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Make it or Break It: Season One, Volume One (2009)


No matter how far we may think we come in figuring out the mysteries of human behavior, it would seem, in the world of television, back-stabbing teens still win the most ratings. Or that is what this scenario of elite athletes who are also pretty faces wants us to believe.

A year ago Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbs) was barely living her dream. Bearing more responsibility than most teens, her world is about to be upended. An elite gymnast who has the raw talent to make it big time but needs coaching and guidance, Emily’s family move to Colorado at the request of former Olympic medalist Marty Walsh  (Erik Palladino) who coaches the Rock girls in Boulder. Discovering Emily quite by chance, Marty sees something in her worth training but his students see something else entirely. The daughter of a single mom (Susan Ward) whose work ethics are minimal at best, the girls – who are ranked as three of the best gymnasts in the world and are expected to go 1-2-3 at Nationals, see Emily as a threat to that podium. Specifically mean girl Lauren (Cassie Scerbo). Spoiled beyond what is good for her, Lauren feels betrayed by her fellow team mate and best friend, Kaylie (Josie Loren) when Emily manages to beat out Lauren at the try-outs and then her father (Anthony Starke) begins dating his assistant, Summer (Candace Cameron Bure) whom Lauren cannot tolerate. Meanwhile, Kaylie is feeling more pressure than ever from her father who was once an athlete and that makes keeping her one secret a burden. Last in the group is Payson Keeler (Ayla Kell).

Surrounded by a loving two-parent family, Payson may be the only girl whose home life isn’t in shambles but she isn’t like the other girls. She isn’t interested in boys and cares little for vanity – her focus is solely on winning nationals and eventually making it to the 2012 Olympic Games. That was all before, her coach, Marty up and left the Rock without explanation. Before newcomer, Emily came.... before she incurred a back injury. With so much on the line, Payson’s focus may be the last thing she needs to regain. The Rock needs balance… or their team won’t be making the trip to Nationals.

In ways that I never thought I would, I’ve discovered, ABC Family can put together a heart-tugging story that is usually capable of more than it realizes. What this show does capture unique, it nixes with its petty grievances and back-stabbing teenage girls – in aces! There is nothing worse than a TV show that thinks it isn’t any better than engaging in shenanigans that, in reality are beneath it. Could this show have been capable of using its platform to encourage its hundreds of teenage audience members? Absolutely! There are even some adorable episodes including one involving a fashion show, and it actually does speak out against some immoralities, making a case for abstinence, among other things but whether it was written into scripts to poke fun at or to be taken seriously is something I’ve still not quite deciphered.

Though this should be ranted against, in fairness I couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised at the character of the church-going, Summer who not only believes in God but is also an advocate for many of the principles teens today scoff at – and unlike come characters, hers is one that is resolute and she never wavers from it albeit they are beliefs born from prior bad experiences. Somehow, unfortunately, even her presence doesn’t help these young ladies. The clique here is Payson, Kaylie and Lauren, the “dream team” and three girls who aren’t above turning on a friend. At first, we fall in love with Payson’s sweetness and charm, don’t mind Kaylie and cannot wait to be rid of Lauren but before long, even Payson becomes less of the charmer she once was. When first we meet her, she’s focused – perhaps a bit too much, but she is not the liar her friends are. She is always honest and it’s a trait her parents hold her to. Despite some decent acting – including a recurring cast consisting of Peri Gilpin, Neil Jackson and Zachary Abel, this show shouldn’t be taken lightly for anyone wanting “clean” entertainment. Its protagonists rely more on looking out for themselves than their friends just after claiming to have each others back. That sort of message isn’t the most wholesome to promote – especially to the targeted age group, and yet, there is something about the story that is just charismatic enough to be appealing.  

(What to know: certain conversation revolves around sexual acts and the girl’s discuss the “rule” that as gymnasts they aren’t allowed boyfriends or to have intimate relations. There are also one or two instances about the girl’s discussing their body and the differences a gymnast experiences than the average girl. Profanity consists of da*n, sh*t and the “standard” issue. There is also implications of affairs [one mother had an affair with the coach and Chloe has had multiple boyfriends] plus one girl loses her virginity to a friends boyfriend [off camera]. Additionally, there is some teen drinking and various characters lie to get what they want. There are a couple of injuries when the gymnasts fall off of apparatuses. This is rated TV14.) 
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Rissi
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3 comments:

  1. I LOVE this show and just finished season three.

    However, I thought the first season sucked. They made the Emily character sooooooooo winy. She drove me crazy. Anything that went wrong was 'somebody else's fault' and every single episode, something happened and 'everything she worked so hard for was falling apart because so and so did this'. Like she didn't stop wining. I was really happy when her character moved away.

    The third season is so much more exciting. :) I'm sad that I don't have any more episodes to watch.

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  2. I am quite "intrigued" by this show, Rachel. It impresses me with its faithfulness in scripting moral values but then turns everything good on its side and undoes everything "right." If there would be one complaint I had, it'd be the CONSTANT drama - that is what drives me insane. One minute the girl's have turned a corner and are making headway, the next, they are back to back-stabbing one another. Ugh! It's so annoying!

    Glad to know about S3 - unfortunately, from what I read, that was its last. :/

    Super glad you stopped by!

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  3. Girls Season 3 DVD Box Set is adding another guy to its cast, tapping Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Zegen for a potentially recurring Girls Third Season DVD box setstint.HBO's girls series 3 dvd box set is getting a little extra oomph for its third season, in the form of Jon Hamm's gal.

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