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Weir show could Be Good


The Winter Olympics have been over for a couple of weeks now, but I say not a minute too soon. I enjoyed the thrill of rooting for random athletes—like when I tried to leave a cafe after lunch and but was unable to tear away from the conclusion of the 50K ski marathon featuring eventual winner Petter Northug of Norway (where the bulk of my ancestors hail from). But if the games had continued for even a day—nay, even an hour—longer, my head may have exploded. It's hard enough keeping up with what's good (and, perhaps more importantly, what's awful) on TV these days without NBC and its many affiliates dousing me in nonstop athletic programming and tear-jerking features.

And so after being Olympic overloaded for a fortnight, the very last kind of reality show I'd want to watch is one starring an Olympian. Hence, for me, Be Good Johnny Weir, the Sundance Channel's chronicle of the last several years' worth of the misadventures of American figure skater Johnny Weir wasn't high on my list.

Tuning in before the Olympics commenced, however, was a treat because I was amped for the Games to begin, and because Johnny Weir is one of the more flamboyant and intriguing athletes on the United States' national team.

It's refreshing to peek behind the professional facade, to see a famous skater complain of homesickness while attending a foreign event and confess to suffering from exhaustion and a bruised and battered body from constant training. It's also a hoot to hear Weir labeling rival American skater Evan Lysacek (who took home a gold) his nemesis, long before Lysacek was a national contender.

Weir's show is the brainchild of filmmakers James Pellerito and David Barba, whose documentary on Weir, Pop Star on Ice, premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival last spring and first aired on the Sundance Channel in December 2009.

Be Good Johnny Weir may suffer. It's featured on a premium channel, Olympic fever has died down and the show's media buzz could've been much greater if Weir had medaled at the Games (he finished sixth), but as a leading face in one of the world's most popular winter sports, Weir and his show could yet have some roses thrown their way by adoring fans.