Tuesday, December 21, 2010
SWTS: Another Failed Skating Series
With the success of the Olympics, the return of the Grand Prix to network television in the US and the announcement of Skating With The Stars, there was hope that skating may gain a bit more respect. With Stars On Ice struggling to rebuild and maintain an audience (and tour stops), every bit helps. There was hope that Skating With The Stars could work. Similar series work in other countries, but it has yet to take off here. Skating With Celebrities failed and there was a faint hope that the Dancing With The Stars producers could get it right.
Scripted series spend months and often years in development. There are scripts, rewrites, pilots, reshoots, recasting, etc. The same amount of time and effort isn't spent on a cheaply produced holiday spinoff. It showed on Skating With The Stars. There is no way for a skating series to really have any salience when it only runs for five weeks.
Last night, Brooke Castile and Jonny Moseley were voted off. He took it well. Then again, it isn't like this series is widely viewed or meaningful in terms of career building. There isn't likely to be a Post-SWTS bump for anyone other than Tanith Belbin. She got some broadcast experience and clips to add to her reel. The series might give Johnny Weir a few minutes of footage on his reality series, but it certainly won't be a reason to tune in.
Watching Brooke and Jonny bitch at one another was one of the few highlights of this series. The only other may have been wondering whether they were or not they were sleeping together.
Many have suggested that having name skaters would've helped. It certainly would have, but Johnny Weir doesn't want to close any doors on his amateur status. It is unlikely that he'll ever return, but an unknown series wasn't something to shut that door over. International skaters couldn't be in the series due to ISU Regulations. They also decided to go with pairs skaters and dancers. It wound up helping a tad, as the skaters may not have learned a damn thing about edges or three-turns, but they all performed eye-popping lifts for such amateurs. Had they convinced Yamaguchi to give pairs a whirl again, it would've helped. Then again, she could very well cost far more $ than they were willing to shell out.
Bethenny Frankel made the finals. Given her level of skating ineptitude, it was a complete joke. Bethenny said she was not surprised to make the finals. She had some BS reason. It was obvious from day one that she had the largest fan base and was likely making more than the other 'stars.' Her tiff with Johnny Weir (all about the tension surrounding his friendship with Jill Zarin) provided the only modicum of interest produced by this series. Ethan and Tanith would read lines about 'shocking eliminations' and 'edge -of-your-seat drama' that were cringeworthy and laughable given how poor the show was and how low the ratings have been.
It is amazing that Bethenny made the finals of a skating show without doing any back crossovers in her routines. That is a bit of an issue. Compared with week one, she bent her knees slightly more and was less rigid with her shoulders. Bethenny was never going to catch up to Rebecca Budig in a month.
Rebecca and Fred won. They deserved it. We knew they were the best during the first week. Rebecca clearly has an extensive skating background. Had every contestant had a background like Rebecca, the series could've been more interesting. Watching quasi-celebrities skate around like they would in a mall with their kids over Christmas break just doesn't work as a series.
The judges obviously needed time and practice. Perhaps Kristi and Katarina weren't available to reprise their roles as judges from Thin Ice. Their chemistry with Dick worked surprisingly well. This panel floundered. The Dancing With The Stars judges all had television or film experience before landing their roles. They also see over a dozen contestants every week and are able to get their chemistry down. One needs to question just how much rehearsal time the judges had on SWTS. A lack of rehearsal time would explain why everything is 'Amazing.' It doesn't help that the public can tell that the skating is bad when the judges try to pretend otherwise. One can fake good dancing. Everyone has danced at weddings or taken a few classes during their youth. There is a bit of showmanship that can help 'fake it' on DWTS. One can't fake looking comfortable on the ice. It goes without saying that Johnny would've been better suited as a skating pro. Then again, he isn't exactly the lifting type.
The best part of the finale was Johnny Weir's performance with Laurie Ann Gibson's choreography. There has been a strong feeling that skating needs to modernize. This was something one could see working in Vegas. Perhaps Melissa and Denis should hire Johnny to be the star of their show? It would certainly help from making it another SWTS-type failure.
In closing, I feel bad for whoever is going to have to put up with Bethenny Frankel's only child in the future. There is nothing more irritating than a woman who craves being married and then craves having a child so obsessively that they are ready to open their legs for anyone. While her husband seems great, the number of times she mentions 'being a mom' is on par with Kate Gosselin. Given that there is only one child and not eight for her to obsess over and exploit, the world is likely going to have a monster on their hands.
Brandon apparently cared so little about the show that he didn't appear in the finale, nor did he even try to push through having the stomach flu. That certainly answers any questions about the possibility of a second season.