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Thread: "Up Close and Personal" Pieces

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    "Up Close and Personal" Pieces

    I don't know how any of you feel about this, but I would LOVE to sit back and watch the US Nationals this year without enduring any more of those boring, dippy "up close and personal" pieces on Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Michael Weiss, etc. Every year we are served the same helping of these bios, and, as far as I'm concerned, they make perfect excuses for me to raid the refrigerator or call a friend on my cell phone.

    Honestly, do the television stations and or the USFSA really think that we care two hoots about Kwan's coaching changes, Cohen's modeling career, Weiss' kids, etc.? OK - maybe a five minute piece that includes all of them might be in order, but not long, drawn-out pieces on all three of them. I'm not criticizing the skaters personally, you understand. They are talented athletes who have pretty much dedicated their lives to figure skating. However, it's not realistic to expect any of them to have anything really interesting or insightful to share with us, as they have all pretty much lived in the tunnel-vision world of skating, touring, commercials, etc.

    Most of us are not millionaires, and we do not spend most of our time "on the road". These skating stars certainly have opinions and perspective, but how can their views connect with the rest of us who live "normal" lives?

    I recall an interview Dorothy Hamill gave a number of years ago in which she spoke of her difficulties with the media after her 1976 Olympic victory. She said, to paraphrase, "The press expected me to have something profound to say every time I appeared at a press conference. To be truthful, I never had anything to say that anyone wanted to hear."

    I remember seeing an "up close and personal" piece on Tara Lipinski that was filmed just prior to the 1998 Olympics. It portrayed Tara as "just another normal 15-year-old who enjoyed hanging out with her friends". Tara was shown giggling
    with her girlfriends while shopping at the local mall, and she was shown playing on the roof of her townhouse with those girls. To portray Tara as a typical American teenager was, quite frankly, laughable. She was anything but your typical kid. She was a prodigy, a marvelously talented athlete who had the single-minded determination and drive to skate to the top. But those personal bios, showing Tara cavorting on the ice did not portray the fact that Tara gave up her childhood for skating, neither did it mention that fact that her over training resulted in the career-ending hip injuries.

    I did not mean to print a sermon here, folks. I just wanted to express my view that the less of those personal bios, the better. I would much rather watch other skaters than see those silly bios!!!

  2. #2
    ~ Evgeni's Sex Bomb ~
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    Okay, I like the fluff pieces on skaters I like, BUT I would happily give them up to see more skaters. Watching Euros and Worlds on Eurosport, which is nothing but skating during the skating (fluff pieces are during the Zamboni breaks). I would also be happy to give up the stupid, unnecessary interviews in the Kiss and Cry. Peter, who I love, STILL doesn't understand that skaters whose first language isn't English aren't going to be able to coherently answer the seven questions he strung together. While speaking very fast. And don't get me started on Lisa....

    Sorry, I went off on a rant there, too. Gads, I would pay whatever it takes to just watch SKATING. ALL the skaters, not just the Americans and the top three.

    Laura

  3. #3
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I like fluff peices. I like to see glimpses of our guys' and gals' lives that show that they are more than just triple Lutzes and Camel spins.

    Plus, I think we should remember that the TV networks are trying to reach out to an audience broader than the hard-core skating fan who will watch anything about skating no matter what. We may have seen Michelle walking on the beach or hugging her dog or saying "I just want to skate and have fun" a few zillion times, but we should be unselfish and let new viewers in on the pleasure.

    Mathman

  4. #4
    Minusaramadad from Arctaroon John King's Avatar
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    "Up Close And Personal"

    Well,why do you think certain skaters get invited to talk shows?People are interested in them as people as well as skaters.Stars On Ice wouldn't have been half the show it is if it weren't for the entertaining personalities of Scott,et. al.

  5. #5
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    I have liked some of the fluff pieces, but you may be right that our media overdo it. I don't need to watch a fluff on Michelle Kwan, for example, every time there is a major competition. During worlds I would rather watch more skating than fluff pieces.

  6. #6
    Down With It
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    We may have seen Michelle walking on the beach or hugging her dog or saying "I just want to skate and have fun" a few zillion times, but we should be unselfish and let new viewers in on the pleasure.
    Yeah, I was just going to say, what about people who don't know these skaters just tuning in? It's a good way for people who don't follow skating regularly to know a little more about the top contenders. As a "new viewer" it was certainly helpful for me to see some of these pieces. Yes, it's annoying to those people who watch skating more often and have already seen these pieces 1,000 times already, but it's possible that we on these forums may not make up the majority of people watching.
    Last edited by R.D.; 07-12-2004 at 11:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Fan of The Incomparable Sonja Henie Glacierskater's Avatar
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    One thing to consider that I thought of while reading this thread: maybe the skaters like to be able to share some of their life with the fans, or explain certain aspects of their life, training, or coaching decisions. Just food for thought...speaking of, about raiding that refrigerator...where's the ice cream? :D

  8. #8
    Rinkside
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    Fluff and Stuff

    Personally, I LOVE a good (good being the key word) fluff piece. However, I am an even bigger fan of "Ice Moves", which I feel really help the "newbies" of skating to understand what's going on. I get tired of fluff's monotomy, but when they are done well (for instance, one of my faves is the one on Michelle they showed right before the SLC SP- really well done and caught the "casual fan" up on her story) they can inform. However, I would much prefer to see skating as opposed to beside-the-ice updates from stuff that has been covered in the commentary (ex: Lisa G. at this years Worlds with Michelle's SP deduction) and fluff. Was I the only one a wee bit miffed at the fact ABC only showed two Ladies' SPs at Worlds this year, but had three fluff pieces (Sasha, Irina, and Belbin&Agosto) and SEVERAL interviews and beside-the-ice things? I mean, c'mon- ABC alotted three hours to the free dance and Ladies' final- there should have been WAY more skating broadcast IMO. Oh well... if you can't change it, come here and complain about it.

  9. #9
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    My love of UCAPs is my secret shame.

    Another thing to take in consideration, is the historical context angle. The only thing I remember about the 76 Olys on TV was the scenery. Watching the tape years later, it was interesting to see them go on and on and on about Dianne de Leeuw's being American but skating for Holland. If they did the same thing today about Peter T or someone, I'd be bored stiff because I know all that, but watching old tapes, the fluff pieces really help put things in historical perspective.

    I also love the ones about skaters from other countires and what their training conditions are like, etc..Of course, as all the Russians and Asians move to the US to train, it's starting to loose it's relevance.

  10. #10
    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    "Fluff" pieces seem to be a necessary aspect of televised sports events, not just skating. I don't follow baseball as closely as I do skating, but when a fluff piece about a young pitcher was on ESPN the other day, I was fascinated by it, the struggles of this young ballplayer and his mother to help him make it into the major league............my younger son shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh another story about..........I know all about him already".........he did but I didn't. Must be the same for "newbie" fans tuning in and being intrigued about a talented skater who wants to hang around for another Olympics......42

  11. #11
    Custom Title IDLERACER's Avatar
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    This is true of every sport, not just skating...Come to think of it, it's not even just sports. Movie actors are also borring people, when not given a script to work with. This is why I don't watch talk shows. To me, writers, directors and composers are the interesting folks, because what they do involves serious creativity. Actors and singers, are just the display vehicles for that creativity. In that sense, I think skater's choreographers might actually make for a more interesting interview than that of the actual skater.

    As far as the Hollywood Squares goes, whenever they do an "Olympic Gold" edition, Scott Hamilton is always invited because he's fairly quick-witted (which is not too common among athletes) and Tara Lipinski is often invited because she makes for some good eye-candy.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi, GASk8Gal, thanks for posting and welcome to the forum!

    ITA about the Ice Moves segments. I also like Suzie Wynn talking about Ice Dance because that is the discipline that I know the least about.

    And I second Idleracer's idea of interviews with choreographers. I would love to see a Close Up and Personal on Lori Nichol or Sandra Bezik!

    Mathman

  13. #13
    Tripping on the Podium
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    While I generally prefer to see more skating than fluff, there are a number of fluff pieces I've enjoyed or found informative over the years. The piece they recently did with Irina about her medical problems was very touching and a good update. I remember some of the original fluff on Alexei and Evgeny that talked about some of their situations growing up and Evgeny leaving home at such a young age that I found very interesting.

    Too many of the fluff pieces are repetitive and don't really add anything (who would have expected the skaters to say they love skating?!) and I definitely think some of them could do with more editing (do I really want to see Tanith and Ben play a matching quiz?), but when they are well done, I think they add another level to the broadcast that can be very helpful.

    And my guillyt pleasure was the piece they did on questionable wardrobe selections and wardrobe malfunctions.

  14. #14
    Champion Skater (Vicariously)
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    olympic fluff is usually really really well done, like emmy winning well done. I almost look forward to the fluff more than the events themselves, unless its a sport i am passionate about like skating or gymnastics. I agree with the poster who mentioned the MK fluff piece from before the SP in SLC... it was very well put together, and it got me reved up for the drama.

    Fluff is IMPORTANT, its what helps newcomers become more invested in the athletes and in the sport... its easier to be rooting for someone if you have heard of their victories and agonies of their defeat.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard
    Okay, I like the fluff pieces on skaters I like, BUT I would happily give them up to see more skaters. Watching Euros and Worlds on Eurosport, which is nothing but skating during the skating (fluff pieces are during the Zamboni breaks). I would also be happy to give up the stupid, unnecessary interviews in the Kiss and Cry. Peter, who I love, STILL doesn't understand that skaters whose first language isn't English aren't going to be able to coherently answer the seven questions he strung together. While speaking very fast. And don't get me started on Lisa....

    Sorry, I went off on a rant there, too. Gads, I would pay whatever it takes to just watch SKATING. ALL the skaters, not just the Americans and the top three.

    Laura
    Lisa Guerrero got on my nerves. I can't stand the whole "What happened..."

    She went to friggin' journalism school. She should know how to ask better questions.

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