I've given Kate Gosselin a hard time over the past few weeks, but I've been thinking lately that she is just the scapegoat for my general annoyance with reality television personalities. I understand the premise of reality television. I get that we are drawn to it because it makes us feel like we can be famous without having any discernible talent to justify that fame. What kind of democracy would we be if we hadn't figured out a way around that inconvenient prerequisite? I also get that we've become more fascinated with what's happening behind the scenes than what's happening in front of the camera – so I guess it was only a matter of time before the camera spent more time explaining how a show gets made than filming the actual show. But I'm beginning to think that the toxic by-product might be too high a price to pay. We've allowed Gosselins and Real Housewives and Kardashians and Pratts to pollute the cultural landscape with their narcissistic behavior, packaging it as "reality," and then wonder how we became the type of people who walk by a man dying on the street. Let's hope that kicking Kate to the curb is a sign that we're starting to rebel, although I'm not convinced we've quite learned our lesson yet. At least she can do less damage on basic cable.
Jake and Chelsie danced a samba, and once again his waxed chest was front and center. But it's going to take more than his perky pecs to get the job done this week. The practice routine showed him buckling under the pressure of his newfound position as a distant third to Nicole and Evan. In response, he Jaked it up a notch, technically mastering most of the steps but stumbling out of rhythm to the music while Chelsie held on for dear life. Meanwhile, he distracted us with a series of disturbing facial expressions that ranged from horny guppy to terrified chimpanzee. Judges were moderate in their praise, giving him props for pep for but suggesting that he might want to actually listen to the music when he's dancing next go around.
Dance Score: 21
Swing Score: 4
During practice, Evan and Anna were doing a lift, and Anna dropped Evan on his head. Strangely, a mild concussion did not seem to change Evan's personality one bit. He continued to speak in monosyllabic pothead voice and approach every new dance move as if his body was simply receiving another download from a "Matrix"-like software program. This week it didn't work, however, as the judges criticized his technique, saying it was not "samba-like," a distinction lost on everybody but them. For each nasty comment, Evan merely smiled and thanked them for their comments while wondering how long it would be until he could get backstage and slam some tasty 'za.
Dance Score: 21
Swing Score: 6
Niecy and Louis performed a comic Argentine tango, in which Niecy spent the dance trying to wrestle a cookie from Louis' breast pocket. She knew this week that emotion, jiggly parts or her infectious personality weren't going to win the judges over, so she concentrated on the footwork and technique, as her high heels kicked and jabbed perilously close to Louis' jiggly parts. It worked, though. Judges gave her good feedback and the same scores as Jake and Evan.
Dance Score: 21
Swing Score: 5
Erin and Maks continued their lovemaking in practice while tackling the samba. Maks told her to loosen her hips and relax, becoming more stressed out the less relaxed she became. She protested, saying that she was by nature an analyzer and overthinker – which I have to admit sounded odd coming from somebody who looks and sounds like Malibu Barbie. The march of the male pecs continued, as Maks undressed and wiggled through the routine while Erin spun about in the background like a prop. Len had a minor hissy, telling Erin that she could do much better if they dropped the theatrics and Maks kept his clothes on, but the rest of us were pleased.
Dance Score: 25
Swing Score: 9
Chad and Cheryl seemed back to making sexy-time again this week in the practice session, as Cheryl demanded that Chad take control and manhandle her for their Argentine tango. And did he ever. Cheryl climbed him like a jungle gym, at times making me think the camera would cut away only to return to a shot of Cheryl's mussed hair and Chad's satisfied grin. "Oh yeah, I did," he'd wink at us. Judges loved their chemistry and announced that Chad was back.
Dance Score: 24
Swing Score: 7
Nicole and Derek danced a samba. It seems in every practice session, we have the dance instructors telling their students not to overanalyze what they're doing – perhaps a luxury that's easier to adhere to when you've been dancing every day for 20 years. Nicole did a full Barbra Streisand on Derek, worrying about everything from where the cameramen were going to be situated to how her face would look from different angles. I guess when you're at the top of your game it's the only thing left to do. Once again, she nailed it, increasing her dominance over the rest of the field, but not before crankypants Len drooled something about things that nobody noticed or cared about.
Dance Score: 26
Swing Score: 10
Pamela always does her pre-dance interviews from a high-backed, terry cloth-covered chair, giving the impression that she's luxuriating in a Beverly Hills sauna (or the producers have noticed that she's oozing sex from every pore and don't want to ruin the furniture). In practice, she refused to let wee Damian lift her for their Argentine tango routine -- not that I can blame her. Damian's a little fella, and although of slight frame, she can't feel completely confident that he can handle the double Ds without dropping her on her ass. She donned a dark wig for the routine this week in the spirit of the Latin flavor, proving without a doubt that the sex doesn't come from the blonde hair. HOT.
Dance Score: 22
Swing Score: 8
The evening ended with a swing dance marathon, where all of the couples danced until they were tapped out by the judges. Jake and Chelsie out first, then Niecy and Louis, then Evan and Anna, then Chad and Cheryl, then Pamela and Damian, then Erin and Maks, until Nicole and Derek were the last couple standing.
Do you suppose the judges noticed that all of the male celebrities were ousted first, perhaps because it's easier for the male professionals to throw their female counterparts around than for the women dance instructors to do the same? Food for thought, Len, as you're shoving cold porridge into the frostbitten hands of orphans in your downtime.