Is it me, or was anyone else quietly sick to their stomach when they heard this week’s dances would be set to TV theme songs? Clearly, someone is feeling some pressure to keep “DWTS” fresh, but really, in the distance I see Fonzie on water skis, people. Sure, many of us have fond memories of goofy old TV theme songs. We may even know the words to some of the really annoying ones. But that doesn’t mean I want to see some D-list celebrity hoofing a foxtrot to “The Facts of Life.” Most theme songs are catchy, yes, but in the way a Wiggles song is catchy. While this may make a song lodge in a deep, dark part of your brain for life, whether you like it or not, it doesn’t make it good dance music. I’m worried that the next theme episode will be dancing to TV jingles of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and we’ll be watching the celebs waltzing to Alka-Seltzer and RC Cola ditties.
[Full recap of Monday's (Oct. 18) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
But before we can see the debacle of TV theme week, the judges need to walk us through recaps of all the celebs’ weaknesses and strengths. In short, everyone has stuff they need to work on (pigeon toes, frozen facial expressions) and stuff they’re pretty good at (um, nice back arch, everything Jennifer Grey is doing).
Okay, a half hour in, and the couples finally take the stage. I know, ABC wants this show to be fill three hours of prime time each week.
Brandy and Maks
They will be dancing a quickstep to the theme from “Friends.” Brandy loves this song. And it’s a great choice, because (wait for it) she and Maks have become friends. Get it? Brandy must be very forgiving, because Maks seems like a difficult guy to be pals with, at least if you’re dancing with him.
I could have done without the lollipop and the acting at the intro (oh ma God, have I become Len?), but this was really fun and looked amazing. Brandy looks like a pro, doesn’t miss a step, and she truly appears to be having fun. Shockingly, I don’t even mind that this dance is set to a TV theme song, which is saying something, but it really does work for a quickstep.
Len is so impressed. Bruno is, too. Carrie Ann, ditto.
Scores: 9, 9 and 9. Well deserved.
Florence and Corky
Flo will be dancing to the “Brady Bunch” theme song. Corky is thrilled that Florence’s body is holding up much better than expected, which makes her sound like a washing machine or an old Volvo. Things get far creepier, though, when Barry Williams, who played her stepson on the show, shows up. And is all kinds of sexy with Florence. I know, they’re not really related, but, ew.
And here we run smack into the reason why TV theme week is such a bad idea. I have no clue what Corky is going for with this dance, but it’s weird. First, he rips of Florence’s housecoat, then he jerks her around the floor in a way that’s clearly intended, but makes her look like a broken doll. I’m starting to worry that Ma Brady is going to break a hip.
Bruno didn’t understand the ragdoll thing. Me, neither. Carrie Ann liked it, but she thought the timing was off. Florence points out that doing a tango to the “Brady Bunch” theme ain’t easy. No joke. Len thinks she’s hot and that it was her best dance.
Scores: 7, 7 and 7
Brooke asks how it was dancing to the “Brady Bunch” theme. Florence could say “It sucked, Brooke,” and she wouldn’t be lying, but instead she goes for the sympathy vote and notes her on-screen Brady husband died of AIDS, and she danced for him.
Kurt and Anna
Kurt is willing to persevere. Which worked for him in football, and will work for him in dancing to the theme to “Bewitched.” And then, he and Anna yak about the Russian dogs that went into space.
This is actually kind of cute. Kurt is still kind of a big galumping guy, but here he looks pretty light on his feet, the choreography is clever and this is a fun routine. Good job.
Carrie Ann thinks she saw the spirit of Gene Kelly. Let’s not go completely insane, Carrie Ann. Len thought it was a vast improvement. Bruno thinks the magic is back.
Scores: 8, 8 and 8
Audrina and Tony
Because Bruno wants more passion, and this week is the rumba, Tony wants Audrina to get her sexy on. So, Audrina eats an onion. Because Richard Gere told Tony it was a good idea and would make the love scene work better. I am now feeling great sympathy for Debra Winger, Diane Lane, and every other woman who has ever had to deal with Stinky Gere.
So, they’re dancing to the theme to “The Hills,” “Unwritten.” Which I’ve officially heard about forty thousand times too many at this point. But it’s a perfect match for this boring ass dance. Granted, Audrina looks strong technically, but this is about as exciting as watching eggs boil. It’s nice, it’s fluid and it’s dull, dull, dull. Kind of like, um, “The Hills.”
Len thought it was a good rumba, but he wants Audrina to open up a bit more. Bruno can see the improvement but he wants passion. And yes, she was plastic instead of fantastic, as he points out. Carrie Ann thought it was gorgeous from the hips down, but thought she looked frozen and thinks she saw a lift. I didn’t spot it, but then, I’m sure I had been lulled to sleep by that point.
Scores: 7, 8 and 8
Kyle and Lacey
They’ll be doing a “Charlie’s Angels” foxtrot. Somewhere Farrah Fawcett is turning in her grave. I would go into the cheesy Kyle’s Angels pre-canned stuff, but it’s just too depressing to bother with. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kyle and Lacey, but this is just a bad theme song.
I am so distracted by Kyle’s ‘fro wig and ‘70s porn ‘stache, this is actually hard to follow, though I love Lacey’s hair. But all I can say is, this stupid TV theme concept isn’t doing anyone any favors when it’s shoehorned onto traditional dance genres like the foxtrot. Kyle and Lacey seem to be having a blast busting out the disco moves, but when they have to plug in the foxtrot, it just looks like a scene out of the musical version of “Carrie” before the blood dump or something.
Bruno calls it Richard Pryor gone mad and said there wasn’t enough foxtrot. Carrie Ann disagrees and liked the disco fever. Len thought it started bad and got worse.
Kyle admits to Brooke that he didn’t know there were original Charlie’s Angels. Kyle needs to watch TV Land. Although, I will say that when I heard it, I thought this was the theme to “The Love Boat,” so I’m not going to judge.
Scores: 8, 5 and 7. Ouch, Len.
When we return from the commercial break, we get to watch Florence feed Corky, Brandy and Maks TV dinners. Have you noticed that the show seems intent on infantilizing the dancers for yuks?
Rick and Cheryl
Rick introduces Cheryl to Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, ostensibly so she can learn more about Rick but really, just to pad the show and remind voters that Rick used to be somebody and is not, in fact, a stand-in for the Jolly Green Giant.
Again, this is just weird, though not because of the dancers. When I think “Hill Street Blues,” I think grungy old cops scowling at criminals. I do not think sequined police uniforms. Or hip grinding between a midget and Megatron.
Carrie Ann is all fired up. She thought it was super hot, but then, she seems to just plain be hot for Rich. Len thinks Rick has musical arms but didn’t feel the love. Bruno is also hot for Rick and thought he was megasmooth. Bruno and Carrie Ann need to calm down.
Scores: 8, 8 and 8
Bristol and Mark
Dear lord. I can’t decide which is more embarrassing – getting knocked up when your mom is running for vice president or dressing like a monkey and dancing the jive. Really, it’s a toss up.
Mark declares the Monkees slapstick English humor. Davy Jones was British, but, um, the Monkees weren’t the Beatles, Mark. God, this whole show seems designed to make me feel like I’ve watched way too much television in my life.
Bristol seems to be having some problems with this, as she’s missing steps and her timing is off. Although she is emoting more, which is good. Unfortunately, her version of performance is opening her mouth and flexing her tongue like a two year old trying to prove to Mommy that she ate the spinach, all gone! But at least she’s trying.
Len liked the monkey suits. What? And he thought Bristol improved. Bruno thought the timing was off, even though the performance was better. Carrie Ann saw a transformation.
Scores: 6, 6 and 6. The judges were kind to Bristol’s face, but their scores, brutally honest.
Jennifer and Derek
Jennifer is fearful she can’t get the foxtrot. Derek feels the pressure to stay on top. Then, Jennifer and Derek have a couple fight in which she overreacts and he gets irritated. She stomps out of the room. Later, they hug it out. Because there are cameras rolling. But I’m thinking Jennifer is a wee bit too sensitive. Carrie Ann’s suggestion at the beginning of the show that Jennifer needs to be less emotional? Dead on.
Amazingly, the theme to “Married… with Children” works perfectly for this dance. Of course, it helps that “Love and Marriage” is a Sinatra song. This isn’t as amazing as her tango, but it’s good.
Bruno thought Jennifer was the perfect housewife. Carrie Ann thought it was good, but not great. Len thought it was too theatrical.
Scores: 8, 8 and 9
So, it looks like Bristol and Florence could be going home, and if I had to pick the most likely candidate, I’d say Bristol. Really, she’s gone tremendously far for someone who isn’t actually a celebrity, so she should celebrate her birthday by going home and breathing a huge sigh of relief that no one in Alaska will be dressing her like a moose and telling her to dance to the theme of “Northern Exposure” while audience members try to shoot her with pellet guns or something equally horrifying. Really, sometimes lasting in a reality competition is worse than getting the boot.
Who do you think is going home? Who do you think is most improved? And do you think Jennifer is going to self-destruct?