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March 17th, 2011 |
By Dean Robbins



‘Dancing with the Stars’ recovers from the Bristol Palin fiasco


“Dancing with the Stars” (Monday, 7 p.m., ABC) had always been a silly showcase for bad dancing. But last season, it took an ugly turn. Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol joined the competition (even though the title includes the word “stars”) and proceeded to touch off a civil war in the United States. Unaccountably, Bristol kept advancing to the next round, despite her clunky moves and her relatively poor assessments from the judges. Tea Party supporters were allegedly stuffing the ballot box, while Democrats (and even some conservatives with aesthetic standards) cried foul.

The new cast is free of such contentious figures, favoring the usual singers, actors, athletes and models. Can we please just get back to normal bad dancing?

‘The Pee-wee Herman Show’

Saturday, 9 p.m. (HBO)

I’m the world’s biggest Pee-wee Herman fan. I never missed an episode of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” in the late 1980s, and I can recite “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” by heart. I always wished that, one day, Paul Reubens would bring back his iconic character — that nerdy, manic, mischievous kid in a man’s body.

Now he has, in a Broadway show filmed for HBO, and it’s a major disappointment. As much as you want the old magic to return, “The Pee-wee Herman Show” lacks inspiration. It’s more like a nostalgic tour of Pee-wee gags, from the “Tequila” dance to “that’s my name, don’t wear it out.” And Reubens, now in his late 50s, can’t muster enough of the old childish glee as he interacts with the Playhouse people and puppets.

I think I’ll just quietly turn off the TV and recite, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” by heart. CV