To be honest, when it first came out, I was living in Japan, so I had no idea what it was and when I found out, I was horrified. I was gone for a few years and when I returned to the US, I had no choice but to live with my parents. By that time, DWTS was already in Season 5.
EVERY WEEK I gave my parents relentless amounts of hell for watching that steaming pile of donkey shit then stormed off to my room! Who the hell wants to watch a bunch of D list celebrities making asses of themselves? They do that every time a red carpet is rolled out, now we gotta see it every week? No, thanks. Besides, I hate reality TV. I have much more interesting things to do with my life, like decide what country I want to move to next, figure out how I'm going to live in the suburbs with no car...hell, even taking a nap would be better than wasting my time on that red dwarf studded schmuckscapade.
Well, as it turned out, not having a car in suburbia was pretty much a nightmare and I was stuck at the mercy of my parents' choices for meals and entertainment. Most of my time I spent alone in my room on my laptop because, as I had been gone a few years, a lot of the friends I had before I left had moved on and the friends I had currently were strewn about the globe. Believe it or not, I did occasionally get sick of derping around on the internet (icanhascheezburger.com hadn't been invented yet). So I would pry my face away from the computer screen and venture down to the living room.
With both of my parents' and my cat's rears parked on one item of furniture or another, I'd usually end up sitting on the floor. We had an empty chair I could have sat in, but I wouldn't have been able to see the TV. Yes, the cat had her own chair and woe be she who disturbs a cat's slumber. There I sat, resenting being stuck at home watching superficial crap but figuring worse things could happen.
Dancing with the Stars would come on and the second I heard the theme music, I'd groooooooooan...but I would still watch it. In between showing visible signs of emotional discomfort, I actually found myself enjoying the show. I still didn't care about the stars themselves, I didn't even know who most of them were (and that tends to be the case with most seasons). Slowly, I found it growing on me, much in the way tumors are said to do. I denied enjoying it for the longest time, but I eventually gave in.
It wasn't the stars I was interested, it was the growth they achieved as people. It wasn't like American Idol where you have a popularity contest between a bunch of nobodies that are already skilled in their given craft. You have people that have no clue what they're doing being taken under someone's wing and adding new dimensions to themselves (though I won't deny in the end that it is a big popularity contest). It was somehow fascinating.
After watching two or three seasons, I realized it was kinda stupid to sit around and watch people I don't really care about go through this growth process when I could be out there doing it for myself. I started looking all over town for various dance lessons and managed to find them fairly easily. I started with salsa and haven't really looked back. I've recently added West Coast Swing and am trying to add ballroom, but it's a financial challenge. Nonetheless, the girl who sat around at home moping every single day now goes out dancing at least twice a week.
It's really changed my life. I still hate reality TV, I still don't really care about the stars themselves, I still occasionally miss entire seasons because I just can't deal with the drama (both from the show and from other DWTS fans), but I do have the show to thank for opening up a whole new chapter of KT.
I'm much too old, much too poor, and much too large to pursue any kind of professional dance career, but hopefully, as my job situation calms itself, I'll be able to make extra cash here and there writing about my dance experiences and encouraging other people to be more than spectators so they too can add new dimensions to themselves.
Dancing is more than just a good way to exercise and an excuse to get out of the house. It's a whole new way of getting to know yourself, which is something too many people DON'T take the time to do. I know, the hardest step is step one, but I'm gonna help you out here.