TORONTO, ONTARIO. It's mid-November on the Toronto set of FXX's “Man Seeking Woman” and a strange “Cutting Edge” reenactment (kinda) is taking place.
Series star Jay Baruchel, writer of one of the finest hockey movies ever made, is flopping around the ice at the Weston Lions Arena making a fool of himself.
In this episode's piece of heightened reality, Baruchel's Josh has been invited to accompany sister Liz and her boyfriend on a dancing evening, only to discover that the dancing is ice dancing and it's competitive ice dancing. As Liz and Leo shine on the rink, executing flips and synchronized moves, Josh flops and flounders to Hall & Oates' “You Make My Dreams Come True,” slamming into the boards and crawling desperately across the ice.
[No, Baruchel doesn't play the hockey player in “Goon.” And yes, this ice dancing isn't likely to play an ongoing part of the “Man Seeking Woman” continuity. So yes, it's only barely like the hockey-to-figure skating transformation in “Cutting Edge.” But I'm sticking to the comparison.]
At the end of each take, the crew claps appreciatively for Baruchel, who has executed a lengthy set of uninterrupted misadventures only to have to go and stand patiently at video village as the zamboni comes out to prepare the ice for the next take. Baruchel, daunting tall in his skates, towers over “Man Seeking Woman” creator Simon Rich, as they watch the frozen fumbling and strategize comedic grace notes for the next take.
A couple hours later, Baruchel has completed his skating duties.
“I'm all sorts of beat up right now,” Baruchel says.
When I ask about the challenges of feigning on-ice ineptitude, the proud Canadian has less pride.
“I'll let you in on a little secret: There wasn't that much feigning,” Baruchel laughs. “No, you've gotta throw self-respect and vanity out the window, whatever precious little amount there was of either, and just go for it. In sorta the harshest moments, I always just think my hero, one of my heroes anyway, Rowan Atkinson, I think about how utterly shameless he was and how he was fine letting his naked body be a sight gag. And if it's fine for him, then it's fine for me.”
Check out this HitFix exclusive scene from Wednesday's (February 25) episode of “Man Seeking Woman,” titled “Stain,” for evidence of Baruchel's work as a figure skater.
“Man Seeking Woman” airs on Wednesday nights on FXX.