Cloris Leachman’s antics lead the comedy and drama on Dancing with the Stars 7’s debut

It is now your mission to vote every Monday night (and tonight) for Cloris Leachman, because she absolutely must remain on Dancing with the Stars 7 until the very last episode. She was the potty mouthed, rule-breaking, host-insulting highlight in the most outrageous episode yet.

In perhaps her best moment in a series of great moments, Cloris Leachman exposed Samantha Harris’ inability to add up the scores and basically called Samantha “stupid.” After receiving her scores–which led to dropped audio because she said “shit” twice–she grabbed a card being held up by someone off-camera, and revealed that it had her total score, 16, written on it. “Look it, let me show you,” Leachman said. “They can’t even add up the numbers, they’re so stupid here.” Samantha tried to recover, and you know how well that went. (Watch that and the rest of the segment below.)

While the 82-year-old Oscar- and Emmy-winner was moderately entertaining during the clip package, she was outrageously funny after she danced, completely interrupting the normal judging by climbing up on the judges’ table and interacting directly with each of them. She put her leg up on the table while Bruno Tonioli gave his scores, dismissed Len Goodman immediately, and then sat in Carrie Ann Inaba’s lap. Early in the broadcast, Tom Bergeron said, “I have this image of the ABC censors in the control room doing tequila shots to get ready for Cloris Leachman,” and his prediction was exactly right.

Beyond that, Dancing with the Stars proved why it’s the second-most popular show in the country, because its live format leads to completely unpredictable chaos. There was sexual orientation confusion: two women hit on Bruno, who saw “more action tonight than in six seasons,” Tom said, and Samantha Harris suggested that Lacey Schwimmer might have a chance with Lance Bass. Lacey said she was “a huge fan” of Lance’s, and added, “I thought he was going to marry me but that’s not going to happen anymore.” Samantha said, “I don’t know! Let’s get your scores.” Nice recovery.

Bruno was also rather randy. When Jeffrey Ross put his leg on the table like Cloris did, Bruno said, “you haven’t got the tits,” and the censors tried to cut that word but missed it. Bruno also told Kim Kardashian that she has a “treasure trove that everybody would want to explore, but you have to make it more available.” And he told Susan Lucci, “You look like a lady and a gorgeous lady, but the cha cha cha needs a slut.”

There were also injuries; during rehearsals Monday morning, Karina Smirnoff sprained her ankle and Jeffrey Ross scratched his cornea, but both still danced. However, with a total score of 12, Jeffrey Ross may be heading home tonight, when one pair will be eliminated and the rest will dance again.

All of that was fun, but definitely watch (or re-watch) the episode’s highlight, Cloris Leachman dancing and then being judged:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.