Make It or Break It 1×10 “All That Glitters”

Wow, guys.  So this is it–my final recap.  I can’t help but feel a certain tug of sadness as I write these words.  It’s been quite a journey, hasn’t it?  When I first set out on this epic adventure… well, I hadn’t thought it would be very epic as I had doubts this show would make it past a few episodes.  And if the writing is any indication, so did the showrunners.  Yet, the little show that could stuck it out, and so did I.  Now, ten episodes later, our journey (or at least, the recapping part of it) comes to an end.

Previously, on Make It or Break It: Carter spills to Kaylie about his indiscretion with Lauren, which leads her to fly off the deep end and run away. She’s ready to blow off Nationals until her teammates come get her in yet another contrived bonding scenario. Meanwhile, the Rock Moms drink wine and bond. Oh, and Summer tracks down Lauren’s Mom, but when Lauren makes plans to meet with her, her Mom stands her up.

The shot seemed rather boring, so I thought I’d jazz it up for them.

Rather than opening with our usual Rock establishing shot, we open with… a Boston establishing shot!  We see an aerial view of the Boston skyline with the word “Boston” printed out there in plan white sans-serif.  Jeez, guys, you can’t even spring for snazzy subtitles like Fringe or Alias?  This operation really is about as slick as a generic Ralph’s beer can.  Inspirational music plays as the four core Rockettes, all clad in matching red warm-ups, disembark the bus first, followed by a handful of extras to fill out the team.  So… they take an entire bus to transport eight gymnasts and apparently one coach?  This is like a clown car in reverse.

“Nationals are being held at the Luxor?  Sweet!”

The Rockettes face a giant pyramid-shaped structure, apparently the site of the competition.  Because I either have OCD or spend far more time nitpicking shows written by people who clearly don’t give a shit than is healthy, I looked up the site of the 2008 women’s gymnastics Nationals (also held in Boston).  They took place at Agganis Arena which is not exactly shaped like a pyramid.  But then, it’s rather obvious that the budget of this show could not be stretched to actually shoot in Boston, so… yeah. 

“Oooh!  Are these the auditions for Fanatic?”

The Rockettes walk into a total media circus inside the building.  The parents have materialized and accompany their daughters, so the bus thing makes more sense now (if we assume the parents traveled on the bus as well).  The Rock ‘rents really give the term “helicopter parent” a whole new meaning.  Chloe comes in all dolled up in an outfit that would make even the most hardcore American football fan cringe.  Scrawled across her shirt in glittery t-shirt paint is the term “Captain Kmetko.”  At first I thought it said “Captain Kirk” and I got more excited than I probably should have. \~/ \~/

“And if you guess the correct price of Kaylie’s gym bag contents, you win a new Land Rover and all-expenses-paid trip to Boulder!”

A suit-clad guy starts interviewing Kaylie for a TV segment called “What’s in your gym bag?” In my mind I keep hearing those Capital One “What’s in your wallet?” commercials.  This guy seriously reminds me of a game show host.  He digs through Kaylie’s bag and finds a water bottle, lip gloss, and Carter’s Necklace of Luv.  He asks Kaylie what it is and she rudely blows him off, prompting Pa Cruz to pull her aside and lecture her about not being Miss Congeniality.  I have to say he’s got a point.  As long as I can remember, elite gymnasts really are pros at bullshitting to the camera.  Why do you think hardcore gym fans find it so delicious when gymnasts don’t know they’re being filmed?  You get to hear Kerri Strug complaining about her beam and Carly Patterson giggling at her competitors eating mat. 

Meanwhile, Emily stands off to the side glaring at all the reporters not giving a shit about her.  The reporters and I have this in common.  Emily, who has defied her poverty and acquired a cell phone between “Where’s Kaylie?” and now (maybe Joe bought it for her?), dials Damon, who answers from Pizza Shack.  Is this guy ever at home?  He must live at the Shack.  That would actually be pretty amusing, like the movie about the dude who lives at an airport or the time Callie was living in the Seattle Grace basement on Grey’s. \~/  Hey, can we have a show about Damon living at Pizza Shack?  Emily tells Damon that Joe paid her and Chloe’s way, but complains that Joe didn’t also spring for Brian.  Look, I get Emily’s resentment for this Joe fellow given his history with Chloe, but he basically fronted the money to get her ass to this competition and to send her mother with her.  He had no reason to do that (beyond being a plot device), so she should at least recognize that. 


Emily’s phone reception drops out then, just in time for us to see Kelly Parker make her grand entrance.  I’m half-expecting to hear a high-pitched voice giddily declaring, “It’s Kelly!” á la “It’s Miley!” on the Soup.  \~/  Oh man, I really wish Joe McHale played Game Show guy.  That would be awesome.  Speaking of which, Game Show Guy is interviewing Payson, asking her the key to beating Kelly Parker at the Denver Invitational.  Payson is refreshingly honest when she deadpans, “Being better.”  Oh, Payson.  Don’t you know you’re supposed to make up some bullshit about how you and Kelly are great friends and the real competition is against yourself?  Game Show guy then asks Kelly a few questions, and with a pointed look at Payson, Kelly declares she never takes drugs.  Oh hey, what’s that noise I hear?  Is that a plot point being dropped on us?  Payson’s father then pipes up in the guise of a reporter for the “Narnia Chronicle” (hurr hurr), and he and his daughter have a happy reunion.

Emily wanders into the empty arena and stands in the middle of the floor, gazing around her in trepidation.  I notice she’s still lugging around that dilapidated brown canvas bag from “Where’s Kaylie?”  Heathus, couldn’t Joe at least spring for a proper gym bag?  Like Valeri would let any of the Wogettes haul around that shmata.  An official asks her if she belongs here and she’s like “I guess we’ll find out.”  Oooh, can I answer?

Behold… the magic bus!

Credits roll, and we fade in at Casa Kmetko, where Brian is watching MJ talk about Nationals on TV.  He gets pissed when MJ mentions the other Rockettes but fails to mention Emily.  Come on, Brian, so far you’ve shown signs of not being a dumb ass.  You really think a sports agent gives two flying fishcakes about your sister with no international (or even national) reputation and no major titles to her name?  Damon swings by and tells Brian he’s going to take him to Nationals–in the Radiohead bus, no less.  As we will soon find out, it’s not just any bus–it’s a magical bus!  All I have to say is, damn, Damon’s good.  Move over, Trey Atwood.\~/

“The hell, you guys?  I started out as a cutthroat bitch, and now all I do is hang around and make snarky remarks… I’m like season four Spike!” \~/\~/

Meanwhile, the Rockettes arrive at the hotel, and Sasha reads off the room assignments.  Kaylie flips shit over being placed with Lauren, so Emily ends up with Lauren instead.  Initially, I was overjoyed at the prospect of Emily and Lauren as roommates–hello, drama!  Lauren would totally slip laxatives in Emily’s Gatorade or cast some voodoo spell on her as she sleeps.  But this pairing is surprisingly uneventful. Lauren does share some choice lines about Emily’s dollar store luggage and slumming it with Pizza Boy, but I dearly miss sociopathic pilot Lauren.  I don’t like when this show stops being ridiculous and tries to play it straight.  It just feels unnatural and kind of pathetic, like Jack Shephard trying to flirt with someone other than Kate. \~/\~/

Cut to Kaylie and Payson’s room, where Payson monologues about her back problems and illegal cortisone shooting-upping.  It’s like a less fun, less psychedelic Studio 54 in here.  Back in Lauren and Emily’s room, Emily engages in some visualization techniques, which segue into flashbacks of her various wipeouts.  Lauren wonders what’s up Emily’s ass, but before she can find out, Emily literally jumps up and flees out of the room.  Lauren rolls her eyes and says, “This is our team captain.”  Hey, you voted for her, dude.  Now you know how most of us felt after the 2004 presidential election.

“Sorry, Carter, but you are just not hot enough to risk my career over.”

We now get a brief scene of Kaylie and Leo–remember him?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  He’s Kaylie’s older bro.  The two of them are wandering around outside and talking about Kaylie’s Dad.  Leo has this weird lisp.  I didn’t notice it before and it’s bugging me.  Turns out Leo arranged for Creepy Carter to show up, and he just lost some serious points in my book.  Booo, Leo. Creepy Carter slurms onscreen and makes a play to get Kaylie back, but she blows him off.  Good girl, Kaylie.  Carter walks off all dejected like. I’d cry a single tear, but I think I used them all on Emily.

I guess expecting something as clever as “Who’s the Bross?” is asking too much.

Next day at the Luxor, two Tim and Elfi knockoffs narrate the first day of competition at Nationals.  This is weak, you guys.  Even Touched By An Angel sprang for Bart and Nadia.  We get a brief shot of spectators in the stands, including one holding up a sign that says, “Denver: mile high and more!”  That… doesn’t make sense.  And sounds vaguely dirty.  The teams all make dramatic entrances descending the stairs into the arena in what Fail!Tim calls “the parade of teams.”  OK, so is this like, the ghetto version of the Parade of Nations?  First down the steps is Kelly Parker with her hair in her trademark buns.

There’s no sign of Coach Marty anywhere–guess they didn’t want to pay the actor–but the Denver-ites are following a couple of adults, a middle-aged woman and some dude with an Art Garfunkel ‘do.  I’m pleasantly surprised that at least Denver seems to possess more than one coach.

Wow, I didn’t even have to reference something I’d rather be watching… ABC Family did it for me! (Seriously, though… Greek is a surprisingly good show)

We get an obligatory mention of some random team in powder-pink warm-ups, who will never be seen or heard from again.  Fail!Tim and Elfie also mention that this team’s star is coached by her Dad.  Hey, I was wondering when they were going to try to slip a parent/child team in here, seeing as these days it’s quite the popular motif.  Last but not least are the Rockettes, who descend the stairs all slo-mo and dramatic-like in the glare of a spotlight, sporting shiny red-and-purple warm-ups.

KAYLIE: “Somehow, not quite as memorable as YOUUUU CANN DOOO EET!”
CHICK AT TOP RIGHT: “Oh, shit, did I remember to take my Imodium?”

Cut to Sasha giving your standard sports-movie/TV show pep talk, and the competition begins.  First up is Emily on vault.  The Tim and Elfi clones give a spiel about how at this time last year, Emily was training out of the Y!  I wonder if my eyes will be able to handle all the rolling if this keeps up.  Emily performs what looks like a full-twisting tucked Yurchenko.  Figures that this, of all episodes, is the one when they couldn’t get a big-name gymnast for stunts.  The portrayal of Nationals is equally… interesting.  Basically, it looks like your standard club meet, with slightly more dramatic lighting and more people in the stands.  The apparatus isn’t even on a podium.  Somehow, I find this reassuring.  Oh show, don’t ever change.

“It’s OK, Emily… the other teams’ leotards aren’t nearly as snazzy as ours!”

Lauren’s stunt double performs a dismount on beam, and the Tim/Elfi clones say nothing about her skills but rather focus on the lack of personality she’s shown.  Guys, if judges gave two flying figs about personality, Gina Gogean would not have a career.  Furthermore, the point of commentators is to make gymnastics more accessible to the public–they explain things that spectators unfamiliar with gymnastics might not understand, such as the skills a gymnast performs and the way she will be judged on them.  These ones, however, don’t say anything about the actual gymnastics and just seem to be offering random commentary any old Joe Blow could make.  Forget game show guy; can Joel McHale commentate instead?

In the stands, Steve and Summer worry about Lauren.  Steve thinks Lauren looks angry, and Summer explains that it’s because Lauren’s mother stood her up.  Summer, upset, charges down from the stands.  Steve looks on with the gormless expression that is starting to characterize the majority of his scenes.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Steve started off as such a wonderfully evil stage Dad and now all he is is some clueless dude who bumbles his way through single parenthood and is manipulated by the women around him.  Sad.

EMILY: “What in the hale is that choreography?”
PAYSON: “Nice legs… for a human.'” \~/

On the floor, Kelly Parker is performing on bars while Payson chalks up and looks on.  Fail!Telfie (I’m too lazy to type out their names, so you get a Brangelina-style name squish) declare that no one here is up to Payson and Kelly’s level.  Hey, plot point fairy! We missed you.  Nice to see you again.  Kelly taunts Payson about her back as she walks by.  Payson does her bar routine and nails it, earning a big Bela Karolyi-esque hug from Sasha.  Next, Kaylie’s stunt double performs on beam.  Fail!Telfie discuss her personality, wondering if she will find the “grit to match her glitz.”  I swear, after these two, I will never complain about Tim and Elfie again.  OK, I lied; I will.  But I’ll do so knowing just how much worse it could get.

The above scene is intercut with scenes of Summer out in the lobby, on the phone with Lauren’s mother.  Summer lights into Ma Tanner for standing Lauren up.  Although we are not privy to Ma Tanner’s side of the conversation, it’s clear from Summer’s reactions that’s there’s more to the story and it likely has to do with Steve. DUN DUN DUN.

“She just did a routine.  Quick, everyone look busy!”

Payson and then Kelly perform on beam, and Kelly clinches the lead.  I just love MIOBI routines.  They’re like two skills and a dismount.  Sort of like how classes at Degrassi Junior High are all about five minutes long.  (Yes, this was an Agony Booth ref… hay guys hay!)  Next we have Emily on floor, doing Sasha’s classical routine.  Fail!Telfie continue to ignore the actual gymnastics and instead tell us that Emily just got this routine last week and doesn’t seem comfortable with it yet.  Thanks, show, we didn’t already know this.  I have also noticed none of the athletes have numbers pinned to their backs, which is the case in any major competition.  Emily, at least, seems aware of what a train wreck this is and asks Sasha how bad her floor was.  He tells her she barely made 20th place.  Ouch!

“Hey, she even took the pillow mints with her!”

Thus endeth day one of Nationals.  That night at the hotel, Steve walks in his and Summer’s hotel room to find Summer packing her suitcase.  Considering Summer’s the born-again virgin, I am surprised to see they’re sharing a hotel room with a double bed.  Not that I’m really expecting Steve to be hitting it every night but you’ve got to wonder what is up with that.  Steve wants to know what’s going on, triggering a burst of overacting from Summer.  She tells him that she’s onto him, that it was he who dissuaded Ma Tanner from coming to see Lauren.  Summer flounces, prompting Gormless Steve Expression #123421432.

Next, the Rockettes arrive at some kind of luncheon or something. I don’t know. Lauren’s wearing a sundress while Payson and Kaylie are in pretty blouses, and Emily’s in this menswear-inspired t-shirt and vest combo that is doing nothing to discourage femmeslash writers.  The Rockettes encounter Kelly who proceeds to make bitchy remarks to them one by one, except for Emily, whom she just throws a haughty glance before flouncing off.  Come on, Kelly, Emily’s the most fun to make fun of!  You let me down.  At least Lauren came up with glorious barbs like “Playground Prodigy” and “Is that whore her mother?”

“Hey, guys… I actually have lines in this episode!”

And what Rockette outing would be complete without helicopter ‘rents present?  Pa Cruz is all, “I’m speaking to you as your agent” which upsets Kaylie, who just wants her Dad (meanwhile, Leo just stands there frowning).  Steve informs Lauren that Summer left him and is surprised by how much it upsets Lauren.  The Rockettes join each other and commiserate.  Kelly shows up to make more catty remarks, but is interrupted by–DUN DUN DUN–the MAGICAL bus!  Yes, that was so awesome it deserves caps.  Ladies and gents, in less than 24 hours, Damon and Brian managed to traverse the continental U.S. in the Radiohead bus. Brian pridefully announces his sister’s presence with a bullhorn.  The Rockettes cheer while the rest of the crowd, presumably, is like, “Who the hale is this Emily Kmetko?”  Chloe runs over to Brian, looking particularly trashtacular in a tight black-and-leopard print halter dress, and proceeds to make a complete ass of herself fawning over her son.  Meanwhile, Emily and Damon hug and torture the shippers.

“Were you wearing that blindfold when you picked out that sweater?”

Speaking of shipper torture, next we have one of the most cheese-tastic scenes ever to grace my TV screen.  It really is a masterpiece.  That night, Damon and Emily are sitting outside having a heart-to-heart.  Emily frets about how every time she tries to visualize her routines, she imagines herself brutally eating mat.  Not gonna lie, I do the same thing.  And it amuses me.  I should make a youtube montage of MIOBI wipeouts.  Damon ties a do-rag around Emily’s eyes and tells her she will strike the bars like a cobra. It’s quite wonderful. I just want to frame this scene.

No, this is not the opening scene of some messed-up porno.  Pervert.

Later that night, the Rockettes are gathered in Kaylie and Payson’s room.  Emily and Kaylie are lounging around while Payson is on the floor doing situps.  Lauren eagerly bursts in, looking very cute and teenagey in pigtails, shorts, and knee socks.  See, costume designers, this works because Cassie Scherbo does not look about 30.  Whereas putting Emily in this getup would make me deeply uncomfortable, like watching a Volvo-driving mother of three doing rolepay in an attempt to spice up her marriage to a balding investment banker.  Lauren triumphantly informs her teammates that she’s filched Kelly Parker’s gym bag.  The Rockettes sneak out, presumably to fill Kelly’s bag with embarrassing items, but are waylaid by Sasha.  They fabricate a story about running to the hotel gift shop for tampons (which makes complete sense after Brian established in “Blowing Off Steam” that gymnasts don’t menstruate) and Sasha lets them go.  I prefer to think that rather than being incompetent, Sasha totally knew what was up and is totally letting them fuck with Kelly.  It would serve his interests, and hey, at least they’re bonding!

Next day, Kaylie shows up at MJ’s hotel room to talk about representation.  She says her father (her current agent) doesn’t take her seriously enough, that he doesn’t consider her a champion.  MJ agrees with Pa Cruz, believing Kaylie lacks desire and focus. MJ’s got a point.  Kaylie’s arc thus far has been the weakest–the “nice girl” of the Rock, Lauren’s BFF, one point of the Creepy Carter triangle.  Of all the Rockettes, she’s complained the most about not having a “normal” life.  This is probably the most gymnastics-related her story arc as been so far.  Kaylie considers MJ’s words, and the scene ends.

Well, someone’s optimistic.

In true MIOBI fashion, we counteract this scene of mild realism with one of pure silliness.  Night two of Nationals is about to start, and the athletes are being photographed and interviewed.  Hey, Game Show guy is back! This time, he’s asking what’s in Kelly’s gym bag.  He starts pulling all sorts of ridiculous items out of her bag–a huge tub of lip hair remover, a dating advice self-help book, and finally a giant box of condoms (not to be confused with a box of giant condoms).  Kelly is horrified while the segment airs on the Jumbotron and the Rockettes look on giggling.  I have to wonder exactly what kind of gift shop this hotel has.  That’s some eclectic merchandise.  They got a mini-Costco in the lobby or what?

Before the competition begins, Sasha gives another cheesy pep talk.  Afterward, a pathetic-sounding acoustic ballad comes on while Creepy Carter appears on the jumbotron, holding up a sappy sign.  I love this show doing frantic damage control after the backlash from the fans against Creeper.  Give it up, you guys.  Creepy Carter will never not be a giant flat-faced douche.  We fans love hating on him.  Just go with it, guys.  Carter slurms down from the stands to beg Kaylie to come back to him yet again.  Kaylie’s response is to give him back his Necklace of Luv and emphatically tell him it’s over.  Good girl, Kaylie.  She completes her self actualization arc by giving Pa Cruz back his World Series ring necklace, telling him she needs to find her own dream.  You go, Kaylie Coco.

An energetic girl-power pop song plays as Kaylie’s stunt double performs a Hristakeava and gets a 16.2.  Now, I don’t have a 2009 Code of Points on me, but according to my 2008 CoP, said vault has a difficulty value of 4.7 which would put Kaylie at an 11.5 execution score (out of a possible 10).  I love this show.  Lauren’s stunt double vaults next, giving a solid performance–I should hope so, since her front tuck 1/2 is only worth a 4.8 DV (ironically, slightly more difficult than her supposedly better teammate Kaylie).  I know, I know.  I said I’d quit nitpicking on the gymnastics since it’s not really the point of… a show about gymnastics, but dammit, this is my last recap.  Let me have my fun!  (And yes, code-crunching is fun for me.  We all have our weird hobbies, OK?)

“I’m sorry, Lauren, but your bitchface will just never be as awesome as Nastia Liukin’s.”

Sasha critiques Lauren’s lack of enthusiasm and walks off.  Lauren turns to Emily and tells her she’s lucky she has a family who stands by her.   Emily deadpans, “You’ve got people who stand by you.”  Lauren just shakes her head as if to say, “Whatever, bitch” and strides off.  Yay, Lauren/Emily interaction!  I swear I squee like the Emily/Damon shippers when I see these two.  COME ON YOU KNOW IT’S MEANT2B.  On the sidelines, Lauren whips out her phone and frantically starts dialing (OK, this bit is realistic). When Summer answers, Lauren lights into her for leaving.  Summer tells Lauren that while she might have left Steve, she didn’t leave her.  Summer comes down from the stands and the two share a bonding moment as Summer briefly pep-talks Lauren.  With a smile, Lauren runs off to complete her final event.

Next we see Payson on vault.  She performs… a tucked Yurchenko?  Are you serious?  I’m sorry, I am just not able to handle this.  Look, we’ve seen Payson’s previous stunt doubles do a full-twisting Yurchenko and a double layout, and they pick the tucked Yurchenko for the big dramatic Nationals scene?  I truly hope this isn’t the uh-mazing vault the announcer in the Pilot was talking about, because that’s just sad, you guys.  I’m going to attempt to fanwank an explanation because it makes my OCD brain happy, and that’s that Sasha scaled back on difficulty due to Payson’s injury (although a tucked Yurchenko is still nowhere near competitive on a national level in 2009, but I’ll let that slide or I’ll go even more insane than I already have).  Speaking of which, Payson winces upon landing, and it’s clear her back is giving her trouble again.

Oh, relax, Payson.  Stacey McGill does it all the time.

Payson slips into the locker room, where she prepares to shoot herself up with Nick’s bootlegged cortisone.  However, in a truly Varsity Blues turn of events, she catches Kelly in the locker room, also getting shot up. \~/ Payson calls Kelly on her earlier “no drugs” statement, to which Kelly riposts, “Everyone lies.”  Well, Payson decides she’s not going to be a lying liar like Kelly and tosses her cortisone dramatically in the trash before departing the locker room.  Dammit, Payson, that shit’s worth money!  If you don’t want it, I’ll take it!  A starving student needs to pay her bills!

Out on the floor, Lauren is up on beam.  In the stands, Summer smiles and waves, so of course Lauren a) can totally see one person in an arena full of people and b) nails her routine.  Fail!Elfi remarks on how nice is to see Lauren smile.  Man, this chick would hate watching Nastia Liukin perform.  As always, Lauren’s stunt double is the best–she has a front tuck mount and dismounts with a back handspring-layout stepout-double full series, which granted is not at the level we’re accustomed to seeing at a real-life National competition in 2009, but is still fairly impressive.  Cassie Scherbo really needs to work on her salutes, though.  And I consider it quite the compliment to Cassie/Lauren that the only mean things I’ve been able to say about her through this whole recapping adventure is that she has ugly leos and a bad salute.

Next, Payson is up on bars.  Dramatic music and slo-mo ensue as she begins her routine.  All is well until she wipes out on a Shaposhnikova, totally headplanting in a scary Kerri Strug-esque fall.  She lies there not moving while the crowd collectively gasps, and her parents and Sasha run up to the floor.  Um, why don’t any of the meets on this show have medics or trainers?  You’d think they’d be the first on the scene. We fade to commercial and when we return, Payson’s been loaded onto a stretcher, a brace around her neck, while her parents hover around anxiously. We finally see a single medic pushing the stretcher.  Well, it’s better than nothing?  Payson tries to tell her parents she “didn’t take it,” but they don’t understand what she’s talking about.  We, the audience, do, however.  So basically what we’ve learned is that had Payson taken her illegal cortisone, she wouldn’t have fallen?  I’m not sure if this is the conclusion the show wanted us to come away with.

Sasha, that may not be the breast–I mean best place to put your hands.

The remaining Rockettes look on sadly while Sasha fidgets with what I assume are Payson’s discarded grips with unnerving proximity to Lauren’s boobies. Fail!Telfi state the obvious–that Kelly may retain her National title, and the only competitor within striking distance is Kaylie.  Man, JK Rowling really does have nothing on these guys when it comes to the anvil-sized hints.  The Rockettes march over to their next event, which doesn’t really make sense–the individual Rockettes have already been shown on different events, suggesting they’re in different rotations (which is consistent with how it is at real life Nationals).  Sasha also gives a very team-focused pep talk–“Do it for Payson” basically.  Ehh, I’m just going to stop now and go with it, or I’ll never finish this recap.

“Hey you/you better believe/you better believe/I’m not listening to this goddamned song ever again”

First on floor is Emily.  Sasha informs her that she’ll need something huge to make it onto the national team, and tells her to do her old routine.  He riffles through her gym bag, which just so happens to contain an mp3 player which just so happens to contain Emily’s old music, which he then hands over to a peon.  So Emily goes up and does her old routine to the strains of the Simple Plan soundalikes.  I know I’ve complained about the whole, you know, music with words not being allowed thing, but it’s safe to say that not only has realism left the building by now, it’s probably already beamed onto the Starship Enterprise and is halfway to the Delta quadrant.

With that debacle behind us, we cut to Payson in the hospital, no longer wearing a neck brace.  Her parents enter her room, where they inform Payson that she has a serious injury in her lower spine.  I really had no idea that falling on one’s head would cause an injury in one’s lower back.  The upshot of the whole deal is–and stop me if you’ve heard this before on every gymnastics movie ever–Payson can never do gymnastics again.  Now for all the riffing I’ve done on Ayla Kell’s acting, and as clichéd as this whole plot twist is, it’s still pretty heartbreaking to watch.  I’ve been commenting for several recaps that Payson is the most realistic of the characters, so I can’t help but root for her.  But alas and alack, TV shows love breaking the cutie (WARNING: TV Tropes link) and now I have Emily’s music running through my head, and I’m starting to think Payson’s got the better end of the deal here.

Believe it or not, Geza Pozar had nothing to do with this.

Back on the competition floor, it’s Kaylie’s turn.  She passes by Kelly, who tries to intimidate Kaylie through really lame catty remarks.  We get a montage of Kaylie and Kelly’s routines against a backdrop of energetic dance pop.  We see Kelly’s stunt double do a double pike which is actually a realistic level of difficulty, but unfortunately, she appears to do it twice which would mean no credit for the second.  Kaylie’s tumbles are intercut with Kelly’s, and from what I got of the footage, Kaylie seems to start off doing a twisting skill but ends in a front tuck… yeah, I don’t even know.  The choreo both girls do is pretty hilarious as well–Kaylie does moves that would be twee on a 4’5″ junior, and at one point I think Kelly flaps her arms like a chicken.  No, I am not making that up.  The scene plays out just as expected–Kaylie wins Nationals, the Rockettes celebrate, and Kelly just looks on blankly, with this “What just happened?” expression across her face.

Next comes the National team announcement.  Kaylie, Kelly, and the girl in third (some Asian chick we’ve never seen before and whom the camera doesn’t even bother focusing on during the obligatory close-up) stand at the center of the medal stand.  Lauren, in fourth place, is announced to the national team.  Summer stands up and claps while Steve grins and points.  Ugh it is way too much of a lovefest in here.  Is no one going to throw a Sacramone-at-’07-Worlds-esque fit?  No irate coaches are going to call a rival gymnast fat?  Heathus, these people are boring.  The rest of the team is announced (with some token mentions of gyms that are not the Rock or Denver) until it’s down to the final team member.  Of course, it’s Emily, who finally wins the respect of the gymnastics world and gets her National Team jacket.

DAMON: “Yeah, those Rockettes got some nice asses.”

After the competition (there’s still daylight? This is Boston, not Alaska), the athletes are milling around outside.  Everyone wants a piece of Kaylie, but she tells MJ that she has somewhere she needs to be.  Meanwhile, Leo seeks out Emily to congratulate her and inform her that he’s moving back to Boulder and coaching at the Rock.  Damon shows up and, in leiu of peeing on her leg, sweeps Emily into bear hug and glares at Leo in order to mark his territory.  Leo leaves, and Emily and Damon finally kiss, thus ending the most epic cockblock since the Twilight series.  Emily goes to join the remaining two Rockettes, who walk off into… well, not the sunset, but a nice tree-lined street in their matching national team warm-ups.


Cut to Payson’s hospital room, where Payson is sleeping so much like the noble heroine-gradually-fading-of-consumption of a 19th-century gothic novel.  Lauren enters the room first, followed by her teammates, who all lay their hands on Payson’s.  Payson wakes up, and we fade out on this touching scene (I’m not being sarcastic for once; it really is touching).

And thus endeth the first season of Make It or Break It, and my stint recapping it.  To quote the Doors, what a long, strange trip it’s been.  When I first tuned in, I was expecting a show that was basically like a live-action gymnastics cartoon–kind of how I imagine Mr. T’s gymnastics team’s meets are like (yup, another Agony Booth ref).  The Pilot certainly delivered on that end, but as the show continued, it seemed to get more realistic… and then it would throw in such fabulously amazing scenes like the gas station tumbling pass and the more recent “Right Stuff” ripoff.  But it never left me without material to make fun of, and for that I love it. 

I’ve also learned a bit about recapping an ongoing series–like Payson and her cortisone shots, I’m never doing that again!  Don’t get me wrong, I had great fun with these, particularly the more epic episodes, but it’s just too labor-intensive to recap week after week.  It’s time the Unicorner got back to its roots–recapping nostalgic YA books, TV and movies.  But no worries–I’ll still be a loyal MIOBI viewer and should anyone wish to talk to me about it, well, you know where to find me.  Until then, I’ll be digging through my pile of old-skool YA and deciding what to take on next.

Until next time!

9 thoughts on “Make It or Break It 1×10 “All That Glitters”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you SO MUCH for the amazingly epic recaps of a truly awful–and yet amazing!–show.
    I was sad for Payson. Poor Payson.
    You know she’s gonna come back and kick ass next season…
    Can I just say you know a show is in trouble when STICK IT is the more realistic?

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed these! I had a lot of fun writing them. Thanks for the comment!

      IA about Payson. I actually liked her. She’s the most realistic and sympathetic of the characters, IMO (although I use the term realistic very loosely).

      LMAO Stick It. Sad but true. This sport is hurting for a decent, non-cheesealicious portrayal. At least I know figure skating fans are in the same boat. I should recap a bad figure skating movie next, although I am sorely tempted to take on Little Girls in Pretty Boxes (that one was pretty loltastic).

  2. I gave on on this show after its first few episodes, but I never stopped reading your recaps. Truly, they were the best part!

    Thank you for all those laughs!

  3. Aw, so sad to lose the show indefinitely and lose the recaps for good! Seriously, the Geza Pozar and Parkettes references, the captions, and “oh hail nos” killed me every time. I am only be comforted by the fact that I haven’t got through the BCS blogs yet. 🙂

    Thanks for many many LOLs- if you are ever bored, I think you have a good entry if you snark actual nationals one of these days. The Nastia = Lauren comparisons are dead on!

  4. i guessed i missed the part where he was looking through her bag because i was completely confused about what they were doing with her gym bag.

    This was funny and helpful – and yes I do watch every week :$

    You should do a recap of lost too !

  5. Your recaps made this show. When I watched the newer ones, I would just notice all of these little nitpicky things that would make you proud. And SPOILER ALERT At the world team trials of the midseason brake, Damon gave Emily an even more cheesetastic speech about her being a stallion while the other girls were thoroughbreds.

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