If the hirsute heroes of Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, and Ax Men haven’t fully satisfied your appetite for bearded he-men, the executive producer of those gems has ditched the “tough vocation” façade and introduced a show that’s purely about the fur: IFC's Whisker Wars, which debuts Fri/5. The show trails men around the U.S. as they prep and groom for the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Trondhjem, Norway with the long-standing champs of Germany looming in the distance.
Taken as a sports glory confessional, Tessa & Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold(Anansi, 192 pages, $19.95) is pretty standard. It has more than its fair share of inspirational sound bites (“The young couple faced difficult challenges, but they were sustained by their love for skating and the knowledge that they could be champions.”). It’s also packed with glossy photographs and mildly amusing anecdotes. Yet, taken as a study in the evolution of dancing facial expressions, body chemistry, and ice dancing fashion choices, the book becomes exponentially more interesting.
In terms of facial features, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada's 2010 Olympic ice-dancing champs, among their many accolades) were born to dance to together. They’ve got the distinctive “Are we siblings or are we lovers?” look that’s become a prerequisite for the sport. The fuzzier the line, the better. Ambiguous sexual preference is suggested, but not mandatory. Both Scott and Tessa have creamy skin and thick – slightly wavy – chocolate brown hair. It’s versatile enough to be tightly wound back, gelled, and hair-sprayed into oblivion, pre-show. Yet, they can also rock the slightly mussed-up, sweaty, post-dance routine look. Tessa is a huge fan of ponytails, though her go-to look for the ice is an intricate top bun. She’s got a strict anti-bangs policy. Scott has a fantastic variety of smiles (including a grimace that strikes a fine balance between warm and fierce), though he’s lacking a bit in the upper-lip department.
Young, Broke & Beautiful (debuting June 24) plays like an odd hybrid of those cable reality shows best saved for long airplane flights: its jerky cinematography and self-satisfaction bring back memories of MTV Cribs, its title seems fit for an Oxygen drama, and it strives for the attitude of other irreverent travel shows like Insomniac with Dave Attel.
IFC’s new travel show chases writer Stuart Schuffman, a.k.a. “Broke-Ass Stuart,” around American cities (first up: San Diego; the episode provided for review was New Orleans; and future shows focus on Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, and Memphis) as he decrees certain things “broke-ass” ($32 swamp airboat-rides) and others “totally not” broke-ass (a $10,000 Jaguar pelt in a vintage shop). There isn’t a scene which doesn’t see Broke-Ass Stuart (a sometimes local who penned cult favorite Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco, among others) branding a spot with some variation on the term “authentic local hangout,” and then promptly tagging a wall, bus pole, or even child’s face with his signature Young, Broke & Beautiful bumper sticker.