Beauty and the Geek
My DVR let me down. I checked it twice before leaving the house to make sure the season pass was working, but lo and behold, it didn't record. OK, maybe it wasn't all technology's fault; Mother Nature and a pesky thunderstorm might have had a little something to do with knocking out the power while the show was on. I feel so helpless with TV stuff out of my control, much like I'm sure both the Beauties and the Geeks felt while they were roughing it in the great outdoors. The mere idea of Richard in the wilderness makes me giggle; the promos alone had me cracking up. I was forced to call my friend Julie, who kindly informed me the übergeek is still around since Scarlet and Shawn lost the camping quiz. I can only imagine the look on Chuck's face next week when Richard strolls back in after three times in the elimination room especially since Scarlet is (or was) the massaging man's "special" gal pal. Right now I'm scouring the office to find someone who taped what I'm sure was a stellar episode. And if I can't manage to track it down, thanks to WB's handy easy-view on Sunday, I'll have something to fill up my holiday weekend with besides just overeating and watching fireworks. Angel Cohn
Dancing with the Stars
I've sort of resigned myself to the idea that Kelly is going to win. She's got that amazing GH fan base, and much as it would have pained me to say this a few weeks ago, she's actually getting to be pretty good. I think I even caught her smiling a few times tonight. During the fox-trot she just wasn't as much fun to watch as Joey, with his kicky performance, or John, with his technically proficient and graceful one. But the judges were right: Joey and adorable Ashly have put in solid performances every week, but while they are entertaining, it's clear that John has stepped up the game and that silent but deadly Alec is determined to keep his soapy partner in the competition and she's willing to work her butt off to stay with him.
I was excited to see the paso doble because when I spoke to John earlier this week, he teased off the record that he had a big "cape" surprise and that he loved the theatrics. He was right; the erstwhile J. Peterman shocked the live audience with Charlotte's breakaway dress and his sexy bullfighting moves. He's who I'm pulling for next week. The judges seem to adore him and he's always having fun and managing to get the job done at the same time. Loved Kelly's sexy little number (I'm glad that she made it through without any strap mishaps), but I wanted more of the signature paso doble move where the guy throws his arms up over his head in a very matadorlike manner. OK, clearly I've seen Strictly Ballroom way too many times, but that's the move that sticks out in my mind. Other than that, Kelly and Alec made all the right moves. (I couldn't help but think that Trista never would have survived the close quarters of this dance.) Joey looked great with his riled-up partner whose original crush on him seemed to pass really quickly but sadly, it was a case of too little, too late. In the judges' and the audience's eyes, he's no longer hangin' tough in this competition. Perhaps it had something to do with the music; it was originally kind of neat that he was making younger, hipper choices, but just seemed to get weird. "Eye of the Tiger"? It's just too ironic that Survivor originally sang that song. Mostly, I wasn't shocked that he left, but I was really surprised that it's already the finale. I guess time does fly when you are having fun. And maybe next week I'll finally figure out what that backstage cohost whose name I can never remember is actually doing there besides asking the world's most obvious questions. Do they really need two people to do that? Idol survived just fine without Dunkleman, that's all I'm sayin'. AC30 DaysTonight's trading-places doc was the most moving so far. This is the first episode in which the monthlong ordeal really changed the subject's perspective. David Stacy, a 33-year-old West Virginian, readily admitted his prejudices about Muslim people. Sadly, I don't find his ignorance, or the ignorance of the people Morgan Spurlock interviewed on the street, all that shocking. And given his fears of violence and terrorism, it's pretty amazing he agreed to live with a family in the predominantly Muslim community of Dearborn, Mich., and to follow all their traditions. The outward transformations were easy enough for David throw on a tunic, grow a beard and take your shoes off in the house (though, jeez, I can't believe he forgot that last one when he was meeting with the mosque's imam!). The five-times-daily prayers were what he had a tough time with, thinking the practice would compromise his Christianity. I'm not sure why he couldn't just do his own silent Christian prayer and call it a day. But rather than stay there feeling "like Nemo" out of the ocean, he went the extra mile and sought out teachers who could help him understand Islam in a way that meshed with his own spirituality. I got all choked up watching him work out the different prayer positions on his own. And then he got to experience discrimination from the other side when he went around town trying to gather signatures for a petition against racial profiling of Muslims. People used 9/11 as an excuse for so much irrational hate, and I don't think David got a single "yes." Back at his temporary home, he got into a heated debate with his hosts, Sadia and Shamael, about whether or not Muslim leaders should have to apologize for the actions of fringe extremists, and just before anyone said anything they could regret, "click," time for prayer and the argument dissipates. That totally drove home the value of this discipline that restores peace so regularly. And though David's teachers wrote "Let's agree to disagree" on his goodbye cake, it's pretty clear he went home eager to share his newfound respect and understanding with anyone who thinks like his pre-30 Days self. Sabrina Rojas Weiss
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