|Personality. Skaters who aren't us lack it.|
Blow me, both of you. Other skaters lack personality? Virtue Moir, MTM, Weaver and Poje, Paul & Islam, Duhamel Radford, Capellini & Lanotte, Pechelat & Bourzat?
The question wasn't "how would you describe your skating or your style on the ice."
It was specifically - what do you have that other skaters LACK.
Other skaters don't have personality. Other skaters aren't fun. We are.
|Get a personality, Asher Hill.|
(You know Piper is way more fun.)
So let's not talk about that.
With these two, Skate Canada pretends that figure skating is just an incidental vehicle for all the personality. There's no there, there.
I don't see that much freaking "personality" there either. I see one note mugging and relentless grinning. Know who else does that? Debbi. And what a lovely personality she does have.
Paul adds 'We're a lot of fun'.
Oh my, they are a blast. There's nothing funner than letting it be known, all casual, like it's your due, that you're guaranteed a place on the World team two months prior to the event that determines the World team. We know how Skate Canada's World Team selection is all about earning it on the ice.
Also fun is when the 4th place finishers at Trophee Eric Bompard don't so much as get to take a bow at the gala but the 6th place finishers (out of 8) get to skate 2 programs plus an additional group spot thanks to pre-comp dealing by their Federation, but they pass it off by smarming that they got the invite thanks to how their programs were received. Those two sets of exhibition costumes they brought along in their luggage? Big-assed coincidence.
Everything about Piper and Paul is fun like that.
Listen, Skate Canada. "We HAVE fun" is fine to say. We ARE fun is presumptuous, because unlike actual skating strengths, it's subjective. One person's fun is another person's obnoxious.
It's no surprise they said this, because fun! and personality! has been the brand message Skate Canada has been clubbing us over the head with since this team was created. "Fun" and "Personality!" was their fallback once it became obvious that Plan A: "Piper brings out Paul's masculinity in a way Vanessa never did", and "chemistry" wasn't going to fly.
The potshots that Carol Lane & Co. took at Vanessa's skating (she's not as 'elegant' as Paul but the girl keeps herself fit and is a hard worker! (Head pat.)) kind of got swept under the rug once we all got a look at just how elegant this new team was and what an outstanding example of classic masculine/feminine Gilles Poirier project on the ice. And we all got a gander at Piper's skating skills, and what an incredible upgrade she was from the skating of dear, hard working Vanessa.
Cue Plan B! Personality!
It's such an exhausting, peurile, juvenile idea of personality. Pose! Mugging! SMILES! Own the camp - and amp it up so everybody knows it's on purpose and nobody mistakenly thinks there's feminine stuff leaking out inadvertantly!
I know Debbi Wilkes has a marketing degree from the 1870s but she might have misunderstood the whole "Show, don't tell" thing, because all of her ideas are about telling us stuff and never showing anything. We've all seen what a winner that is. Paul & Piper are right up there, classic Debbi - it's all talk about how fun they are, then Paul & Piper strike a "fun" pose to show much personality they've got. We all know that's what personality is. Cartoonishness and teeth.
And that's it. That's the gig.
Supposedly, this cookie-cutter personality show they're putting on, the relentless camera mugging, regular mugging and self-congratulation, justifies pushing them forward, giving them gala slots and inflating their scores.
(Debbi must think Plushenko's "Sex Bomb" exhibition is the best show program of all time because whenever I see Paul & Piper's act on and off the ice, that's the program I think about.)
In Piper Gilles, Skate Canada appears to have landed someone as voracious for self-promotion as Debbi Wilkes. Piper hasn't done anything yet (she's had something handed to her - not the same thing), and, as an American, she's brand-new to Skate Canada, yet her unearned sense of entitlement and lack of humility is eyebrow raising.
This whole thing is comparative on a personal level that's absolutely ridiculous. For instance, Piper & Paul are "refreshing". Compared to whom? Who are the tedious skaters from whom Piper & Paul are a refreshing change?
|Probably Paul Islam (here with J Butt).|
Bleach your hair to straw, Alex, pound on the make-up
like a tranny and hot glue some rick-rack
to your skating dresses.Then we'll tak about fun.
Skate Canada is trying to control the conversation here, change the subject, discuss the team only in the context that serves their purpose and justifies pushing this team forward. What about Piper and Paul's skating, her skating skills, her ice dance skills, their elements?
Uh, I'll have to look at youtube and get back to you!
When you want to sell yourself as crazy fun and full of personality, you might want to not come off like an asshole, as Piper has been doing for some time now.
When P.J. Kwong was quizzed about her "unbiased" opinion that Piper & Paul ought to have beaten Hubbell Donohue at Skate Canada, P.J. had no case. She could only turn questions around. It's the sort of thing where a reasonable question comes up and you answer questions with a question because you're full of shit and don't want to be pinned down, so you just muddy the waters and focus on the questioner.
"We're fun - we have personality!" Isn't something you say about your freaking SELF. It's not something you say others LACK, especially when many of those others are your teammates.
Gilles Poirier, know who finds you fun? You do. You know who loves your personality the most? You do.* You're gonna need rotator cuff surgery from patting yourself on the back.
WHY are Skate Canada skaters such morons? I get that Debbi is. Where's the reality check for the rest of them?
Look how idiotic Charlie White and Meryl Davis sounded when they started sort of talking about themselves in the third person this season - "chemistry you can cut with a knife" and their other attributes. It sounded weird and phony and not like them at all. Fortunately, they've pretty much kicked that experiment to the curb and are back to sounding normal. And that's Charlie White and Meryl Davis, who actually have a resume.
These two haven't earned anything, and that includes their scores at Canadians last season.
*I want to bash Tanith a little more for her shout out to Piper about how great it was to see someone SMILE in the KnC.When that type of remark is made, it sounds the opposite of fun and smiley - it sounds passive-aggressive bitchy, and hostile to the rest of the competitors. It's also also putting the focus on the wrong things, which I realize is the whole idea.
And, Tanith, I think more figure skaters would smile in the Kiss'nCry no matter where they placed if they knew they were going to go to Worlds no matter how they did on the Grand Prix or how they skated at Nationals, and if they were getting all of the perks and promotion of success prior to being successful. Everybody would be smiling!
P.S. I'll tell you what first struck me as hinky about Gilles/Poirier, and that's before all this other crap started.
It was the overcompensation. Successful teams have split before - Yanakowskas/Coughlin, Bobek/Beharry - why not Crone/Poirier?
It's just that as soon as Paul settled on Piper the verdict started rolling in as if it had been banked and scripted and just waiting for opening night. It was a little too on-the-spot.
There was nothing organic. It was practiced, conspicuous, compensatory bullshit. A whole lot of "I loved Vanessa and Paul ... BUT". They were really forcing the point, just like now with the fun thing.
What actually happened there? Does Vanessa really know? Do we? Was it all Paul's decision or did anyone else of interest have their fingerprints on the dumpage?
It's so normal, but the spin that followed wasn't. That made me pause. If it were just another partner split, well, that's figure skating. But this one came with pre-fab spin. Why does a partner split need a clearly rehearsed sales pitch that pretends to praise the former partner while actually backhanding her, while overselling the new team.
The initial reports pretended that Paul and Piper were burning up the ice with chemistry and sex appeal. Of course as soon as everyone else got a look the whole thing was re-set and we started getting the "fun" meme, but it still doesn't answer why everything felt as if Vanessa getting dumped and Piper getting brought on board was a little bit executed, like some battle plan that came with a built-in marketing scheme.
That article out of Scarborough pretty much positioning Paul as the real star of the team and Vanessa as his well-intentioned, try-hard but basically lesser cohort was a red flag.
There was the report that Vanessa wanted a new coaching environment and Paul didn't, and so he surprised her by dumping her. If that happened, sure, coach Carol Lane will talk up Paul as a major talent and backhand Vanessa. That's survival. It was all over that article.
However, if you know skating you know that Vanessa Crone carried herself lightly, was precise, musical, focused. She wasn't classically gorgeous in the way Paul projected (and Scarborough costumes its female ice dancers like shit - make-up too). She didn't swan and swoop like Paul, but she was the organizing principle in their performances. She was the one who made them a unit.
And that said, good teams split all the time, often for reasons that have little to do with what's on the ice, but the sell on Paul's teaming up with Piper was extremely quick on the draw.
P.S. About three years ago I saw this 2008 video of Piper Gilles at Lake Placid
personality for days
where she and Zach Donohue chat about their new partnership. I don't think I ever got through the whole thing mostly because I kept wondering if she were fully awake. I went looking for it after I put up this post.
There's nothing remarkable about it - that's for sure - but I was wondering where all the personality came from that Skate Canada is currently hyping as this video seems a little deficient in that area. And I wonder if the Skate Canada noise about Gilles Poirier is all in two dimensions. Strike a pose! Wear colorful, tacky-on-purpose costumes! Work yellow hair and smile, smile smile!! Because it's not on the ice.