After having missed day two of the American Idol screech-a-thon auditions, I did manage to catch another new reality show: Skating with Celebrities. I can only assume it was similar to the summertime hit, Dancing with the Stars, a show I only watched in passing on the way to anything else.
Skating with celebrities featured six pairs of skaters, each of which was made up of one professional and one celebrity. For each pair they played a "Ha Ha! Ho Ho! Gosh, watch those celebs fall down a lot!" video, and then the pair would come out and skate their number. It seems the point of the video was to highlight how far the celebrity had come in removing his or her personal curse of Zamboni butt and scraped knee.
Wearing Garanimalesque costumes that matched their song, each pair made their entrance. Skating onto the ice with full dramatic flair (read: they didn't fall down), they took their place. But once the music started, the celebrity was pretty much relegated to just standing the hell still while the professional skated circles around them. In actual circles. Celebrity Bruce Jenner did an excellent impersonation of a slightly graying semi-muscular tree while Tai Babilonia twirled and spun and jumped. Occasionally he'd stick out his arm to catch her, but that was about it.
The judging panel concept was lifted personality by personality from American Idol. Dorothy Hamill played the role of Paula Abdul, providing perky, inspirational comments. She was joined by some guy (The website tells me "on-air personality and founder of International Skater magazine Mark Lund." I say WHOOOO?) who appeared to be fairly neutral throughout the entire proceedings, and obligatory curmudgeon Sir John Nicks ("World Figure Skating Hall of Famer and renowned figure skating coach..." -- I know. WHOOO?).
It was obvious the crowd had been primed ahead of time to boo the curmudgeon every time he opened his mouth, which got old fast. Although he dutifully dissed each pair ("you should change programs. IMMEDIATELY!"), his sad attempt at snark couldn't hold a candle to Dick Buttons, the True Dark Lord of Cranky Ice Judges.
I will admit I'm guilty of watching my share of unredeemable television, but if it's Skating with Celebrities today, what will it be tomorrow? Maybe Mozart with Millionaires, with musicians doing the bulk of the work while celebrities perform the tricky tacet sections. Or Shakespeare for Stars, with Kenneth Branagh stepping in for those tricky three syllable words. Fie! It rhymes with Pie!
If I have a hankering to spend an hour with beginners, my local access television channels are chock-full of elementary school music concerts. And if that doesn't work, I'm sure I could get TinyTuna to whip up the 12,539th rendition of Arkansas Traveler. I'm sure she'd be glad to play it for me. Hard notes and all.