SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Those who can’t get enough of Johnny Weir and his antics, don’t worry. He’s not going to leave you hanging until the Vancouver Olympics.
Weir’s reality show, “Be Good Johnny Weir” premieres Monday night on the Sundance Channel. The eight-part series, which chronicles the ups and downs of an elite athlete, is a follow-up to this summer’s “Pop Star on Ice” documentary.
“It’s about me,” Weir said, a touch incredulous, when asked why people should watch it. “No, it’s a real athlete show. It’s not a fluff piece, nothing is pre-scripted. … It’s the real life of what it takes to be a figure skater.”
And a fashionista and a costume designer and a guy who gives skating color (as if it needed any more).
It’s Weir’s skating ability that first drew him attention. He’s one of the most lyrical and expressive skaters around, someone who can make simple crossovers look like a work of art, and he has been a fixture on the national and international scene for the better part of the decade. He won three straight titles from 2004-06, and was the world bronze medalist in 2008.
But it’s his “personality” that has given him cult status. He says whatever is on his mind, regardless of how controversial or quirky it might be. He has likened his costumes to “a Care Bear on acid” and “an icicle on coke,” and he attributed his rough free skate at the Turin Olympics to not feeling his “aura. Inside I was black.”
His costumes are often, to put it politely, garish. Though the one he had Sunday, which was redesigned after last month’s Grand Prix final, was surprisingly subdued. Sure, there sparkles and a puff of white fur on the left shoulder — fox, to be exact — but there was no bird, no laces, not even very much mesh.
“I thought it was lovely,” Weir said. “It was fluffy. I looked very special. I looked like I dressed up for this event, which is what I wanted.”
Weir was then asked if he’s hoping to get a spot on Bravo’s “Launch My Line” show.
“I don’t know that I want to be a reality show maven and go on every single one that would possibly have me,” he said.
Ah yes, back to his show.
A camera crew has been following Weir since last season, chronicling his day-to-day life. Yes, there are some shopping trips and some glamorous events. But most of the show will be devoted to his real life: the long hours of training and preparation that it takes to become an Olympic athlete.
“I rarely see friends, I rarely see family. I go to train, I come home, I eat my dinner, I go to bed and I get up the next morning and do it again,” he said. “I’m doing what a real athlete should be doing.”
The eight-episode show was designed to trace Weir’s journey to the Olympics. By finishing third overall Sunday, he earned a spot on his second Olympic team.
“So it’s good to have a good series finale now,” Weir joked before turning serious. “First and foremost is skating, and everything else comes second. I’m going to Vancouver for a medal; I’m not going just to compete.”