I actually enjoyed this ep a lot more than the pilot. The pilot was pretty ridic, but it was more like just unrealistic and OTT. This ep, however, took everything the pilot did and blew it up to a while new level. It’s like this amazing, awe-inspiring, clusterfuck of fail that is so epic it’s almost a win. No, scratch that, it is a win. I think after a point I just reached some kind of threshold of ridiculosity (actually, I know precisely which point, and you will know it when you see it, too) and from then on, I took it all in stride. It’s kind of like when you read hardcore Harry Potter squidwarts fics–something in your brain just breaks and after that, no amount of fucked-up shit can faze you anymore.
Now, lest anyone think that the above paragraph implies I don’t like this show–perish the thought! You know how much I adore a good train wreck, and this show is above and beyond train wreck by a mile. We’re talking a disaster of Oceanic 815 proportions here. Make It or Break It does seem to exist on its own mysterious island with its own unique set of rules and laws of physics.
But enough of me rambling already. Let’s get on with the show, shall we?
You know it’s bad when even J.Lo worked it better.
We pan over picturesque Boulder to Emily’s shithole apartment. Emily’s skanky Mom, in all her Forever 21 glory, is ranting about who freaking knows what. Emily’s channeling Jennifer Beals in this fab Flashdance-style sweatshirt. Dude–is it impossible for this girl to wear anything remotely contemporary? This show has more in common with the BSC than I originally thought. I’m waiting for them to all squee over I Love Lucy whilst listening to a U4Me cassette and ripping out posters of Cam Geary (for the record… is that not the gayest name ever? Seriously, you know if that guy was real he’d totally be on the cover of People with Lance Bass).
Yeah, they’re running a tight ship over at Rocky Mountain.
We get some establishing shots of people walking around some random but pretty promenade and then… Rocky Mountain Gymnastics. What one has to do with the other, I don’t even know. But logic, this show, unmixy things… yeah. Emily arrives at practice and we see more bad stunt double gymnastics. Rings Boy (I still don’t remember his name, so sue me) is texting Kaylie, who’s lounging on the pommel horse nearby reading his messages. To which I say–shenanigans! Firstly, I’ve never heard of guy and girl gymnasts training together at the same time. Most elites have their own gym, a detail that even Stick It got right. Damn, that movie is the height of realism compared to this. Secondly, no elite coach worth his salt would let his gymnasts lounge around texting during practice. Bela Karolyi would probably hulk out and smash things. I’m actually very glad for his gymnasts’ sake that cell phones weren’t around in the early 90s, although I like to think none of those girls would be that damned stupid. Do you really want to fuck with a guy who could be a dead ringer for the LOLrus?
Over in the office, Mr. Clean–I mean, Kaylie’s Dad–is consulting with his wife over the coaching sitch, or lack thereof. Man, these girls’ parents are really involved in the gym. Isn’t anyone running this place now that Coach Elton’s flown the coop? I mean, really, you’d think an elite gym would run a tighter ship than that. Meanwhile, Payson’s ‘rents are there, too, on the floor watching their daughter’s stunt double practice. Shenanigans! According to Jennifer Sey’s book, Parkettes frowned up on parents showing up for practice (and Rocky Mountain, unlike Parkettes, is not a joke–o snap, I totally take that back) and when they did, they had to sit in a special viewing area. No freaking way would their asses be allowed to stand around on the floor like that. Payson’s ‘rentals are worried because she’s been screwing up in practice. Payson takes a spill from the beam and gets in a shouting match with an assistant coach. Shenanigans! I don’t care how awesome this bitch is, the Karolyis would have her ass in a sling by now if they didn’t kick her, her three Olympic golds (???), and her helicopter ‘rents out altogether. Just ask Kim Zmeskal.
I have to interject here and remark that if Payson has three Olympic golds… why is she not practically a celeb? If we’re going by any remote form of temporal logic, that would mean she earned the three golds last year in Beijing, so it’d still be fresh in the public’s mind. She’d be rolling in dough and endorsements right now. Her parents certainly wouldn’t be driving that grocery-getter and she’d be living in a flyer pad than Kaylie’s. Hell, Chellsie Memmel just has one team silver and she bought a house! Shawn Johnson’s been making the rounds of premieres and getting immortalized on Go Fug Yourself. Nastia’s back in training, but it’s not like she hasn’t made time to show up at Fashion Week and shoot an ad campaign for Max Azria. Where is your fashion campaign, Payson?
“I’m not playing with you guise anymore!”
OK so Payson takes her toys and flounces out of the gym. Kaylie runs after her, because an elite coach would totally–oh, fuck it already. I give up. Kaylie and Payson get the idea to drive out to Denver and confront Coach Elton and Lauren. Can we say road trip! Le yay!
Back in the gym, Emily’s paging her inner Ryan Atwood and doing chin-ups. I keep picturing some crewman below the camera holding onto her legs. Seriously, you’re telling me those pipecleaner arms can do chin-ups? Meanwhile, a tall, dark, and handsome actor shows up and the other girls all start gushing over him. Turns out Mr. Handsome is Kaylie’s older brother, Leo. He used to be a gymnast, too, but he isn’t all srs bsns about it like Kaylie. He just wants to have fun. I’m detecting a theme here, and it ain’t subtlety. While Leo’s in the office waiting for John Locke–um, I mean his Dad, Emily shows up to talk about her scholarship. She and Leo converse and there’s definitely some chemistry there. Hmm, do I detect a love triangle being set up? Chrome Dome walks in and informs Emily that she can’t get her scholarship money unless Coach Elton signs her papers. Dilemma!
The Church of Laurentology welcomes you.
Cut to the Denver gym, which actually looks a lot like my old gym in Hawaii. i feel nostalgic right now. Some post-grunge guitar rock is playing, reminding us that these girls are hardcore, not like those prissy bitches at Rocky Mountain. The Denver gym is like this big open warehouse with the sunlight streaming in all dramatic like and backlighting Lauren on the beam. Yes! About time the HBIC graces our screen. Her helicopter Dad and DJ Tanner are there, of course, on the floor watching her. OIC what you did here. Nice mirror to Payson’s helicopter ‘rents. Nice to see the Denver gym is as professional as Rocky Mountain. Lauren does a great beam routine, meaning her stunt double manages to pull off level 8-ish skills and not eat mat. We are treated to one of the better lines of this ep by two brunette clone Denverites. One is like, “Man, is she good” and the other is like, “But I hear she’s a bitch.” Excuse you, she’s not a bitch, she’s the HBIC. Get it right.
Pa Tanner’s all happy and reassures her that she’s still Beam Queen. No comment here. I’m glad to see Lauren out of that garish Shawn-esque orange and instead wearing a red-and-blue leo that vaguely reminds me of one of the US team leos at Beijing. Lauren’s still got the Sam Pescek-French braids, though. Seriously, does she have her own stylist or something? I couldn’t be arsed to braid my hair for practice every day and usually just threw it in a Shannon Miller-esque power bun, scrunchy and all (hey, it was the early 90s! Cut me some slack). Lauren goes back to practice while Pa Tanner and DJ talk about their relationship. DJ worries over telling Lauren and Pa Tanner reassures her that he’ll tell her tonight.
“Regina says everyone hates you because you’re such a slut.”
Cut to Kaylie’s pimp shack, which is not at all reminiscent of the Liukin mansion. Kaylie’s in her room, which is entirely decorated in a pink-and-black scheme, while Kaylie herself is sporting pink-and-black warm-ups. OK, guys, we get it. Kaylie’s the Latina Elle Woods. I just love how this show color-codes its characters, like we’re too damn dumb to tell them apart or something. Although given the intelligence level the showrunners seem to think the audience has, that wouldn’t surprise me. Kaylie’s on her phone talking all lovey-dovey with Rings Boy. These two are rapidly becoming the Liz Wakefield and Todd Wilkins of this show, which is not a good thing. Rings Boy came to see Leo and now he’s hiding out in the laundry room. He’s feeling horny and twists Kaylie’s arm into coming down for a quickie. We cut away as she leaves her room.
“This is the best plotline you could give me this week? Are you serious?”
Back at Denver elite, Lauren asks the two brunette clones if she can have a run and they totally ice her out. OIC what you did here again–mirroring Lauren and Kaylie icing Emily out in the pilot. What goes around comes around? But instead of being all hurt like Emily, Lauren’s like, “Whatever, bitches” and swans off. She goes to the office in search of her Dad (
I still haven’t figured out what this guy does for a living…… is he a coach? I have been informed that he is a lawyer, but I stand by the whole “why the hale is he always around and holy unhealthy!” thing) and finds him making out with DJ in the office. Predictably, Lauren has a shit fit and informs DJ (and us) that her father’s got a romantic track record on par with Dr. James Wilson’s. Except that Robert Sean Leonard is like, really smokin’ hot while Lauren’s Dad… not so much. And Wilson’s not a sociopath. But I digress. Lauren flounces, end scene.
Back to Chez Cruz. Kaylie and Rings Boy are making out in the laundry room in true PG-13 Liz/Todd style. There might even be some hardcore hand-holding. Kaylie hears a noise and frantically tells Rings Boy to hide. She emerges from the laundry room to encounter the Shield guy–that is her, Dad. She bluffs her way out of it and leaves Rings Boy to his own devices in the laundry room. Leo walks in and Rings Boy tumbles out of a closet. They talk and joke a bit cos they’re like, total BFF. I can’t wait till fans start slashing these two.
“Hey baby… I’ll show you my Intersect if you show me yours.”
Cut to the Pizza Shack, where Emily’s chatting with love interest deux, Pizza Boy. And yes, I can’t be arsed to learn his name, either. Pizza Boy wants more deets about her life but Emily remains intriguingly mysterious. He theorizes that she’s a secret agent or a ninja or something. Heathus Christ, Em, you’re not Sydney Fucking Bristow. For one thing, your Mom is not awesome and your Dad is not a DILF. For another, it’s not like some huge government secret or something. Just tell this asshole that you’re a gymnast. Unless, of course, the writers want to play it off as a whole “she just wants to be treated like a normal girl!” angst in which case excuse me while I barf. You know if Lauren were in Emily’s shoes (not that she’d deign to work in some pizza dive… she might gain weight from inhaling the scent of all that grease) she’d be totally boasting about that shit. Emily’s Mom comes rushing in and I can smell the Designer Imposters from here. She comments on Pizza Boy being cute, probably sizing him up as a future client. Ma Kmetko tells Emily there’s a powwow going down at Chez Cruz and it’s important, you guise! Emily’s got to go now! Pizza Guy agrees to cover for Emily, and teases her more about her secret life. Dude, this isn’t the goddamn Buy More. GTFO.
The real story behind Beyoncé’s alter ego.”
Back at Chez Cruz, Kaylie’s reading a magazine that is an obvious rip of International Gymnast in her room. Payson comes in and she and Kaylie worry if they’ll ever find a coach as good as Elton. Kaylie and Payson look at pictures of Coach Elton during his heyday in the magazine. Payson remarks that only one gymnast was able to beat him, some Russian dude named Sasha Belov. I think I’m going to call him Sasha Fierce instead. He is pretty fierce. Payson infodumps that he disappeared somewhere and no one knows what became of him. Gee, I wonder who the new coach is going to be? Payson and Kaylie confirm that the Denver trip is so on, and head out.
Well, it’s easy to believe this dress is radioactive.
Meanwhile, Payson’s rentals are conversating with Mr. Clean, who’s reminiscing about his glory days as a pro baseball player. For further anvilliciousness, Pa Keeler looks at a newspaper clipping about Mr. Clean that’s framed and hanging on the wall. Emily and her skanky Mom show up, and Ma Kmetko is looking even more Pretty Woman that ever in a truly garish blue-and-chartreuse creation that looks like it was stolen from the closet of Smallville’s kryptoskank of the week. The sad thing is that shit’s probably designer in real life. Emily’s wearing her bro’s jacket to cover her Pizza Shack shirt. Did she not bring a change of clothes in the car? When I had to wear a lame-ass uniform at work you bet I always had street clothes with me in case I went anywhere afterwards. Ma Kmetko cements her status as Most Irritating Bitch ever by gushing excessively about Chez Cruz and how they should be on MTV Cribs. Excuse me, I need to go shoot myself now. Why don’t i have any alcohol?? brb Zima run.
OK, back. I wish they still sold Zima in the U.S. It’s so ghetto and you know Emily’s Mom totally downs it like water. But I got me a 40 of Newkkie Brown so it’s all good. So Kaylie and Payson are about to make their getaway when the ‘rents send Becca and Emily out with them. Payson and Kaylie try to ditch but Emily insists on going, since she needs Coach Elton’s signature on her scholarship papers (which she just so happens to have with her). So the group of them set out into the wild urban yonder.
Cut to a shot of a silver convertible cruising down the street. The girls are playing a round of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” except it’s ABC Family so it’s “Kiss, Marry, Kill.” Becca chatters about the Jonas Brothers. Can I get a “Kill, Kill, Kill, except possibly Joe if I’m really, really, drunk and horny beyond the point of being picky?” Becca giggles about how she’d really like to kiss Rings Boy, and straight-up asks Kaylie if she’d like to. Oh, subtlety, we hardly knew ye. No wait, we never knew ye at all. Kaylie is cagey about it, and everyone agrees that they’d like to kill Lauren. Well, I’d like to kill you. So there.
“Wait–this book has words! Can you help me?
On CruzTV Cribs, Ma Kmetko snooping around in their stuff. Classy. Then she gawps at a platinum record hanging on the Cruz’s wall. She finds out Kaylie’s Mom is indeed the singer of some fictional 70s hit song that Kaylie’s Mom probably sings at the seedy karaoke bar where she picks up most of her johns. Kaylie’s Mom is understandably put off by this nut case and responds as politely as she can. Then the ‘rentals gather ’round in the living room and continue their powwow, but it’s boring, so let’s get on with this show.
The girls arrive at the Denver gym. Dramatic music plays as the walk across a surprisingly empty parking lot. Don’t these girls have their own parking spots, too? The Gymnastic Plastics (now including Emily, I guess) gloat about how Lauren always comes in third because her bars suck even if she’s a great beamer. FML, I was great at beam and sucked at bars, too. Are they trying to make Lo the best character on the show? The GPs walk in and are like, “daaaaaaaamn her bars look good”
while Lauren’s stunt double does a not-particularly-impressive bar routine. ETA: On a second viewing, the stunt double did bust out what looked like a Gienger, which I believe is a D-skill. So I take that bit back.
One of the brunette clones name-checks Payson, which catches Lauren’s attention. Payson notices Coach Elton and charges up to him, demanding answers. Coach Elton suggests they take it somewhere else. Oooh, throwdown in the parking lot? Sweet. Meanwhile, Lauren confronts Kaylie, and it’s all really pointless. Lauren’s all butthurt that Kaylie didn’t tell her about Rings Boy and Kaylie tries to deny it. Lauren and Emily get into a bitchfest and Lauren pwns Emily. Heh.
“What do you mean? There’s nothing dodgy about this scene with its dramatic backlighting and blocking and overacting!”
Payson and Elton continue their argument in his office which is all bright and sunny-looking compared to the one at Rocky Mountain. Payson wants to know why he left and this whole scene is getting really uncomfortable… I’m getting a vibe I probably shouldn’t be getting. Coach Elton bullshits that the Denver gym is better, which pisses Payson off and makes her more determined than ever to win without him. But Elton looks all angsty and shit so you know they’re playing it off as this whole “He doesn’t want to hurt her/is doing it for her own good” shtick, you know, like Clark lying to Lana 41324123413241 times about his true identity in order to “protect” her so we can have more angst every damned week. Because that plotline went over so well on Smallville.
“OMG, you ship Bella and Jacob? How could you?”
Back at the parental powwow, they’re getting ready to leave (finally) when Emily’s Mom, who has a serious case of diarrhea of the mouth, can’t STFU and goes on about how she hasn’t found a job yet. Emily’s Mom is apparently a beautician–oh man, that’s not a cliché at all. Mothers of poor girls are never beauticians! Mr. Clean gregariously offers his wife’s services in finding Ma Kmetko a job. Ma Cruz looks properly horrified while Ma Kmetko squees like a Twilight fangirl on speed. I feel ya, Ma Cruz.
Cut to the Denver gym, where we see Lauren leaving after practice. She encounters DJ in the parking lot. DJ is all like, “Can’t we be fraaaands?” and Lauren’s like, “Oh hale nawww, you gold-digging has-been; go back to Full House,” and DJ’s like, “I’m not going anywhere!” Lauren’s all like, “LOL Wut?” End scene.
Back to the GPmobile, now cruising down the freeway back to Boulder. Guys, get ready, because this is one of the most epic scenes you will ever see in anything ever. I mean it. Whatever you had immortalized as epic before, this will blow it out of the water. Put down your beverage right now. Unless it’s alcoholic, in which case, you might want it later.
Hey, you assholes want to share the wealth?
So we begin on a very OC-ish note–girls looking broody while angsty indie-ish music plays in the background. They agonize about the coaching sitch until Kaylie notices they’re running out of gas. Emily points out a service station, and this is where it the magic happens, people. At the service station, Payson gets out to ask for directions while Becca goes to the ladies’ room. Meanwhile, a group of guys are standing around leering at Kaylie and Emily. You can tell they’re Up to No Good because they’re in baggy clothes, holding 40s in paper bags, and speak with really fake ebonic accents. The guys swagger over making truly filthy remarks about pretty princesses and hot bodies. My goodness! *clutches at pearls* And this is a family show! Payson and Becca show up and it looks like an all-out rumble is about to take place, West Side story style.
Emily’s like, “Back off, jackasses.” And she kisses her mother with that mouth! The lead greaser is like, “But what are y’all gonna do about it, yo?” Then Payson and Emily start–oh man, i can barely even type this, because I can’t even believe myself and I saw it–round-off back handspring-ing at them. No, I’m serious! You think I’m kidding? I could not make his shit up. I thought they were going to go all gymkata on these dudes’ asses, which would be the only thing to make this scene even more epic. But they don’t. They just do some flips at them and the guys are all like “Daaaaaaaaamn that is some superhero action, yo!” Buffy should’ve just backflipped those vampires to death. Who needs stakes?
OK OK, I knew you guise wouldn’t believe me, so I took the liberty of uploading this scene of awesomeness. I honestly don’t think my recap did it justice. It must be seen to be believed.
The girls return to Chez Cruz, where the ‘rents are flipping out. Leo offers to take the girls home, and naturally Becca’s like, totally stoked about that. Kaylie confesses to her Mom that she went to see Coach Elton in Denver, and that he said he’s never coming back. Payson returns home and makes up some story about how they all went to a movie and no one had a phone. Ma and Pa Keeler clearly seem to know better but don’t pursue it. Finally, we get to Leo and Emily pulling up in front of Chez Kmetko. Of course Emily happens to be the last girl who gets dropped off so the writers can work the ~luv~ triangle some more. We get more unsubtle talk about Leo doing gym “for fun.” Emily reaches out to shake Leo’s hand (um, who does that?) and we get a bit of hand porn as Leo notices Emily’s callouses, and infers that she doesn’t use grips on bars. I had serious callouses and used grips, just saying. They bond over their non-grip-using and you know they’re so going to get it on at some point.
Back at Chez Kmetko, we get a cute little heartwarming scene with Ma, Em, and Tiny Tim. Ma Kmetko offers to go out and get some ice cream. Shenanigans! Elite gymnasts don’t eat ice cream. No, I’m serious. They don’t. Just ask Chellsie Memmel with her fruit and chicken diet. Ma Kmetko takes off and Emily and Tiny Tim joke about how she always gets lost and take bets on when she’ll get back. I’d guess she was getting while the getting’s good, but Ma Kmetko is clearly not that sharp.
Meanwhile, Ma Cruz parks her car and gets out on a dark street all shifty-like. She walks up to a house and rings the door bell and surprise surprise, Coach Elton answers. A-HA! So that’s the big secret. I must confess it’s a letdown. I was hoping Elton was into the splif or that he was having an affair with one of his underage gymnasts or something. I seriously thought there was something with Payson after the earlier scene in Denver. It was making me uncomfortable, yo. Affair between grownups, one of whom is married to Mr. Clean? Boring. Although Mr. Clean looks pretty scary. Anyway, Ma Cruz apologizes to Coach Elton about this mess and tells him it has to be over. She’s about to leave but can’t resist the urge to run back and make out for the last time.
“OMG! Like, OMGGGG!”
OK guys, here’s where it gets epic again. Who should come cruising down the street but Ma Kmetko, apparently having mistaken a residential neighborhood for the nearest 7-Eleven. Sorry, but going door-to-door asking for pecan chocolate chip will only lead people to think you are insane and possibly report you. So she cruises by and who should she see but Coach Elton and Ma Cruz sucking face on his porch. She stares slack-jawed for a while, and so, presumably, do the rest of us, at least those whose few remaining brain cells have not euthanized themselves after the gas station scene.
What is it with this guy? Does he have beer-flavored nipples or something?
And now it’s time for the final montage, you know, the one set to angsty pop music as we watch our characters being angsty. Freaking finally. We have a hilarious scene of Payson practicing her moves while sitting up in bed, which basically means waving her arms around while making gymnast stankface. Cut to Kaylie, who’s lying in her bed like a sad little princess texting sweet nothings to Rings Boy. And finally we get to the coolest bitch in the heezy, whose hair is for once not in French braids so I almost didn’t recognize her. She’s sitting in bed with her laptop looking through pics of the GPs before that bitch Emily showed up and ruined everything. We end with a new but not wholly unexpected plot twist–a pic of Lauren looking quite cozy with Rings Boy. Are they exes? The plot sickens.
And now we finally, mercifully, we get to our last scene. Coach Elton calls up Pa Tanner to tell him he’s not going to be his butt-hobbit anymore. Pa Tanner is like, “Bitch, I will end you!” Elton’s like, “Whatever, loser” and hangs up. Pa Tanner looks ill at ease, which I can safely say is how most of us who just watched this feel. Fade out aaaaaaaaand that’s a wrap.
Oh wait, preview! Looks like the girls are going out partying! Some trendy pop-rock band who couldn’t get a gig on One Tree Hill and had to settle for second best is performing. Kaylie and Rings Boy have a bitch fight, Lauren scams on Rings Boy, and nothing else of consequence happens–at least, not that I can remember. Will Kaylie and Rings Boy work it out? Or will Lauren steal him out from under her nose? Does anyone even care? You bet I do. See you next week!