It's a good time to be a Thornton. Down in San Jose, Joe Thornton is captaining a very good San Jose Sharks team that's only dropped a league-best 3 games in regulation, and he's tied for the team lead in scoring, with 22 points in 21 games.
Meanwhile, up in Canada, his first cousin Scott Thornton is the new reigning champion of Battle of the Blades. Scott and his partner, Amanda Evora, were crowned the winners of season four in Sunday night's finale, largely on the strength of that triple twist they developed a few weeks back and then rode straight to the top.
Watching the two of them celebrate their win, with Amanda tearing up after all the hard work put in, and Scott raising the Blades trophy above his head like a Stanley Cup, was a lot of fun. It was far and away the best moment of the episode, but that's to be expected in a 45-minute show built around one minute's worth of information.
Results shows are the worst.
I've gone on record with my disdain for results shows several times during my two seasons of covering this unfortunate spectacle, so I was pleasantly surprised when BotB decided to forego the results show this season in favour of the skate-offs. Last year, every Sunday night performance show was followed by a half-hour Monday night results show where Ron MacLean tap-danced on figure skates for 22 minutes before announcing the leaving pair and we all went home feeling cheated of our time. But this year, they decided instead to keep everything to Sunday night, letting the viewers and judges' combined scores pick the bottom two for the following week and then turning their prepared performances into a skate-off to avoid elimination.
It was a formula that worked, since it added a little bit of drama to each performance show, not to mention spared us our Monday nights.
But after last week's episode left everything to the home voters, it became clear that the show was going to abandon its formula and return to the horrors of the results show for the finale largely because they could -- if you watched the other seven episodes, you'd sit through just about anything Sunday night because you were too invested. Or perhaps the CBC just wanted to punish us for having hope.
Either way, this was a terrible hour of television. It opened with all eight pairs putting on an absurd eight-minute performance that featured nothing of note and really just had every skating in a line past the camera. Every now and then, Kurt Browning would show up and do some real skating, and then right about the time you'd be enjoying him, he'd disappear and turn things back over to, like, Anson Carter or some nonsense. I can safely say that Kurt Browning should never, ever cede the ice to Anson Carter.
After that, we got a lengthy mini-doc about how tough the show was for everyone and how much they learned, some brief interviews with the three judges about how tough judging was for everyone and how much they learned, then another lame ensemble skate, this time featuring the three finalists.
Finally, 22 minutes into the show, the literal halfway mark of this brutal exercise in viewer torture, Ron MacLean announced the third place pair: Marie-France Dubreuil and Mathieu Dandenault.
That was disappointing. I thought they were the most complete pair of the three, capable of having a lot of fun and giving us skates that didn't look like awkward mishmashes of figure skater and hockey player, like Jason and Violetta, or skates that weren't all that good but featured one good trick, like Scott and Amanda. But I didn't vote, so whatever.
Anyway, after this brief burst of actual programming, it was right back to the time-wasting. We met the winners of Mini Blades, the kids' version of this show that's been going on in small-town Canada all season long, apparently. I vaguely recall them mentioning this a few other times throughout the program but I didn't pay attention because I honestly didn't think it would ever matter. Would a primetime CBC show actually subject us to a routine between a preteen figure skater and a preteen hockey player turned novice figure skater?
The answer is yes, because results shows are so shameless they will employ child labour.
Three terrible, terrible minutes later, the kids were giving a bouquet, made honorary members of the cast, for whatever that means, and then it was on to… another mini-doc! This time we learned, once again, about the charities everyone was supporting. This was followed by -- I kid you not -- another ensemble skate, with Kurt Browning noodling around the ice to make it seem like a real thing you shouldn't feel insulted and ashamed to be watching.
Finally, after 40 minutes of the most egregious time-wasting I've seen since last year's results shows, Ron brought the final two couples to centre ice and… interviewed just Jason and Violetta, thereby giving away exactly which pair he was about to announce as the winner. Did anybody honestly think Jason was going to get to speak, then win, then speak again? That first interview should have come with a spoiler warning.
Amanda and Scott were announced as the winners and swarmed by their fellow cast members. I was disappointed when Scott didn't celebrate in the manner of a Thornton. Winning Blades has to be the figure skating equivalent of scoring four goals. But alas.
Then, in what may have been the greatest cosmic irony of all-time, we got to watch Ron try to work his way into the hug to get Amanda and Scott for their reactions because, "We're gonna run out of time."
YOU HAD ALL THE TIME. YOU WASTED IT. YOU WASTED IT ON NOTHING.
And then, mercifully, the credits. Praise the heavens, we're finished here.
- Sports & Recreation
- Scott Thornton
- Joe Thornton
- Kurt Browning
- San Jose Sharks
- Amanda Evora