Make It or Break It 1×12 “Follow the Leader” or “Please, Mommy, Make It Stop”

That’s right, kids.  More Make It Or Break It!  Yay!


My thoughts exactly, Payson.

So we open with Emily info-dumping to us via a convo with Chloe that the Rock has been chosen as the national team training center, and today the national team coach will be announced.  I can find so very, very much wrong with these statements.  I know how much you all love it when I get pretentious about real-life gymnastics knowledge, so… *crackles knuckles* 


In the mesozoic era 80s and 90s (and before, but I wasn’t born yet so w/e), the gymnastics program in the US was mostly club-centered and extremely decentralized.  However, in the early 2000s, USA Gymnastics decided to try for a more centralized training system in order to compete with the highly centralized training systems of USA’s biggest rival countries.  Thus, the Karolyi Ranch was born–OK, I’m pretty sure it existed before, but it became the national team training center.  Marta Karolyi was named national team coordinator.  Gymnasts on the national team did the bulk of their training at their respective clubs, but attend death training camps periodically.  Before a big international competition, training camp, along with a trial competition, determines which gymnasts will attend said competition.  Usually, this ends up by default being whoever’s the least broken.

Oh man, that felt good.  Getting back to the show, Emily finds out Chloe ruined her national team jacket in the wash and freaks out.  Chloe lends her a tacky blue hoodie thinking that Sasha might’ve forgotten to put his contacts in this morning and won’t notice.  Emily’s flipping out over being late, so Chloe makes a truly tasteless joke about having done worse things while driving than putting on makeup.  Um, excuse you, this is an ABC family show.  I’ve heard less tasteless dialogue on Criminal Minds and this is a show about serial killers.  Hey, did you guys know both Chloe and Marty Walsh were on Criminal Minds as guest stars?  … OK, I’ll stop talking about yet another show I’d rather be watching.


“Damn, woman, at least get yourself a decent pair of Spanx.”

At the rock, Kaylie talks to a gymnast with a truly heinous leotard and even more heinous wedgie.  No, seriously.  That wedgie is disconcerting.  I think it has stolen the entire scene.  Kelly Parker is there in all her bitch-tacular glory, for no apparent reason except to trash-talk Lauren and Kaylie.  I still want to know how Kelly knows that Lauren bonked Kaylie’s ugly bf.  The theory on wwgym is that Kelly twitter-stalks them, but would they really tweet something like that?  But then, given the average intelligence these characters have exhibited over the series, I should know better than to ask such questions.  Payson is there with a hoodie zipped up over her brace, which gives her the unflattering look of a sausage stuffed into green cotton.  Sasha offers her a gig as assistant coach, which she turns down. Emily shows up, late as usual, just in time to hear the announcement.  The national team coach is… Marty Walsh!  The camera cuts over to him standing there smirking.  Emily Prentiss is not impressed.

Credits, and then we come back to a scene of expected butthurt among the Rock crowd.  The national committee dude approaches Chloe and Emily, concerned about Emily’s math grades.  Elite gymnasts are held up to rigorous academic standards, guys!

Furthermore, if one looks at the disparity between Emily’s apparent skill level and her scores, I’m thinking she’s not the only one with questionable math skills.


Not sure I’d want to admit that, just sayin’.

Later on at the Shack, Emily and Razor exchange banter that is so memorable, I don’t even remember it and I watched this a few days ago.  Oh yeah, I think it was Emily confessing she’s a serial killer elite gymnast (although granted, I like the serial killer part better) and Razor being all butthurt that she told Damon and not him.  Emily points out that actually Chloe told Damon, while the script completely dodges the fact that Razor hardly knew Emily before he left but hey, between him and Creepy Carter, we got some real Edward Cullens-in-training here.  You know there’s a problem when Damon, who was played as the cocky jerk, comes out looking like the best catch of them all.  Damn you, Damon!  You and Steve Tanner are the best parts of this show and you’re not even on now!  OK, well, you’re the only watchable ones, but I’ll settle for that. 


“No offense, Razor, but I’m starting to see why the whole mime thing didn’t work out.”

Lauren, Payson, and Kaylie show up for an emergency BSC Rockette meeting, during which they hatch a scheme to get Marty fired.  The brilliant idea?  Try to make him look incompetent during practice.  Um, if you would look at Marty’s behavior during his time on the show, I don’t think he really needs your help, girls.  Furthermore, why take the risk of making yourselves look bad?  Look, Marty’s already shady enough after the debacle with Kaylie’s Mom–so why not just have the sluttiest girl seduce him while recording it on her camera phone?  It’s easy!  Quick!  (And no, that was not a pun).  And if all y’all are worried about the slutty girl in question getting booted off the team, have Payson do it.  She can’t compete anyway, and who knows, that back brace would probably get Marty all hot.  Speaking of which, during this meeting, Payson is like, “Screw this, you bitches are on your own” and takes off.  Um, then why did you bother showing up to start with, Pay?  While I can’t blame her for her reaction, you’d think she’d not want to waste her time.

Next we have a scene at Casa Cruz where Kaylie’s dad tries to get all manager-ly and she reminds him that she fired him.  At the shack, we have another Emily/Razor scene.  Chloe shows up to flirt inappropriately with him, and Razor confesses that he used to be a mathlete before he joined a band and became so cool.  Nah… too easy.  You guys know what’s coming, right?  Please tell me you do. 


“Yeah, I’d tap that.”

At practice, the girls put their plan into action, which basically involves having the Rock gymnasts all fuck up so Marty looks incompetent, when in actuality, they just end up looking like a bunch of spazzes.  Greeeaaaat plan, girls.  So any of you got a working camera phone?  Sasha catches up to Kaylie in the parking lot and chews her out for being disrespectful to Marty and her new teammates, but Kaylie can’t tell him the real reason why she can’t work with Marty.  Meanwhile, Marty approaches Payson to drop more anvils about a future coaching career for her.  Finally, Lauren continues her pathetic bid to get into Creepy Carter’s warm-up pants by telling him Kaylie’s over him.  Then his phone rings, and it’s Kaylie.

They meet up in Kaylie’s car, during which Kaylie proceeds to whine him (and the audience) to death.  I’m getting really over this bint.  I was sympathetic to her up to a point, but now her whining is just getting old and I want to tell her to grow a damn backbone.  Further proof of what a wimp Kaylie is comes when she and Creeper start making out and she tries to initiate some vehicular sex.  The writers, in a desperate bid to make Creeper appear to be something other than Shady McShaderson, make him keep turning her down for sex.  Way to perpetuate the virgin/whore dichotomy, guys.  Feminism loves you right now, almost as much as it loves Stephenie Meyer.  Kaylie gets all upset and kicks him out of her car, after which he utters one of this show’s classic lines: “We are soulmates and belong together!”  I start fantasizing about Kaylie gunning it and running him down with her car.


I don’t really have a caption for this one; it just amuses me.

Emily arrives home to find Razor waiting for her to begin their tutoring sessions.  I don’t know if it’s this guy or the writing, but he seriously cannot act his way out of a wet paper bag.  In fact, his acting is so bad I actually find it offensive.  I need to go do some violence now.  Excuse me a sec.

Dammit, I got blood on my keyboard.  If I need a new Macbook, I’m sending the bill to ABC Family.  Did I mention how much I miss Damon?  What is it with Damons being the most watchable characters on a godawful show?  (Yes, that was a reference to the Vampire Diaries, and Heathus help me, I think I’d even rather be watching that).  This scene goes pretty much as you’d expect, and we mercifully move on.


PAYSON: Mom, why is this recapper such a raging bitch?
MA KEELER: At least she seems to like you…

Next we have Payson getting a pep talk from her Mom, and this is another scene that actually kind of works, despite its inherent cheesiness.  In fact, for all the riffing I do on it, Payson’s plotline is probably the most believable and interesting right now.  It’s certainly the only one that has a thing to do with gymnastics; at least, how gymnastics functions in the real world.  It’s predictable, granted, but given the way that Payson’s been established as a character, it’s really the only path that makes sense for her.  She could never leave gymnastics behind, no matter how difficult it is for her right now.  In a way, I’d have much preferred to see Payson’s accident happen to another character instead.  Kaylie doesn’t seem to have any real passion for gymnastics beyond it being what she’s done all her life.  She doesn’t care about being national champ.  She doesn’t seem to care about anything but having a boyfriend and having time to make her room even pinker.  So what if she got injured, could finally achieve her dream of being a “normal” girl and ends up breaking up with Creepy McCreeperson anyway due to the whole, you know, being a total Creeper thing and all?  You know she’s not going to adjust seamlessly after the kind of life she’s led, and letting go of gymnastics, no matter how much she resented it at times, is not going to be easy.  And that, ladies and gents, would be some compelling drama.

But fuck all that, let’s just have her boyfriend shag her slutty BFF instead.


“Next week, the bottom three will dance for your lives to see who stays on the team.  It won’t affect the judges’ decision, but it will amuse me.”

Before practice, Emily has a talk with Chloe and asks her to quit meddling in her gymnastics life because she always seems to fuck it up for her.  Then Marty decides to pretend he’s hosting So You Think You Can Dance–he has the girls all line up, calls out a list of names, then has those girls step forward to form two lines.  You know, I think a rose ceremony would be more amusing.  And somehow apropos, given the trashiness of this supposed family show.  Anyway, the Rockettes are all in one line and the Denverites in another.  The Rockettes are all gloating until Marty drops the bomb that they ain’t the line going to Worlds.  Burn!  That’s what you bints get for not listening to me.  You know it’s dire when even Ashlee Simpson does better blackmail.

Afterward, Kelly comes up to Payson and tells her the reason Sasha wasn’t picked for head coach is because Payson ate it and broke her back on national TV.  Payson goes to Sasha’s office and calls him on it, but he informs her that it isn’t just her accident that’s a black mark against him.  When he was still coaching in Romania, a gymnast got injured on his watch but seemed fine.  Her parents took her home without having her checked out, and she died.  Might I remind you guys, in real life, there absolutely zero scandal associated with training methods in Romania, particularly during the 80s/90s.  And as I already established, the Karolyis practically are American gymnastics, and there’s no scandal tainting their coaching history, either.


The dirty jokes really just make themselves.

Intercut with these scenes is a dialogue between Pa Cruz and Ma Keeler, during which Ma Keeler reminds him of the importance of family.  Kaylie and Pa Cruz then have a heart-to-heart, which is heartwarming and all but bores me too much to make fun of.  Then we have a scene between Emily and Summer during which Emily has a crisis of conscience over Sasha and Marty, seeing as it was Marty who found her on a playground.  Summer informs Emily that the reason Marty found her was because Chloe had been bombarding him with letters, all of which look like something written by a twelve-year-old (her letters and this script have that in common).  Emily is properly chagrined, and I can honestly say I am right there with her.  Emily returns home where Chloe is trying to re-dye Emily’s ruined team jacket.  Emily thanks Chloe and they hug, and I have to say that however misguided her efforts are, Chloe’s a sweet and devoted mom.  I grow weary of watching her being bitched out by whiny emo Emily.


“Summer, if you even try the condescending shoulder pat, I will end you.”

The next day (I assume), Payson shows up at the Rock for a national team photo op and to give her teammates a dressing-down/pep talk over their behavior toward Marty.  Basically, she’s like, “Tough shit; Sasha’s out, so y’all better get used to Marty and stop acting like a bunch of whiny bitches.”  Payson implies she will be returning in some capacity; the other girls assume it’s to coach.  They all group hug.  Chloe shows up with Emily’s team jacket, claiming she was able to fix it.  Chloe later goes to up Summer to thank her for buying Emily a new jacket.  I think I will dub her St. Summer from now on.  She’s so the Elizabeth Wakefield of this show.  Payson informs her mother that she will be in the picture next year–not as a coach, but as national champion.  Ma Keeler gets this “WTF” look on her face, and inspiring music swells as the photographer snaps the photo.


“Uhhh… Razor?  I think the recapper’s trying to steal that bottle of wine on the counter.  I see her eyeing it suspiciously.”

We end on a scene at the Shack between Emily and Razor, during which I seriously contemplate slipping rat poison into my Pepsi.  But there’s a new Criminal Minds next week so I decided I should stick around. Damon calls and Razor tells Emily to say hi for him.  Emily informs Damon she got an A on her algebra test and gazes angstily at Razor whilst telling Damon she misses him.  Thus endeth this week’s debacle.  Now wasn’t that fun?

I’m looking over your poll results, and I really hope to have a BSC done soon for your reading pleasure.  I scored a couple at a library book sale, so le yay!  Man, you know it’s dire when I’m actually looking forward to the BSC’s shenanigans after recapping this show.  Until next time!

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5 thoughts on “Make It or Break It 1×12 “Follow the Leader” or “Please, Mommy, Make It Stop”

  1. another great recap…it’s nice to read a recap when someone knows how ‘real’ gymnastics work! I agree 100%…the Payson saga is the only thing believable. I was also hoping for Kaylie to run Carter over with her mercedes…this episode was at least a touch amusing-thank you, Kelly Parker(she can at least act, somewhat). I would hope Lauren and Kaylie wouldn’t tweet their drama but they aren’t the brightest so who knows…..

  2. We are eagerly awaiting more recaps. In case you just can’t bring yourself to watch this show, you should know last week’s episode (14?) was WAY better than the first couple. Big improvement. Haven’t seen last night’s yet.

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