6A - Monday, November 29, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'Skating With the Stars' is reality TV crap on ice
No one will care
about ABC's excuses
By LINDSAY HURD
Even if winter seems like the
perfect opportunity for a show
about ice skating,
the Stars" proves
that, once again, Skating Wth
TV knock-offs The Stars
are not the way Mondays
to win any sort of at 8 p.m.
attempt at big-hit reality TV pro-
gramming has led to the atrocious
idea to make celebrities ice skate.
Riding on the success of "Danc-
ig with the Stars," the format of
"Skating" mirrors that of its pre-
decessor. Each so-called celebrity
is paired with an expert partner to
perform a routine each week, and
voted off the next day. But don't
be fooled - this show is a million
times worse than "Dancing with
the Stars," which itself is pretty
There are two major issues with
"Skating" that make it unbear-
able to watch. First, the celebrity
contestants are not celebrities at
all. ABC has clearly lowered their
standards with the D-list lineup,
which includes Johnny Moseley,
Vince Neil, Bethenny Frankel,
Rebecca Budig, Sean Young and
Brandon Mychal Smith. Who are
any of these people? According
to the show, their claims to fame
range from "Disney superstar" to
"rock legend." It's pretty sad when
Bethenny Frankel, a "Real House-
wife," is the show's biggest talent
when "Dancing with the Stars"
has had at least a few recognizable
stars on all of its seasons.
Issue number two: Inherently,
there's a giant problem with the
idea of making people skate who
never have before - skating is
just plain difficult. Learning the
moves for Yost Ice Arena's open
skate night is one thing, but doing
it on TV is another. It's hard to even
stand up, let alone try and do spins
and jumps. As a result, the "perfor-
mances" from the celebs consist of
them gliding around doing bumpy
child-like tricks and hand motions
that supposedly count as routines
because they are on TV. Not only
is it awkward to watch, but you can
tell all of the celebs are thinking
they have reached the lowest point
of desperation as soon as they get
out on the ice.
The rest of the show attempts
to make up for the lack of compel-
ling on-ice content - in the most
in the studio, something that isn't
reallyused in the world of television
today. Most modern shows are edit-
ed in post-production rather than
filmed live. Students still value the
"I like it. It's very hands-on,
there's a lot of action on the set. It's
not a traditional classroom experi-
ence. We aren't just being lectured,"
LSA junior Tracey Zane said.
"The students in the class allhave
different interests," Sarris said.
"While live camera may not really
be practiced, what the students
learn is broad enough that it's rele-
vant to anyone. It's a stepping stone
to another medium. Here, students
can get their feet wet, get creative
and then move on to what interests
Ice to meet you.
stereotypical and obnoxious way
possible. The camera swoops gra-
tuitously over the performances
and quickly cuts to different angles ish, as reality TV custom dictates)
of the skating to try to heighten tries to crack witty jokes about how
the action. Host Vernon Kay (Brit- See SKATING, Page 7A
From Page 5A
buttons and mysterious levers.
They mumble directions into their
headsets until, suddenly, a hush
falls over the set: "Let's slate this
scene," someone in the control room
says. "Ready? And, action." Class
"This isn't a typical studio here,"
Hoffman said. "If you were to go
out to L.A., you'd see that they have
whole stages for a show. What we
try to do here is mimic that."
The students work with the cam-
eras and have to find a way to bring
the different shots together in a way
that viewers will find believable.
This is harder than it seems - some-
times shirts show up as different
colors in different shots, sometimes
people aren't in focus.
"It's overwhelming to look at the
screen and make choices about a
shot, but there's alot of practice and
it's rewarding to see how much bet-
ter (my students) get," Sarris said.
"When you wttch a show on televi-
sion, it's easy to forget how much of
it can be illusion. Like here on this
set, that wall is just held up by some
weights and that staircase goes
However, what students learn in
class might be a bit like that stair-
case that goes nowhere. The stu-
dents do a lot of live-action work
them." sion and single-camera work and
University alum Alex Ebel, who I filmed a pilot in the studio," Ebel
currently works as a writing assis- said. "It was a great creative (outlet)
tant on NBC's upcoming "The Paul and a way to think of TV as writery'
Reiser Show," agrees with Sarris. and to get to see that reflected in the
"It was always fun to see my content and aesthetic of a show is
peers' talents," Ebel said. "You ' important - you can definitely see it
can really get a sense of how much with Tina Fey on.30 Rock.'"
work it is. There is definitely an art The Argus studio has a pull on
to multi-camera work that doesn't the students who have worked
get much recognition these days. there. 'U' alum Mark Cendrowski,
There's a stigma that television is a director of the hit sitcom "The Big
less-quality medium, compared to Bang Theory," recently came back
film. But there is an art to it that a lot to work with students.
of people don't recognize and that's "Our program has been reason-
important to have today." ably supported over the years. We
Ebel acknowledged that the stu- have a good budget, and I've learned
dio helped her, as a writer, appreci- how to get a few more years out of
ate what the director does. the equipment than most people
"I did my thesis about televi- do," Hoffman said.
Still, some feel that the studio
deserves more visibility on campus.
For these individuals, the studio's
planned relocation to North Quad
may boost its profile.
"It's a really incredible place, and
I really wish it was given more cred-
it," Heider said.
"Hopefully the move will help us
get the name out there, to make stu-
dents mire aware of the incredible
work their peers are doing here,"
But there is something sad about
leavinga building with so much his-
tory and character.
"I personally will feel I've lost
something in the move," Hoffman
said. "But it'll be nice to be in a
place where the floors are even."
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