Welcome back to Puck Daddy's seemingly never-ending coverage of Battle of the Blades, the figure-skaters-meet-hockey-players reality program that continues to be broadcast, despite my letters.
It being Halloween today, BotB decided to give us a Halloween-themed episode this week, even though their regular episodes are already the most terrifying telecasts the CBC has to offer.
Unfortunately, they weren't cool enough to give us the Rocky Horror Picture Show themed week we deserved. Instead, we were given BotB's typical half-assery, which included a really random assortment of costumes and lame jokes, such as when the "live" at the top of the screen was replaced by "dead". Edgy.
Everything was lame, from the horror-themed opening that was nowhere near as lovably cringy or gripping as last week's injury-filled montage (actually, it was just stupid--who puts "to be continued" at the beginning of a program?) to the worst performance Kurt Browning has ever given, as he skated back and forth on the ice dressed as Two-Face -- if one of his faces were the Joker's face for some reason. Do his costume designers know anything about the DC Universe? THE JOKER IS NOT TWO-FACE.
Then Ron Maclean emerged, dressed as Mickey Mouse from Fantasia, I think, to introduce the judges. This week: Sandra Bezic, who, according to Maclean, "strikes fear into all of us," which is true, especially those of us who fear atrocious judging; Jeremy Roenick, introduced as "our NHL all-scar", a pun so bad I would have understood if Maclean had been fired, mid-sentence; and Katarina Witt, this week's guest judge.
I felt really bad for Katarina when, while introducing her, Maclean stopped speaking and just started rolling his R's for about fifteen seconds as though he just figured out he could do that. When he finally stopped, he called her "Kat", at which point it still seemed to take everyone a good, long while to realize he was trying to play on the word "cat". And no one seemed impressed when they figured it out. Seriously, if you missed this, you missed the lowest point in this show's three-year history (I assume).
The judges were dressed like a trio of devils, which gave Roenick the opportunity to describe himself as "feeling a little horny tonight", and you'd better believe he took it. Would you have expected anything less? I was kind of surprised he didn't go one step further and suggest he was the dark lord of boners.
Anyway, then the figure skating started, and the show got worse.
Elena Bereznhaya & Curtis Leschyshyn opened the evening, dancing to "Ladies and Gentlemen," by Saliva, a fitting first song, what with its refrain of "Welcome to the show." That said, it was tough to feel welcomed to the show since it was full of the sort of awkward groping fifteen-year-olds do in private. I felt like I was intruding. I'm not sure if these two ever had chemistry, but if they did, it's gone. This was painful.
Of course, Sandra still found a way to praise it, cooing, "I love that you take physical risks." She then proceeded to explain that those risks didn't pay off, seeing as the couple tripped around the ice the whole time, but she rescued her near-criticism by saying "The technical level is outstanding." Now, I'm pretty sure that if you fail at everything, the technical level is less than outstanding, but what do I know? Total score: 16.9.
Marie-France Dubreuil & Bryan Berard were second, dancing to Marilyn Manson's take on "Tainted Love", and it was better simply because the couple came as zombies. Seeing as Bryan (along with most of this program's skaters) has the range of motion of an undead corpse, it was helpful to make him play one: each time he looked stiff, I just reminded myself that he was in character. I was much more forgiving than usual.
The performance was bizarrely violent. For each of the lifts, Marie-France either played dead or was in the process of being killed, and for a family program, it had a lot more woman-strangling than I'm used to, but hey, I'm old-fashioned. The judges loved it. Total score: 17.4.
Tanith Belbin & Boyd Devereaux were the third couple on the evening, dancing to "Tore My Heart" by Oona, dressed as a wolfman and femme fatale. (Boyd was the wolfman, unfortunately; this show has a female hockey player, but it's still not very progressive.)
Following this performance, Sandra said a bunch of crazy crap, as usual. First, she told Boyd that Katarina wanted him to bite her. Then, she said some nonsense about Boyd having "Skater's knees." Then she claimed that, if someone happened upon this program without knowing what it was, they'd think that Boyd was a figure skater. Sure they would. A terrible, terrible figure skater.
Sandra wasn't kidding about Katarina, though. Witt claimed Boyd gave her a Little Red Riding Hood fantasy, and then proceeded to give him a 6.0. That's sexist, y'all. Total score: 17.8.
Violetta Afanasieva & Cale Hulse were the fourth couple on the evening, dancing to "Love Potion no. 9" by the Clovers, while dressed like a nerdy doctor and a sexy nurse. In other words, they re-enacted a porno movie.
Much like Bryan and Marie-France's zombie skate, I was able to be much more forgiving of Cale's stiff skating by reminding myself I was watching a porno. All the actors are wooden in those things (I assume).
The judges loved it, with Jeremy and Katarina claiming the performance got them hot, and Sandra raving, "Comedy is the hardest to do, and you really nailed it." That's an absurd statement, but it's also full of sexual innuendo if you're still thinking of this performance as porno on ice. Total score: 17.6.
And finally, Tessa Bonhomme & David Pelletier closed out the evening, dancing to "Haunted House" by Elvira while dressed as milfs (that's "Mummies I'd like to fear"; how's that for a groaner, Ron Maclean?).
Katarina had the line of the evening, saying, "If you were to perform this performance at the Olympics in Sochi, you would definitely win the gold without sharing it with another couple." Of course, if this thing won any medals, there'd be further allegations of fixing. Still, it was a quality zinger, far more clever than anything else we'd seen on this program.
Thankfully, Jeremy Roenick brought us back to earth, saying "I'm just wondering if I can get wrapped up with you guys one of these times," effectively suggesting the three have sex together. Total score: 17.5.
Stray observations & things my wife said:
• Tessa Bonhomme, during the opening sequence: ""I've already proven that I can figure skate." No, ma'am, you have not.
• We returned to the Mott's Clamato Lounge this week, a strange place where no one takes off their coat and everyone is drinking a Caesar. It remains the most curious and off-putting product placement the show has, and this is a show that features mini-documentaries where the couples pick up their kids in Fords they don't own.
• Speaking of the Ford fluff pieces, this week's was strange, as Ron and Kurt spent the entire time in the car raving about the Ford's handling while also discussing Ron's new book, Cornered. Product placement within the product placement spot? My head nearly exploded.
• Kurt Browning's split-personality hosting was brutal, but I loved when he seethed, "Whatever. Here's a hot nurse." I want him to be that creepy guy all day, every day.
• My wife, apparently incensed: "The women are not dressed as devils. You can't wear a red dress and devil horns and call yourself a devil. They're women in red dresses with headbands on; that doesn't count as a costume. If someone showed up at a Halloween party wearing normal clothes and a fireman's hat and said they were a fireman, I'd be like, 'f*** you, get a real costume, that's bulls***.'"