I kind of like my title better. Lacking in creativity, I grant, but at least it’s not named after an Olsen twins film.
For some reason, I find this show infinitely more watchable this season. I didn’t say good, mind you. I said watchable. I was mulling over possible reasons for it, and here’s what I got so far:
- Bigger budget. I’m not sure if you could call this show a hit, but I guess it performed well enough for ABC Fam to throw more money at it (some weirdos *cough* might have bought the DVDs, too). Whatever the reason, the sets no longer look like leftovers from an 80s after school special (can’t say the same for the writing, sadly) and the stunt work has vastly improved. Remember the pilot, when Emily threw some cowboyed flexed-footed vault that hadn’t been competitive since the early 80s? Now the stunt doubles (which still look nothing like the actresses, but baby steps) are throwing skills that actually are believable. We’ve come a long way, baby.
- Less of the boring adults. They seem to have done a nu-90210 this season and scaled back dramatically on the adults, with most of the focus on the teens. Because let’s be real, who watches a teen show for the parents? (Queen Chloe, however, is exempted from this point. I miss you, Chloe. But not enough to want Emily back).
- Less soap, more sports. I may be speaking too soon, but so far, this season actually seems to be about gymnastics (which is not to say that the athletes don’t still seem to have inordinate amounts of free time to chase after boys and pull pranks, but let’s not split hairs here). They actually seem to do other things at the gym than stand around the chalk bin and gossip, so it’s progress!
- No Emily. Because I never miss a chance to shade Emily.
So let’s get this party started. We begin when the girls are rudely awakened by Coach McIntyre, who barges in blaring an air horn. Effective, but a bit lacking in style. Not like this:
Lauren wanders out of the room in a zombielike state clutching a stuffed toy (a black cat, of course), reminding me of WASPier version of hungover Snooki. Knowing Lauren she probably is hung over. After getting it in with some guido juicehead wrestler, no doubt. I feel you, Lauren (except for the guido juicehead part). She gives Coach McIntyre the best stankeye too. I love her so.
Kaylie and Payson stumble out of bed next. Payson thanks Kaylie for her support during the Max sitch, and Kaylie says something encouraging while flashing some A+ cleavage. Jeez you guys. What do you expect me to pay attention to in this scene, the dialogue?
Also, the assistant coach warns the girls that the pressure at training camp is nothing compared to “the Big O.” No comment.
Cut to practice, and I come bearing excellent news–Princess Leia Parker is back! Love that cinnamon roll head. During this scene, she tries to get in with the Rockettes but they shut her down. The Gymnastic Plastics are back! So is Kelly the new desperate wannabe? Waiting on Lauren to punch her in the face. I bet it’ll be awesome.
In other news, Little Sarah Stalker is hyped up on Red Bull and Vivarin as usual, and chirping to the semicomatose Rockettes about “brekkie.” Gurl you are not Australian. Sit down. Jordan comes strolling in like she owns the place, and SSJ tries to throw shade by saying she’s ready for the “glue factory.” Lauren smacks her down with an amazing bitchface and it’s glorious. Later in the scene, Kaylie shares an icy exchange with Jordan while they try to bitchface each other to death. They seem like girlfriends who had a bad breakup or something. This is my theory for now and I’m sticking to it.
Next, Coach McIntyre drops a bombshell: they’re all going to be partnered up with another gymnast who will be their “other half, their twin.” One of them takes this quite literally as we will see later. The girls will even room with their partners. Naturally, the pairings work out just right for optimum drama: Jordan and Wendy (Little Sarah Stalker), Lauren and Payson, and Kaylie and Kelly. Sweet! I notice that Kaylie refers to Kelly as “KP.” I totally think Kelly should have a nickname, but I am partial to Special K. I think there’s a real-life athlete with that nickname, but whatever. Plus it’s the name of a recreational drug that I’m sure gets passed around the writers’ room quite liberally.
Naturally everyone’s bitching about their partnerships and then we cut to credits. When we return, Kelly and Kaylie are moving in together. Kelly keeps up a steady stream of chatter and eventually stumbles upon the topic of Kaylie and Jordan. Kaylie gives Kelly the scoop on their history, that they went to gymnastics camp together every summer. Kaylie reflects, rather fondly, on how they wrote to each other all year and made playlists for each other. Then one summer Jordan started kissing up to the coach and became his new favorite and Kaylie got kicked to the curb. Man this show just makes it too easy.
Back at the gym Coach McIntyre explains the method behind his madness to his wife (splitting up the usual cliques etc., removing Kaylie from the Rockette trifecta since she’s “the glue”) and gets turned on by his wife calling him dyspeptic. In practice, he gives examples of famous duos and compares Payson and Lauren to Bert and Ernie. Lauren’s reaction to that pairing is pretty much identical to mine:
Damn she is on fire in this ep.
Coach M assigns them a task: come up with a 1-minute floor routine showcasing their partner’s strengths. Granted I ain’t never been to Olympic training camp, but this seems like a strange thing to do this late in the game. Shouldn’t the girls be refining their routines for the trials? Learning a new routine just for the sake of a training exercise seems like a waste of time at this point. Not to mention that it increases the likelihood of injury if they’re practicing new tumbling passes at full difficulty. Wouldn’t it be more helpful for them to critique each other’s current routines or help each other out? Oh, screw it. This exercise goes over as well as you might imagine. Lauren has another dizzy spell and Payson notices, but Lauren shrugs it off.
End scene. Next, Austin and Kaylie are strolling about the training camp grounds and there must be a pretty brisk wind blowing, going by Austin’s nip action. What??? They’re right out there, yo. This boy would win a Rock wet t-shirt contest, JS.
So Austin has aspirations of being a commentator, I suppose, because he signed himself and Kaylie up for a one-night commentator class. Again, this seems like a kind of strange thing to do at training camp–while I’ve no doubt interested athletes can take classes for broadcasting, I’m not sure they’d spend time doing it in the months leading up to the Olympics. Meh whatever. Kaylie talks to him about Kelly, but he doesn’t think Kaylie can trust her. Kaylie thinks Kelly has changed, leading up to this delightful exchange:
AUSTIN: People don’t change, only their tactics do.
KAYLIE: Says my boyfriend and former skirt chaser.
AUSTIN: The only skirts I’m chasing now are yours.
KAYLIE: I’m wearing jeans.
Back at K2’s dorm room (new nickname for Kelly/Kaylie), Kaylie heads to the shower and Kelly starts digging around in her gym bag. Ruh-roh!
At practice, the girls are working on their routines. Lauren is frustrated by mopey Payson while Kaylie thinks Kelly’s advice is oversimplifying her routine. Jordan can’t be arsed and just tells an intimidated Wendy what she’s going to do. Kaylie suggests a 2.5 -punch front combo which clearly makes Kelly uneasy, but she assures Kaylie she can handle it. I’m thinking this is could end in any number of ways and “good” isn’t one of them.
Jordan notices Kelly’s Rockette ass-kissing and warns her that she will never be one of them, and that Kaylie will stab her in the back. Again, making it way too easy, show. Lauren complains to Kaylie about Payson, thinking that maybe Payson needs a new boy toy so she’ll be less mopey. She would. Kaylie advises against this, but of course Lauren doesn’t listen.
So Lauren makes it her mission to find Payson a new studmuffin. We’re treated to a montage of her interviewing potential candidates outside. All of Lauren’s potential candidates are busted as hale, to be honest. Especially the fencer Lauren tries to steal for herself. Maybe she’s turned on by the long phallic-shaped weapon and plans to paper bag it? She finally just so happens to run into the guy who hit on Payson at the party, because the only show in which kismet functions even more conveniently for drama’s sake is the Hills. The guy from the party is named Brad and he’s with his bff and sidekick, Rico. I’ma call him Rico Suave. Lauren arranges for Brad to “run into” Payson at the coffee cart the next day.
Cut to Kaylie and Austin hanging out outside and I’m starting to think the training camp lawn is the new chalk bin. Seriously, these athletes constantly seem to be hanging around there gossip and hitting on each other and whatnot. Kaylie tells Austin about Kelly’s routine and Austin thinks Kelly is trying to sabotage her. He recounts a story of a male gymnast who once did this to his roommate. This guy is the biggest gossip, I swear. He’s worse than Gretchen Weiners. His moobs are full of secrets.
Evidence of the tight ship Coach M runs occurs when he assigns the girls extra sprints because Jordan wasn’t paying attention. This evidence is somewhat undercut by the fact that Lauren, using the excuse of the bathroom, runs outside where she just happens to run into Rico Suave and gives him a revised time for Brad to “run into” Payson. Don’t these people have cell phones? Couldn’t Lauren sneak into the bathroom and text Brad or something? But then I guess we wouldn’t be able to carry out a key plot point–oh shit, spoiler!
In the locker room after practice, Kelly goes all-out Single White Female and presents matching leos she got for Kaylie and for herself. Kaylie is, understandably, wigged out. Jordan overhears the whole exchange and confronts Kelly once Kaylie leaves. Jordan seems more concerned with Kelly’s desperate wannabe-ing than the fact that she’s gone completely loo loo. Kelly warns Jordan to back off her woman, busting out this gem of an insult: “you gypsy gymnast jerkface.” Actually, I think this should’ve been the episode title.
At the coffee cart at the quad, Rico Suave pulls the robbery, extreme-biking down the stairs to impress Payson. He should’ve totally wiped out like one of those crazy youtube clips. Payson would hover by his side in the ambulance and they’d fall in medicated love. But of course he pulls it off and she’s impressed. They make goo goo eyes at each other over mochas and I’m calling bullshit right now. No elite gymnast would ever put that into her body. Oh jeez, I meant the mocha, you perverts. Rico Suave defies his name by spouting all sorts of cheesy lines at her, such as “I practically had to light myself on fire to get you to look up” and gymnasts are “empowered women.” Be still, my heart while I cough up my lunch. Payson totally goes for it, though. We’re treated to a rom-com-esque montage of their date, during which he offers her a ride on the back of his bike. Not exactly a Harley, but it’s good enough for Payson.
Meanwhile, Lauren has an appointment with Mrs. Coach M the nutritionist, and lies to her again about her dizzy spells. Mrs. Coach M takes her word for it and cancels her body scan. How new is this chick? Even if everyone on this show weren’t about as stealth as drunk Seth Cohen when it comes to lying, it seems incredibly naive to take an athlete at their word. At this point in the game, it’s highly likely an athlete would lie about any health problems, since they wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize their shot at the Olympics. Ahh, MIOBI, master of the idiot plot.
That night, the Rockettes dine together on salads (at least that’s somewhat realistic, provided they don’t have fattening dressing). Payson rhapsodizes dreamily about her date with Rico Suave, declaring, “It wasn’t a date, it was magic!” I can’t believe someone gets paid to write this stuff. Wait, I can, because I honestly could not make this shit up. Kaylie complains about Austin signing her up for the commentator class. Lauren advises her to bail, saying, “You need to take care of you here, not loverboy.” I could soak in the irony of this statement like that salad in greasy dressing (hey, I ain’t a gymnast anymore, I can eat what I want!). Kaylie tells the other Rockettes that Kelly gave her the ugliest effing leo she’s ever seen. In particular, she objects to the leo’s three-quarter sleeves: “It’s not my fault I have hairy forearms!” Not quite the same ring as “It’s not my fault I have a heavy flow and wide-set vagina!” but it’ll have to do, I guess.
Wendy goes over to eat with Jordan, who promptly ditches her, but not before taking Wendy’s uneaten banana. Personally, I think Jordan could really use some banana. Maybe she’d stop acting like such a scorned lover all the time now that Kaylie has an insane new girlfriend and all.
Kaylie ends up going to the broadcasting class with Austin, which goes to show how ironclad her resolve is. Austin reveals that he needs a new gig since he lost a big endorsement over having a girlfriend. Um, last I checked athletes are not Korean pop idols. They are not contractually obligated to always appear single so delusional fangirls can fap without distraction. Anyway, Kaylie takes pity on him and sticks around. Austin proceeds to flub the entire class while Kaylie sails through with flying colors. She’s such a natural, in fact, that the instructor is already ready to call ESPN. Austin flounces, which upsets Kaylie.
We’re treated more establishing shots of Colorado Springs, including this awesome street musician who looks like Gandalf meets Willie Nelson. I move that this guy become a series regular. At practice, Kelly keeps flubbing the 2.5-punch front and looks like she’s about to have a breakdown. This girl’s mental health seems about as stable as Kaylie and Austin’s relationship right now. Later, we see Lauren back in her and Payson’s room perusing some webMD knockoff in fur boots that would do Snooki proud. She quickly hides the screen when Payson comes in all excited over a date with her “lovemuffin,” to quote Lauren. Lauren is appalled by Payson’s lack of style and offers to give her a makeover.
Meanwhile, Kaylie and Austin are hanging out at the coffee cart. Kaylie gives Austin a pep talk, and they kiss and make up. Back at the dorm, Lauren and Payson are chatting when it comes out that Payson’s date was with Rico Sauve and not Brad. Lauren blurts out that she was supposed to hook up with Brad, thus revealing that Payson’s date was a setup. They have a big makeup fight, and as a broke makeup addict, I can’t help but be appalled at the waste of quality products (you know Lauren doesn’t do cheapo drugstore shit). Appalled.
Payson runs outside still covered in so much powder her face resembles a colorblind Goth. She confronts Rico Suave, who confesses that he pulled the robbery because she’s “one of the firiest babes [he’s] ever come across.” The Situation would not approve, Rico. You’re breaking bro code. Payson, however, does. They make up and bond when he tenderly wipes her face with his do-rag. Later, Lauren and Payson make up, now that everything has worked out with Rico Suave and Payson might actually get laid.
On the day the girls present their routines to Coach M, Kaylie shows up in one of her own leos and not the one Kelly got for her. Kelly is crushed. I’m still not sure I follow Kaylie’s hairy forearm argument. So 3/4-sleeve leos are bad due to the forearm fur, but sleeveless ones are OK? Wha? Maybe the hair keeps Kaylie’s arms so warm she doesn’t need the sleeves to cover them? I guess that makes sense. Coach M announces that at the end of the practice session, two girls will no longer be in the running to be America’s Next Top Model–I mean, to be on the Olympic team. I find myself wishing we had André Leon Talley up in here judging the routines. That would be amazing. I bet he’d hate Kaylie’s leo, too.
Now that all is well in Lauren and Payson land boy-wise they do great on their routines, of course. I guess the banana cheered Jordan up because she decides to do Wendy’s routine after all. Without any real practice, too! Jordan is magic! Next is K2. Kelly nearly faceplants her 2.5-punch front, and Kaylie adds an extra leap series to her own routine to make up for Kelly’s fail. This ends up backfiring, as Coach M explains that this was a trust exercise. Because Kelly didn’t ask for help and Kaylie didn’t trust in Kelly’s routine, they both fail. But because it’s MIOBI they’re not eliminated, and instead it’s two random shmucks no one will miss.
Afterward, K2 talk it out and make up. I guess Kelly’s crazy doesn’t matter that much now Kaylie’s she’s sure Kelly isn’t sabotaging her, or maybe Kaylie just likes ’em crazy? She did date Carter, after all. Kaylie gives us another quotable: “The reason we’re a team is because we share everything.” Yeah, including creepface Carter. At least Kaylie had the good sense not to sleep with his ass because I’m sure he had yet another thing they could share. K2 have a good laugh over the leo and Kaylie’s hairy arms, and that’s it for this week!
Conclusion: Gayest. Episode. Ever. I think the only way it could be gayer is if U-KISS made an appearance. Hey, maybe they could coach the girls on fabulous dance moves! I’d definitely tune in for that.