View Full Version : In Defense of Scmaltz

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07-19-2010, 02:23 AM
1. Oksana sobbing and couldn't complete any jump throughout her "You'll See" program at the Ryder Pro comp after Sergei's death.

God I remember that. Glad I'm not the only one who thought that was a tad bit...hammy. :shuffle:

But then again, who am I to judge what "authentic" grieving looks like.

John 3 17
07-19-2010, 08:33 AM
Because it can often come off as manipulative and becomes all about "ME, ME, ME". These are not programs but I'd classify these moments as schmaltzy:

1. Oksana sobbing and couldn't complete any jump throughout her "You'll See" program at the Ryder Pro comp after Sergei's death.
2. Nicole dropping down to one knee and looking up at the ceiling at Worlds during the week that Fassi died.

Those moments didn't feel authentic to me.

Wow. They sure were genuine to me, especially Oksana. I get weepy just remembering that program. She sobbed *so* hard and never performed that number again. She was literally fresh off the plane from Moscow. Nicole felt real to me, too. These two moments, imo, shouldn't even be in the same thread as David Wilson's contrived numbers.


07-25-2010, 06:19 PM
I think people complain about schmaltz because it isn't emotionally honest.

This. This sums up the entire dilemma. I think we all respond to any performance (not just skating) that comes from an honest place. It's quite rare I think.

OTOH I think some are entertained by schmaltz, which I define as "fake angst", (as kwanfan1818 once so eloquently described it), or equally fake "lovey dovey" - fake being the operative word. Like JJH said, it just makes me bilious. I dare to say I think it makes most people bilious.

I don't think COP has anything to do with it. Long before COP skaters learn that they have to be expressive on the ice. Very few can find that expression from a truly genuine place so they fake it. Yawn. Gag. I think the greatest strength of Michelle Kwan was that her expression was so genuine and heartfelt. With Mao for instance we see it in spades in exhibitions but she hasn't quite yet mastered bringing it to competition ice. Lambiel oozes genuine expression. In a completely different way so does Ryan Bradley. OTOH I hated what Linichuck gave B&A 2 years in a row because there was nothing genuine about it. It was all faux angst.

I think D&D for instance have the potential to show true heartfelt expression (we've seen glimpses of it in the past) but they seem to have lost it for now in their personal and/or inconsistency issues. D&L's SIT is a fabulous example of what you'd call "schmaltzy" that worked because the expression was true. It transcended schmaltz because it was honest.

Like wyliefan said it's the difference between sentiment and schmaltz . The first is genuine (and can move us to tears) the second is fake and makes me gag.

07-26-2010, 12:37 AM
We have to bear in mind, though, that performers -- not just skaters -- are always taught to "fake" something they don't feel. You watch something like, say, one of Busby Berkeley's big group numbers with hundreds of girls dancing, and you know not every single one of those grinning girls was feeling over-the-top exhilarated. Not unless old Busby was pumping something pretty groovy into the air. :)

07-26-2010, 03:57 AM
Oh yes! And this is a perfect example of when a performance that doesn't come from a truly genuine place can still be hugely entertaining. I love those big Hollywood group numbers. But still, it is a little different than what's required of an individual performer.

We all know really good acting when we see it, where the actor transcends acting and becomes the character they are portraying (I've just seen The Kids are Allright with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore - brilliant, totally believable!). I think expression in skating is somewhat the same. Some skaters stop acting and infuse themselves with the role/performance (V&M, Lambiel, Kwan) and others never get it and just act their hearts out and it all just comes over as fake.

And there is also something to be said for the eye of the beholder. On this board at least one poster has said that they find V&M to be fake, and another that they find B&A's expression (in their Linichuck FD from last season) to be genuine. And for me it's the complete opposite. Go figure.