Dancing with the Stars
I think I was the only person in the office who didn't watch this over the summer, and I regretted it for months, so I had high expectations here tonight. The only problem is, it seems like the show's producers have decided that everyone else watching was a fan of the first season, so we got very little explanation of how the celebrities and partners were matched up, how long they had to learn their dances, what dances to expect in the coming weeks, etc. How about a little bit of love for the new people here? Master P says he got all the people in the 'hood to watch! OK, I'll cut to the dancing right away, like the show did:
George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska: I thought George would be pretty good, since he's older and maybe dancing would come with the Hollywood-legend training. But alas, he was ruined by a yachting accident and had to rely on visual jokes. The little footwork he did was promising, so maybe when he feels better, we'll see more flair. Loved Edyta's dress — can she put her groceries in there, too?
Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel: How much would I love to be as flexible as Lisa when I'm 42? Sans scary collagen injections, though. I liked how flowy their waltz was, but I'm no expert, so I couldn't see the "nervous legs" the judges mentioned.
Kenny Mayne and Andrea Hale: Kenny's enthusiasm and robotic movements in the cha-cha reminded me of the nerds in my sixth-grade cotillion class — he knew he'd be bad, so he just played class clown, hoping for laughs instead of admiration. And it worked.
Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani: I think Stacy's legs are longer than my whole body. She had a lot of nice balletic poses in that waltz, putting her long limbs to good use. I just wish she did some actual movement and footwork to the beat. This time, though, the judges were less critical than I.
Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: From the rehearsal montage, you never would have guessed how good these two would be in their cha-cha. I was poised to make some mean Nick comments, but this performance made that completely unnecessary.
Tia Carrere and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Tia is as radiant and gorgeous as ever, just months after having a baby. Her body must hurt, though. At least that's what it looked like with those overly careful turns and slow movements. Again, I'm way more critical than the judges.
Master P and Ashly Del Grosso: Props to P for stepping in at the last minute and being a good sport about his "gangsta cha-cha." I bet they didn't have time to special-order dance shoes for those monster feet of his. Would that explain his Frankenstein-like performance? Poor Ashly really tried hard to move enough for the both of them.
Giselle Fernandez and Jonathan Roberts: I do agree with Len and Bruno's praise of Giselle's rise and fall in the waltz. Still, it was a rather bland dance overall.
Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya: Anna's bossy abuse of the football legend was rather adorable; I hope she hasn't damaged his ego too badly. He looked supernervous on the dance floor, but that booty shaking (and the cute football shuffle) saved him.
Tatum O'Neal and Nick Kosovich: Was Tatum on something to calm that queasy feeling the spins gave her, or is she naturally that weird? They were smooth and made that waltz look nearly effortless, though. No one was more shocked than Tatum that she pulled it off! — Sabrina Rojas Weiss
My Name Is Earl
Between the unfortunate innuendos on the Right Choice Ranch's many signs — "Touching bad boys since 1963" — and Randy's fear of birds and pope hats, tonight's episode was quite like the white-trash version of Arrested Development, complete with Latina-maid jokes. If you didn't get Catalina's comeback when Joy warned her not to injure her toilet-scrubbing hand, what she said, so cleverly disguised as an insult, was: "I want to thank the Latino public that joins us each week, and to those of you who aren't Latinos, I congratulate you on learning another language." For all her love of Crab Man, it sounds like Joy still needs to be chased around by an ostrich during the Racism Is Having Your Head in the Sand Bonfire — though I did enjoy her un-PC threat to Dodge and Earl Jr.: "I'll slap you so hard, you'll both switch colors!" It was refreshing to see Earl get a little mean for once, when he decided to blame everything on his list on Randy. Until now, it was so hard to imagine the selfish, pre-Carson Daly Earl. Of course, this allowed for some priceless opportunities to see the wheels turning in Randy's sweet, simple mind as he grappled with Earl's list — the thought, for example, that he was responsible for ruining their chances of ever living in the Earlhamas and the threat of an angry ostrich. As for the seemingly reformed Dodge and Earl Jr., they are undeniably cute kids, but amid such an amusing, talented cast, their robotic lesson-teaching was jarringly bad. Oh, well, maybe their three parents can send them off to theater camp next year. — Sabrina Rojas Weiss
So this is the new arrangement, then? The Office moves to Thursdays and commences with an entire half-hour of breaking my heart? One more gut-wrenching look of longing from Jim and I'm gonna make a special weekend trip to Lake Wallenpaupack myself, just so I can jump overboard. (But not like the guy who thinks the boat's pulling a Titanic and reasonably decides to make a break for it; my plunge would have a little more "Goodbye, cruel sitcom world!" panache.) The romantic atmosphere aboard the booze cruise — and a snorkel shot or two — finally persuades Pam's fiancé, Roy, to set a wedding date, and it's the straw that breaks the lovesick camel's back. Not only does our adorably twitterpated Jim break up with his hottie ex-cheerleader of a girlfriend (an always effortless Amy Adams), but he even goes so far as to confess his painful secret to Michael. Who, as it happens, is 1) clueless about it, 2) sweetly supportive with his advice and, my personal favorite, 3) in the "brig" for unboatsmanlike conduct. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: I just can't get enough of Michael's delicate balance between cringe-worthy buffoon and actual human being. Golden Globe nomination well deserved, Steve Carell.
A few quickies I can't help but mention: Meredith gettin' busy with Captain Jack and then showing up in nothing but a life preserver and a skirt; Kevin's sly grin as he packs a strip of condoms in his travel bag; Michael handing out Gilligan's Island alter egos and labeling Stanley "one of the Globetrotters" (stop, you're hurting me!); and the oh-so-realistic sheen of postpuke sweat on Michael's face just before the cruise gets really ugly.
I'm noticing a trend, by the way: SNL alums are pitch-perfect at stepping into the Dunder-Mifflin universe. We've seen David Koechner, Tim Meadows and now Rob Riggle. (He's not in the cast anymore? Seriously?) You hear that, Ana Gasteyer? The casting couch is calling. — Chana Shwadlenak