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Are the 'Skating With the Stars' Judges Too Harsh on Bethenny Frankel?

by Ronnie Koenig, posted Dec 13th 2010 7:00PM
Bethenny Frankel, Skating With the StarsAfter watching Jennifer Grey's sublime performance and subsequent win on season 11 of 'Dancing with the Stars,' many people got sucked into watching 'Skating With the Stars,' which is essentially the same show, but on ice.

'Skating With the Stars' definitely has let's-gawk-at-the-traffic-accident appeal. Celebrities stumbling during a dance is one thing, but the image of the lead singer of Motley Crue falling on his butt on cold, hard ice -- that's just reality TV gold. But while we, the viewers, might laugh at these Ice Capade fails, the judges haven't been amused. At all.

For the most part, the judges on 'Dancing with the Stars' take into consideration that the celebrity contestants aren't professionals; they usually look for growth and improvement. But in week two, the 'Skating With the Stars' judges laid the smackdown on reality star Bethenny Frankel, telling her that she was stiff and that they saw her anticipating every lift.

Bethenny was the breakout star of 'The Real Housewives of New York.' She's a natural foods chef, New York Times bestselling author and all-around funny lady. Her marriage to the hunky Jason Hoppy and the birth of their daughter Bryn was documented on her own spin-off show, 'Bethenny Getting Married?' We were curious to see how her tell-it-like-it-is humor would liven the show up. After all, soap star Rebecca Budig may be a better skater, but would you want to have dinner with her? Bethenny knows how to bring the sass and if anything, she keeps it entertaining.

Most viewers and even host Vernon Kay were surprised that she and partner Ethan Burgess got such low scores in week one -- earning a 29 out of a possible 60. Judge Johnny Weir complimented B's physical appearance, but warned that her many projects could get in the way of the competition. He told the reality star to "be in it or stay on the side."

Since most people can barely make it around the rink twice without grabbing onto the wall or nearby children for support, the fact that a non-performer like Bethenny could not only execute daring moves but do them with a smile on her face while looking incredibly cute is pretty amazing.

And while most people would stay on the sidelines drinking hot chocolate, she got right into the rink and gave it her all. When Laurie Ann Gibson told her during judging that "the swing is about musicality," she totally missed the mark. Here's a regular (well, "reality TV regular") woman, spinning around like Dorothy Hamill, and you want her to have "more musicality"? Are you kidding?

Although viewers also felt the 'DWTS' judges were too harsh on non-dancers like Margaret Cho, at least their criticisms were constructive and they tried to act as mentors to the competitors

While Bethenny and Ethan did receive praise from their judges last week on their routine to 'Halo,' she received a talking-to from Johnny Weir, who told her point-blank that the criticism wasn't personal and that "we're here to help you, not hate you."

That's a little hard to believe, given Bethenny's correct observation that even skaters who fell in past weeks received higher praise than she did. At the end of the night, she and Ethan were safe, barely edging out Vince Neil and his partner, who tied for the lowest score.

It's possible that the judges look down on Bethenny for being a "reality star." The blogosphere comes down hard on her for self-promoting, but what's wrong with a woman who is both talented and ambitious? And how is it any different from a Hollywood actor who tries to get his or her name out there?

Bethenny may not have been born into Hollywood royalty, but to many people that's what makes her so interesting. A self-made woman taking risks and pushing herself out of her comfort zone? Now that's someone worth tuning in to watch!

Are the judges being too harsh on Bethenny?
Yes, they are scoring her unfairly791 (77.5%)
No, their criticism of her has been on the mark136 (13.3%)
Who cares?94 (9.2%)

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What a travesty. I'm only watching because of Bethanny . This is a wan who just had a baby and has no training on ice or sports and the judges are treating her as if she's am Olympic skater who's lazy. It's hard to believe network tv would allow the judges to behave this way. They have nothing constructive to say

December 21 2010 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yea! Bethany is still on! Boy, the judges were really nicer this week than last...the producer must have gotten our message!

December 20 2010 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a Bethenny Frankel fan, which is why I tune into SWTS. From the very first episode, I was struck by the mean-spirited comments that all three judges made about her skating skills. She stood there with a smile on her face, as they slammed her against the wall. Johnny Weir, with his female get-up and demeanor, is a catty, sick, "man". His comment last night, that he didn't even want to watch Betheny perform, since she stated that she wasn't listening to the judges' comments (they were so blatantly against her), was sickening. I'm sure next week will be her last one, but I enjoyed watching her. I will not watch the show after she is eliminated.

December 14 2010 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sylvia Mckinley

This SWTS is so cheesy and unprofessional. I only watched it for the first two shows because I am a Bethenny fan. I don't understand the low scores or the off the wall comments from the judges towards her? I have stopped watching and I will be glad when this show ends and replaced with better entertainment.

December 14 2010 at 5:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I used to like Bethenny but now I think she is acting like a brat who can't take criticism. She does have a "stiff" look whenever she skates and it makes even the nice big tricks she can pull off look awkward. They are trying to help her and she's being plain rude and disrespectful. I don't expect her to agree with everything they say and in the first 2 episodes I do think they judged her harshly when compared to equally poor and awkward looking performances from others (Vince especially) but now she is to a point that everyone left is much better than her. I just hope that all this publicity she's creating with her whining does earn her too many votes. I mean how does she expect Johnny to respond when she says things like "I don't care at all what you think", is she actually so arrogant to presume that the opinion of an Olympic figure skater is not valid or could be helpful to her?

December 14 2010 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Johnny's comments tonight were hurful and unnecessary. Bethaney was very brave. I don't know how she managed to smile through the judges' comments. The judges have seemed to have it in for Bethaney from the beginning. Shame on the judges and the producers for allowing this to continue. I hope her fans save her. Wouldn't that show Johny!

December 13 2010 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is evidence that Johnny Weir is a close friend of Jill Zarin. He is therefore hardly impartial to Bethenny Frankel's skating ability. Also, remember that Jill Zarin had a skating party in NY where she
came in skating attire and fell on her ass. If he is hard on Bethenny it is because of his fidelity to Jill.

December 13 2010 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mary thomas

By bringing on Johnny Weir and Dick Button, this show has cancelled any chance of a second season. Johnny Weir is a spoiled, rude, prissy little girl who needs to go back to his tea party and leave the judging to professionals, and Dick Button clearly loves nothing better than the sound of his own voice, and making lewd comments about the female skaters' body parts. Go home, you old pervert, and take your girlfriend, Johnny Weir with you!!!

December 13 2010 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Johnny Weir is oh so rude to Bethenny!

December 13 2010 at 9:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eileen Clar

I certainly am not a Johnny Weir fan. It is obvious that he is attacking Bethenny every week and scoring her poorly. I think the network needs to send him packing before you loose anymore viewers

December 13 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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