Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NBC Skating Fail?

I guess we have to talk about men’s figure skating. I watched the “short” programs last night and I am somewhat at a loss for words. I could discuss the ridiculous costumes (e.g., Skeletor, and those horrendous “overalls”), make a few Dick Button jokes (a la hey baby what do you push for a good time?), or tackle the mysterious judging protocols. But you know, I am left troubled, two things really bothered me. First up, Yevgeny Plushenko. NBC aired on of those “athlete bio” thingies. Apparently Plushenko is a figure skating badass— he’s won all kinds of titles and has dominated the sport. The bio however made me think the motherfucking Cold War was still going on. NBC presented him as some Russian thug determined to crush the American spirit. The dude’s an ice-skater, a competitive ice-skater, must we turn him into some evil Ruski for wanting to win?

Second, Johnny Weir. I thought the announcers completely ignored him. Look, I don’t know jack shit about figure skating, but as a semi-conscious human I’ve inevitably picked up on the fact that he had some tv show, made some comments about his living conditions in the Olympic village, is considered “outrageous” etc. I don’t know what’s up with all that (feel free to fill me in if I’m missing some pertinent information here) but I thought the dude skated well. Usually the broadcasters lavish all kinds of attention on the American athletes, but they completely ignored Weir last night. When he first stepped onto the ice, knowing only that he has garnered considerable off-ice publicity, I thought he might suck. That he might be a lousy skater and the broadcasters were intentionally withholding additional publicity. But the dude did good! Why no in depth analysis? Why no extensive discussion of ALL the American figure skaters? I felt like he was snubbed. Why? I am left with the impression that because he is honest about who he is (a gay male figure skater who likes his crazy costumes, uhm, is that really so unusual?) the stalwarts of American figure skating dissed him. Am I missing something? Did he not skate well? Is there more to this story? Am I off my rocker?

16 comments:

  1. 1 -- The interview with Plushenko in the car was odd. He talked about his "enemies not wanting him back on the ice" after he took a 3 year break. He's a jumper, but I agree with Button that he's not pleasant to watch, he's the villain lurking on the ice.

    2 -- I love Johnny. I love that he connects with the audience, he can be cheesy or flashy, I don't care. He throws down amazing skating and jumps.

    3 -- It seems the announcers are hellbent on pointing out Just How Hard Evan Lysacek Works All The Time. They are putting people in their pegged holes (the villain, the showman, the nose to the grind athlete). The Japanese guy was also a million degrees of awesome, there wasn't any fancy interview with him and he has potential to get gold!

    You are not off your rocker. The announcers have their heads up their asses.
    jc

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  2. I'm with JC on this one. I don't follow ice skating at all beyond the Olympics, but this was fairly ridiculous.

    The 'interview' with Plushenko was really weird, especially since they gave him subtitles but included the incorrect grammar... You're spot on with the quasi-Cold War Evil Russian vibe.

    Johnny Weir was wholly off my radar before last night. If there was anyone that I wanted to hear more about, it was him. And yes, he is fabulous.

    And JC, the Girlfriend is hardcore rooting for the Japanese contender (Daisuke Takahashi) who was almost flawless, but barely covered.

    Way to go, NBC.

    Still, I find myself really liking Bob Costas.

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  3. J's: Takahashi was good, now I find myself sucked into curling again...let's see how many times we get the hardworking Lysacek "story" tonight.

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  4. Now you know where asshole political "journalists" like Chuck "The Fuck" Todd learned how to be such despicable slimy shits.

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  5. 1. Those overalls were hideous. And looked freakin' DIRTY. *shiver*

    2. I heart Johnny Weir and thought he did an amazing job. Felt he was robbed, scorewise. Moreover, his corset costume rocked. He should have gotten some points for that.

    3. No announcer even blinked at Evan's black feather claw thingies...how is that possible?

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  6. Yes, yes and yes. The Skeletor and overalls costumes made no sense, and what was with the feathers? And I can only think that the way they handled Johnny Weir's fantastic performance and attitude was heterosexism/homophobia. He gets out onto that ice and is who he is (and who he is is awesome), and I imagine a lot of commentators and watches are uncomfortable with someone who actually looks comfortable in his skin.

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  7. All around. The commentators are deeply biased by existing narratives, and rarely seem to see beyond them. It is very, very annoying. And they are doing a horrendous job of explaining scoring and technical issues: they seem to assume that everyone knows the basics, which is stupid.

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  8. Hey Everybody! It's almost time for the big show! Settle into the couch, grab a drink and get ready for the skating spectacular.
    (and put your damn pants on!)

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  9. I'm engrossed by the snakes already! Who knew they could handle the cold?
    jc

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  10. Evan, "A little dab will do ya!"

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  11. Johnny got screwed. Plushenko needs to start his own sport of ice-jumping. He can roll out some barrels or cars, stick a ramp on the ice, and have at it. Lysacek did great, he nailed his routine. If Takahashi had landed the quad OR left it out and did a triple double combo at the end, he would have the silver.

    Snakes on skates FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    jc

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  12. Johnny was robbed again. Even the announcers were like, "Underscored!" Roar!!!!

    I kept wanting to redesign the snake around Evan's neck so that it didn't look so necklacey. But at least there were no overalls...

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  13. Whew. That was a big win and a really big scotch.

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  14. Thank you for asking these questions. I am not an Olympics watcher but somehow found myself transfixed by the men's "long program" last night -- and I was bewildered by the lack of coverage or enthusiasm for Weir -- who was the only men's figure skater I had ever even heard of. I kept thinking: really? is his gayness that threatening? this is figure skating for goodness sakes!

    I think it wasn't coincidence that Lysacek, who's much more "masculine" and "butch," was also presented as America's sweetheart.

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  15. If the Olympics were Project Runway, I'd totally want Weir to win. He's this week's Christian and he's *fierce*.

    Also, how is Apolo Ohno not doing ice dancing. I saw that dude on Dancing with the Stars or So You Think America Likes Crappy TV or whatever it was called, and that guy is a couples ice dancer in the closet if ever a speedskater was.

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