Skating With The Stars 

Enough with the manufactured drama, reality TV. We get it. Good fashion designers and chefs are going to succeed no matter what. It’s not the end of the world if someone competing for a million dollars gets a bad cab in a foreign country. The Bachelorette will learn to love again. You want to fight for sanity in the news, Jon Stewart? Would it kill you to bring reality TV into that fold?

For example, Skating With The Stars sure won’t let viewers forget that, at any moment, one of six lackluster celebrities might go flying into the LIVE! STUDIO! AUDIENCE! At which point, of course, that person’s jugular will inevitably get pierced, and they will die on live television. Something horrible could even happen on the ice. Vince Neil could cut himself, and them how would he hobble around the stage on Motley Crue’s inevitable amphitheater tour next summer?

Here’s the thing, though: He’ll manage, and none of the six “celebrity” skaters are going to fly off the ice and into the audience, because, well, it’s just extremely improbable. And if someone did get hurt? Well, hell, ABC would probably be into that, because it would mean they might get some new viewers.

Maybe ABC’s trying so hard, though, because the show’s contestants sure aren’t dramatic. There’s the requisite child star (Brandon Mychal Smith from Disney’s Sonny With A Chance), the rocker (The aforementioned Vince Neil), the cute soap star (Rebecca Budig), the athlete (Olympic skier Johnny Moseley), the reality star (Bethenny Frankel), and the elder stateswoman (Sean Young, who was presumably picked for her crazypants reputation and the sheer number of Blade Runner jokes the judges will be able to make).

Each week, the contestants, paired with pro skaters of varying degrees of fame, but no one the average person would have heard of, have to complete compulsory skills, like pairs spins or being able to stand on one skate. They’re judged on technical and artistic merit, and then people call in and vote, too.

Oh, but the judging. As with any reality show, it’s the best part. To talk about dance, because she appears to know nothing about skating, there’s Laurieann Gibson. To be the hard-ass old guy who says funny things but has won Olympic medals, there’s Dick Button. And, just because he’s fabulous, Johnny Weir both heads the panel and—at least tonight—performs solo skating routines to Lady Gaga at the show’s kinda-halftime.

As for the skating, I don’t know. There’s not a ton to say. Vince Neil is only slightly less arthritic looking than you’d think he would be. Moseley has “competitive fire.” Everyone wears really skimpy clothes and has so much shit in their hair they look like they’re Ke$ha on ice. 

If it sounds fun, it’s not. It’s boring and trite, and there’s so much fake drama and hyperbole that even Jeff Probst would be embarrassed. The only reason to watch would be to see if someone falls down, and with the way the 'net works nowadays, that shit’ll be online 90 seconds later anyway, so why bother?

Stray Observations:

  • Sean Young, honestly, looks like she’s about 90 seconds from going Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction on the whole world. Her icy composure might be inspiring if it weren’t so damn terrifying.
  • That being said, it was pretty funny when Dick Button said she’d do better if she’d “Take off the girdle and let ‘er fly.” Of course, this was for the same performance that Weir said was “super elegant,” and was “channeling bunnies frolicking across a beautiful meadow.”
  • Yes, there was another skating show just like this one back in 2006. Skating With Celebrities aired on Fox, wasn’t much of a success, and caused a mini-scandal in the skating world when pro Lloyd Eisler left his wife for on-show partner and O.G. Vampire Slayer Kristy Swanson. They are now married.
  • Vince Neil’s partner on their first day on ice: “I didn’t know Motley Crue ice skates.” Vince Neil: “That depends on your definition of ice skating.” That’s a drug joke, right? I’ll have to go check my copy of The Dirt.
  • The show’s host, BBC DJ Vernon Kay, is probably one of the most grating people on television right now—and that’s really saying something.
  • According to Wikipedia, Bethenny Frankel’s partner, Ethan Burgess’ biggest claim to fame so far was appearing as Jon Heder’s stunt double in Blades Of Glory. Hey, good for him.
  • -       When did skating costumes get so damn racy? Jeez! Do we need to see bellybuttons on the ice?

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