I Heart Johnny Weir and His Magic Sparkle Pants

Originally posted February 3, 2010

In case you haven’t heard, Johnny Weir, the flamboyant figure skater, now has his own reality show—oops, I mean documentary series—on the Sundance Channel. It’s called Be Good, Johnny Weir.

Do you like sparkles? Do you enjoy quadruple jumping and dizzying spins? Have you got a spandex fetish? Are you a fan of a trumped-up rivalry? How about a really good fake Russian accent? Or mascara on a man?

I highly suggest you tune in on Mondays at 10:30 p.m.

I think you’ve missed three episodes, but honestly I can catch you up right now. Small-town (Amish country, to be exact) boy first laces up a pair of skates at age 12 after seeing Oksana Baiul win Olympic gold. Despite very late entré into the vortex of sequins, boy excels at the “sport” of figure skating…and obviously at the art of shopping.

After winning some national and world medals, boy moves to very glamorous Wayne, New Jersey, to live with his “best friend” and train with famed Russian coach Galina. (She trained the one and only Oksana Baiul, natch.) Boy competes in many skating events—sometimes winning, sometimes losing to “archrival” Evan Unpronounceable. Boy says outrageous things to reporters. Boy does his hair. Boy puts on his makeup and some Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and acts naughty for the camera. There, you’re all caught up.

What I can’t for the life of me figure out is just how little Johnny can afford all the designer merch and fur hats in which he is always flouncing around. In one scene, he is sitting on his bed with his mother, and he’s wearing John Galliano pajamas. Huh? Who on earth has Galliano newsprint PJs?

I know the Olympics allows professional athletes to compete (hello, Dream Team!), but just exactly how does Johnny make his money? You certainly don’t see his mug on any billboards or his butt, with its heart-shaped tan lines (watch the show—you’ll understand), in a Gatorade commercial.

And I could imagine that he comes from money except that thanks to the magic of television, we’ve seen the mom and the house he grew up in and even his mulleted dad…and I would wager it’s not family money that’s buying the little minx minks in Minsk. (Woo-hoo—alliteration!)

Johnny, his glittery (edgy!) outfits and his (I must admit) adorable personality have actually persuaded me to watch figure skating during the upcoming Winter Olympics. I know people are really into it, but you’d normally have to tie me to a Barcalounger and feed me Pringles to get me to watch figure skating. I am categorically against any “sport” that is judged. Gymnastics, diving, figure skating—you can have them all. Give me a real sport where you are timed or where you can score a goal/touchdown/point, and I’m all over it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must inform you that figure skating and I have something of a history. Not only did I have a poster of Dorothy Hamill on my bedroom wall (yes, I am ancient), I also owned several Danskin skating outfits and a pair of leg warmers, which I insisted on sporting despite the below-freezing temps at our local rink. I am a former figure skater. Yes, I said it. Judge away. I would if I were you.


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