Or at least the most Canadian thing that happened since a moose broke into a gas station in Kelowna and stole a bunch of donuts.
I feel like people outside of Canada should know about the Canadian reality TV show "Battle of the Blades." Once you have Ron Maclean and Kurt Browning in a room together, you're either at CBC wine-tasting or a very confused ice rink. And this is the latter.
I think it's probably most like "Dancing With the Stars." The premise is basically that you put figure skates on a hockey player*, and teach him (or occasionally, her) to do a dance routine with a pro-figure skating partner. It's even friendlier than Dancing with the Stars, in that judges and commenters strive to keep the tone of all comments positive, and there's zero attempt to create drama or rivalry with dynamics or editing. I don't know to what extent this is because it's Canadian, and to what exent it's because they are dealling with celebrities, so you can't insult your performers every season and rely on new ones popping up to take abuse, but the judges' version of being highly critical is "You guys have so much potential!" [sad look].
Watching the show makes me respect Hockey players a great deal as athletes, which is odd, I'm sure to most hockey fans who have always respected their athleticism, but what I admire is how these guys learn new skills
, and put in the work to perfect these moves.
There are definitely things to nitpick about it. It can be pretty cheesy. Season 2 and 3 judge Jeremy Roenick often made awkward comments about the women's attractiveness. (Actually, in his defence, he sometimes made awkward comments about the men's attractiveness.)
Hockey fandom: in a transparent ploy to solicit your interest, please imagine Patrick Kane on this show. (Sorry about the tears of blood.)
I feel like there are really interesting things happening with the negotiation of masculinity in this show. ( gender and hockey/figure skating **Collapse )( I don't care about gender, just show me cool routines!Collapse )( I don't care about figure skating, but I would love to watch hockey players trip over their skatesCollapse )
* For non-skaters: there are two kinds of skates being used: Hockey skates and figure skates have a slightly different blade shape, and crucially in this context, figure skates have a toe-pick. This provides plenty of hilarity the first time a hockey player (or anyone, in fairness) puts them on, because they will inevitably trip over the toe-pick and land on their face.
** There are two gaping omissions in this post: one, I am talking about gender and figure skating without mentioning Olympian Tessa Bonhomme, the hockey skater who won season 3. Sorry, the construction of femininity is not that interesting to me! I've had to live it. And two, I know basically nothing about the personal or professional lives of any of these hockey skaters.This post also on dreamwidth ( comments)