Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shane Sparks and Alex da Silva

You know how it feels when you’re watching a really great movie, only to have something so unrealistic happen that it jolts you back into reality? I’m having something like that happen to me with SYTYCD.

The reason: since the show first started airing, both Alex da Silva and Shane Sparks have been arrested for committing sex offenses. Da Silva was arrested in 2009 and charged with 4 counts of rape. Last September (2011), he was convicted on one count of rape and one count of assault with attempt to commit rape. Sparks was also arrested in 2009, on the even more disturbing charge of child rape. You can read the sordid details of the accusation here and here.

Sparks cut a deal where he pled no contest to one count of unlawful intercourse with a minor and had no less than eight other counts dropped.  I admit I had to look up what pleading no contest meant in legal terms. According to the Ohio State Bar Association, pleading no contest means that “while you do not admit your guilt, you do admit the truth of the facts alleged in the indictment, information or complaint.”

Obviously, both men deserve to be behind bars, and Shane Sparks deserves to be there a lot longer than the 270 days he was given. But an unanticipated consequence of doing a rewatch is that I have to watch countless routines choreographed by these two, and I can not forget what they’ve done. Each time one of their routines is performed, I have to fight the urge to look away. Enjoy a Shane Sparks routine? Impossible. Listen to Nigel thank him for choreographing another great number? My stomach twists into knots.

In many ways, the problem is worse for me with Sparks (I can’t even bring myself to call him “Shane”), because I never cared for da Silva’s choreography. But I liked a number of Sparks’ routines. I would probably still like them if I didn’t know he had been arrested. So how can I comment on them honestly? The truth is that I can’t. Some of the best routines of the first few seasons have been ruined beyond repair. Is that a crime on the level of rape? Absolutely not – it’s not even close. But I wish there was a way to add it to their rap sheets anyhow.

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