Q: I enjoy watching the show “Dance Moms” on Lifetime. I know that the Candy Apple’s Dance Studio is located in Canton. Each week before they start the segment on Cathy and the Candy Apple’s Studio they always show a “Welcome to Ohio” sign followed by some cows or horses grazing in a field and sometimes a barn. This really frustrates me because the studio is actually located really close to Belden Village Mall, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the McKinley monument and a really busy road. When they show Abby Lee’s area, you see downtown Pittsburgh. Why are they representing the Candy Apple’s Studio and North Canton this way?
A: While I have seen at least one telecast of Dance Moms where the shot of Candy Apple’s Dance Center was preceded by a cow and a barn, I have seen another that offered more urban images of the area. That being said, there is a tendency in a lot of television to offer geographic stereotypes. Think of the way Southerners are often portrayed, for instance. And the comedian Jim Gaffigan, who is from Indiana, has said that he has been asked if he rode a tractor to school.
To many people who don’t live in Ohio, including those who make TV, it’s easy to treat it as farm country. Indeed, some years ago I was at a TV show news conference where a reporter who should have known better referred to Ohio as “a rural place.” After all, when he said it, The Drew Carey Show was presenting an urban, modern Cleveland on a daily basis and 3rd Rock From the Sun was set in a university town in Ohio.
For Dance Moms, so often focused on a rivalry between Abby Lee Miller and Candy Apple’s Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, the urban/rural differentiation is just a lazy way to add to the characters’ contrast.
Q: I am wondering if “The Good Wife” is coming back to CBS. “Unforgettable” is now in the same time slot.
A: Unforgettable, the drama starring Poppy Montgomery, was brought back for a second season as a summer-only show. The Good Wife, with Julianna Margulies, will return to 9 p.m. Sundays; it begins its fifth season on Sept. 29.
And it has been having a good summer. Inspired in part by real-life politicians Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, the latest developments surrounding those men often delighted Margulies. “I would never want to benefit from someone else’s pain but ..., it is the gift that just keeps on giving,” she told E! Online. “It is shocking that in our fifth season, this show is more relevant than ever.”
Q: Can you tell me what happened to two of my favorite shows, ”American Loggers” and “Swamp Loggers?”
A: American Loggers has not aired a new episode since 2011, and Swamp Loggers had its most recent new telecast early in 2012. I contacted the companies profiled in both shows, and neither has anything in production at this time. A representative at Goodson’s All Terrain Logging, the company on Swamp Loggers, said that “Discovery canceled (the show) when we wouldn’t agree to film the kind of reality show they wanted.” An e-mail asking for elaboration was not answered.
Q: How did Craig Ferguson get the skeleton called Geoff to be his sidekick on his nightly show? I think the guy who does his voice is hilarious.
A: The robot sidekick — full name, Geoff Peterson — made its debut in 2010. Ferguson, who calls his Twitter followers the Robot Skeleton Army, wanted a robotic sidekick on the show. According to Entertainment Weekly, Grant Imahara of the series MythBusters “tweeted to Ferguson that, if the late-night host could get Imahara’s Twitter-follower number to exceed 100,000, he’d build Craig a robot sidekick.” Ferguson, a Mythbusters fan, made that happen and Imahara came up with Geoff.
The voice, by the way, is Josh Robert Thompson, a Cleveland native, actor and impressionist who has also worked with Ferguson in non-robot sketches.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.