Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guilty Pleasures/My Favorite Things - Tarasova's Mink

That bossy HBIC Aunt Joyce has requested I contribute a post to the ice-cream stand, devoted to one of my guilty pleasures. After some contemplation, I wonder if this is how Gayle feels when Oprah decrees a two-part episode to their vaguely lesbianic adventures in camping. As I eagerly await AJ to appoint me editor-at-large for Aunt Joyce magazine, I have settled on what I hope is as guilty a pleasure of yours as it is mine.

Mind you this was a most difficult decision indeed. "The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross"? Reruns of "Barefoot Contessa"? Peggy Fleming’s informative-yet-completely-vacuous costume commentary? Kristy Powell’s vault run? All fine choices, but no.

Instead, I dedicate this inaugural “Guilty Pleasure” post to the 1994 Olympics short program of Jenni Meno & Todd Sand. Aunt Joyce’s favorite redheaded Republicans built a successful amateur career on not pushing the envelope, and you can see their legacy of non-envelope-pushing live on in the athletic wizardry of Amanda Dobbs' triple toe-double toe SP combination. 

While decidedly less rich and buttery than anything assembled in Ms. Garten's kitchen or even less hippie zen-stoner as anything painted on the canvas of Mr. Ross, the dynamic duo of Meno & Sand created their own masterpiece of guilty goodness with their '50s-style SP to the music from the Cole Porter musical "Silk Stockings."

Pay close attention to their trademark pairs spin that begins at about the one-minute mark. It is as familiar as coming home to mom's apple pie. (Note that my mother never baked apple pie, but I suspect if she did it would arouse the same feelings of warmth and home that it does when Meno & Sand launch into their spin.) What begins first as a pairs camel then transitions into Todd's trademark "straddle that ass," as he locks his leg over wife Jenni while flapping his arms like a chicken or just another night out on the Jersey Shore. 

Todd was always the trooper, pumping those fists with just as much enthusiasm as he did in their Sleeping Beauty and Nessun Dorma LPs. And their Blue Danube SP. And their Fantasie Impromptu SP. Every time was like the first time with Todd, and for his never-ending enthusiasm he is to be commended with the Bob Ross seal of approval.

As Verne Lundquist pointed out during the CBS telecast, their goal was to place fifth at these Olympics (a feat which they did accomplish. Oops, spoiler alert.) What he did not tell you is that this may very well have been codespeak for "beat those damn Czechs," the uberpretty team of Kovarikova & Novotny, whom they were often in direct competition with during the early stages of their career. But ever the genteel "fell in love at Albertville" storybook pair, we never heard such boorish comments out of Meno & Sand's mouths. (Although if you're looking for spicier commentary from these Olympics, do see Aunt Joyce's post recapping Nancy "SexyEdge" Kerrigan's post-LP comments about Oksana Baiul futile attempts at holding up the medal ceremony because she was bound to cry off all her makeup anyway.) As a result, we are only left to speculate on what sort of saltier thoughts were going through Jenni & Todd's minds at this competition.


  1. No throw elements back then, huh? I floved their death spiral. The entry was elegant and skate-grabbing-free. Can't comment on the technical aspects of it, but it looked great to this couch sitter.

  2. Throws weren't added until the 98-99 season. The best thing about this pair was always Jenni's positions. Stretch and line like her's used to be fairly commonplace. Sadly the decline in that standard began during their era and continues to this day. BTW Todd had been around FOREVER even at this point. He and Lloyd Eisler could both have applied for skater's Medicare by then. Both had gone through multiple partners, won national titles with more than one, gone to multiple Olympics with said partners and had their careers nearly crash and burn at least once. Then they each went on to their greatest success. Todd had even competed against Scott Hamilton for several years in singles nearly 15 years before when he was representing Denmark.

  3. I always enjoyed Meno and Sand although they were a bit boring. I hated the fact that they used Nessun Dorma for what seemed like 5 seasons! They made me hate that particular piece of music. I can't watch programs to it anymore.

  4. I find that animated gif of Bob Ross (and his enormous frizzy hair) extremely disturbing. No "happy clouds" here.

  5. As a 13 year old I was a Meno and Sand uber (well as close to an uber as it was possible to be without the internet and in a country with little to no interest in figure skating). To my eye at the time they were the most romantic thing ever and I couldn't imagine how anyone could get a bigger throw double Axel.

    Ahhh hindsight...

    (Still, do have a soft spot for them - everytime I see Emma on Glee I think of Jenni)