Sundance Channel’s new show, Be Good Johnny Weir, showed the premiere of its fifth episode last night, where Weir goes to Russia to compete in his first competition since nationals 10 months prior.
Since I didn’t want to ruin my Olympics viewing experience, I had decided to wait until the winter games were over to bury myself in the show.
The Cup of Russia was Weir’s chance to kick off the skating season with an impressive showing, but the self-described pop star on ice (spoiler alert!) lost to Evgeni Plushenko, whose first performance in four years defied all expectations.
Because we already know how this rivalry plays out at the Vancouver Olympics, some of the competitive thrill is gone. Weir’s inability to hold it down under pressure rears its ugly head and his loss is predictable instead of disappointing.
Although his strict Russian coach Galina would beg to differ, this is a positive thing as it allows the viewer to enjoy on the real focus of the show — Weir and his flamboyant, outspoken personality.
Outside of the pressures of competition, we are able to see Weir as a real person with a sense of humor, an obsession with Slavic culture and mink bow ties. It resembles what I would imagine a joint reality show with Christian Siriano, Bobby Trendy and Jeffree Star would be like if they were all semi-real people instead of egos wrapped in mannequin bodies.
Weir’s covert sexual innuendos (“When I got my flu shot, they had to stick this mammoth thing inside me”) and admittance of fears and weaknesses (“My jumps were terrible. I’m so embarrassed”) brings him back down from whatever fur-covered planet he appeared to live on during the Olympics and makes him someone you at least want to go shopping with.