When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”
Before this recap goes any further, we all need to drop what we’re doing and watch Carson Kressly do his returning dance with his partner Anna Trebunskaya and some special guests.
It is the best thing you will see all week. Yes, including your family. God, I love Carson so much.
Seriously: I don’t care if you’re at work or in a house of worship or defusing a bomb. Watch it right this second. You owe this to yourself.
You feel better than you did before you knew such a dance existed, don’t you? Faith in the world burning brightly once more? Good. Me too. Thank you for existing, Carson. Please find a way to come back to us.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s Video Highlights, this alleged “Results Night” had a bunch of new dancing in it.
The first half of the show was dedicated to eliminating the third-place couple. In service of that, each couple picked a favorite dance to redo.
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough picked their Psycho tango, Rob Kapnkrunch and Cheryl Burke picked their “Fly Me to the Moon” foxtrot, and J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff picked their newskids jive.
I was expecting more oomph out of all of these, just because the couples were refreshing instead of re-learning the dances and were theoretically awesoming them up. I actually found all the repeats a little lackluster. I don’t know if it was the loss of the element of novelty or if everyone was just really tired by that point or if it had become so clear that the judging was meaningless that the life was finally drained out of them. Anyway, they re-danced.
Don’t miss Rob’s highly visible screw-up early on!
In case you were wondering how the whole fairness thing was going, all three judges immediately jumped in to say how Rob’s obvious mistake was either charming or negligible. Wow, I really do hope they were paid well for this. It was like the judges had eyeball surgery so they could only see the few moves at a time that Rob could string together and not the klutzball parts that connected them. Or anything he did with his arms.
And then the host explained an elaborate system of scoring with which I will not insult your intelligence.
THIRD PLACE: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
They went out clearly knowing it was rigged and they couldn’t win, and they handled it with grace.
Specifically, Derek spun Ricki on the floor like she was the arrow in a Twister game and it was awesome.
In the second hour, we waited for the final “instant samba” showdown and welcomed the previously eliminated contestants. I bitched about this format yesterday, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the dancerful filler way more than the interminable sketches and video clips from weeks past.
Oh, were we doing a SnapCap? Goodness, you could have knocked me over with a feather boa. Let’s get to it.
Chynna Phillips came back to redeem herself (and her partner Tony Dovolani) by nailing the Mission Impossible dance that got her eliminated. Oh, hi there, thigh holster.
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy also returned to repeat their quickstep. Pick a swear word. Whichever one you chose, Hope could not give one of them. She and Maks were delightfully over this whole thing.
Also, you get to see her kick a light. I bet that gave the judges something to think about.
You’re free now, Hope. Go kick, punch, or elbow some more stuff until you’re back where you need to be. You’ve got the Olympics to think about.
FEELINGS! FEELINGS! FEELINGS!
We saw Karina finally blowing her cool and crying during the dress rehearsal. Apparently she has had a fairly severe neck injury in the past that required surgery, so of course she and J.R. dropped a move into their freestyle that involved him latching onto her neck with a bend on her part and a hell of a lot of momentum on his. I still don’t understand why they put the move in there – it freaked her out and it looks like those one of things that’s really impressive to another trained dancer, but doesn’t necessarily look difficult to an outsider. Which would be most of the audience.
Anyway, she freaked out and balked during rehearsal and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to do it in performance. But then she did! It still mostly only looked like an OK trick, but good for her for pulling through.
Other than that, there were not a ton of feelings flying around this week. We had been given lavish illustration that the show wasn’t real, and the scripting on its own isn’t good enough to generate the suspense of, say, a Battlestar Galactica episode. Or a 30 Rock episode. Or a Blue’s Clues episode. It’s hard to get worked up.
Nevertheless, the show rumbled in with a dramatic opening more appropriate to a re-enactment of the Lincoln assassination. The powers that be behind Dancing of the Stars have no self-awareness whatsoever. None.
They took another swipe at generating emotions after Ricki and Derek were eliminated: We saw a montage of Ricki and Derek with a cutaway box of Ricki and Derek reacting to the montage of Ricki and Derek. It was odd.
On to more fun feelings! David Arquette and Kym Johnson returned to reprise their Grease number with the whole troupe. I have to say, David really won me over this season. He seems to be one heck of an enjoyable lunatic.
We also saw the return of Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer, to spread joy and goodwill far and wide. Even better? Lacey’s dad Buddy Schwimmer came back too!
Their dance is everything Dancing with the Stars as a whole is not: self-aware, carefree, and really fun to watch. Enjoy.
Results Night was a little light on athletic spectacle – I had been sort of hoping that Hope and Maks would throw each other into the rafters for three minutes – but there were plenty of wild lifts and swoops in the performance night freestyle dances.
Ricki Lake did a ferociously low backbend forever while Derek kicked a leg over her face and then bounced her for a bit. They also worked in some butt spins on the floor – always crowd-pleasers, and rightly so – and an over-the-head lift and spin.
J.R. and Karina also had insane, superfun moves, including that dangerous neck hold that I still don’t get. In my opinion, their more spectacular move was the one where she did a sort of reverse-Slinky up his body and whipped around his head.
We also had the spectacle of “Meta World Peace” (né Ron Artest), Elisabetta Canalis, and Kristin Cavallari returning to illustrate the cautionary tale of What Happens When You Agree to Reappear on a National TV Dancing Show, But Maybe Don’t Practice Very Much.
Nancy Grace and her partner Tristan MacManus fared a little better.
It’s the same monsters we’ve been fighting since the beginning, and man, does this show make one battle-weary. Sometimes I barely felt like I could lift my axe, you guys.
On the other hand, being a grizzled warrior does give you some perspective. The judges, for example, are still monsters, but they are so sad and ridiculous, when you really stop to look at them, with their scales all in patches and their tusks falling off. Like when Carrie Ann waits for the crowd to quiet down before she “spontaneously” stands up to shout something in an attempt to be fun and cool.
And then there was the “Judges Uncut” segment in which we learned that Bruno sneezes like the characters in Arrested Development imitating chickens.
Sure, they are monsters. We know that. But maybe it’s less humiliating all around if we just let them slump back into the lake.
And then there is Rob Kidneystone, who may not even know he is a monster. How could he? His Addams Family dance was all too accurate: He is from a family of monsters, and may not have grown up knowing how normal humans behave.
But he is an adult now, and he could have done a little research on not being an entitled creep, but he didn’t. So monster he is.
This was the week when the show finally drew attention to what good teachers the professional dancers have to be to get their celebrity protégés anywhere. J.R. and Ricki had each been thankful and gracious before, and were again this week. Hope Solo, whatever else anyone may think of her, explicitly praised the athleticism of all the pro dancers before she left, and was fiercely appreciative of Maks.
Rob, when he was finally goaded into expressing gratitude for Cheryl’s heroic patience and teaching, only did so in the context of saying how impressed and amazed he was with himself. So she must have done something good, right? Because him him him? At least one of the editors shared my opinion of Rob as a callow snotnose: They showed footage of him just flat-out walking away from Cheryl while she was trying to give him pre-dance advice and encouragement. Yes, this show has really made a man out of him.
My favorite clip they ran during the RobFest was of Carrie Anne calling him the “Cinderella” of the competition. You guys, Carrie Ann understands fairy tales even less than she understands Rob or humor or fun. She would have had to have called him the Puss in Boots of the competition to get a less apt metaphor.
Personal to Carrie Ann: It’s worth reading again. Cinderella is NOT the spoiled, lazy, rich one.
We were also treated to this Karamelcorn gem:
“This week, I’m going to prove that I AM the finals! …The final winner, that is!”
Rob, if you do nothing else in this life – and I realize that there is a very good chance that you won’t – work on your catchphrases.
So here, at last, was some drama: Would the Dancing with the Stars producers cheat a terrific dancer who is an actual war hero in favor of Rob and family’s multilevel marketing juggernaut?
It really isn’t something you could put past them, is it?
It all came down to the instant samba. Much like the instant jive earlier in the season, it was only “instant” in the sense that they didn’t know to which song they’d be performing their previously rehearsed dances.
…And, really, it was kind of a weird, blah way to end things. I’m sure someone thought it would create dramatic tension, but they blew that weeks ago with the blatantly rigged scores. They might as well have ended with some crisp, well polished dances for the spectacle of it.
J.R. and Karina led off, and did a fine job in spite of the fact that Karina was wearing Cinco de Mayo decorations that had been stolen from an Applebee’s.
At least this dance made me finally figure out the context in which Rob is a “good” dancer. He would be a good dancer if you were in high school and everyone was staying a little too late at a summer barbecue and you look over on the shuffleboard court and there’s your friend’s slightly drunk dad dancing and, hey, he’s not too bad for someone’s drunk, slightly toolish dad. He knows a couple of moves. Maybe he took some Arthur Murray classes or something. And just as you nudge her friend to point it out, she looks up and goes “Oh, my God, stop it, Dad! You’re embarrassing me!”
Look at your future, Rob. It looks a lot like your present. Repent and become interesting before it’s too late.
J.R.’S SCORE: A perfect 30!
ROB’S SCORE: A perfect 30!
Holy crumpets, who could have predicted such a dramatic outcome?! Oh, that’s right: everyone. There are patches of plankton that were not surprised by these scores.
There was more talk of how proud everyone was of Rob and how proud Rob was of himself – just blown away by himself – and for a minute I lost faith, and worried that monsters can’t really be defeated.
And then I remembered that this is a world that has Carson’s vogue in it, and knew that this must be a world that skews toward the good.
Case in point:
THE WINNERS: J. R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
It was a well deserved win, from almost the first week. Congratulations to them, and to us for tearing through all the muck and brambles along the way.
We have defeated the monsters, and we are free. Raise your glass, raise your spirits, and raise your kids better than any of the Karmasplashians.
And celebrate, people. Go forth and dance.