So we promised a diary of “Sidney Crosby: Revealed”, so here it is!
– This whole thing kicks off ignominiously, with a placard that reads, “In the Toughest Sport on ICE…” What’s with the all-caps for “ICE”? It reminds Pookie of a blog she found today, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.
– Interspersed with all the dramatic shots of Sid trying not to look dopey standing next to a big block of dummy ice is the title screen “What would it be like to redefine a sport?” Dramatic shot of Sid again. “Ask him.” We didn’t have to watch this all the way through to know Sid wasn’t going to tell us what it’s like. What surprised us was that VS didn’t really bother asking. But we digress…
– Oh, Al Trautwig narration, how you make us think we’re watching Olympic cross-country skiing.
– Al intones seriously that Sid is so awesome, so fantabulous, so much better than expectations (true enough), but then he says that “In his own words, through his own eyes,” Sid will now share his life story. Pookie says in her Sid voice, “I was born a poor black man…”
– Sid jumps right in: “First I had to learn to skate before I could play.” Well yes, Sid, skating is the foundation of ice hockey. This is accompanied by a shot of him looking distinctly “short bus”-ish as he stares absently into his skateboot.
– We know we’re in for a really bad “Revealed” show when Sid voices over, “I always wanted to be a goalie,” and VS gives us title screens that read, “A goalie?” and then, “Huh?” VS, leave the editorializing to us. (Pookie points out that Sid is being very generous with his definition of “always,” since it sounds like he got talked out of his desire to “always be a goalie” pretty early in life.)
– As we pause the TiVo remark on the goalie thing, Pookie says sadly, “His shirt is really the dorkiest thing I’ve ever seen.” He’s definitely rocking his “old man in a young man’s body” sense of style there.
– They show a shot of a baby picture of Sid, and we are in disagreement what it looks like. Schnookie thinks it looks like it came out of 1950’s Russia, while Pookie feels more like it’s “from, like, 1810.” Whatever it is, he should be wearing a sailor suit in that picture.
– Sid tells us that he got to experience extra pressure during the lockout because people in Canada were paying so much attention to him in Juniors. The accompanying highlight shows Sid diving, while his voiceover talks about how he was learning so much. VS, we were all watching – he still had to learn about the diving after he got to the NHL.
– Al somberly narrates that the 2005 draft became known as the “Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes”, as if no other draft with a phenom in it has been called the “So-and-so Sweepstakes”. Sid pisses off even further all the fans of a certain unlucky-with-ping-pong-balls team we won’t mention by name here by squeaking, “I was hoping it would be Pittsburgh all along.”
– Cut to dramatic shots of Pittsburgh, then title screens telling us Sid didn’t win the Cup his rookie year; in fact, he started out 0-9, including a highlight of Brian Gionta scoring on the Pens, as if that is the lowest possible point a shitty team could reach. Sid talks about how the losing made him learn a lot, and blah blah blah, and Pookie says suspiciously, “It seems like he’s laying on the Canadian accent really thick here.”
– Oh, now things get exciting: VS gives us Sid’s rookie year stats, then writes in stark letters across our screen, “But one ROOKIE did even better” (“ROOKIE” there is highlighted in red on the black screen, underscoring the blood feud that has so clearly sprung up between Sid and Ovie).
– Thunderous drumbeat, and a shot of a stern Ovie. It gives us chills! CHILLS!
– Cut to Sid smiling warmly and saying, “You know, with Ovechkin it’s something… I’m Canadian, he’s Russ—” Weird edit. “It’s just a great storyline.” Hm. We wonder what Sid was really saying there. Not that we’d ever suggest this Revealocumentary isn’t entirely in Sid’s words, as he spoke them, completely in context.
– VS delivers, in the most dramatic form possible, the shocking news that on June 22, 2006, Alexander Ovechkin won the Calder Trophy. Sid chirps, “He had a better season.” Sid, come on. Where’s the fury? The burning anger? The bitter, neverending resentment? The way VS belabors this point, though, you’d think being a finalist for the Calder Trophy was the only accomplishment Sid’s had to this point. Sid very hilariously says, with slightly pursed lips, that winning the Calder was never his biggest concern. BURN! Suck on that, Ovie! (Sounds like someone has a case of sour grapes there, Sidney.)
– Heartbeat… heartbeat… “What does…” heartbeat… heartbeat… “the opposition…” heatbeat… heartbeat… “think?” Oh! Hello Hank! And what does Handsome Hank think? Pookie: “[sings the “Meow Mix” song]”. Hank’s hair is almost indescribable: it’s like he’s trying to do the Malkin “65-year-old actuary” style, but with a feathery mullet. (In all honesty, we don’t care what Hank thinks.)
– Wait, Kris Draper is someone whose opinion we care about? On any issue? Since when?
– A commercial break takes us into “Season Two”. Sid leads it off by explaining what the “New NHL” means to him: “Speed. And skill. And new rules that show off the skill.” Sid, that line stopped being relevant two years ago.
– We can’t quite figure out who this Sidformercial is benefiting. It seems like it should be a commercial for VS, the NHL and Sid, but it’s not coming out that way. VS isn’t building up any brand recognition because none of their on-air “talent” is showcased, the NHL… well, whatevs, and Sid isn’t doing anything of note here. Pookie decides that somewhere along the way in the production of this special, it became all about whoever was doing the graphics. They don’t miss a single chance to do some fancy effect to the text. Boomer says sadly, of the lack of revelations, “It’s just a scam.” Pookie: “Yes. I feel scammed.”
– Sid tells us, “As a fan, I think, you want to see goals.” Pookie retorts, “As a fan I want to see wins.”
– The script takes us into Gretzky/Lemieux territory, and Al starts getting excited about how in his second season, Sid became a “game-breaker” and a “force to be reckoned with at all times.” Cut to a “dramatic” shot of Sid all gauzily lit, in which he looks like he’s got a mullet worthy of “Youngblood”.
– So now Sid’s supposedly telling us all about how he became that game-breaking force to be reckoned with, and he’s just giving us the same old standard drivel about shooting at the holes rather than looking at the goalie. Considering that Sid’s a better playmaker than he is a shooter, wouldn’t it be a lot more interesting to hear him talking about how he sees the ice and what goes into his decision-making process? Nah. Fans like goals. Let’s talk about those instead.
– Just when we are getting really loud in our griping that we don’t care about how Sid shoots the puck, he very seriously, as if no one’s ever thought of this before, explains that once you’re comfortable shooting at “spots”, you can start thinking about opposing goalies’ tendencies. “An example would be,” he informs us, “When I scored that goal on Theodore. I see him lean one way, and then I knew that if I went the other way, you know, I’d have him.” Really? Did you invent that, Sid? There should be a word to describe such a play! Hold on, we’ll think of one… Oh, we know! How about “Fat Albert”? No? Well then, how about “deke”?
– Boomer, after some pondering, pipes up to say of this show, “This would be great for, like, fifth graders. On some rainy day when a gym teacher is just desperate for something to distract the kids with.”
– Okay, we are genuinely entertained by Sid’s take on those plays he makes where he crazily beats four guys: he chuckles with a combination of self deprecation, modesty, and limitless arrogance and admits that’s not an example of very good decision-making. But while he’s saying this, VS treats us to a super-slo-mo look at his famous goal against the Rangers.
– The fact that VS insists on basically using only footage from the games they’ve broadcast makes it look like Sid has only played games against the Senators in his life.
– Sid continues, likening the beating-four-guys plays to being a running back: “If you see a hole, you’ve got to attack it and see if you can get through there. And sometimes you’re going to get hit and sometimes you’re going to lose the puck.” Here Sid gets this eyebrows-raised smirk, “The odd time, I was able to get through.” On the rare occasions when it rears its head, we really like to see cocky, arrogant bastard Sid. It’s such a refreshing change.
– We move onto the scoring title. “Scoring title,” Sid’s voiceover sounds to us like his heaping scorn on the words, but a cut to his little wooden robot talking head shows he’s not. To him it’s just an extension of winning. Pookie: “Sid and I think alike! We think alike about a lot of things.” Boomer: “I’m sure Sid thinks about a lot of issues the way you do.”
– We now get a very strange, choppy sequence that makes no sense at all. Sid is very earnestly talking about bettering his team, saying points will follow if he’s playing well, and then something about not wanting to go too long without scoring because then the team won’t win, and we really have no idea. Again, not to suggest that this wasn’t just 30 minutes of off-the-cuff Sid, but that little sequence was very awkwardly cobbled together. Fortunately, Sid is always on-message, so it’s probably pretty easy for editors to put that kind of soundbite stretch together.
– Heartbeat… heartbeat… “What does…” heartbeat… heartbeat… “the opposition…” heatbeat… heartbeat… “think?” Jeremy Roenick? What the fuck? Why in the hell would we care what JR thinks?
– Actually, as it turns out, we love that VS included JR here, because he talks about the game where Sid single-handedly smoked the Coyotes last season. He raconteurs that the Pens beat them so handily “because every guy was just [creepy eye-rolling], ‘Did you see what that kid just did? Holy crap! Did you see what that kid just did?’ That’s Sidney Crosby.” Boomer: “No, that’s the Phoenix Coyotes.” This sets us off on a lengthy tangent, Boomer saying, as the Coyotes, “Holy crap! Did you see what that guy just did? And that guy? And that guy?” Pookie adds, “Holy crap! Did you see that hot dog that guy was eating in the third row?” and then, “Holy crap! Did you see what that restaurant across the street has on their menus? I’m outta here!”
– Oh, poor Sid. We go to commercial with a screen saying, “Next: the Playoffs”. Pookie: “The playoffs. For Sid, it’s a pamphlet.”
– It’s time to talk injuries. We watch in slow motion as Sid doubles over, screaming, as his foot is broken by an Orpik slapshot. Then we watch it again. It’s like broken-foot porn! Sid describes the play and actually, for the first and probably only time in his life, sounds like a real human being when he recalls, “I just knew, this is not good.” He then turns bright red and gets a huge, crinkly grin remembering how he was “swearin’ on the bench” about how much pain he was in. We love how he says that as if he doesn’t have a reputation for his salty language. The title screen then reads, “Only a hockey player laughs about a broken foot.” Hey! We laugh about our injuries and organ failures and hospitalizations all the time! And we’re hardly tough.
– Al voices over, after Sid says he wasn’t going to let his foot slow him down in the playoffs, that Sid shook off the pain and “scored 5 goals and 9 assists to lead his team into the playoffs”. When VS puts up a graphic screen showing those numbers, Pookie complains, “It’s like they just learned all the video graphic functions on their new computers and can’t resist using them all.”
– VS’s narration, and the way this is edited, makes it sound like the Penguins ever had a chance in that series against Ottawa. VS, we have not forgotten, and no amount of putting it this way, “Ottawa overcame Crosby’s goal to win Game 1 6-3,” is going to convince us that the Penguins even showed up for that game.
– Now VS lists, in slideshow format (please, VS, next time resist some of the text functions. Really. It’s just annoying), Sid’s 2006-2007 achievements, and makes it sound like the Art Ross is a billion times more meaningful than the Hart. Because fans like goals, duh.
– Heartbeat… heartbeat… “What does…” heartbeat… heartbeat… “the opposition…” heatbeat… heartbeat… “think?” Simon Gagne and Nick Lidstrom tell us Sid is good at hockey.
– Coming back from commercial, we’re now talking about the captaincy. Al thinks he’s being poetic when he says of the NHL, “This is a league of men, who wear the lessons they’ve learned as scars.” Boomer: “This is a league of boys with sticks.” Al continues, “This is a league where every stitch tells a story.” We want Pando to come out and let his forehead tell “War and Peace”.
– Al, being a Messier man, is orgasmic about the captaincy. Sid? Not so much. He sighs, “I think leadership is… more doing things on the ice than really talking off the ice.” He then explains the concept of “leading by example” in as simple terms as he explained deking. Boomer says, “That’s nice that things are simple for Sid; there are no shades of gray.”
– Segue into the whole triumphantly-scored “we want to win a championship!” sequence. Sid says lamely, “We certainly have a good team,” and then adds that he’s just focusing right now on making the playoffs. We love how he’s not buying into this whole “they could win the Cup!” crap the way a certain group of guys in NYC seem to be.
– Sid’s eyes twinkle warmly as he admits to having been unhappy watching the Ducks win the Cup last year (probably damning himself for wishing those ping pong balls had come up Pittsburgh). This is actually really endearing as he discussing the change from having a fan’s mentality of “Look! The Cup!” to the player’s mentality of “Goddamn it, that should have been me.”
– We leave this fine half-hour of revelations with clips of more of his opponents thinking about him. You know, all the essential guys: Draper, Martin Biron, Kyle McLaren – wait, Kyle McLaren? Really? Her?
Aaaaaaand… that’s a wrap! What a revelation-packed Revealocumentary Sidfomercial! We feel so deeply connected to Sid now, so thanks, VS. And we’re sure we’ll be able to see this many, many more times this season, at all manner of convenient and inconvenient hours on the always-thrilling VS programming line-up. Which is a good thing, because it rocked.