Well, I can’t say I wasn’t excited about tonight’s Dancing with the Stars TV theme episode. As the kid who regularly held his box tape recorder up to the television speaker in the late seventies and managed to fill up two sides of numerous TDK 90 minute cassette tapes with prime time network theme songs back in the day when prime time network theme songs were actually something worth recording, I was definitely looking to re-live a little bit of my childhood tonight.
Unfortunately, like Supertrain, Hello Larry and any of the Brady Bunch descendents, the idea of a TV theme night needed a lot more workshopping before getting the green light. It had to be the single worst episode of DWTS in eleven seasons… and I made that assessment before they got to the gorilla suits.
Aside from choosing songs least suited to any kind of elegant movement, this week’s theme sent all of the competitors into a tizzy to see who could out-prop, out-mug and out-camp everyone else… again, assessment made before they got to the gorilla suits.
Additionally, one of the reasons I enjoy sticking with this show as it starts pruning away its celebrity dead weight is that it usually takes its increasingly free air time and fills it with numbers performed exclusively by the professionals, and that’s where I really remember why I like this show so much. Instead, this week the entire first half hour was spent with tape recaps where the judges spelled out what anyone who’s been watching for the last month already knows:
Brandy is under-confident.
Kurt is awkward.
Bristol is vacant.
Kyle lifts his chin too high.
Audrina is an ice princess.
Florence is 76.
Jennifer has nowhere to go but down.
I was so desperate for something entertaining and whimsical I switched over to a news report on Rand Paul’s Kentucky Senate race.
Dammit, I wanted to see some nasty samba performed to “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow” by Sammy Davis, Jr! Instead, when the dancing finally commenced, I got Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy dancing to the seizure-inducing “I’ll Be There for You” from Friends. I guess I’ll just say right here and now that I clearly know nothing about how to perform a quick step, because I found this to be their least impressive dance yet. The bouncy music and their steps just did not go together. They should have been dancing to “Skip to My Lou.” And the way Maks was throwing Miss B. around, I thought he was getting ready to fling her into the lighting grid.
After three nines from the judges, I almost considered going back and watching it again to see if I missed something. But then I thought better of it. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I didn’t like this dance at all. The stupid pantomiming, oversized sucker and a clean-shaven Maks did nothing to help.
Rand Paul’s looking better by the minute.
TOTAL = 27/ 30 and a complete head scratch from me.
Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas danced to the theme from The Brady Bunch. Aside from being so painfully obvious and uninspired, what kind of ballroom dancing dovetails well with all those hyperactive horns and the lyric, “they were four men living all together”? Just plain pitiful.
I can’t say much about Florence’s dancing because I was watching through my cupped hands. But based on the comments from the judges, it was a mixed bag.
Tom Bergeron half-heartedly called it “fun” and gave Florence a hug that seemed to say, “I’m so sorry we did that to you.”
Bruno called her a rag doll. Len told her she’d earned her place in the competition. And Carrie Anne noted some problems with her timing, to which Florence summed up what a misfire the whole idea of this episode was with the response, “You try doing the tango to The Brady Bunch theme!”
TOTAL = 21 / 30
Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya – When Tom teased that Kurt was about to perform a “bewitching” quick step, I couldn’t decide whether to throw up into my newly carved pumpkin or climb inside of it with a bottle and pray for daylight. I’d forgotten that the leisurely lushness of the Bewitched theme actually could lend itself well to some high stepping, and Kurt and Anna took full advantage of it. The least offensive performance of the night, and far more enjoyable than Maks and Brandy’s quick step, though the judges’ scores didn’t reflect that.
TOTAL = 24 / 30
Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani danced to the theme from Audrina’s The Hills, a song that sounds a lot like something Brothers & Sisters might use to cover the last four minutes of an episode where the script wasn’t long enough. And like those B&S four minutes, the dance was a total waste of time. Once again, Audrina’s getting praise for her footwork and wrist-slapped for having no fire in her belly. Carrie Anne couldn’t have been any more on point when she called it “still and dead”
TOTAL = 23/ 30
Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer danced their fox trot to the theme from Charlie’s Angels wearing the two tackiest outfits I’ve seen on television since a skit from The Carol Burnett Show.
Yes, I know it was supposed to be cheeky seventies, but it was really distracting. With the hair and the make-up and the junk in the team trunks, it looked like the lead from some 70s college sex comedy auditioning for The Gong Show with Rerun from What’s Happening!
Bruno noted that there was a lot of disco and not much fox trot.
Carrie Anne applauded the fun.
Len: “It started bad and it gradually got worse and worse… I couldn’t stand it. I thought it was terrible.”
And was the booing from the audience directed at Bruno comparing Kyle to “Richard Pryor gone mad,” or bubble-headed Lacey stupidly asking, “Who’s Richard Pryor?” and thinking she was going to get a laugh?
If only you could vote against a team.
I’d rather watch a Jamie lee Curtis Activia commercial marathon than witness this again.
TOTAL = 20 / 30
Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke danced their rhumba to the theme from Hill Street Blues.
Hill Street Blues.
I just give up.
This show should just never do TV theme night again.
The MUZAK orchestration did something to erase my mind of a grimy Bruce Weitz and an overly-permed Betty Thomas on their opening credits shots (seriously, Betty’s hair wasn’t even meant to be attractive back then), but I still had a tough time paying attention to Rick and Cheryl’s moves.
Len noted an elegance. Carrie Anne did her usual gushing and cooing over Rick. If Bruno could have tossed his underwear on the stage, he would have. A predictable trio of 8s from the judges.
TOTAL = 24 / 30
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas
You know you’re bad when the judges can say “a big step forward” in the same sentence as, “you forgot a lot of the moves.”
Apparently, Mark Ballas has gotten a better offer and needs to get off this show as fast as possible.
I never thought I’d feel embarrassed for Levi Johnston.
I have nothing else to say.
I’m just sorry I had to watch it alone.
TOTAL = 18/ 30
Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough performed a fox trot to the theme from Married… with Children. A little too much up-front pantomiming. Sorry to harp on the pantomiming but… does anyone like this kind of stuff? I feel like they should be performing in a department store window or Disney World’s “Carousel of Progress.”
The dancing was stellar and very reminiscent not necessarily of the fifties themselves, but a lot of those fifties commercials where the housewife dances elegantly around the living room with a vacuum cleaner and relishes the modern-day simplicity of her life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing Derek to a vacuum cleaner. The jokes about excellent sucking power are beneath even me, though I feel I deserve to stoop a little bit after having suffered through this episode.
TOTAL = 25/ 30
HIGH SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Brandy and Maks
LOW SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Mark and Bristol
WHO’S GOING HOME? Mark and Bobo the Wasilla Zoo Fugitive
Let’s all close the door on Dancing with the Stars’ TV theme show night, throw away the key and quietly go our own separate ways, never to speak of it again. No one’s got enough wine to get me to suffer through this a second time. How do I know no one’s got enough wine? Because there isn’t enough wine.