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'Dancing With the Stars': Steve Guttenberg goes out in style

Steve Despite my occasionally cynical remarks about Steve Guttenberg’s unflappable sanguinity, I have to admit he got me thinking. He inspired me to try to make a list of the country’s happiest public figures, and I had gotten to five -- Steve, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Rachael Ray (who happened to be the subject of E! True Hollywood Story on the TV at the gym, where I was ruminating on this matter), and those two guys who do “Car Talk” on NPR. Who knows how many more I could have come up with had I continued to have Steve around as my inspiration?

Yes, fans, as you may have seen or heard, “The Gute” was eliminated this week. Fortunately, he went out in style. For the encore dance, the judges requested that Steve perform his tango from this week’s competition, but they wanted him to dance with Jonathan, as he had done in rehearsals while Anna was sick. Tom Bergeron referred to this all-male tango as a “mango,” and I found it (the dance, not Tom’s bon mot) delightful. Jonathan, a rose in his mouth, convincingly danced the female part, though I will say that shimmying is less effective when you don’t have boobs. The dance ended with an inadvertently slapstick fall that only made it all the more charming.

Was Steve disappointed? Devastated? Blind with rage? Of course not. He was so busy thanking his fellow contestants and the judges that the show ran out of time before we could hear his thoughts, but he did manage to get out that he’ll miss seeing everyone all week and that he has a wonderful family and friends. As he's saying “and if I could just say one thing...” Tom cuts him off. We’ll never know what that one thing was. It was probably some encouragement for those of us eating pizza on the couch at home, leading desultory and perhaps empty existences while our houses fall in value around us and commodity prices spike, affecting everything from gasoline to the corn syrup in our Mountain Dews, but we’ll just have to find some way to go on, perhaps by brewing our own moonshine.

Where was I? Well, it did surprise me that Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony remained to dance another day. She must have a committed fan base. In the post-dance interviews from the night before, she admits to having felt extremely confident about their dance, certain that they’d be getting eights. I admire her honesty. It’ll be interesting to see if they can markedly improve next week -- right now, they would seem to be in the most danger.

The other couple who seemed as if they could possibly be imperiled were Adam Carolla and Julianne, but they got saved pretty early in the results show. When Samantha Harris interviews the first few contestants who were saved (Kristi Yamaguchi, Marissa, Adam and Priscilla Presley), Adam seizes the mike from her and starts to control the interview, which made me briefly envision a much more entertaining version of the show. Can Samantha (or, really, her writers) be eliminated?

The filler for tonight was reasonably amusing. The musical guest was Kylie Minogue, and the dance guests were from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Additionally, there was a sketch about how the stars burn off their stress. From the first scene, it was really, really clear that this was an April Fool’s gag, though Tom makes sure to articulate this at the very end of the show. With 20 million viewers, you know some people would be buying it. Here’s the lightning version of what the stars’ hobbyist alter-egos allegedly were: (1) Jason Taylor -- maker of those tiny cutter ships in bottles, (2) Marlee Matlin -- volunteer police offers who reads lips in the dark, (3) Shannon Elizabeth – “MacGyver” fan club president and Richard Dean Anderson stalker, (4) Kristi Yamaguchi -- hot dog-eating champion, (5) Priscilla Presley -- owner of a psychic hotline, (6) Marissa Jaret Winokur -- rabid surfer, (7) Steve Guttenberg -- freestyle rapper MC Gute and (8) Cristián de la Fuente -- otter-lover.

Also on the show was Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a noted matchmaker, who assessed the stars’ and pros’ compatibility as dance partners. Nothing earth-shattering here: you don’t want the people in the pairs to be too alike or too different. She rates Adam and Julianne as a mismatch, while Shannon and Derek are too similar. In the end, she deems Kristi and Mark the most compatible since they’re each calm, temperate and team-oriented. Also, they’re the ringers here. She claims not to have taken any actual dancing abilities into account.

You know, I’ll miss Steve Guttenberg almost as much as I miss “Veronica Mars,” which is (a) a lot and (b) where I last saw Steve, when he was playing mayor/pedophile Woody Goodman. Well, as Tom put it tonight, Steve certainly has a future with the Peace Corps. Fare thee well, Gute.

-- Sarah Rogers

(Photo courtesy of ABC)

 
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