Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Ice Dancing

I can’t believe I sat through thirty hours of Olympic ice dancing. (Well, actually two hours of actual performances and 28 watching the Americans rehearse backstage.) I’d be in awe of all these couples if the NBC analyst, Tracy Wilson didn’t point out that their Twizzles were lacking, or the audience wasn’t drawn in by their storytelling, or the Indian dirge they were dancing to lacked whimsy. She generally offered commentary during routines only to criticize something. What we thought were dazzling spins? Nah, those aren't hard. Really? They are to ME.

At least four or five times she would pick apart a couple’s performance only to have the judges give them a sensationally high score. At least Simon Cowell likes the hot blonds.

This is my judging criteria:

They didn’t fall. Give them a 10.

They didn’t crash into the walls. Give them a 10.

He swung her over his head and didn’t get sliced to death by her skates. Another 10.

They didn’t dance to a Celine Dion song. Give them a 10.

It’s okay by me if there are multiple Gold Medal winners. And hey, it’s not like there’s any suspense. If you live on the west coast you know the results before the show starts. Thank you, NBC.

The U.S. papers today are all crying that Davis & White got jobbed. I dunno. Virtue & Moir were pretty damn good, even if they were the hometown favorites.

As for the choreography, my daughter Annie yelled out a good suggestion to the screen. “More flippy things!”

Tom Hammond did a solid job of calling the event and Tracy Wilson is lucky she wasn't assigned to hockey. She’d never make it to her car after the game.

By the way, with all the numbers and scores and times you see flashed on the screen, there’s one number you should know: 100,000. That’s the number of condoms that have been distributed to the Olympic athletes, coaches, and trainers. Each one receives about 14. And officials are hoping those will suffice. 70,000 were issued in the Sydney summer games and they found they weren't enough. Yikes! Screw the games! The real athletics are in the Olympic village!

Meanwhile, the Channel 4 local news in Los Angeles broke in with the big stories they were covering at 11: What skaters made the best fashion statement? And an interview with “Vicki”, a real housewife from Orange County. This is NEWS????

I’ll be reviewing AMERICAN IDOL late tonight. Yes, I’m missing more figure skating but I’ll also be missing more “Phantom of the Opera” music. And Tracy Wilson.


thomas tucker said...

Why can't they buy their own condoms? Why do they need to be "supplied" with condoms?

PB said...

Hey Ken,

You want great TV - with a Sandra Bezic factor...go to cbc.ca and stream some of the fall 2009 episodes of "Battle of the Blades".

The pitch: Female skilled figure skater meets pro hockey jock and they put together progressively more difficult pairs routines over 8 weeks.

The episode with Katerina Witt as the horny guest judge is wet-your-pants funny.

Pomerantz should be all over this series - but he hasn't blogged about it yet.

Pat Boule

Pat Reeder said...

My first wife was a one-time skater with several friends from that field. That's when I learned how completely bogus the judging was. If you're the person who is "supposed" to win that year, you practically have to slice your partner's head off with a blade during a spin to lose. And no newcomers, no matter how superior their performances might be, ever beat the boring favorite.

Also, I have lobbied for NBC for years to give us a choice of just hearing the music with no commentators to ruin the performance. We have stereo TV now; how hard would it be just to put the music in the left channel and the yakking in the right so we could adjust the balance and turn them off? I'd even be willing to pay extra for that feature. It's possible that enough people would pay it to offset NBC's $200 mil loss.

Mary Stella said...

Sorry to split hairs, not to be confused with the skating maneuver called the split hare, but Tracy Wilson is the woman commentator for ice dancing. If you didn't hear her partner say it often enough, she and her dancing partner won the bronze medal in this event at the Calgary games and, dayum, she was PERKY! That's right. Perky. Perkier than Sandra Bullock, Sandra Dee, and Sally Field as the Flying Nun perky.

If he called her perky one more time, I'd have called it a justifiable assault if she ripped off someone's skate and julienned him with it.

I think Sandra Bezic might be doing the women's ice skating competition.

I've watched Olympic ice dancing for years and never heard Twizzles before this year. Couldn't they come up with a name that doesn't remind me of red licorice?

That said, I loved the ice dancing competition although I still compare every performance to Torvill and Dean's classic performance to Bolero. So, in my scoring method, not even being close to the perfection of T & D is an automatic three point deduction.

Yikes! Screw the games! They gave out 100,000 condoms. Plenty of screwing going on already.

By Ken Levine said...

Thanks Mary Stella for the correction.


A. Buck Short said...

Notify me immediately if you see any single or couple going with either limbo or Macarena.

My wife noted the traditional head covering for modesty on the sister in the Israeli pair tfilling and kvelling to Hava Nagila. To which our daughter replied, “And yet you can see her whole friggin’ ass!”.

But look at the bright side. Now when you’re wife corrals you for an hour of Dancing with the Stars, you can keep complaining, “Cripe Mildred, I seen people do that on skates!”

Only one more thing. Why no same sex couples ice dancing? Given the field, how hard could it possibly be to put a pair or six together?

Buttermilk Sky said...

"I've watched Olympic ice dancing for years and never heard Twizzles before this year. Couldn't they come up with a name that doesn't remind me of red licorice?"

How do they come up with any of these names, Mary Stella? What was it about skiing over potholes (Mogul) that reminded somebody of the onetime rulers of India? Giant Slalom sounds like something that might attack your boat as you sail up the Amazon. Although I can understand why "curling" won out over "frozen boccie" or "Sweet God make it stop".

VW: macyties. Unimaginative Christmas gift for dad.

Jim said...

Not many people know, but Torvill and Dean's classic Bolero was, ahem, inspired, by the dance routine in the 1935 film Bolero. Carole Lombard was Torvill, but stepping into Christopher Dean's frilly shirts was none other than George Raft. "Da boss ain't gonna be happy when he finds out." You can watch the dance routine here, but the whole film is worth tracking down just for one of the most gratuitous scenes I've ever seen. The evening before at the nightclub where this is all set, Raft asks Lombard to come and see him the next day for an audition. She arrives, and pretty much her opening line is "Oh, this dress is too tight to dance in. I'd better take it off." Even a modern porn film wouldn't be so abrupt. Sadly that clip's been pulled from YouTube, but some thoughtful soul has posted a few screenshots over here.

Paul Duca said...

Off topic....but I was listening to RichBroRadio and he used your Beaver Cleaver KYA jingle (introing "With This Ring" by the Platters).

Annie said...

I *hate* the word "twizzle". Every time whats-her-face said that, we cringed.

What kind of a twinkie, fey, creepy-child-beauty-pageant word is that for an Olympic...er..."sport"? (Yeah, not sure ice dancing is a sport but I'm not gonna get all up in arms about it, it is what it is)

Can't they just substitute the word "fleen" instead? Anything but twizzle, yeesh.

-bee said...

Aw gee Ken, you missed potential comedy gold by not going into the Russian pair's "Aborigine" folk dance routine (not from the final night of ice dancing - the night before) - people on the figure skating discussion forums were having a field day with that one.

Sandy Koufax said...

Just where is Tonya Harding when we need her?

Mary Stella said...

How much do you think we'd have to pay Tracy Wilson to say, just once, "That was a righteous twizzle, fo' shizzle"?

Ref said...

I know that the changes in Figure skating judging were made, in part, to remove the bias in favor of established champions. I don't know if this has been done in ice dance, but I believe it has as the Russkies were plenty cheesed at seeing their monopoly on ice dance gold go down the tubes, despite the huge advantage they had in the composition of the judging panels.

Unknown said...

Ice Dancing I just can't figure out.

When I watch gymnastics or regular figure skating I may not know exactly how the scoring works but I have a decent idea who was better.

I watched the final 4 teams in Ice Dancing and I challenge anyone to tell me what the difference between them was.

Thomas Tucker said...

I wonder how we should interpret Rose's
Is it a commentary on our crass materialism,
a stream-of-consciousness illustration of
the post-modern mind?
You be the judge.

Jerry Williams said...
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