Be Good Johnny Weir Recap of Episode 7: Johnny wins US Figure Skating Association's Readers Choice Award and is forced to give media interviews at an IHOP.
Be Good Johnny Weir airs Mondays 10/9 central on Logo. The show follows two time Olympian and three time US national figure skating champion Johnny Weir as he tries to find a career outside of skating, while training for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Thank you US Figure Skating Association! Sometimes I get so jaded by these reality shows -- 99.9999% of the tension and drama is manufactured. Is it real? Did they really fight? Just when you thought BGJW was in the same mold, along comes the US Skating Federation to add the "reality" part.
What happened was this -- It is January 2011 and US Nationals are happening in Greensboro, North Carolina. Johnny is sitting out the 2010-2011 season to take advantage of the Vancouver Olympic exposure (he finished sixth overall). Tara Modlin, his agent, though has wonderful news! Every year, readers of SKATING Magazine, the official magazine of US Figure Skating, vote for their favorite skater. And this year, even though Evan Lysacek won the 2010 Olympics, readers have chosen Johnny as the recipient of the Readers Choice Award! Johnny is very pleased indeed -- further validation that the more his federation shuns him for being who he is, the more his fans embrace him.
Johnny competed for thirteen straight years at Nationals at various levels and won the senior title three times in a row. This is the first time he hasn't competed at Nationals and he feels mixed emotions. A chapter is possibly ending in his life and it feels bittersweet. In the car on his way to accept his Readers Choice award, he puts aside his negative thoughts and he and Tara discuss what he'll say in his speech. It's something along the lines of "Be yourself. You won't regret it. Be Frank Sinatra, do it yourrrrr way." Tara loves it. She shares some bad news though. There will be no official press conference for him, but don't worry, she'll create one in the lobby or somewhere in the building. When they arrive at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Tara is advised that Johnny will NOT be allowed to give a speech. I imagine the conversation at US Figure Skating headquarters went something like this:
"For the love of God, do not give this man a mike."
"We're pretty sure the audience wants to hear from him."
"For the love of God, do not give this man a mike."
"But the past winners have always said something--"
"Fine, let him speak but don't let him hold the mike."
So the compromise was that one of the producers of icenetwork.com, which is run by US Figure Skating, interviewed him after he received the award and Johnny got to thank his fans and get his message across. But wait - there's more! To add insult to injury, Tara is advised that Johnny will not be allowed to give media interviews in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Johnny ends up going to the IHOP across the street and gives media interviews in their parking lot. It's hard to fathom that this is a two-time Olympian, three-time US National champion who's done his share to keep US figure skating interesting post the Nancy/Tonya and Michelle Kwan era. Evan Lysacek was more interesting because there was a Johnny Weir and vice versa by the way. (And it's gonna get way more interesting this season since both are returning to competition.) Me thinks US Figure Skating could have treated him a little bit better as the fan favorite.
Back home in NJ, Johnny reflects on his legacy. He wants to be known as a true athlete. Is this the impression he left after the 2010 Olympics? He contemplates a return to competitive skating but knows that he won't be welcome with open arms by his federation. Maybe he can compete for Russia! Nah...
Now we're in Chicago, and Johnny is ready to perform in Ice Dreams, a skating show that Tara is producing. He's decided to skate to Edith Piaf's I Don't Regret Anything. Mother Patti has come to watch him skate and before the show, he talks to her about a possible return to competition. Wise Patti tells him that he has never believed that he can skate and have a life. But guess what, if he manages his time right and has the mental fortitude, he can do both and be happy. Yoda Patti then says these magical words: If you don't believe in your heart and soul that you are not done, you are not done. Do not regret that you had something left in your heart. Good words to end the episode.
Other things from Episode 7:
- Due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011, Johnny helps raise money for victims by designing a t-shirt with Tadashi.
- We see Tara running around like a madwoman trying to put on Ice Dreams. She's yelling at everyone -- her staff, parents whose children are in the show, children, dogs, boyfriend Josh, chairs, costume maker Stephanie Handler, etc. Believe it or now, this is an improvement over how she produced ice shows from a year ago.
- We meet Sherry, Tara's mother/sister. She reminds Tara that she is 32-years-old and that in Jewish years, she should already be dead. Where is the husband? Where is the children? She's been dating Josh for over a year and a half now! Fish or cut bait! Tara listens patiently and tells her mom that Josh needs a little more time to realize how fabulous she is.