By REBECCA, March 26, 2012
Y’all, tonight is the premier of the third season of Make It Or Break It and I’m so excited! Oh, what’s that? You don’t watch Make It Or Break It / You’ve seen the commercials and thought it looked insipid? Well, here are 10 reasons why you should be watching (with NO spoilers for seasons 1 and 2). Note: the first two seasons are available on Netflix Instant and on Hulu, so catch up and come on over!
1. Friends, this show is set in the majestic, heart-stopping, hilarious world of gymnastics. Who doesn’t secretly wish they could do gymnastics? Picture it: you’re walking home from work past the park where those kids skateboard and you do an effortless flip on the curb or the back of the park bench. You want to avoid your downstairs neighbors, so you open your kitchen window, grab the branch outside, do some giant circles, and dismount into their makeshift herb garden. You vault over that obnoxious motorcycle that always straddles two parking spots. And the next time you’re an exasperated plus-one at a wedding and the DJ tries to make you catch the bouquet you back up to the corner of the parquet-square dance floor and do a tumbling pass right into the wedding cake! No? Just me? Ahem.
2. Make It Or Break It is a sports show. You know, just like Friday Night Lights! . . . Really, though: it has all the great personal drive, inspirational speeches, competition, pushing oneself to the limit. The girls are working toward the 2012 Olympics, so as the first and second season continue, the competition stakes get ever-higher.
3. It’s like a dance movie, only much, much longer! You get all the great elements of a dance movie in every episode: costumes and makeup; the awesome camera-work that accompanies people flying through the air quickly; the drama of someone practicing something and then seeing whether they can do it when it counts; injuries; and the staple of any dance movie: you have to dance it out (only in Make It Or Break It it’s gymnastics it out. Comme ça:
4. Musical training montages. Enough said. But, okay, I’ll say more. These aren’t your lame wind sprints and pushups, okay? These are badass flips, ponytails flying and sparkly leotards stretching. These are laps, but . . . in handstands and rope-climbing. And all of it is set to an upbeat power-pop soundtrack.
5. Drama! Holy sweaty leotards, Batman, is there drama. There’s Lauren Tanner, the sociopathic daddy’s girl who seems driven by the forces of evil to cause pain, discomfort, and shame wherever she goes. Lauren does, however, say some hilarious things: “How much of a Christian can she be? The woman wears Dolce & Gabanna!” There’s Kaylie Cruz, Lauren’s best friend, who isn’t quite as perfect as she seems, but is still the perkiest thing you’ve ever seen. Lauren and Kaylie have trained at The Rock (that’s the Rocky Mountain Gymnastics Club) together since they were tiny, cartwheeling kids, and share everything . . . except a certain male gymnast. Then there’s new girl, Emily Kmetko, who taught herself gymnastics on playgrounds and at the YMCA—will she upset the triumvirate of Lauren, Kaylie, and . . .
6. Payson Keeler! She gets her own place on the list because she is so wonderful. She’s so mature and honest and determined and kind and no-nonsense and totally not obnoxious about the fact that she’s the top ranked gymnast at The Rock. Seriously, you wish you had a friend like Payson to keep you honest. And she will call you out.
7. This is kind of a cross between a regular high school show and a boarding school story. The girls don’t go to school because they train for 29 hours a day, so the gym is the place where they are always together. It’s a seething, roiling mess of hormones, desire, jealousy, and fear. So, basically like high school. But unlike a boarding school story, they live at home, so there is additional parent-drama. This is good because it allows for storylines that involve the parents, siblings, and coaches as well as the gymnasts.
8. What I’ll call the Random Appeal Factor. You know how unpredictable taste is. My sister and I are, in different ways, about as far from the demographic this show targets as it’s possible to be. And we both love it. Call it what you will—suspense, pathos, bathos, pretty people, upbeat music, Colorado, smoothies, ABCFamily conservative moralizing—just call it!
9. Great and varied secondary characters. One of the nice things about Make It Or Break It is that it is a large cast. I think that always makes me more forgiving of a show because when one story line starts to feel claustrophobic there is a mechanism to switch really quickly to something else. Now, I won’t reveal who a lot of these secondary characters are because they appear in response to extremely dramatic and spoilery things. But I can say that one secondary character is played by Candace Cameron Bure—you know, D.J. Tanner from Full House—and she’s dating Steve Tanner (Lauren’s dad). Now, come on, you know they had to do that on purpose. See? Funny.
10. You have a week to kill before Game of Thrones is back. No, I’m just kidding. Reason number 10 that you should be watching Make It Or Break It is . . . Coach Sasha Beloff. Sasha is a former Olympic gymnast who is pulling an A-River-Runs-Through-It in the middle of nowhere. When Lauren’s dad goes to find him and coerce him into being the coach at The Rock, Sasha says he isn’t interested in gymnastics anymore, and we get the following humorous exchange. Note: In addition to being an awesome coach, a kickass human being, and also quite handsome, Sasha is occasionally very funny. This is the only time Lauren’s dad is funny, though, so don’t get used to it.
Sasha: “You think I left England to compete in Romania because I want money? Who do I look like, David Beckham?”
Lauren’s dad: “Yes, actually, you kind of do.”
And he kind of does.
Yes, as a child I briefly took gymnastics and yes, I harbored vague desires of being a gymnast despite going through puberty around age 11. But you don’t have to have been a tumbling tot or think that the Olympics are the only time sports channels are bearable because you might catch a glimpse of a sparkly leotard or a full twisting double layout to be delighted by Make It Or Break It.
So, which Make It Or Break It character are you? Tell us in the comments. Then watch the show to see if you should be insulted!