to fade. Mack Z films a music video, and Christi and Melissa have a girl fight.

Will the girls win their 14th consecutive victory? Does anyone actually miss Kelly or Leslie? Share your thoughts in the comments!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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