Make It Or Break It All That Glitters

The Fun has arrived! The girls have finally gotten to Boston (apparently they drove the whole way) and Sasha warns them that everyone will want a piece of them. What’s sad here is that the real nationals are so much less spectacular then the show’s, you kind of feel bad for the real gymnasts. The biggest news about this year’s Nationals was the reunion of the 2008 Olympic team and even that didn’t garner much beyond the immediate gymnastics world. I’m kind of sad they played Let It Rock in episode 1 because now would really have been the time to use it.

Kaylie looks thrilled to be there...

Kaylie looks thrilled to be there...

Payson of course, is the one the press jumps at first asking if she can beat Kelly Parker again. Count on it. Chloe is dying of excitement. Emily is nervous. Lauren tells the press her mother is dead. Kaylie plays the “let’s see what’s in your gym bag game and they find Carter’s necklace which she grabs and leaves. Her dad tells her to give the press some love. Emily’s being ignored and calls Damon about how she wishes Brian could have come because Joe didn’t pay for him.

In comes Kelly Parker. Payson and Kelly are the face off everyone’s been waiting for. What was the key that unlocked Payson’s win? “Being better.” Kelly makes a comment about how she doesn’t use drugs but it’s okay for others. Her dad pretends to be a report and is all cute for the family reunion.

Emily looks mopey while on the podium by herself in the dark. How did she even get there?

Brian watches tv where MJ talks about the upcoming talent and in comes Damon who of course has a plan to get Brian to nationals. He has a bus for Radiohead. I don’t even want to talk about it.

Sasha says no distractions and gives rooming. Payson and Emily, Lauren and Kaylie. Kaylie objects with the excuse that Lauren snores so they end up putting Emily and Lauren together. Lauren’s mean and Emily points out she has no friends. Payson’s upset about the back injury. She’s sick of it all, she’s starting to feel like a fraud. Emily visualizing her floor routine (she’s uncomfortable with her floor routine) and then for some reason now is troubled by all the falls she’s had that never bothered her. Emily does what she’s good at, running away like a pixie.

Kaylie talks to her brother about how gymnastics isn’t fun anymore. Leo reveals that Carter loves her and he’s here to see her. Which is sweet in a “dude you cheated on her!” kind of way. She tells him the worst person is that he lied to her and let Kaylie confide in Lauren about their “amazing” relationship, making her look stupid. Everyone needs her to do things, what about what she needs! (I’m not liking Kaylie so much these days, her problems are just so mundane…)

In comes the apparently only 3 teams with gymnasts competing (each team with like 15 people). Weird choice…I HATE Payson’s make up. Just saying. Sasha gives them a pep talk about forgetting their troubles because today they inspire others. Today they live their dreams.

Emily performs first and no one is expecting much. She just has to fight off nerves. Her vault looks no better or worse than ever but we’re told it’s bad. Lauren does her routine well but doesn’t show personality. Summer’s sorry about what happened with Lauren’s mother and goes to make it right. Summer calls and finds out that Steve threatened Lauren’s mother which is why she didn’t come. (No one can challenge Payson or Kelly for the title. “No one is ready to step up to challenge them.)

Payson does her bar routine while everyone who’s watched the previews holds their breath. But no, she’s fine. It puts her in first place. Kaylie does her beam routine and finally we see her do some moves. Payson and Kelly have the same beam dismount and Kelly edges her out for the top spot on day one. (Love how the people who do the commentating hit every comment Sasha’s ever made.) Emily looks uncomfortable with her routine. She makes 20th though.

Steve finds Summer packing her bags. She’s leaving Steve, she’s furious that he lied to her. She admired his relationship to Lauren but it’s really unhealthy. Well, yeah, we all knew that. Where has Summer been this whole time (though admittedly, after the whole blackmail thing he’s sort of dropped off).

The Rock girls wander together, all miserable. Kelly comes and manages to hit on every girls issues. She’s somehow able to know even more than Sasha when it comes to the goings on of the Rock girls. Kaylie’s dad says she doesn’t even need to medal (speaking as her agent) they have to think realistically…Ouch. Lauren discovers that Summer left and is upset. Kaylie and Lauren fight about nothing and Payson (the non-team captain) gives them a speech to stop acting “like a bunch of little bitches.” Kelly says Emily is an unknown. Cue Brian and Damon entering and riling the crowd to cheer for her.

Emily tells Damon she’s choking. She sees herself falling on her landing whenever she approaches an apparatus (she even imagines the crowd booing, like that would ever happen in gymnastics). Damon blindfolds her and has her imagine herself as different animals, a cobra striking the bars. (Interesting animal choice, not a monkey or something?) This scene is so corny it’s upsetting. On the plus side, Damon’s like the best guy ever now. (It really doesn’t help that I can’t stand much about Emily…) Isn’t Damon supposed to be in LA? Won’t this hurt his career?

They all worry about their chances for Day 2, Payson debates taking more cortisone. Lauren manages to steal Kelly Parker’s bag. They have 5 minutes until lights out. They run out of the room and are immediately caught by Sasha. They say they need…girl stuff from the gift shop…and Emily promises they’ll be back. They’re going for tampons. (Funny thing about that excuse, gymnasts don’t get their periods…) As they go, thinking they finally got something by them, he asks what’s in the bag. Kelly Parker’s head. “Carry on.” Giggles and running away.

Day 2, Kaylie approaches MJ about representation because her dad doesn’t take her seriously. MJ says she agrees, she doesn’t see the desire to win in Kaylie she sees a girl wanting to be a normal girl. Does she want a day off or to win? Who are you Kaylie Cruz and what do you want?

Did you see what's in her gym bag!?!

Kelly Parker is approached for the “let’s see what’s in your gym bag.” The Rock girls have snuck tons of embarrassing things into her back and it’s shown on the jumbotron. Sasha’s speech- clean routines for Payson will give her gold, Lauren needs to show joy and she’ll get a medal, Emily isn’t expected to do anything so she has total freedom to make the podium her playground, and Kaylie needs to give more, more fire, more passion…MORE YOU! (The other Rock girls do not get pep talks. Also, remember Becca Keeler? She’s supposed to be hear and is conspicuously and sadly absent.)

Carter is on the jumbotron with a sign about not doubting herself. She gets her gym bag and calls him down. Ronny smiles (why?). Kaylie returns Carter’s necklace. It’s over and she’s meant to be something just about her. (She’s so me me me…) She then calls her dad over and returns the necklace he gave her because it represents his dreams and not hers. Kaylie says she has to be her own person. Ronny doesn’t know what the conversation is but she looks proud. Kaylie tells MJ she knows hwo she is and what she wants. MJ looks pleased (like that’s what she was planning all along). Kaylie does a vault scoring the highest score so far at nationals.

Lauren’s vault is solid but she’s still not smiling and Sasha tells her to pretend to care. Lauren calls Summer to ask why she didn’t stand by her like she promised. Summer explains she left Steve not Lauren, she’s still at Nationals. Summer gives her a good pep talk and Lauren finally looks happy.

Payson is up on vault she does a great vault but is obviously in pain. When asked, she says she has to go to the bathroom. She is about to take the cortisone when she hears Kelly getting injected despite saying she doesn’t take any. (Which begs the question, if Kelly needs someone else to do it in her foot where she could easily reach it herself, how did Payson inject it into her own back?) Kelly says everyone lies and Payson says “not all of us” and throws out her cortisone instead of taking it.

Lauren performs on beam and smiles, which the announcers comment on. Lauren’s routine is 2 moves long but she gets the highest beam score of the day.

Payson steps up to bars which could make her champion and on a very simple move she collapses, unconscious and unmoving. Everyone gasps, her parents tun to her. The paramedics are called. Everyone is scared. While on the stretcher Payson mumbles something about not taking the cortisone. Sasha looks paranoid. Kaylie is in striking distance of the title. Are the Rock girls too shaken to continue? Sasha says that Payson wouldn’t want them to jeopardize their gymnastics and they should do it for her.

Emily is given her old floor (lyric filled and therefore not allowed) music in order to have something big (cue entrance of Trisha, remember her from Stick It?). This is Emily’s last chance to make the team. Kelly’s snarky but Emily shows her up with some silly looking dancing and a tumbling pass for skills.

Payson waits anxiously and in walks her parents. They keep sidestepping what the doctors say. Finally they say she has a fracture that is inoperable. The good news is it’s inoperable. A fracture can heal. But though gymnasts overcome injuries all the time, this is one she can’t overcome. If she does gymnastics she may never be able to walk. (Where is Becca in all this?) Payson cries (Ayla Kell does a good job here).

Kaylie tells Kelly she wouldn’t have beaten Payson and she won’t beat her either. We see her do some arm flutterings and some off center/diagonal tumbles. At the end of the final routines…it’s close. Really close. And sure enough…KAYLIE CRUZ IS THE NEW NATIONAL CHAMP! Kelly looks sad, Alex looks like he’ll cry, Carter looks proud. They announce the national team (which wouldn’t be done for months…) Emily claims the final spot. Even Lauren cheers her on. Kaylie, Carter, and Alex each grasp their respective necklaces/medals.

MJ approaches Kaylie with endorsement offers and Kaylie says she has somewhere to be. Leo contratulates Emily and they’re interrupted by Damon. Cue hormonal stare down. Leo’s moving back as Damon is moving away. Leo will be coaching at the Rock. Emily kisses Damon. (So they can have boyfriends before Worlds but not Nationals?) Emily then joins Lauren and Kaylie.

Payson’s asleep in her hospital bed and in come the Rock girls looking serious and stricken. They take her hand and she wakes up. They’re all crying and Payson says “way to kick some ass.”

I’m really unsatisfied with this ending for a few reasons:

1- Kaylie winning to me is both tainted by the fact that it’s likely only a victory because of Payson’s injury and also because I think it’s a little disrespectful to regular gymnasts in that she’s the only one who didn’t care and broke the rules all time and she can just decide on Day 2 to care and win the whole thing? Does she even have the difficulty to legitimately do this?

2- I think Lauren should have medalled. I would even have been satisfied with her in the top. But I think they did a great job with her (and Summer and Steve’s) overall arch for this season. I’m the most satisfied here.

3- Emily, I’m really upset that she made the National Team. Again, this is a case where I think her triumphs diminish how hard real gymnasts work. I’m not saying unknowns can’t do well at nationals but the fact is that a) big names get higher scores because they are often given the benefit of the doubt while unknowns have no history to back them up and are therefore typically scored lower and b) she just hasn’t had the training for long enough. 49 days at an elite gym shouldn’t be enough, talent or not. I would have liked to see her not make it and fight her way up next season. But it’s not just that. It’s that Emily only made the National team by Payson being injured. So again, tainted victory. (In real gymnastics this is typical that people are out due to injury but here it just feels unfulfilling.)

4- Payson’s injury. I knew this one was happening, but I’m still upset. Then again, it was the best choice for the writers so I can’t fault them here. I truly believe that Payson will come back. Maybe it won’t be as bad as they thought, there will be some crazy experiment treatment or amazing surgeon…something that will allow her to make a comeback. Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if she kept trying despite the possibility that she might not walk again if she does. (I think they didn’t explain her injury well enough in truth so that’s part of my problem…) I know that Ayla Kell has said in interviews that Payson has to deal with real life outside of gymnastics next season but if she can’t do gymnastics at all then it doesn’t make sense for her to remain on the show, which takes place largely in the gym (she’d never see her friends, she’d have no reason not to go to school, etc). And I don’t think fans would stand for her to be completely out of the picture…Bur who knows?

5- Why wasn’t Becca Keeler there? There’s no way she would have missed it (and though she might have missed it by placement when Sasha rearranged things, she would still have come with her parents) and having her not there when Payson gets the most devastating news of her life seems odd…

6- No Marty. I know he’s not a real cast member but dude, his team was at nationals and he wasn’t. Plus, it would have been nice to see him run over with concern for Payson considering he’s not supposed to be such a bad guy…

Well, you can tell the show did a great job, look how worked up I am! For all my frustrations about it’s issues (I don’t mind that the gymnasts have different uniforms, I understand that they tried to get the most flattering one for each girl), I can’t wait to see it back in January and only wish it would return earlier than that…

Shes just like Leo, she doesnt where grips. Right?

Those aren't grips. They're know.

Two consistency issues. 1- Leo makes this huge deal out of Emily not wearing grips when she does bars, yet every time we see her do bars she wears grips and 2- episode one was all about how important making the top 3 spots were and now all four of them are going. how did they suddenly get another spot?

Check out the episode summaries:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review


Make It Or Break It Where’s Kaylie

Chloe and Emily share a bed. Are they too poor to get their own? Chloe had a bad dream. Emily’s moody. Chloe’s inappropriate but luckily keeps the comment to herself for once. Emily acts angsty, which, though normal teenage behavior, is so annoying to watch. Joe made breakfast. Em ignores. Brian eats. Emily not so subtlety tells him to leave. She promises to pay Joe back.

Lauren approaches Payson and Kaylie. Lauren’s copying Payson’s purple. (Maybe it’s blue, hard to say.) Kaylie’s grounded. Payson’s uninterested in drama before nationals. Kaylie asks if that’s Payson’s captain speech. (Do they have team captains in gymnastics?) Payson says it’s her job to support her gymnastics not breaking the rules. Lauren points out that it’s easy for her since she never breaks rules (diss?). Then she asks how Payson’s back is who responds witha perfect bar routine. They wonder where Carter is. Bet Sasha knows…

Kim asks Ronny how Kaylie is. Ronny says she doesn’t understand why they can’t have boyfriends. To prevent this kind of drama. Fail. Ronny says she’s lucky Payson’s so committed but Kim says it comes with issues of its own. Ronny thanks Kim for not telling Sasha. No worries, he’s omniscient.

Cut to Sasha confronting Carter. A source revealed Carter’s indiscretions but not the girl. Sasha tells the rest of the gym that Carter’s suspended. Kaylie’s upset. Sasha calls the girls over to post the rankings by apparatus. Payson is number one for all but beam (Lauren) and she’s upset. They are expected to get 10 hours of sleep before they leave.  (PS- Emily is #4 on all but bars where she beats Lauren and comes in 3rd Kaylie is always ranked 2 or 3.)

Sasha enters his office to find Kim unhappy about Carter’s suspension. Kim points out that if they’re expected to handle careers they can be responsible for their basic life. Payson interrupts to ask why she isn’t first on beam. Sasha says they’re tied now. “But not better,” Payson says “you said I was going first for everything.” He says the goal at nationals is for everyone in the club to do well and she needs to be supportive (by being first on beam Lauren’s chances are improved). He basically rips on Payson about how it’s easy to be supportive while secure at the top and maybe she isn’t captain material after all. I might agree if not for the fact that Payson clearly earned this and Lauren’s an inconsistent jerk. Also, I might agree with him if he hadn’t just done this in front of her mom. Who, in response, winks at her before she leaves. (Of all the unexpected responses…) Kim makes a crack of “thought your title was coach not god.” I knew I liked her for a reason.

Steve Tanner’s back. In comes Saint Summer. Lauren and Summer greet each other nicely. Summer explains how they became friends. She can’t marry him if it will reinforce Lauren’s fear of abandonment.  Lauren needs closure. Conveniently, Saint Summer has located her mom. Lauren overhears the conversation, of course.

Kaylie packs while listening to angry music. Her mom shuts it off. Kaylie’s mean until Ronny says she spoke to Carter and has arranged for them to meet during practice the next day. Well, now Kaylie hugs her mom. All is forgiven. (Ronny looks awful in that top.) Kaylie says maybe Ronny should never tell Alex the truth.

Brian and Joe play video games. Emily enters and ignores them. Chloe trails. Emily’s unhappy about Joe staying another night. Brian expects nothing from Joe so he’s never disappointed when he leaves. I like Brian, why isn’t he around more? Chloe and Emily discuss Joe buying Brian a ticket to nationals, which Emily wants MORE THAN ANYTHING except for the whole sucking Chloe back in thing. More angsty Emily. Chloe tries to make nice and Emily’s having none of it. (I want to tell them that pausing between EVERY word isn’t dramatic, just overacted.)

Lauren looks through old photos while sporting the pigtails and teddy bear (monkey) look. Finally thinking of something other than Carter! Her dad walks in to say he was afraid for her to see her mom and be disappointed again. He gives her a phone number to call her mother with the assurance that nothing, not even Summer, could make him abandon her. After he leaves she calls it.

Back at practice, Emily looking depressed and exhausted. Lauren (back in orange so all is right with the world) rushes in to say her mom’s coming to nationals. She proceeds to bring up her ranking on beam, which sends Payson back to practice rather than the chat and stretch that seems to be all the top athletes in this gym do. Kaylie wonders how she hasn’t met Lauren’s mother all these years. Well, she will now. Kaylie gets the cue from her mom and goes out to meet Carter while Sasha watches someone else. She doesn’t want to go to nationals without him but he insists. She says he’s the only one she can believe in. Let’s run away together! He tells her he slept with someone at the kegger. (Seriously, he couldn’t wait a few more days?) She runs away alone. Call this episode Run Kaylie Run. (No more unique than calling this Where’s Kaylie after there being a Where’s Marty.)

Emily finds her mom was sleeping with Joe, She angsts and when Joe tells her not to talk to her mother that way and he loves her Emily goes off on him: He’s a loser, not her father, he has no authority…Finally storms out. Chloe wants to follow, Joe says let her cool off. (I feel like this happens with one teenager/parent on this show every episode though it seems to be Payson more often than not which is surprising because she’s the least hormonal of them all.) Chloe says she’s changed. To prove it she tells Joe to leave. Counteracting the total stalkerness of last week, he does. (I don’t really like Chloe so I don’t sympathize much with the crying here.)

Lauren waits for her mom at the bus stop but she doesn’t come. Not surprising. Will she pop up at nationals next week? Lauren goes to Payson’s where Emily is sleeping over. Lauren waits until Kim leaves to reveal that she got a message from Kaylie saying she ran away. Payson thinks it’s selfish of her freaking everyone out the night before nationals with a boyfriend she’s not supposed to have. Payson figures out that she’s at gymnastics camp (thanks to some background noise). Lauren wants to go, Payson doesn’t. It’s 3 hours away, how can they get less than Sasha’s mandatory hours of sleep. (Payson seems bratty here but she’s not completely wrong either.) Emily agrees to go and finally they convince Payson. (Here’s the thing, Payson’s touching her back again and if the cortisone’s worn off after a day she not only needs to rest her back but needs to see a doctor immediately. So says the internet anyway…)

Wheres Kaylie?

Where's Kaylie?

They arrive and Lauren tells Ronny they’ve found her. Payson’s annoyed because the ride was probably bad for her back. Kaylie is sitting on a log by the lake. They join her . She doesn’t want to talk but Payson says she’d better. She reveals Carter’s indiscretion at the kegger. Payson wonders if everyone had sex at the party. Kaylie realizes it was Lauren. Lauren starts crying.
Kaylie: How can you act like my best friend?!
Lauren: I am your best friend!!
Kaylie: You are a two faced slut!!



Kaylie wants to run again. Payson says to stop running and while I love Ayla Kell, she had some line delivery issues (then again, all the girls do pretty much all the time so whatever). Emily says they’re not going to screw her out of her only team. Emily throws Kaylie’s keys into the woods. Lauren does the same. Payson forgot her phone and Lauren’s is magically dead since the last time she used it  second ago, Kaylie says she’ll never forgive her. Emily says she isn’t on Lauren’s side but she wants her team at nationals. (Sidenote: Wouldn’t it be better if her biggest competition was gone?)

The moms meet and wonder where the girls are. Summer finds out that Carter is kicked out and reveals that she was the one who went to Sasha because he was involved with more than one girl.

They’re all hungry as they sit around a bonfire they have made with a magical snap of their fingers. Lauren has an energy bar. Kaylie refuses to eat it. They all diss each other. Lauren says if Kaylie had been honest about her relationship this never would’ve happened. She also says Kaylie knew she was in love with Carter and still went after him. Kaylie reveals that Lauren’s dad blackmailed Marty because of her mom’s affair. (They did promise this was an all secrets come out episode so let’s all just get word vomit.)

The moms continue to talk. Chloe makes not so subtle comments about Ronny and Marty’s relationship. Ronny comes out and reveals it to all the women. (Is Summer realizing Steve’s blackmail?) Summer says she finds the way to get through something she’s not proud of is to pray to god. (I never realized how Christian ABC Family is until I started watching some of their shows this summer.)

Kaylie’s ashamed of her mom. Emily doesn’t agree so that’s a good sign. Lauren reveals that her mom’s a drug addict explaining why they’ve never met her. She was in and out of rehab and then disappeared. Her mom told her on the phone she was two years sober and sorry but she never showed up. She says Payson’s lucky, her mom is “such a mom” and she can tell her anything. But Payson can’t tell her about illegal cortisone. She needs to rest her back! She will. After nationals. (Which will become after worlds, which will become after…) If she doesn’t make the national team this year she’ll never make the Olympics (which is of course untrue but she is super intense–ps she had to have made the national team in previous years because she was second nationally last year). She’s scared (shock from all). She feels like she doesn’t have her friends anymore. They apologize because they’re going through a lot.  Emily gives the motivational speech for once instead of getting it (aiming for team captain here?). But just saying, why should kaylie forgive Lauren? Then Payson takes her shot, they’re more than friends…(all of a sudden Emily is super close to them all? Didn’t she just say they weren’t really friends? Tell her to go away and stop being a TAG ALONG!) They all do the”let’s hold hands and support each other” thing. They find the stump they carved their initials into (stop saying 012!!!) and want to add Emily’s initials at Payson’s suggestion. Em has Kaylie’s car keys in her pocket. She threw her house keys away. Kaylie tells Lauren she will never be her friend again but she will be her teammate. Good for Kaylie.

The bus arrives. Where are the girls? The girls show up just in time (like when Emily did in Sunday Bloody Sasha Sunday). All have luggage except Emily who is apparently not bringing anything. Sasha’s all pleased to see them. Payson nominates Emily for team captain. (No surprise there, that was coming.) Apparently it’s only up to the main girls and no one else who captains.

Cue Carter standing stalker-like at the edge of the scene. Of course. Wouldn’t be complete without that. Kaylie ignores him. He and Lauren make eye contact; he looks disgusted and leaves.

Despite etheir heart to heart, the girls don’t look happy as they set off. (Have no fear, all will be well when the next episode starts, as always. Or at least, they’ll be smiling regardless.)

Check out the episode summaries:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Make It Or Break It: All’s Fair In Love, War, and Gymnastics

(Don’t you wish it was called “It’s not called gym-nice-tics” instead?)

Emily frets over her clothes–specifically her blue sweatshirt. Today she shows Sasha her floor routine. The sweatshirt she wears make a big difference. (I like how they play with the whole “music in real life” thing by having the background music shut off by Emily.) As always Chloe makes an uncomfortably sexual remark around her kids. Bryan and Chloe deal with bills. Emily says she’s scheduled to work every night at the Shack (seriously, how much does she make there?) to help. Chloe doesn’t sign the checks in order to buy them more time.

Kaylie wonders how her mother could pretend to love her mother after cheating. Carter tries to get her to see her mother’s side but she won’t have it. Sure enough they almost get caught by her dad, as they are both sitting in Carter’s car right outside of the Rock.

Emily does her routine with Sasha. Sasha shuts off the music-2.5 stars, she has to choreograph a routine to different music: classical. Emily is not a fan. (I feel the need to point out that floor routines cannot have lyrics and Emily should know at least that by now.) She has less than a week to learn which means staying late (what to do about her shift?!) Also, clip your bangs back, you’re in practice!

Payson’s next (in purple and finally wearing a leotard that looks right on her). After the first pass she reaches for her back. Sasha asks her about it, she puts on a smile. Being savvy he tests her. She is in pain and he has her sit out practice. Payson goes to the water cooler and we meet her love interest–Nick, the self-deigned male version of Payson. He knows about her injuries: he’s had his eye on her. (A show full of stalkers!) She tries playing it cool, but she’s flattered. Nick says she’ll win gold. Not if she has to sit out. He says she needs to manage the pain and offers to get her more cortisone. He uses it for torn tendons his injuries. Then he shows off the shortest pommel horse routine ever. (Right off he offers to get her drugs that her mother says she can’t have. For all the people so excited about her finding a guy, do you really want her to have such a bad influence?) PS- How does one go about giving oneself a cortisone shot in the back? I know gymnasts are flexible but…

Lauren (back in orange) watches Carter talk to every girl gymnast. She and Kaylie (in pink) discuss Carter and Kaylie’s relationship. Kaylie says if her father found out he’d keep them apart. (You can see the light bulb go off in Lauren’s head here.) Kaylie’s father calls her away to look at some unidentified documents.

Summer and Kim bond over wedding plans when Lauren enters. Lauren says she’s everywhere, like god. Summer tries to include Lauren in the plans, she wants Lauren to be her made of honor. Lauren says she won’t even be at her wedding. Lauren is going to stay at the Cruz’s to avoid drama and distraction.

Ronny shows Kaylie the cupcakes she found but Kaylie is too angry at her to care about anything she does. She tells her mother that she lost her respect.

Lauren on beam (green now). Sasha points out to all that he’s still determining team ranking (so he is ignoring Marty’s scores) and everyone should work hard. This makes Payson nervous, as she can’t practice at all. She meets Nick at the water cooler (WHAT’S WITH THIS COOLER?) and says she wants the cortisone. It’s $100. She’ll have the money. 

Emily works on her new routine when in walks Damon. (Stalker much?) He can’t just show up at the Rock. She’s too busy right now. He tells her he doesn’t make friends easily and walks away.

Payson goes to her mom who is thrilled about seeing her father at Nationals. He won’t be able to come to the Rock’s nationals party. Payson asks for $100 to buy a new dress. Her mother says Payson works hard and deserves it. Kim says she say her talking to Nick and wonders if that has anything to do with it. In typical teenage Payson fashion (which only comes out every so often) she gives her a whiny “mom!” and leaves.

Kaylie and Lauren go through Kaylie’s trophies. Her dad wants to showcase them at the party. Product placement moment- Lauren shows off a dress she got from Kohl’s from their new line. (But, what’s nice about this moment is the writers also poke fun at the product placement by having Kaylie respond “what are you their spokesmodel?”) Lauren says if it’s good enough for Britney it’s good enough for her (of all people to emulate). She asks again what would happen if her dad found out about Carter and then when Kaylie leaves Lauren pulls out Carters phone which, after 4 weeks miraculously still has battery life.

Kaylie’s dad replaces his trophies with Kaylie’s. They’re always going to have the bond of having the same competitive fire. She asks if anything could ruin their relationship. He says no because they both know what’s important.

Back at the Kmetko household, Brian and Chloe try to sell junk to pay the bills. Emily comes in to say the new warm up warm ups and leos are $180. Chloe says it’s not too much but you can see she’s lying. She grabs Chloe’s checkbook, which her brother balanced, making Emily think they’re ok. Then she gets on her phone and calls a “Joe.” Chloe is about to do something stupid.

The girls sans Emily prepare for the party (each in color). Payson asks Kaylie for a dress. They’renot all the same size! Kaylie and Lauren tease her. They’ve noticed her talking to Nick. Payson tells them they’re gross. She wants a dress that looks new. Lauren muses about being first on the roster because of her upped difficulty and Payson’s sidelined. Payson says she’ll be back tomorrow.

Summer shows up with food for the party. Lauren throws a fit (I’m surprised she’s so mean in public, it’s unusual for kids to act that way in front of parents) and Summer tells Lauren that she’s breaking off the engagement. She’s proud to do her job (it sounds like Summer works for lauren as much as Steve). Summer says her mother chose his own needs over hers, just like Lauren thinks her dad is. (How does Summer always experience the same things as Lauren?) She says she’s walking away because that’s what Lauren wants but that she will always be her friend. Lauren says she has plenty of friends. Doubtful.


Why does Payson look so uncomfortable?

The party is in full swing. Alex shows Lauren a necklace he bought for Kaylie (made with the diamonds from his world series ring) and asks when he should give it to her. Lauren says during the party so everyone can see Kaylie replace the cheap necklace she’s wearing now. (Passive aggressive even when no one is around?!) Lauren wears a self satisfied expression.

Ronny forgets Summer’s food and it burns. She overreacts and Chloe helps calm her down. Ronny is upset, she’s a terrible wife and mother and can’t do anything right. Chloe says she knows the feeling. They start drinking vodka.

Carter finds Kaylie and Lauren outside. Lauren wants to leave but they need her for their cover. They can’t just stop making out for a few minutes? Not to be out-awkwarded, Lauren poses the question we’ve all been waiting for: “Remember when we kissed?” Of course, doing the good editing job they did for the preview, Lauren is not talking about when they had sex but  a truth or dare game at gymnastics camp when they were 13. (13 and a half to be exact.) He was her first kiss. Kaylie says Lauren had a crush on him, it was obvious to everyone. Lauren says “well that explains why you went after him.” Kaylie says “all’s fair in love and war.” You’ll regret that statement later. Kaylie’s dad calls her away and Carter tells Lauren nothing will break him and Kaylie up.

Sasha and Kim enter together, leading to rumors that they’re hooking up. Ronny asks Kim if she’s seen Payson, who looks darling in one of Kaylie’s dresses. (Payson, you’re not clever enough. Plan your schemes better! Anyone else notice she’s always caught almost immediately when she lies?)

Chloe embarrasses herself in front of Sasha. Emily notices her mom drinking, which she only does when she’s stressed. Chloe reveals that she borrowed a few thousand dollars from Joe. Emily asks if she’s crazy–they moved to Fresno to get away from him. Emily yells about how she wanted her mom to come through just once. (Have I mentioned that I don’t like Emily?)

Lauren sets her plan in motion, planting Carter’s phone beside Kaylie’s present.

Nick tells Payson he’s never seen her in a dress but she looks amazing. (It’s a weird dress but she does look cute.) She hides her smile and gets down to business. She doesn’t want her mom to see. He feels like a drug dealer. She feels weird lying (so many kids lie to their parents about drugs and she hates being a part of that). Kim confronts her about the dress. Kim asks what’s with all the lying, it’s not her. Payson says she lost the $100. Kim is upset about the lie. They’re an honest family. Payson comes back with “yeah, dad was honest about losing his job.” Hard to argue there. Kim says he was trying to protect them. Payson understands, he did what he thought he had to do. Kim says he’s an adult protecting them and she’s a teen. She’d better promise to tell the truth from now on. She does (lies!) and Sasha approaches. “My back is fine!” Payson says quickly but that clearly wasn’t what he was going to say. He wants her at top form for Nationals. She’s going as number one for the club. She seems surprised (no idea why since she handily won the Denver meet). He says he thinks she can win all around gold.

Emily is outside when Damon approaches. She tells him he can’t keep stalking her. Ronny comes out to pay him for delivering pizza . Emily realizes she’s a jerk. Damon doesn’t stay for the apology.

Chloe gets smashed when Sasha walks in and acts the coach, telling her to stop drinking. She says Emily hates her and drinking may help her stop hating herself. “And you think having another martini might make her like you again?” He suggests taking her home. She’s again inappropriate but he leads her out.

Payson finds Nick alone. “So, what you don’t like parties?” Really what he doesn’t like is mandatory wastes of time before Nationals. Wow, someone more intense than Payson. She at least managed to enjoy herself. She shares her number one spot news and he feigns surprise. DUH. After Nationals she’ll be one officially. They’re so cute, it’s sad about the whole cortisone thing. He says he can’t take the money, he just wants a dance afterwards. All that work to get the money for nothing. Anyone wanna take bets on how long it will take her mom to find the cortisone? (Sometime near the beginning of next episode maybe, as she debates how she intends to give herself a shot in the back?)

Alex runs up and get Kaylie’s gift. Time for Lauren’s plan to unfurl. Lauren borrows Kaylie’s cell and calls Carter’s phone so that Alex finds it. Carter has of course been smart enough to make his picture of Kaylie be one of them kissing.


All hell is about to break loose.

Ronny gathers everyone. Alex confronts Kaylie. Kaylie says she loves him, Alex says she doesn’t know what love is. (BTW- I love the awkward faces that Payson manages in the background of scenes.) Carter steps up to say they didn’t do anything wrong Alex doesn’t know his daughter. He quizzes him to that effect. Alex ignores him, Carter grabs him, he turns back. For some inexplicable reason he punches Alex. (General advice, don’t punch your girlfriend’s father.) Lauren looks horrified. Good, she should be. They’re separated and Lauren follows him as he leaves. She tells him to take her with him. He says he knows she’s responsible. She’s a pathetic liar and he’s disgusted by her. She says she loves him. Finally someone speaking to her like that!

Sasha and Chloe bond over coffee. She thinks he’s always in control he says he is just a good actor. They discuss Chloe’s poor decision of calling Joe, she did it for Emily. Sasha says he’ll protect her if necessary. (The two have a bonding moment. Yuck if they date. Though they have this understanding her personality clashes with his.) She asks if he would go for her if he could and he says of course. Then she gets a phone call from an actual stalker, as Joe asks her about who Sasha is and then knocks on her door. He’s supposed to be in California.

Damon cleans up the Shack and Emily enters. He gives her a snarky comment which she accepts. She says the girls at the Rock aren’t her friends. Seriously, what does she want? Emily-Damon moment equals super corny to the point of uncomfortableness. And Emily doesn’t know who Dante is. (Ok if she’d never read him but to have never heard his name?) But now that Emily can express her feelings, Damon’s going to LA for a songwriter gig. (Also, Razor was supposed to be gone 2 weeks and it’s been 4.) Poor Em, all the boys leaving her.

Kaylie cries in her room and Ronny tries comforting her. She doesn’t care to hear it. Ronny says things will calm down and someday she can be with Carter. Kaylie says they want to be together now (Veruca Salt-“I Want It Now!”. Ronny says she’s young to know what she wants forever. Ronny met Alex at the same age. Well, we see how that worked out. Ronny says she made a mistake and hopes someday Kaylie can understand/forgive her.

Summer’s doorbell rings and it’s Lauren. She needs someone to talk to. Summer asks what’s wrong. Lauren bursts out crying and rushes into her arms. “Everything!” Summer being the good Christian that she is hugs her.

Check out the episode summaries:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Make It Or Break It: The Cast

Ayla Kell– (born October 7, 1990) a relative newcomer to tv, the eighteen year old has been studying ballet for 14+ years at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy. (Because of her long years of ballet training, she says it is very easy to slip into Payson’s persona, as their lives are very similar.) Her acting credits include commercials, guest spots on shows like CSI, Weeds, and Malcolm in the Middle, and made for tv movies.

Interviews With Ayla Kell- (with TV Chick) and (done with Chelsea Hobbs)

Chelsea Hobbs– (Born February 18, 1985) This Canadian actress began dance lessons when she was three years old. Her lessons were supplemented with acting lessons at age seven. According to wikipedia, she has a daughter with her husband, photographer Teren Oddo, who she has been with since early 2004. Her appearances include commercials, guest spots on tv shows, and starring roles in multiple made for tv movies, including Snow Queen which earned her a Leo Award nomination.

Interviews with Chelsea Hobbs- (with TV Chick) and (done with Ayla Kell)

Chelsea’s Blog-

Josie Loren– (born March 19, 1987) Josie has some experience in gymnastics which allows her to do a small amount of her own stunt work. She, like her character Kaylie, always excelled at floor. She then became a cheerleader because it enabled her to use her floor tumbling skills. As a cheerleader she has been in televised competitions. She has guest starred in shows like Veronica Mars, Medium, and Hannah Montana as well as being in 17 Again (with Zac Efron) recently.

Interviews with Josie Loren- (, (together with Cassie Scerbo), (with Josie Loren on ABC Family), and (with tv chick)

Cassie Scerbo– (born March 30, 1990) Cassie has a dance and singing background. She won the 2001 Hip Hop World Championships. Her experience with acting that involves stunts includes Bring It On: In It To Win It, in which she performed her own stunts. On the show Dance Revolution she was part of the girl pop band Slumber Party Girls. She has three of her own singles. In addition to Make It Or Break It, Cassie has 3 movies coming out in 2009-2010.

Interviews with Cassie Scerbo- (with TV Chick), (together with Josie Loren), (with J-14), and (with Josie Loren on ABC Family)

Cassie Scerbo’s Official Site-

Mia Rose Frampton- (born March 1996) 13 year old daughter of musician Peter Frampton makes her acting debut as fun loving Becca Keeler on Make It Or Break It. Like her father, Mia is also a guitarist and songwriter.

Peri Gilpin– (born May 27, 1961) Best know for her 9 year role on Frasier (personally not a fan of the show), what you may not know about this born and raised Texan is that Peri is just a nickname. It’s short for Periwinkle. Yeah, you’ll have to ask her parents about that one. She’s been in numerous television shows (both as a guest star and a recurring cast member) as well as made for tv movies. This is her first regular television role since Frasier ended in 2004. She is married and has twins. Her return has brought Make It Or Break It a lot of attention.

Peri Gilpin Interview- (with Candace Cameron Bure for My Take On TV)

Candace Cameron Bure– (born April 6, 1976) Best known, of course, for her role as DJ Tanner in Full House, Candace is returning to the small screen after some time away. While she starred in some made for tv movies after Full House ended, this is her first time back on a show as a cast regular. She is happily married to NHL player Valerie Bure and together they have 3 children. Like her character on the show, Bure is a devout Christian and makes many church appearances.

Candace Cameron Bure Interview- (with Peri Gilpin for My Take On TV)

Candace Cameron Bure’s official website-

Anthony Stark– (born June 6, 1963) When I first saw his name my immediate thought was: Iron Man? But this Anthony Starke is not nearly so exciting. His career has mostly consisted of guest spots on various tv shows such as CSI, ER, Burn Notice, Cold Case, Prison Break, Angel, Charmed, etc. The show you may remember him best for is when he played Jimmy on Seinfeld. ( Certainly a far cry from Steve Tanner in Make It Or Break It.

Neil Jackson– (born March 5, 1976) Before taking up acting, he was an amateur boxing champion. Jackson’s had a number of small guest starring roles since he entered the acting world in 2002. He’s been on shows such as How I Met Your Mother, CSI, Blade: The Series, and Stargate: Atlantis. He was in Push (a movie I personally loved starring Dakota Fanning), Quantum of Solace, and Table for Three. not a huge name just yet, but considering that he’s tall (he’s 6’1″!), good looking, and British, here’s to hoping that we’ll seeing him around for more than just Sasha Belov in Make It Or Break It. (Or at least, we get to see him as Sasha for many years to come.)

Johnny Pacar– (Born June 6, 1981) This 28 year old, who plays Damon Young in the show, is a relative newcomer to the Hollywood scene, only arriving in LA in 2001. already he has been in shows like Boston Public, American Dreams, and Flight 29 Down. He has also starred in Now You See… and Little Black Book. True to his on screen character, Pacar is an aspiring musician in a band called Fairlene.

Nicole Anderson– (Born August 29, 1990) She’s had a few small parts here or there but her first big role came on Disney’s JONAS where she plays the Jonas obsessed friend, Macy. Nicole was a competitive gymnast for ten years (three state championships and one national championship) so she fit easily into her role.

Other Cast Members To Come…

Check out episode summaries and other extras: MIOBI Pages

Make It Or Break It Run Emily Run

This episode is a lot of fun, even if not too many things actually happen. (Ironically, at the same time, with the plot lines that did develop, too much actually happened. It felt like problem and resolution were smashed together rather than let the problems unfold and develop over a few episodes, which would have been nice.)

Emily shows up at the Rock intent to talk to Sasha. Lauren makes fun of Emily’s fall and when Emily calls her out on her own she says she slipped and Emily choked. Kaylie says they should support each other. Lauren spots Kaylie’s new necklace. Lauren got one from her father but it was real gold and had a huge diamond. Kaylie doesn’t care hers is from Carter. Lauren watches her put it away and you just know she’s going to do something with it that she shouldn’t.

Sasha is in his office talking to MJ (it’s Naomi from Lost! I knew she looked familiar–actress Marsha Thomason) who says “you know what I see out there? the next Olympic gold medalist.” Sasha says she is not to “put her hands on the girls.” It’s clear they used to have some sort of relationship.

Payson walks in with her dad and they talk about Nationals weekend. Her dad plays dumb pretending he forgot to get time off for that weekend. “Dad, I’m serious.” He replies “You always are.” Sasha calls Payson (purple leo peeking through her rock suit), Lauren (non-virgin green), and Kaylie (pink) over to meet MJ. She’s one of the top sports agents in the country and is a consultant for the Gymnastics Federation. She’s filming pieces about girls likely to make the national team. She will try to stay out of their way so they can focus but they need to get used to the spotlight now.

Sasha spots emily and goes over to find out why she’s in the gym. He tells her she no longer has a place at the Rock. Can he even decide to kick her out? I’m not sure he actually can, but he does, in front of everyone. The girls all see it. Lauren thinks order has been restored. (Payson, always stuck with the stupid reaction lines says “I don’t believe it.”)

Emily’s bashing dough at work, pretending it’s Sasha. She tells Damon about how she got kicked out. She says she must prove that she belongs by showing he can do the dismount. Damon suggests breaking into the rock at night since she has no where else to train. The girls shows up at her work to talk to her. (See, they’re actually friends!) They ask her what the story between Damon and Emily is. She denies anything. Just then Mark Keeler walks in with a beer delivery.

Apparently, he’s been putting on a suit everyday and pretending to go to work but really he was laid off and found this beer delivery job in the meantime. Becca eavesdrops on the fight while Payson tells her she shouldn’t. Kim says she’s noticed. He says she’s too busy with her job to notice. Her response “at least I have a job.” Ouch, low blow. And she knows it so she apologizes. Kim wonders if maybe they shouldn’t have come to Boulder. He says they came to let their children’s dreams come true. Becca turns and blames Payson for everything (which you know Payson was already doing).

Kaylie talks to Lauren on the phone. She’s frantically looking for her necklace. Lauren says she has no idea where it is. When they hang up she goes to the mirror and puts it on Stalker much? Summer walks in with dinner, suggesting that they eat to dinner. Lauren says no thanks. Summer notices the necklace and compliments it.

Emily and Damon go to break into the Rock at night (which means going right by Sasha’s trailor). Worst comes to worst she’s the first in her family to do hard time. Third, actually. Damon knows how to pick a lock (he says he learned it from his father but I still think he’s secretly rich). Inside he bounces on the floor and convinces her to join. So now that they’ve broken in, instead of training she’s jumping up and down and flirting. (Also, I notice Emily has an official color too, more or less: black, get it? She’s a black sheep!) Also, note how dangerous training without a coach and a spotter are.

MJ asks Sasha who is likely to win. He says it isn’t that simple. Kaylie is a winning performer but lacks fire. Lauren is all fire but there’s no telling if she can channel it. Payson has nothing stopping her. Emily may have more raw talent than them all but she’s been alone so long she may be uncoachable. (Hmmm, he’s up to something…)

Emily’s mom seems to tell Emily to go seduce Sasha and when she turns that down she decides to do it herself “Every Tarzan needs a Jane.” (I kid you not, she actually says that.)

Payson helps Kaylie look for the necklace and they talk about Payson’s dad. Lauren comes up and insinuates that their Carter and Kaylie’s relationship is based off lies (because Kaylie pretended to have left the necklace at home so Carter wouldn’t know she lost it). They then talk about how MJ’s agency signed Kelly Parker who now makes tons of money for sponsorships. (Payson perks up.) Being a jerk Lauren pretends to find it, but it’s just a bottle cap.

Chloe comes to Sasha in an attempt to seduce Sasha. She puts on a bad sexy voice and wears a low cuts shirt and bends down to put her chest in her face. So inappropriate! He doesn’t fall for it, instead saying he’s busy and good day. MJ comes an says it’s inappropriate to be with gym moms. Sasha says maybe their relationship was inappropriate too (agent and sports star). She tells Sasha he’s too old for her now.

Payson approaches MJ to be her agent (which would mean giving up her amateur status). MJ has already looked into some deals and thinks she could make more money than Kelly Parker. Payson says her parents already agreed.

Summer finds Kaylie crying about her lost necklace. Summer immediately makes the connection once she hears the description. (I am really proud of the writers for this little detail.)

Payson’s dad can get his old job in Minnesota back (though for less money). Becca’s thrilled to be moving back. Payson freaks out. “What about Nationals? I have to be here!” Becca turns on her “it’s not all about you!” Mark says no one is moving, he’ll commute. Payson announces her sponsorship plans, it will make enough money to support them. They just need to say yes. No, they say. You don’t know what will happen. What if we can’t pay for college? You won’t be eligible for scholarship. Payson says she knows the future, MJ believes in her why can’t they? and she storms out. (Well, good to see that she can have teenage hissy fits like the rest of them.)

Emily and Damon are training at night again. I kind of want her to hurt herself because this is SO unsafe (and will give people the wrong impression about practicing on your own). She’s intent on not just sticking the dismount but upping her difficulty altogether. At least she falls while trying to do a release move. She makes Damon help her out by saying “NOW” when she should release the bar. (Also, you may have noticed, but Emily seems to have gotten herself some normal leotards.) Damon asks what the worst that can happen is. She breaks her neck. With his help she lands it perfectly. He swings her around, movie style and…KISS TIME. We all knew it was coming. But no, she pulls away to continue practicing.

Sasha is yelling at Lauren for rushing. Kaylie is setting her vault and in walks Emily. (Payson with the stupid line “did he tell her she could come back?) MJ makes sure the cameramen come tape it. Emily does her newly practices uneven bars routine perfectly. (Payson again with a “wow”) Everyone applauds. Sasha calls her a dog. She demands her spot he goes over and whispers in her ear that she’s no good, a dog that won’t stay… Kind of out of line for a coach.

Emily goes for a run reminiscent of Hayley’s run in Stick It. She hits a playground and thinks “well here’s a good place to practice. It’s not like I won’t die if I fall or anything.” She runs up the slide and cartwheels on the bridge…Also, gymnastics routines look funny in regular clothes and particularly when the dance routines don’t fit with the background music.

Summer comes to pick up Lauren wearing Lauren’s Olympic rings necklace. She says she didn’t think she’d mind since she and her friends share jewelry all the time. Which is best the rings or…this one? She holds up Kaylie’s necklace. She tells Lauren she has to earn her place as Kaylie’s friend not just get it handed to her. Meanwhile she’s trying to earn her space in Lauren’s life and that’s not always by being her friend.

Kim and Mark talk. They want Payson to know they moved because they believe in her. They don’t want her responsible for the family, which is why they don’t want her to take the sponsorship. Mark will have to spend time away from the family. (Now we see how her and Sasha’s relationship might develop.)

Chloe finds Emily on the playground. Chloe gives her another hoorah we never quite speech but Emily’s not having it. She’s sick of fighting for things and just wants to quit. Chloe says fine, if she’s giving up then she can get a job at her friend’s salon in Vegas. When Emily graduates she can come work with her in the salon. “It’s not the Olympics but it could be fun.” Big hopes for your kid there, college and a career are apparently not options.

You cant tell but this is where they bond. (Before the creepy stuff)

You can't tell but this is where they bond. (Before the creepy stuff)

Emily goes to Sasha’s trailer and bangs on the door (of course it’s raining now…) She says she’s always dreamed of the olympics and she doesn’t know who she is if he takes it away. She’ll be the best he’s ever coached. She hasn’t listened though and that’s what he needs. Well tell her what to do. He’s takes her into the rock (no surprise he knew she was breaking in at night). They work on beam and he tells her to fall backwards. “If you can’t trust me to catch you how can you trust me to coach you.” She says she can’t, it doesn’t work. Her life would be chaos without the control she’s made. She’s the only person she can trust. He says it’s ok and hugs her, telling her she’s an exceptional woman. He’s not asking her to give up her power, just let him in. But he’s just going to leave her like everyone else (her dad, Brian’s dad, Marty–who was her coach for like a day). He promises he won’t disappear. Her talent can only be found with his help. She says she needs him more than she’s ever needed anyone else. Before he can leave she jumps onto the beam for him to catch her. There’s something so inappropriate feeling here. (He catches her and it kinda looks like those just after the wedding scenes where the groom carries the bride over the thresh hold.)

Mark comes into Payson’s room to talk to her before he leaves. He’s here to take are of his family (she’s known since she was five it took him longer). She starts crying but can’t look at him. His calling and joy is raising them. He believes in her and knows she’ll go all the way. He’s asking her to believe in him. He kisses her on the head and walks out to where Kim and Becca are. He tells Becca to take care of Payson. She runs out crying and hugs him, saying thank you for everything. She promises to make him proud. “You already have.” Family hug in tears. (She’s not a very could fake crier but neither is Emily so whatever. Peri Gilpin is great with facial expression though.)


What did we just say!

What did we just say!

Kim demands to speak to MJ in her office. She is never to talk to any of the underage girls without their parents or they’ll have her escorted out.


Lauren says she found Kaylie’s necklace under a mat. Kaylie says she a great friend and she doesn’t know how she’d go through life without her. She puts on the necklace. Is she going to practice with it?

Emily finishes her bars. MJ says she wants to start Emily’s video profile. Emily says it’s just for the girls going to nationals. MJ says “I know and coach Beloff seems to think you’re one of them.” (So who isn’t going? I think there’s some factual detail missing here…)

Emily comes to thank Damon, she’s going to nationals and she couldn’t have done it without him. He says it’s all her. She doesn’t need him. She has her hands around his neck. Ok, real kiss time. Well, it would be if they didn’t cut the scene just before she does it.

So things we learn:

  1. Lauren’s a stalker
  2. Kaylie is a bad judge of character
  3. Emily’s going to get herself killed (or follow family tradition and wind up in jail)
  4. Payson’s family isn’t as perfect as it appears
  5. Secrets always come out…

Check out the episode summaries:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Make It Or Break It Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Sasha ups Lauren’s routine difficulty to be the same as Payson’s. (Lauren’s finally back in orange.) When Kaylie (in signature pink) asks Payson (in purple as usual) if she’s nervous about it, Payson says she doesn’t have time to be. (Considering that Lauren’s supposed to be the best on beam, shouldn’t her level of difficulty already have been equal or higher while Payson’s other routines are better?)

Emily then tries to show off for Sasha (literally calling for him to come watch) and does a move, which she lands perfectly. He promptly tells her she isn’t ready for the move and she needs to do the easier move. But without that move she can’t place top ten at nationals! He says she’s not top ten material just yet, to which she replies “Marty thought so when he was here.” She’s setting herself up for his come back of course “well, he’s not here” the surprise to the end of that statement is “but I’m expecting him any moment.” Of course, Marty walks through the door on cue, drawing all eyes to him. (A moment of awesomeness, when the parents spot Marty, Chloe turns to Ronny and says “awkward!” I totally forgot she saw them kissing.)

Marty and Sasha sit down in the coach’s office. They have a little “remember our rivalry” moment, turns out that Marty has made it a habit of sleeping with other people’s women. Sasha’s included. But it’s ok, as that gave him the time to win 4 golds. And now to the point of the discussion–they’ve agreed to hold a meet between Denver Elite and the Rock, one week before nationals.

Sasha then calls the girls around to tell them the big news. “We are the two best clubs in America…” While it is true that gymnastics is a sport of perception to a degree (a gymnast with a good reputation will often get the benefit of the doubt when judges are unsure of how much to take off for a mistake), but at nationals you don’t compete as a team so it won’t really change much at nationals if the Rock loses (unless they’re crushed), though Sasha implies that it will.

Marty lets the big news out though–Denver now has Kelly Parker, the best gymnast in the country. He says this right in front of Payson and while I liked Marty before and sympathized with him, now I want to smack him to wipe that smug grin off his face. Does he think this will fire her up or is he just so determined to beat Sasha that he doesn’t care about her anymore? (This leads me to believe that without Kelly Parker the Rock would have easily won this invite.)

The girls are lined up for tumbling pass and they talk about Kelly Parker. Emily wants to know if she’s as nasty as she appears on tv. Yup. (Coming from Lauren this means a lot! And MIOBI touts her as meaner than Lauren though unless she nearly killed a teammate, I’m not sure I believe it.) They discuss how Kelly Parker’s career has taken off since winning Nationals (all these things that would never happen to a gymnast have happened to her because of it–at film premiers and night clubs, her own cosmetics  line…) Payson’s not scared of her, she’s been training to beat her all year.

Emily’s just upset because Sasha says she’s not ready yet. Lauren says Sasha’s right because Emily isn’t consistent enough. Kaylie points out that she was consistent enough to beat her at the in house competition. Seriously Kaylie, was that necessary? I thought Lauren’s your best friend (regardless of the things we know about her…) There are nicer ways to say that. Even a simple “I don’t know, I think she’s been doing well” would have sufficed.

Lauren brings up Kaylie and Carter’s relationship. Kaylie is thrilled with it “how many guys would put their girlfriend’s careers over sex?” To which Lauren replies “unless they’re getting it somewhere else…guys are dogs” Kaylie insists that he’s not like that and that Carter knows they’d be over should that happen. “Are you sure he knows that?”

Ronny walks out to find Marty at her car. He misses her, but she says they’re over. He offers to be there as a friend if needed. At least they were smart enough not to hold hands or kiss in the parking lot.

Lauren runs over to tell her dad the news about her new routine and Summer walks away to say hi to Kim in a “she ignored me so I’ll ignore her” sort of way. Lauren’s dad says that “oh-twelve” will be there year. Does he know how math works? She says there’s nothing she wants more than winning gold for them, but she needs all of him to do it. He can’t give 100% to both of them. She makes him promise not to marry her, which he does (though he means it as “just now” and she means it as “forever”).

Kaylie and Carter flirt at the chalk box. She asks him if he would cheat on her and he assures her he would not. Sasha’s in the background and spots them holding hands. Well, duh.

Two girls from the gym who we’ve never scene have a discussion:
Girl 1: I can’t believe Denver has Kelly Parker.
Girl 2: Who cares? We have Payson Keeler.
Cue Payson race by to do a perfect vault. But a close up shows her reaching for her back and grimacing in pain. (Knew that would come back to haunt us someday.) She’s taking deep breaths to regain her composure.

Emily at work with Damon. He hands her a pizza box with a cd in it. She drops it on the counter with a dismissive “thanks.” He’s annoyed. She says she needs to focus on gymnastics. He says she’s not his type, he likes girls who’ve been kissed more than once. Burn!

Payson is lying on the couch with a book (wearing a purple t-shirt of course) when her mother comes in with some fro yo. Payson wants nothing frozen. Her mom spots the ice pack but Payson insists it’s fine. Payson says it’s just a little tweak. Her mom points out that it’s a disc in her back and she better not be pushing through just because of the invitational. Her mother wants to tell Sasha but she insists not. Injuries are a part of the sport and she knows when she can push through. She concedes to have some ice cream to placate her mom with a “trust me.”

Emily apologizes; she’s frustrated with Sasha. Her own style has gotten her really far why should she listen to him. Damon points out that although he taught himself guitar, if a rock legend came he’d run to take lessons. He asks if he can watch the meet and she agrees.

In the gym, Em does the easy dismount. Sasha says excellent. She says it’s too easy he says the point it to make it look easy.

Lauren confronts Carter again (she’s back to the green and blue leo). “How can you play the perfect boyfriend after seducing her best friend?” She tells him he needs to break up with her so that he never has to tell. He’s shocked. He loves her! He’ll tell Kaylie the truth after Nationals. Lauren points out that she won’y forgive him ever once she finds out.

Sasha calls Payson into his office. Is it the “you’re not going to nationals speech?” No, of course not. He wants to talk about her back, wihch her mother of course, told him about. They are getting pretty chummy aren’t they. He points out that she should have told her and that she probably should sit out the meet. She can’t sit out a meet against Kelly Parker! Everyone will think she’s scared. Why can’t she just take a shot of cortisone? He asks when the last time she had a shot was (because they need to be spaced out) and she says at least six months “and don’t worry my parents are cool with it.” So of course her mother walks into the office in time to hear that and reveals that it’s only been 2 months. Other people’s parents let their kids do it all the time. Payson turns to Sasha for support and she’s furious. “You’re my mom you’re supposed to be on my side…I’m trying out for the Olympics not a cheerleading squad.” Kim doesn’t know what to do. Sasha says it’s no secret that he had five shots in his knee before the Olympics. It’s legal in the sport and despite the possible repercussions, training for the Olympics isn’t always safe. (She’s still getting used to her 16 year old having a career. Fair enough.) He sympathizes both ways.

Summer congratulates Lauren on her new degree of difficulty and when Lauren mouth’s off to her so Summer stands up for herself. “I understand where your anger comes from. If my mother abandoned me and I thought I was losing my father to another woman…” But Lauren, always one to respond, says “well, I’m not worried because my dad said he’d never marry you.” (Round 1 goes to Lauren Tanner!)

Sasha calls Carter over for a little talk where he…threatens Carter. “My girls don’t date…if you distract them I will ruin you.” (Sasha points out that the girls’ careers peak in their teens while his won’t peak until his mid-twenties so it is only their careers that he’s risking by distracting them.) They shake hands at the end.

Kaylie’s dad weighs Kaylie and she’s up two pounds. He pushes her to improve. Ronny wants to know why there’s a scale in the living room and he says it’s for motivation. She wants to go on vacation. He says they have to focus on Kaylie’s dreams right now. Ronny asks if he ever thought maybe Kaylie just wanted to be a normal teen. He says “Kaylie’s not a normal teen, she deams of gold” Ronny says “Kaylie’s not you” and he says “and she’s not you, did you forget what it’s like to have a dream?” (Now we see why she went to Marty…)

Summer and Steve have dinner and Summer reveals what Lauren said. Steve says he just didn’t want Lauren to lose focus before Nationals. Summer points out that there’s always going to be a nationals. Since he can’t be a man and stop letting his 16 year old daughter call the shots, goodbye. So he proposes. (Wow, forced proposal how romantic.)

Being the genius that she is, Ronny calls Marty because she’s upset. In the living room. So this is where Kaylie learns her sneaking around skills. Of course, Kaylie overhears the conversation and confronts her mom. Ronny admits to it, saying it’s over. Kaylie doesn’t understand how she could cheat on him. Ronny says it isn’t her business, her ather doesn’t know about everything, including her and Carter. (Did she just threaten her daughter there?) Kaylie runs to Carter’s arms (were you even listening to Sasha?) Kaylie won’t tell because her mom knows about them. Thank god she has such a reliable, trustworthy boyfriend like Carter. He eases his guilt by giving her a pretty necklace that was his mother’s. Before she died, his mother said to give it to the girl he wanted to marry. He says “so don’t forget what happens between now and then, you’re the one.” Right, like a necklace is going to do it.


Way to make the other team look evil

Way to make the other team look evil

Meet time! Payson is raring to go, (in a uniform that is so terrible looking on her) she seems not in pain at all, a bright optimistic smile on her face. He tells her not to push herself too hard (even though a meet is less overall physically demanding than a practice). Summer tells Lauren her dad proposed. (Round 2 goes to Summer!)


Payson Keeler vs Kelly Parker

Payson Keeler vs Kelly Parker

Lauren, Kaylie, and Emily chalk the uneven bars. Emily looks for Damon, but he’s not there. Kelly Parker and the other Denver girls walk in, looking like they own the place. Payson hardly looks up until Kelly calls her attention to say she can’t wait to kick her ass. Payson points out that while she’s been selling mascara and blush, Payson’s been training so we’ll see who will win. Kelly Parker retorts that she will remind them why she’s national champ. (I hate to break it, this isn’t mean enough to qualify as meaner than Lauren, but it does make you want Payson to crush her.) Enter Lauren, who points at Kelly’s pigtail buns-“you know, these devil horns really suit you” (you’re reminded here why we do like Lauren).

Bring It In

Sasha calls the girls in for a huddle. To be the club to beat at nationals they must win. Lauren is first on beam while Kelly’s on vault (she’s better than Payson at VT). We don’t get to see Lauren’s routine despite all we’ve heard about it. Then Emily’s on beam. Then Payson does a perfect routine (some good stunt doubling here). My favorite detail here (aside from how they have a different scoreboard than their previous competition) is that they make a big deal out of Payson having the higher score in the first round. Yay Payson and all, but each event scores differently, some higher than others, so it doesn’t actually mean anything. So far the Rock is winning. I notice that Lauren is only in third after her best event though.

Floor next for the Rock, this is where Kaylie shines. We actually don’t see Kaylie do a single gymnastics move which is really annoying. Denver is on bars, one of their girls lands a great routine. (Carter pretends not to be looking when Sasha turns towards him.) Kelly’s on bars while Payson’s on floor. Kelly lands perfectly. Payson does well until she lands on the line in her final pass. She looks pretty crushed even though it’s only a .1 deduction so not actually a huge deal. Denver pulls ahead no and Marty rubs it in.

Payson’s up on vault. She does her super vault (putting her ahead of Kelly) but a closer look shows her clenching her fist in pain. On a pain scale of 1-10, it’s a 9. Sasha wants to take her out, she refuses and begs her mom for the shot, crying. Finally her mother agrees.

Kelly’s on floor, her best event and she seems to be having no problem (however, floor is also the lowest scoring event). Payson needs “an almost perfect score to win.” Can she do it? Her mom can’t watch. She sticks it, winning the meet! (Guess Lauren upping her difficulty doesn’t matter much, considering that she remains behind Payson, Kelly, and Kaylie all meet.)

Lauren’s up and if she does a clean routine she’ll secure the Rock’s win. So she intentionally falls on an easy maneuver. She gives her dad a “you’re forcing my hand” look land then performs the rest flawlessly (if she’s willing to give up on her gymnastics on a hissy fit, then she doesn’t deserve the Olympics, she’s also setting herself up to have the least consistent reputation).

Sasha tells Emily to do the routine as practiced for their chance to win, but Emily hears Kelly say that she can only do the things an eight year old can do. (Ok, that was pretty mean, but still no worse than Lauren.) So of course Emily attempts the move Sasha tells her not to do and she falls (.5 deduction), losing the meet for the team by <.4 points. (Lauren’s intentional fall really did, but everyone will remember it as Emily’s fault.)

When Lauren’s dad asks what happened she says since he gave up on their dreams she can give up on them too, like, at Nationals!

Marty says you win some you lose some, not all gambles pay off, but Sasha says it was a gamble well worth it since Payson beat Kelly. Payson of course gets the last word to Kelly and then runs and gives her mother an ecstatic hug.

Emily comes in to Sasha’s office to apologize, saying she’ll never do something like that again, especially at nationals. He says he knows, because she won’t be going to nationals. SHOCK! GASP! “BUT YOU CAN’T!” Oh, but he can. Emily’s mother insists that Sasha will forget and let her go to nationals though she doesn’t believe it. A knock at the door reveals Damon, bearing a post card from Razor (it says “Wish I was there. Wish I wasn’t missing you. Razor”). She says she gets that he won’t date her because of her brother, but he’s a bad friend for not showing up. “That’s the thing Emily, I don’t think I can just be your friend.”

Seriously, that’s the scene we end on? Not the greatest. But yay for an episode where Payson is finally an important character. And yay that they finally addressed the whole injuries in the sport thing, though they made it seem like a shot of cortisone is a cure all…How was Kaylie so bouncy at the meet after what she just learned? It’s odd that when we meet Kelly Parker (mentioned in the Where’s Marty episode) she doesn’t seem like what we heard. She’s best at floor, not vault (which is where we are told she beats Payson), she’s mean and the girls hate her (there was no indication of that when they mentioned her in the car). But ok, we need someone to make Lauren look nice. She doesn’t, but i get the sentiment. I think this episode was one of the best so far.

Another note that while scoring during the Olympics was quite high, under the new code of points scores tend to range between 14-15.5 now, so the scores during this meet are obscenely high.

Hooray that MIOBI has been renewed for another ten episodes!

Check out the episode summaries:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Make It Or Break It: What Might Happen (Season 1)

Now that the season is done, I’ve revamped this based on everything we’ve seen. These are thoughts for what we might see coming up in part 2 of the first season:

1.) Emily’s Pentagon of love.

So Razor is back (and something of a jerk), as the actor is fresh off of his failed CW show the Beautiful Life. I dislike the fact that he’s so different now and hope that either Emily calls him on it or he’s just removed from the show. If he charms her into cheating on Damon I will be annoyed. Not because I particularly like Damon (who was also something of a jerk and a whiner recently) but because I really dislike Razor now. (What kind of name is Razor anyway? How has no one mentioned that on the show?) So far there’s been no sign of Leo but I can’t imagine them mentioning him in the finale and then totally forgetting about him now. And of course, I said pentagon because it is between Damon, Razor, Leo, Emily, and every boy in the world. The only question is, who will Emily be with in the end? (I see her cheating on Damon but who knows?)

2.) Who will Sasha date? There are so many possibilities:

A) Payson ( I am still unsure about whether ABC Family is ready to handle an issue like that. and besides, after the warning he gave Carter, I can’t see him having a relationship with a gymnast.)

B) Kim (she is happily married but with the dad away from home  opportunity is there. I could see Sasha fall for her and she doesn’t reciprocate the feelings (a potentially strong plot line could be him kissing Kim, Payson seeing but leaving before she can see her mom pull back and be like “what are you doing! I’m a happily married woman!”) Will she continue managing the rock with Payson sidelined (as of now out for good)?

C) Chloe (this is my least favorite option because Emily’s mom just doesn’t seem to have the type of personality that Sasha would go for. She’s too frivolous and while she would totally go for it, I just don’t see him there. Plus, there are only so many issues you can pack into one character and I feel like Emily already has her fair share. Spread the wealth! After All’s Fair…, this option seems to be more of a possibility as Sasha brought Chloe home and they bonded. But at the moment it seems to be Chloe and Steve, which I actually love as far as things go.)

D) Ronny (just to throw her in there since we know she’s done it before so there’s no reason why she wouldn’t do it again.) Also, we know that Marty previously stole Sasha’s girl, so it would be quite the twist/rivalry if Sasha then got Marty’s.

E) Emily (she had to be added to this list after Run Emily Run. Their gym time together was just so…it just felt wrong. Though again, can ABC tackle this issue? And can Emily get passed him calling her a dog?)

With all the possibilities, I never thought about Summer. She seems the most likely candidate for now (especially considering the kiss) but I wouldn’t count her and Steve over for good, no matter what is going on between Steve and Chloe.

3.) Will Payson’s injury keep her out of competition?

Payson’s injury has become very serious and supposedly career ending (unless she wants to risk not walking, which frankly, I wouldn’t put past her). I can see her either risking it all to attempt a comeback or finding a solution for the injury (personally I’d like a better explanation of the injury because I’m not sure what exactly needs to be operated on to repair what). Despite all the definite no’s she’s gotten, I’m not counting her out just yet and with this surgery I think she’ll be back and have to fight to get herself into peak shape again.

4.) Is Kaylie done with Carter?

Seems like it for now, at least in her mind, but he doesn’t seem to want to give up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps trying until finally she gives in. Or he becomes a couple with Lauren and Kayley totally freaks. Maybe Kayley can become the saboteur for once (and do a better job than what she did to Marty).

5.) What is Damon’s secret?

I’ve heard a number of different thoughts on this regard.

One was that Sasha and Damon are related (they point out that Damon is the common denominator when it comes to the things Sasha knows when he shouldn’t– ie the kegger and the break in.) as for me, I’m skeptical. First, I don’t think Damon’s a snitch so even if he was related to Sasha I doubt he’d tell on the others (certainly not on someone he wants to date). Second, Sasha is from another country so how he would be Damon’s father seems somewhat unlikely. But then, we know nothing about Damon beyond that his dad supposedly taught him to pick locks.

Another person pointed out that he knew what a standing back tuck is, so one would guess that he has some sort of connection to gymnastics, whether that’s a sibling in the sport, himself in the sport (cannot picture him in a leo but that would be so funny), or just the fact that Boulder has such a huge gymnastics scene. I don’t think he was personally involved only because he didn’t know about the springs in the floor apparatus which is pretty standard (as someone who stopped doing gymnastics when I was like five, even I knew about that).

Personally, I think it’s going to turn out that he’s secretly rich and the rebel boy is just an act to drive his parents crazy or something.

6.) Will Kim find out about the cortisone?

In truth it doesn’t really matter at this point. If Payson confesses, we’re at the point where she’s so injured she’ll probably be forgiven for every bad thing she’s ever done in her entire life. Though imagine Kim exposing Nick and his dad. I could totally see her on that crusade. (For people who say she should have taken the cortisone if she knew her injury was so bad, cortisone isn’t a cure and considering how quickly it was wearing off after each shot, her injury was clearly VERY serious and should have been looked into immediately after the Denver meet if not earlier.) The one thing that could be bad is his father and/or him going to jail. (At the moment Lauren has the cortisone and I’m not so sure that storyline is as over as it seems.

7.) What else could happen to the girls that we haven’t already seen?

There’s money issues–not just for Emily and Payson. Most gymnasts’ families are in debt. For Lauren or Kaylie they could pull a Nate Archibald and have money laundering, gambling, or bankruptcy of some sort. Doubtful, but possible.

Another thing to consider, and this goes for all the girls, is the possibility of violence or crime or trauma of some sort. The girls aren’t exempt from their home being robbed, a car accident (one of the current stunt doubles had her gymnastics career ended due to a car crash), a mugging, etc. Tumbling passes won’t be able to scare off hardened criminals. I don’t think the show would go that route just yet, but who knows what will happen when things need to be spiced up? Other shows have been known to do worse. I only suggest it because it would be a good reminder that they are regular people too.

8.) Becca Keeler and Brian Kmetko- will they become a bigger part of the show?

I hope they address the dynamic of the whole family relocating for Payson and Becca being dragged along. She does gymnastics for fun, so she can obviously do it anywhere, and she accuses Payson of causing all of the family’s monetary and family problems in one episode. This could be a good issue, since it is a real issue in gymnasts’ lives. Sadly, she has been absent for most episodes so it doesn’t look like she will be getting much of a role just yet. Possibly in future seasons when they start expanding the cast (as television shows tend to do in order to create more story lines). But considering that she wasn’t even there while Payson was lying in the hospital, I doubt we’ll see much more of her.

Then there’s Brian who we all wonder about. How did he end up in a wheelchair anyway? He’s the most absent character which is a little sad because his life was just up and moved because of Emily. How much harder/easier is it to be the kid in the wheelchair in a new town? Does he have a hard time getting around? (I could see a Payson-Brian moment where he makes her feel better or comes to her aid.)

9.) Will we meet Lauren’s mother?

I bet we will. Especially since we found out that Lauren’s mom had intended to come. But I also expect her to not remain sober for good.

10.) Where can the show go because the Olympics is a limited future goal?

There’s also college gymnastics, coaching jobs, we could have the girls become the coaches for the next generation of girls, etc. They could decide to stay elite after the Olympics and remain fighting for future spots (like Nastia Liukin, Chelsea Memmel, Sam Peszek, and Bridget Sloan are all doing this year) while trying to take on college or something.

11.) Will Ronny and Marty’s affair become public?

I imagine it will because otherwise Kaylie’s life has become too perfect. (Although at this point it seems so far removed, especially since Kaylie’s basically forgiven her mom.) But does her dad still push endorsements and whatnot rather than just be her dad? And will she become so involved in this supposed celebrity lifestyle (the one that real gymnasts don’t get unless they are Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin. Although, maybe those girls have paved the way for a larger spotlight on the sport and its athletes?) that her gymnastics suffers?

Thoughts, theories, or something I missed? Let me know!

Check out the episode summaries and more: MIOBI Pages