Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Skating With The Stars: A Rough Draft
Skating With The Stars premiered last night and was very much a partial success. It was a decent pilot that needed tweaking. While the BBC was hoping for an American hit, it is clear that ABC wasn't willing to invest too much money on a potential flop. The show was given a half-season to prove itself and after week one, it is already obvious what needs to be reworked should the show be renewed for a second season (or in the case of Sasha Cohen's last reality show, brought back for a second episode.)
Given the immense popularity of Dancing With The Stars and the even greater stupidity of the American public, one could worry that Dick Button would be perceived as some sort of Len Goodman wannabe. That proved not to be the case, as Dick took all of fifteen seconds to warmup before he was off yelling at contestants to Straighten Their Posture! Point Your Toe! Loosen Up! Or my personal favorite, "get out of your girdle and get on with it!"
Skating With The Stars has introduced us to a new hot mess in the name of Laurie Ann Gibson. With the sides of her head shaved and outbursts reminiscent of Little Richard, she is one SNL skit waiting to happen. The best part about Laurie Ann is that she seems to think that she is judging a dance competition. The more Laurie Ann brings up "the dance," the more Dick Button subtly dismisses her and mentions how "dancing is very different from skating."
As a judge, Johnny Weir is less annoying than one might fear. Given his random poor taste and Slutskaya/Plushenko love, one might worry about him. I was pleasantly surprised with how he conducted himself. He "almost sweat off his weave" after the performance of Rebecca Budig and one hottie named Fred Palascak. Mommy Dearest does NOT like Johnny's speech affectation one bit.
One eye-rolling moment was Johnny's latest rendition of Poker Face. Just as the single was overplayed on the radio, this is one exhibition that quit being interesting a long time ago. In order to add some spice, the production company looked like it paid for a new outlandish costume that Johnny designed. Unfortunately, Johnny's talent as a designer has always been debatable. The sparkly onesie is no longer attractive for Johnny now that he eats regularly and practices even less than before. In fact, Johnny Weir and Tara Modlin are oddly reminiscent of Romy and Michelle dressing for their high school prom and telling one another "we look fabulous!"
It was impressive to see Johnny pull off a triple toe on the puddle-sized ice rink.
The cringe-worthies cast member may be Tanith Belbin, whose delivery is "scripted at best." The show is aiming to appear technical, but Tanith's explanation of the elementary elements came across as downright condescending. "The two foot spin! To add danger, they may even take One. Leg. Off. The. Ice!"
Each week, the stars are tasked to master new elements. Following each performance, Tanith analyzes the elements, which the judges largely ignore. It is unclear whether failing to perform an element has any correlation to their score. Tanith sort of rambles and then announces the judges' scores. It is unclear why Tanith is commenting, because Polly Positive does not have a judging paddle. For next week, they could ditch Laurie Ann (must every fly girl have an Ann in her name?) and put Tanith at the judging table. Her commentary is unnecessary. Surely, the token British host could manage saying "Johnny! (paud) Weir! (pause) Dick! (pause) Button!"
As Tarasova's Mink put it best, "Tanith is an experienced best scene to be fully appreciated." While her Stars On Ice commitments have her unable to be a skating pro, we could at least have the pleasure of seeing her change costumes between commercial breaks and channel her inner Vanna White.
In terms of the actual skating, it was as best as could be expected for just five weeks of rehearsals. While Laurie Ann couldn't believe they'd only been skating for five weeks, I sure could. Some of the stars were much better than others. Sadly, Bethenny was positively stiff on the ice. Her rigid shoulders and stiff knees kept her from unleashing her inner ice diva.
Rebecca Budig is the token 'plant' of the group. She already performed back crossovers her first day on the ice and looks positively ravishing with her sexy partner.
Brooke Castile is much more interesting on this show than she was as a rather conservative competitor. She finds Jonny Mosely "pretty sexy." Brooke tried to give Jonny tips on "performing at his best when the pressure is the greatest." To his credit, he reminded her that he is the Olympic Gold Medalist in the duo.
Keauna McLaughlin may have found a new boytoy in her partner. It didn't take long for him to rip his pants off. One needs to root for Keauna, as she comes across as a lost puppy beaten down by competitive skating.
Denis Petukhov may already have been the perfect husband. He is a dreamy Russian who thinks nothing about performing a menage-a-tois with his wife's flamboyant friend on tour. Now, we need to put him up for beatification, as he is dealing with a noted mental patient.
True Story: I once went mini-golfing with someone who threw a random tantrum like Sean Young. That friend attempted suicide two months later.
Sean Young is the train wreck who we won't be able to take our eyes off of. We'll need to keep her around a bit for maximum entertainment.
WestPalmBitch predicts that Denis Pethukov will appeal the the mass of midwestern women who lust after Todd Eldredge.
Overall, the show is engaging enough to deserve a second viewing (though they could really pick up the pace, take fewer commercial breaks and squeeze the show into an hour.)