I am amazed.
When I first saw and heard Nancy Kerrigan opening this season's skating
coverage on Lifetime, talking about what we were going to see on the Skate
Canada pairs and dance finals, I fully feared that this channel had
returned to its old wicked ways...you know, the days when they covered
skating more as a soap opera than as a sport. The days in which they
showed us more of what was going on backstage, and teams giving dirty
looks to their rivals, and lengthy phluphy profiles of teams depicting
their histories in hyperdramatic terms, than of what was taking place on
the competitive ice. The days when they had to rerun the top short
programs/ODs over again before finally showing us long programs and free
dances. In short, "Lifetime: Cheesy Skating Television for Women."
But...not so! Not so at all! They did everything right!
1. They relegated Nancy to doing intros, summaries, interviews and other
little phluphy snippets...and yet, they kept those to an incredible
minimum, considering. For example, the Quebec City "travelogue" took about
10 seconds, and the profile of Langlois & Archetto about 20 or 30. No
syrupy sappiness to it, no going on forever, no crap. What's more, Nancy
looked good and even spoke fairly well, for Nancy. Wonder if they gave her
voice lessons for this? All in all, she came off looking very good and
appealing, for the most part, if a little out of her element when talking
to dance teams. The intro clip with her primping in the reflection of a
skate blade was even cute. They may just have succeeded in saving a
reputation damaged by the snarky pre-Lillehammer podium/Mickey Mouse
comments of 1994. Today's Nancy looks happy and content and in charge. And
I was impressed by the little soliloquy she delivered at the opening of
the whole thing...that was well written, whoever wrote it.
2. They stuck with the***, Peggy and Terry team for the actual
play-by-play. And they didn't tape it on filmy-looking tape, it actually
looked like videotape. They skipped showing us any of the SPs or ODs again
and went right to the final action. Hurray!
3. The longest phluph piece on the entire broadcast was...INTERESTING. The
interview with Vera Wang and how she designed Nancy's revolutionary
costumes. Yeah, it was chick stuff, but what chick stuff! This chick is
very happy they seem to have picked up on this trend. Next week, it's the
story of Peggy Fleming's chartreuse-green Olympic dress. Cool. And best of
all, there was TIME for this phluph...I didn't get the feeling that they
were chacking important competition coverage to bring me trivia. They
really showed me just about everybody I would have liked to see, with the
possible exception of Kalesevich & Parchem.
4.***'s jaunty pink bow tie cracks me up.
5. With the exception of Peggy's bizarrely unrealistic comment "There
should not be injuries in sports" (nice save, Terry, who added the comment
"At least not with this frequency in skating" or some such thing), and
***'s rather lame conclusion to his sermon about dance judging (that we
only care about the marks from the sporting side, and that we should just
watch dance for its beauty or some such thing??), the commentary was quite
good. There were at least two quotable Buttonisms, one of which I just had
to make my new sig because it's so great. As long as this team can keep me
laughing, I will forgive them any other shortcomings.
6. The entertainment value provided by the dancers' costumes--and by their
fans. Little did I know that Marie-France Dubreuil's "Weasels Ripped My
Dress" costume has got nothing on Maxim Staviyski's golden chest scorpion
(at first I wondered "What are they skating to, 'Rock Lobster'?"). It was
even better than Kati Winkler's "And They Say You Can't Wear a
Bridesmaid's Dress Again After the Wedding!" OD costume at Nations Cup.
And considering all the snake-charmer saxophone in Denkova & Staviyski's
music, it seemed only appropriate that someone tossed them a stuffed snake
for Maxim to wrap around himself in the kiss 'n' cry.
What does it all mean? That I am looking forward to Sunday mornings on
Lifetime all season long. Keep up the good work, people!
"Every skater goes through a thousand CDs until they find a piece that they like--and then, all too often, they end up with 'Carmen.'"