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Friday, February 19, 2010

Ice-elated Incidents

TGIF Crock fans. It is the close of the week, (thankya Jesus!), and I am a bit tuckered out from watching the Olympics, which are keeping me up late at night. Yes, yes I am having a torrid affair with the Olympics. Thirteen days of hot, cold action. Today my own mother admitted the same, saying she was glad that snow days have hit a few days this week so she could catch up on sleep, having stayed up late to see the end of Olympic programming every night. My dad, in an unwitting shout-out to Carrie's comments about needing higher political stakes to really get into the Winter Olympics, finished an email stating he missed the cold war implications of the skating. Apparently an epic battle (callback to yesterday's post!) is necessary to gain the full American attention span. For me, at least, I need some friggin' jumps. Tonight I learned again, as I do every four years, I just cannot get into ice dancing.

Last night, after leaving the crock with comments about Olympic injustice, I then watched what I considered to be a miscarriage of Olympic justice occur (on DVR, on tape-delay). I for one, love this ice queen:
Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Weir. (Shown at left bending over for judges).

Now, Johnny Weir's outspoken ways and signature style are both what have damned him, in my opinion, to be slighted by judges for just not being respectable enough about the sacred tradition of figure skating (is that the bad blonde dye jobs and hair gel of former Soviet Union men he should be going for, or the total fake-baked skin, and personality [though all due congrats on the gold] of his arch-rival and current gold medal winner, Evan Lysacek? what was with the snakessssss, Evan???), as well as made him into someone fascinating and titillating enough to be relevant after his figure skating career in worlds apart from figure skating - for instance, the fashion world, which he plans to pursue.

Johnny Weir does not seem destined to end up on the Campbell's Soup Tour of Champions with other retired skaters, but might very well end up on the Project Runway episode involving a Campbell's Soup challenge (a few episodes back this season). He already has a reality show, Be Good, Johnny Weir, on the Sundance Channel that I find to be hopelessly misplaced on that network. Bravo, what. the. F(ashion error)? I mean, he admits to cleaning all the time to relieve stress (those familiar with my sink bleaching ritual know how endearing I find this to be), so isn't he close enough to a housewife of whatever county to sign him on? Is he too smart? He's definitely catty enough, but likable because you believe that, though he is clever enough to be a raging bitch, he's not. He stops short. He's a sweetheart inside. Like, he's got a tongue-in-cheek attitude about himself, fame, the sport, life. So you like him. Because though he needs the approval of the ice skating world to be ice skating elite, he realizes it's a bit ridiculous. And he has Dolce & Gabbana tighty whiteys (though they're not white, and D&G, I might sign him for ads!) Bravo, I watch so many shows about so many less interesting people with such lesser talent on your network, why have you not jumped at Johnny like you're beginning your long program and you're down by .02 in technical judging after the free skate?

I've seen about three episodes of his Sundance show. While enjoyable, it could be much better in more experienced hands - Bravo, again, I'm looking at you to masterfully craft interesting t.v. out of people's mere charisma and personal charm. Add actual talent and wow, could be a hit. As it is on Sundance, my favorite portions are when Johnny dresses up as a female Russian entertainment/sports reporter doing a one-on-one interview with famous American skater, Johnny Weir. I mean, hilarious. Someone with a sense of humor about himself. But it seems like his sport doesn't want to be in on the joke. Anyway, I love television and I find Johnny Weir to be quite likable, but something is not yet right on the money about his show. Much like a triple toe loop, the landing has to be perfect for any of it to be impressive. Sundance - good effort, but it's still wobbly.

Last night's performance made me so furious on Johnny Weir's behalf. Sure, I'm not a qualified ice skating judge, but doesn't the edge of your seat factor count for anything? If all the commentators agree it's a "skate of a lifetime" and you're at home giving an Arsenio Hall fist circling of agreement (yes, I am talking about me), doesn't that say anything? The Swiss guy FELL. Come on. I feel for you, Johnny. I think you got jobbed. And not like the Russian skater thinks he got jobbed - actually jobbed.

Aside-
How has anyone not made the comparison of Silver medalist Plushenko
to Gareth from the original BBC Office?!?
I mean, these aren't even the best pictures for this comparison. They've got the same haircut. And same sense of being better than everyone else and consistently wronged by uncontrollable higher powers. Evan Lysachek? More like Tim.
Really, think about it. Of COURSE the cleancut smiley guy wins. But did he do a quad? No. Plushenko has the same indignant tone I remember...
Exactly like Gareth saying, "right, but could you fight with nun-chucks if you had no arms? I didn't think so" in an argument with Tim. Without Ricky Gervais around, Plushenko just is not as funny as we'd prefer.

Back to Johnny Weir...
The other thing that makes me feel for dear Johnny - and I think his choice might be both protective for his skating career and a mild F you to the media who would love to have yet another story to tell and box to categorize him in, (so why not toy with it by withholding the box) - is the media's total obsession with his sexuality. ESPN radio's Colin Cowherd was discussing him saying that people seemed to be mad that he wouldn't just come out. Cowherd's response was something akin to,"Really, America? Do you really need to be told explicitly? Does he need to date Elton John for you to believe?" I Arsenio'ed that one. And LOL'ed (callback to yesterday! you gotta subscribe to stay alive!).

I defy you to find an article or commentator who does not describe Johnny Weir as flamboyant. And yes, yes, he IS the definition of flamboyant, especially in the men's ice skating world, but it sort of is used in the same way as "articulate" when college basketball commentators discuss their chats with black players. "He was such an articulate young man," with awe and congratulations. What's not being said - "He was so articulate, for a black athlete." Kind of like, "Johnny is just so flamboyant, by which I mean gay."
It's not said, but you can kind of hear it. More than implied.

I will be very interested to see what happens to Johnny after he retires from skating - a.k.a. - when Vancouver ends. He should be able to ride this Olympic wave right into talk show appearances and guest judging roles on either Project Runway or RuPaul's Drag Race (on LOGO - a spoof/homage/total improvement upon Tyra's America's Next Top Model, with actually fascinating people rather than stick thin models). Johnny Weir for Target? Possibly. Though do I kind of want him to go into gown designing with Austin Scarlett? Yes. That too. Do I worry he'll either make a fragrance or go on to guest host Extra too quickly? Yes.

Let's call the whole thing Dancing with the Stars.

Wherever the sequins may fall, I do count myself as a fan. He's savvy and sassy. And you can't mess with that.
Unless you're judging technical merit, I suppose.

Congrats Johnny!

Crock-tease: Tomorrow's crock will feature guest input!
A real stew will brew!

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