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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: TV theme night

Apparently, we have some time to waste on tonight's Dancing With the Stars because we kick off with the judges giving us the rundown on the contestants' time on the show so far. In case, you know, we've forgotten.

After 30 minutes of reminiscing, the dancing finally starts. Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are up first. They're doing the quickstep to the theme from "Friends." They start out like they're in the audience waiting to watch and then suddenly realize they're supposed to be on stage. It's very cute, and the kind of goofy characters they're embodying tonight really work for them. Len Goodman: "I'm so impressed with that! I'm not joking!" He says it's without doubt her best dance so far. Bruno Tonioli says they found the right formula and that they were going so fast, he broke his pen trying to keep time. Carrie Ann Inaba says their bond is finally cemented and now they're at a "whole 'nother level." Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.

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Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas have "The Brady Bunch" theme -- of course. It would have been a travesty not to. She invites Barry Williams to stop by during rehearsal, and she makes a joke about how he has said he had a crush on her, and how she will neither confirm nor deny whether anything went on. Creepy! Their dance -- the tango -- is on point, but they do this weird comedy thing where he jerks her arms on this one beat. Bruno says it started out classically and beautifully and then the ragdoll stuff was a mess and killed it for him. Carrie Ann says she liked it. Len says he wishes he was a sexy senior, which garners him a kiss from Florence. He says she's here on merit, not a fluke, and that parts of this were excellent, parts were frantic, and this was probably her best dance so far. Scores: 7-7-7, for a 21/30.

Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya draw the "Bewitched" theme and perform the quickstep to it. It's cute and sassy, just like the show, though at the end I'm not sure if he dropped her by accident. Carrie Ann says she just saw the spirit of Gene Kelly enter Kurt's body -- he made it look so easy. Len says after last week, the only way to go is up, and up he went. Bruno says that the magic is back and that this worked. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.

Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani prepare for the rumba, but Audrina is feeling awkward about the closeness. Tony says Richard Gere said the best way to prepare for that is to eat onion and garlic so you are thinking about that instead of the closeness, or something. As Tom says, sounds like Tony got punked. And their theme song is from, natch, "The Hills." To me, the performance is missing something, even though they seem on step and everything. It just felt a little boring. Len says it was an excellent rumba, with great footwork and everything, but occasionally, she looked a little intimidated. Bruno says she's improved technically, but he wants this dance to smolder. "Don't be plastic, be fantastic, because you can!" Burn! Carrie Ann says everything was gorgeous from the hips down, but above that, it was still and dead. She also thinks she saw a lift, but Tony says mm-mmm, no way. Scores: 7-8-8, for a 23/30.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer have "Charlie's Angels" as their show and foxtrot as their dance. Kyle seems to be thinking really hard about his technique, but I'm not sure how far it's going to get him, since I can just tell that Len is going to hate the 1970s disco breakdown moves they sprinkle throughout the dance. It's still cute, though. I'd say cheesy, but hello, this is Dancing With the Stars. That's built in. Bruno says he brings on the feel-good factor, but this was a foxtrot possessed by disco flavor, with not enough foxtrot. Carrie Ann disagrees -- she loves how he was leading and his focus on the technique. Len says it started bad and got worse and worse. He says it was a joke and he couldn't stand it. In case you aren't totally sure how he felt, he calls it terrible a couple of times. (Good thing Bolton is out -- he couldn't handle that kind of criticism.) Scores: 8-5-7, for a 20/30.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke meet with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson so Cheryl can maybe get some insight into what it's like to work with Rick. He's a perfectionist, don't you know. They do the rumba to the "Hill Street Blues" theme. He's trying to kick the Megatron comparison from last week, but I'm thinking he still has some robotic moments going on. For some reason, their height difference seems a little more pronounced tonight. Carrie Ann: "Officer, it should be a crime that you could look that good and rumba so well." Len says it had an ease and an elegance and musical arms, but he didn't get the feeling of a developing romance. "It was more like a couple staying together for the sake of the children." Bruno: "The children are going to be gorgeous. ... In a week, you went from Megatron to Megasmooth." OK, I guess I'm on drugs. It happens. (Not literally.) Scores:  8-8-8, for a 24/30.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas work on showing personality as they dance the jive to "The Monkees" theme. Mark brings a clown class to Bristol to drag some more personality out of her. And ... yeah. So they start out in ape costumes, and I think this totally throws Bristol off, as she appears to barely be moving. Then they rip off the costumes and keep dancing, and she looks totally lost throughout. It's like kid-forgets-the-words-during-the-talent-show painful, except on national television. Len says he loves the Monkees and the costume. He says he thinks he saw a higher level of performance from her. What? Bruno says she tried to perform, but the technique fell apart completely. Carrie Ann says she is happy for her because she is making a transformation, but she forgot a lot of the moves. Um, were they watching the same performance? Scores: 6-6-6, for an 18/30.

Last up are Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, who are having some communication issues in rehearsal. (Oh, and by the way, I evidently can't do math because during the first part of the show when they said that Jennifer was 50, I almost fell out of my chair.) They get over it and foxtrot to "Love and Marriage," the "Married ... With Children" theme. They are, as usual, adorable and entertaining and amazing. Bruno says it was like watching the perfect housewife, beautifully danced. Carrie Ann says it was good, but not nearly Jennifer's best. She wants her to pull it together next week. Len says the actual dance was lovely, but it was too theatrical. (Tom says he wanted Bristol and Mark in the monkey suits longer, remember?) Scores: 8-8-9, for a 25/30.

Next week, by the way, is rock and roll week and the first week of two dances. What's with all the themes?

What did you think about tonight? The TV theme seemed to add an extra level of cheese, which honestly, this show could do without. At least, that's how it felt to me. How about you?

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