Thursday, March 14, 2013

So half-assed is how they roll?

I'll embed these and have live links later.

Tessa "cooking". She knows she's just posing and she
knows we know.
Scott "acting natural".
Tessa and Scott both earned a complete "fail" when they joined Debbi Wilkes and William Thompson in "promoting London" this past summer. Shortly afterwards the above photos were instagrammed, both conveying tremendous enthusiasm for the "day late and dollar short" task at hand. In the photos, Tessa seems all "Yeah, no, I feel lame" and Scott's like "I'll keep moving until this is over. Plus Shoeless Joe's didn't get a great health inspection and that's why this photo is in the dark."

But then recently the little video promos that go with these instagrams aired and it was surprising, but maybe not if you reflect upon it.

Say I plan to visit London and naturally intend to base my dining choices on the suggestions of local figure skaters. Tessa Virtue touts The Bungalow. She's smiling, she's relaxed, her eyes are sparkling. She's almost excited. She's standing alongside a couple of well-dressed people who seem to operate what appears to look like an airy, sunny bar/bistro. Tessa is a girl who can turn on the straight-A pageant level OTT while extolling Roots tee shirts and scotch tape dispensers, so my expectations for eye rolling and cringing were high. However, back she goes to the kitchen and immediately establishes a convincing rapport with the youngish grill guy who appears quite confident in his menu in an appealingly unassuming way.  Everything is well-lit and clean back there, too. The hygiene - it impresses.

Tessa may not prepare her burger with a ton of assurance but she's game and owns it, and she loves that burger and loves that cranberry/honey mustard relish that goes with it, glopping extra onto her plate. Debbi Wilkes can only dream of making the calibre of faces Tessa makes at the camera. It was shocking - Tessa actually turning to look right at us and relate! She seems to be enjoying herself. The faces she makes to the camera are at her own expense (take note, Debbi).

If I'm new to London and I've seen this video and need lunch, I definitely will check and see if The Bungalow is anywhere near by. They seem to want our business and made pains to impress (see the snazzy red dress the woman who operates the place was wearing).

Then there's Scott. The video crew obviously hates him. The camera lens keeps its distance. They ignore him when he appears to want a re-take ("Except - you're supposed to go in when I say "come on in"). They cruise on by him AND leave his plaintive little correction in, so we know that he not only thought it should be done over, but that they didn't give a shit what he thought. 

So we're in. Sure it's a sports bar, so, dark, but maybe they should have made up for that with a little more pep and preparation. Scott shuffles over to the display of Tessa's Olympic od dress, underneath which is a photo of Tessa wearing her Olympic free skate dress, so - photos of Tessa in the dress on display are hard to come by? He calls our attention to her outfit, which, on camera, looks doll-sized.  He's got that thing going where his gestures and what he says are a little off-sync. He goes over to his own costume and calls attention to the fact that his Olympic figure skates are on display. We're not shown them. The camera swings up to zoom onto Scott's own Olympic costume, not missing the moment when Scott's "I'm on camera" face fades to an "I'm bored out of my mind" face.

It's super duper dark in there. It looks like what the Brits call an old man's pub, only empty. Not "sunny and empty - because we filmed prior to opening for the day" a la at The Bungalow, but "empty - cause we're open and nobody's here." I'm sure that's not true, but that's how it came off.

Then he seats himself at the bar. His Uncle Paul is there and I think Uncle Paul deserves a better promo than this. There's other people at the bar with their backs to the camera. Scott says he likes to sit and have appetizers (unnamed) and he likes some type of what sounds like chicken, and oh hey, the bar serves beer! But apparently apart from the costumes the big draw is you might see a Moir. On cue, the Moirs at the bar (cousin Cara and ... cousin Janet?) turn and wave at the camera, snark all over their faces. Yeah - welcome to Shoeless Joes, where it's dark and we can't be arsed to pretend we give a shit!

I'm not going near them. There's no room next to cousin Janet and cousin Cara scares me. If you need me, I'll be at The Bungalow.

Back when Shoeless Joes opened, the London Free Press did an article that was roughly a billion times more engaging than this little plug from Scott. There was talk about the community, why Shoeless Joes, why Westmount was a great location, and it was cool to read about the lesser known uncles. The uncles represented themselves well. Here, Scott only had "us" to relate to, and he wasn't excited about it.

Here's the thing. Do it or don't. Don't do something and disavow it at the same time. Tessa seems to get that. The Shoeless Joes plug doesn't.


  1. The sad part is Tessa & Scott and Patrick Chan are deserving athletes who get such little media exposure due to the incompetence running Skate Canada today. Skate Canada can't even train them and relies on the US Figure Skating Association to do that.

    Welcome to a Worlds with 1/3 the audience numbers, TV and Venue. Canada's best era in figure skating history, brought to you by US Figure Skating.

  2. Scott's segment was so awkward. Did he not want to be plugging Shoeless Joe's or what?!

    Who would have thought Tessa would be the adorable and personable one. I wish we could see more of this Tessa - the real one.

    1. I bet if Scott did this together with Tessa he'd be much more relaxed and natural-sounding. I've noticed this before about him. It's this stupid Skate Canada thing trying to help along the sham component and not do these things together. JMO

  3. London itself is not a big city - let alone Idlerton. If you were aiming at the figure skating crowd - Scott could have done a piece at a breakfast restaurant flipping pancakes while there was actually people at the restaurant - the perfect people to serve breakfast to - how about the Nexxice syncronized skating team or even see him make a specialty coffee for a customer like Rachel MacAdams- who by the way is originally from just outstide London and was a figure skater and still enjoys the sport. I mean he was great in the e-talk special when V/M were making snowmen for X-mas and he seemed to have a blast - judging from the photographs of when they did the Lindt chocolates opening in Winnipeg during last year's SOI tour. My two cents..