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'Dancing With the Stars': Penn, Monica and the Jonas Brothers

March 26, 2008 |  9:17 am

There are many impressive things about “Dancing with the Stars.” The bravery of the celebrities. The flamboyant costumes. Moves like the “death spiral.” Samantha Harris’ perfectly defined arms, maintained throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. But the most impressive thing of all is how ABC manages to use and reuse the same footage to fill four hours of time each and every week.

That isn’t to say there isn’t anything illuminating about watching all of the dances in the recap show, but I’ll just tell you what that was so you can use that hour to solve major problems facing the world, such as Britney Spears. While reviewing the dances, I pondered the question: Is it easier to be the man, who’s supposed to lead but who has less responsibility for overtly fancy moves, or is it easier to be the woman, who can be tossed around by a good male lead but who is expected to twirl, spiral, spin, leap, and so forth? The pros can obviously make up for a great many deficiencies on the part of the stars –- the male pros can assertively direct the movements of the female stars, and the female pros can distract you by whirling, dropping into the splits, and wearing very little. So it’s hard to say which role is tougher. But the point of this little treatise is to say that in watching all of the dances, I saw that the celebrities who did the best job were the men (Jason, Mario) who seemed as if they were truly leading and the women (Kristi and, to some degree, Marlee and Priscilla, with Shannon performing well this week) who managed to pull off the “spectacle” maneuvers with fluency. In other words, the ones who did the same things as the pros. Okay, maybe not such a news flash.

Penn_2 Tonight, Samantha was wearing a rather unfortunate Grecian-style gown that involved bands above and below her bosom. It was very distracting, and I hope that the person in charge of wardrobe will rethink his/her aesthetic for next week. Beyond that, not much about the results show was surprising. Cutting to the chase, Penn and Kym were eliminated, as were Monica and Jonathan. Any other outcome would have been profoundly shocking. I will admit that when we were down to the last two couples on the male side (Penn/Kym and Cristián/Cheryl), my attention momentarily wandered, and when I heard Tom say, “Penn and Kym,” I initially thought this meant that they were continuing. Just before I started breaking stuff, I realized that they meant Penn and Kym were eliminated. Even in defeat, Penn wouldn’t stop talking.

Before Monica was actually eliminated, I worried that she might have a nervous breakdown when the inevitable came to pass. While the last three couples -– Monica/Jonathan, Marissa/Tony and Priscilla/Louis –- were waiting to hear their fates, Monica looked as if she fully expected to hear not just that she was eliminated, but that she had pancreatic cancer and a warrant out for her arrest as well. Marissa looked like a bundle of nerves, and Priscilla looked like she always does. But once it was revealed that, yes, Monica would be going home, she was calm and gracious, and this was further evidence that Tom Petty was right when he said the waiting is the hardest part.

Steve and Anna were the first couple to be “saved,” and you can imagine what Steve thought of this. If you can’t, I’ll tell you –- he’s thrilled because he’s having so much fun and making so many friends, and he’ll work really hard this week on his “musicality, technique, chest, and posture.” Jason remarked that he loves Steve because Steve loves life. Adam heckled the Jonas Brothers (tonight’s guest performers) because one of them has a unibrow like Adam. For you Jonas Brothers fans, they’ll be on Jimmy Kimmel tomorrow. Next week, the guest performer will be Kylie Minogue.

What did you think of the results tonight? And do any of you care to make bold predictions for the future?

-- Sarah Rogers

(Photo courtesy ABC)