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← PreviousNext →“You mean we have to train like normal gymnasts?” or Make it or Break it 1×03 “Blowing OffSteam”

Previously, on Make It Or Break It: Lauren catches her Dad making out with DJ Tanner and flips out. Emily and Pizza Boy banter about her Secret Life (no relation to the show); meanwhile, she and Kaylie’s brother Leo share a moment of hand porn. Do I sense a ~luv~ triangle coming on? Creepy Carter is possessive over Kaylie, who finds it difficult to make time for him with her busy schedule and the whole, you know, no dating thing. The ‘rents worry over the Rock being coachless and Houston wants Payson. Kaylie and Lauren catfight over Creepy Carter.

You are watching: Make it or break it razor

What happens next? Find out after the jump!

Before I proceed, I want to thank everyone who commented with something constructive on my previous two recaps. You guys are the best! However, there is a very small minority for whom I apparently have to spell shit out, so let me take the chance to do so now.

1) The Unicorner is a snark blog. Which means its primary purpose is to… well, be snarky. The majority of what I post on this site is stream-of-consciousness reactions. My usual MO is to watch the show, experience significant pain, re-watch later and take painstakingly detailed notes, which eventually become the recap. 90% of the jokes and turns of phrase in my recaps are there in the notes; pretty much all I do is transcribe my notes and edit for flow, clarity, fact-checking, etc. So it’s not like a I sit around for hours trying to affect a certain style or something; I just write what comes naturally. I am fine with critique but at the core, my recaps are what they are, and that’s not going to change.

2) Yes, I am aware this show is directed toward casual fans and not hardcore gymnastics fans and to approach it as the latter is probably setting myself up for significant pain, eyerolling, cringing, and possible loss of sanity. But as a former gymnast and longtime fan, my brain simply has been conditioned to notice minutaie that casual fans will not. I will occasionally go on ranty asides about aspects of the show I find to be a gross misrepresentation of the sport because, as I said, my style is very stream-of-consciousness and this is frequently how my consciousness streams. But apparently, some people weren’t liking it.


The conclusions I reach come from a combination of personal experience and extensive research; if you’re involved in elite gymnastics or are more knowledgable than I, I’ll gladly accept any corrections. But if you’re just going to whinge about “It’s just a showwwwwww!” you’re more than welcome to skip over those bits or navigate away from this site. I suggest starting here.

All right, now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue with this recap, shall we?

First off, I’ve now started a drinking game for MIOBI recaps. Here are the terms I have so far. Commenters, you are more than welcome to contribute your own as well. Go crazy; I’ll edit to add your rules as they come in!

\~/ if:-Kaylie and Carter exchange ~significant looks~ across the gym-Bad or extremely low-level stunt work for gymnasts of this alleged caliber-“You’re Payson Keeler!”-Lauren’s hair is in French braids-Kaylie wears pink-Payson wears purple-Lauren wears orange-A new Emily love interest appears-A guy thinks Emily’s the hottest thing since Svetlana Boginskaya’s Bolero routine-Emily’s Mom hits on an Emily love interest-Emily’s Mom is wearing something cleavagey-Parents (barring parent coaches) are on the floor at practice or at meets-Anvillicious Emily’s Mom-acts-like-a-teen-while-Emily’s-the-grownup moment-Someone gratuitously name-checks a real-life gymnast, coach, or famous gymnastics-related personality-A semi-famous gymnast (barring stunt doubles) appears in the background-Something realistic happens, gymnastics-wise (if I made this rule for lack of realism, we’d all be toasted before we got through the first scene)-I reference a show or movie I’d rather be watching-ETA: I make a gratuitous mention of hot guys not on this show

I don’t even want to know where Creepy Carter’s mind is now.

We open with practice at the Rock, where Pa Cruz has taken over coaching detail. Again, we’ve got the guys in there practicing with the girls, allowing for maximum Kaylie/Creepy Carter drama. Kaylie’s decked out in a Nastia-esque shiny pink leo with black bike pants. \~/ Kaylie and Creepy Carter shoot each other Signficant Looks \~/ and Creepy Carter carves a message into the chalk at the shared bin. Kaylie starts to approach the bin, but her Dad distracts her just long enough for another gymnast to go up to the bin and scatter Carter’s message. I was hoping this gymnast would think it was meant for her and start making eyes at him across the gym. Triangle! Another viewer who is not me noticed Tasha Schwikert in the background of this scene, so \~/.

Kaylie and Carter meet up by a water station stolen from the set of the Office \~/. They surreptitiously converse about their ~sekrit love~ in a manner reminiscent of Sydney and Vaughn’s meetings in the first season of Alias. \~/ \~/ I added another drink as an apology for Vaughn for equating him with this creeper, which I will get to later on. Mmmm, Vaughn. You can creep on me anytime. *Ahem* Back to the show. Carter and Kaylie quibble about using a shared chalk bin as a means of communication. I don’t understand why they didn’t just text each other; they did that at practice in the last show. Is that some realism creeping in here? \~/

We cut briefly to Pa Tanner disembarking from his car at some remote cabin out in the country. It vaguely reminds me of Bob Lee Swagger’s digs in Shooter. \~/ Mmm, Marky Mark. Should I make another rule for gratuitous mentions of hot guys? I mean, if Carter’s the best this show can do, I can hardly blame myself. Yes, I think I will. \~/ Pa Tanner knocks at the door but no one answers, so he starts creeping around the property like a some kind of weirdo. So basically, like himself.

Back at the Rock, Kaylie practices her routines while Pa Cruz shows some cursory Wikipedia research in his critique of Kaylie. Good job, show. \~/ Kaylie’s stunt double tumbles diagonally across the floor in a front handspring-front handspring-round off-Shushunova pass, and if she’s having issues with something like that, I really weep for the American Gymnastics program in this show’s ‘verse. \~/ Payson and Emily are just standing around watching, and Payson (clad in her signature purple leo) cracks, “And I thought Bela Karolyi was a slave driver.” \~/ \~/ Perhaps I missed something but I don’t see how Pa Cruz is being a slave driver. He’s just delivering sensible critique. And why are two of the top gymnasts in the club just standing around like that? Yeah, he’s a real slave driver. Kaylie’s Dad calls her over to beam and she whinges about how she’s going to lose it because he doesn’t let her stand around with her friends. I weep a single tear for you, Kaylie.

“You lost your lure when you got rid of the only Rock girl with a decent stunt double.”

Back to Pa Tanner. The cabin turns out to be the abode of Sasha “Fierce” Belov, and let me tell you, Sasha’s hot. Unf. Thank you, show. Pa Tanner will later remark on Sasha’s resemblance to David Beckham. I’m just glad Sasha doesn’t have Becks’ voice. I love me some Beckham, but his voice just kills it. Anyway, Sasha was apparently once one of the greatest coaches in the sport before he mysteriously disappeared. He blows Pa Tanner off, but implies that he might be convinced to return if Pa Tanner got the original Rock girls back together. According to Sasha, the Rock’s former team is the best he’s seen in a decade. Make that three decades, seeing as thus far most of them have been competing skills that haven’t won medals since the 70s.

Back to the Rock, where Kaylie’s practicing on beam. Pa Cruz continues to give critique and she blows up after he tells her to smile. Pa Cruz should coach Shawn Johnson. Lauren flounces off just as the evil Tanners show up. Pa Cruz basically tells them to fuck off until Pa Tanner unveils Sasha Fierce. He walks in all dramatically backlit and sexy like, and everyone’s in awe. Payson appears to have a spontaneous orgasm. I can’t say I blame her.

“So I got this new concealer that’s supposed to cover hickeys. Can you tell?”

Next we see the ‘rents quibbling in the office, intercut with scenes of the girls quibbling outside. Kaylie bitches about Lauren coming back, but Payson stresses that it’s Sasha Belov, you guys. I gotta say I’m Team Payson here. Not just because Sasha brings sorely needed eye candy but because seriously… they’re whinging about a chance to train with a world-class coach because of boy drama? Oh wait, these are teenage girls here. Never mind. Meanwhile, Lauren’s caught on to the fact that everyone hates her ass and is trying to chat up the peons. Creepy Carter’s on rings again and gazes broodingly at Kaylie, who’s still unglued over Lauren.

“But Sasha, we need a hot guy on here! Otherwise we’re stuck with Marty and Carter!”

Sasha gets sick of the ‘rents squabbling like kids and peaces out. While the rest of the girls are preoccupied with Lauren’s shenanigans, Payson runs after Sasha. The others follow her outside, where Payson begs Sasha to stay. He’s unmoved until he recognizes her: “Hey, aren’t you Payson Keeler?” \~/ She has another spontaneous orgasm, but promptly resumes to her campaign to make him stay. Eventually he caves, as long as the girls can get the grownups to stop behaving like children. Thanks, Payson. I’m starting to really like this girl.

“Hey guys! Want to see my impression of the entire Mag 7’s floor routines in ’96?”

Sasha’s first order of business is to kick the ‘rents off the floor, to which I say finally, jeez. Kaylie’s Dad bitches about it and Lauren’s Dad wonders why they can’t just all get along. Because you’re a slimy blackmailing helicopter parent, perhaps? Sasha sits the girls down and announces that there’s a new sheriff in town, and things are going to be different around here. \~/ and if you don’t get the reference, then GTFO (OK, I’m totally kidding… sort of… oh, and \~/ for Sawyer/Josh Holloway). They are going to live, breathe, eat, sleep, and bleed gymnastics and nothing else till Nationals. They will spend every wakng moment in this gym. Then Sasha tells them to go home and say goodbye to their lives, and anyone not willing to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears for this sport can GTFO. First practice is on Monday morning at 5am. So basically they’re going to train like real gymnasts now. I like this guy! \~/

Kaylie’s response is to bitch about this unwelcome dose of realism, but Payson is the voice of reason again. She points out that Sasha can make them great. I personally think nothing short of new stunt doubles excepting Lauren’s can do that, but Payson’s got a valid point. Please dear Heathus get rid of Emily’s stunt double, Sasha. Watching her makes me react like a character in one of Paul Stupin’s other shows:


Kaylie needs a Spruce Juice fix. For a moment I actually took the name literally and imagined people drinking juice made from Spruce trees. Hey, it can’t be any weirder (or grosser) than wheat grass. Across the floor, Lauren invites the peon from before to Spruce Juice. Kaylie complains that it used to be their spot, but Payson logically points out that Lauren was once one of them. Payson is rapidly starting to become my favorite character. In retaliation, Kaylie invites “Em” to Spruce Juice and offers to treat her. Emily is hesitant, but eventually agrees. I feel the need to point out that despite being outwardly healthy and nutritious-seeming, smoothies pack some major calories. I highly doubt elite gymnasts make a habit of drinking them during the competitive season.

Emily’s such a Mary Sue, she even gets a special cup!

Over at Spruce Juice, Emily assures Kaylie that she can cover her own smoothie and she knows they only invited her along to piss off Lauren. Payson and Kaylie immediately deny it but Emily assures them she supports the pissing off of Lauren. Oh, yeah? Well, this writing supports the pissing off of me. Over at another table, Lauren boasts to the peons about her special birthday dinner with her Dad, just the two of them. Anyone picking up some Joe Simpson vibes? Anyone? Bueller? \~/ Payson overhears and feels sort of bad, but Kaylie quickly reminds her of how Lauren screwed them over. Kaylie calls Lauren the “bitch of the beam” and I have to admit that’s (intentionally) funny.

A college-age guy comes by and hands out flyers advertising a kegger. It’s gonna be dope, you guys. Kaylie’s super pumped to go, but Payson is hesitant. Of the three of them, only Emily’s been to a high school party before. Kaylie, in awe, asks what they’re like. I love Kaylie in this scene; she’s like a Martian. \~/ Emily says parties can be fun or they can be stupid. Sounds about right. Payson worries about getting busted, but Emily counters by asking how Sasha could possibly find out? So you know he’s totally going to find out. Kaylie continues to beg Payson to come, but she won’t budge. Finally Kaylie turns to Emily, asking her to go in the same tone of voice you’d ask like, that really pathetic nerdy boy to a dance because it’s still better than not going with anyone at all. Emily agrees, and Payson finally relents if only to babysit her teammates. Kaylie is overjoyed and makes a groanworthy pun about partying like a rock star. Get it? A “Rock” star? Yeah, that’s a real knee-slapper right there.

“You’ll feel just like Julia Roberts! Except no Rodeo Drive. Or Richard Gere. But close enough!”

Our next scene finds us at Chez Kmetko. Emily tells her brother about Sasha, and he informs her that their Mom forgot to pay the phone bill. Also, we find out that Ma Kmetko has a new job thanks to Ma Cruz. Just then, Ma Kmetko breezes in with several shopping bags. She presents her kids with gifts, a movie for the brother and a frilly skanktastic dress for Emily. Ma Kmetko sings Nelly badly and carries on like a ditzy teen, a clear if exaggerated counterpoint to Emily, who promptly begins lecturing her about shopping when she should be paying the phone bill. Yeah, St. Emily Grew Up Too Fast, we get it. \~/ Emily flounces off, end scene.

“Our little girl’s going to a party where underage drinking, drug use, and sexin’ will probably occur! High-five!”

Cut to Chez Keeler, where Payson’s Dad is reading a book about Sasha. Apparently, he’s described as the James Bond version of Bela Karolyi, and naturally the first thing I do is picture a face-meld á la Conan’s If They Mated. \~/ And no, I will not photoshop one. I will instead focus on Daniel Craig being hot. It’s much more enjoyable. \~/ Ma Keeler imitates Bela yelling at Kerri Strug; that’s actually pretty funny. \~/ But Kerri had a broken ankle, the humanity! Wrong, she had a sprain. Wikipedia fail, writers. Ma Keeler says she doesn’t want that to be her little girl. Lies! Who wouldn’t want to be as awesome as Kerri? Girl’s got dough beyond the Keelers’ wildest dreams and was recently being fierce over at WOGA with fellow HBIC Nastia Liukin. As if Payson, queen of a gym training tucked Tsuks, could land a Yurchenko 1.5 on one leg. Ma Keeler asks her husband if he ever wishes Payson was a normal teen. As if on cue, Payson walks in and announces that she’s going to a high school party. She assures the ‘rents that she’s not drinking, will find a designated driver if anyone else does, etc. The ‘rents are far more excited than she is, as though they can’t wait to send their daughter to a kegger full of rowdy boys looking to get ass any way they can. Damn, I wish these were my parents.

“I swear Lauren’s had implants. They’re like, this big!”

Over at Chez Cruz, Leo comes to Kaylie’s room for refuge from their crazy Dad yelling at footage of himself playing baseball. Kaylie’s getting ready for the party, and is sporting some choice grade A hooker wear. Cordelia Chase would be proud. \~/ Kaylie’s also in her signature pink and black, so \~/. Kaylie asks Leo if it’s the appropriate outfit for a kegger. Leo warns Kaylie about boys at such parties being after four things: brew, booty, more brew, and more booty. Kaylie assures him she can handle a few drunken boys. She’ll just tumbling pass their asses. Kaylie’s phone goes off and it’s Creepy Carter texting her for a booty call. She blows him off, explaining to Leo that she needs a night without pressure. Leo immediately shows big brotherly concern, but Kaylie assures him that Carter totally understands that she’s not ready for sex. The following exchange is mildly awkward, but Leo offers to rip Carter’s heart out if he pushes Kaylie too much. I fully support the ripping out of Creepy Carter’s heart. Or other parts.

I actually quite enjoyed this scene. Kaylie’s anxiety over the party and her outfit feels authentic–it makes me remember how freshmen pledges in my sorority would get all dressed up for their first big parties and then they’d get there and all the older girls are just sporting jeans or black pants and some form of skanky top. Leo’s concerns are brotherly without being creepy, and the two actors do a decent job portraying an affectionate sibling relationship.

Cut back to Chez Kmetko. Emily comes back from wherever she flounced off to, and her brother informs her that their Mom is out returning the stuff she bought. Emily finds out her Mom didn’t take their presents back, just her own stuff. According to the brother, Ma Kmetko just wants to buy her kids something special now and then. Emily returns to her room to find the skankalicious dress laid out on the bed. Ma Kmetko comes home to find Emily in the bathroom–she’s been in there for “like, hours” according to her brother. Ma asks if Emily finally got her period. The brother shows far too much concern for his sister’s bodily functions by explaining that gymnasts don’t have periods; they don’t have enough body fat. Yay for more Wikipedia research! This is largely true in real life but I can safely say that these actresses all appear to have sufficient body fat to menstruate.

“So I read this awesome book called Flowers in the Attic and totally identified with it!”

Emily walks out of the bathroom in the blue dress and announces she’s going to a party. Ma Kmetko remarks on how hot she looks, and the brother adds, “Smokin hot!” with a little too much enthusiasm. Seriously, he looks at Emily with this totally creepy expression and OMG VC Andrews vibes up in the heezy. Emily looks all self-conscious and I can’t say I blame her. Emily’s Mom tells her she was right and that she paid the bill. Aww, mother/daughter bonding moment. Ma Kmetko wants to tart Emily up even more and begs to put lip gloss on her, and also gets her some earrings. I could make a joke about running a mother-daugher business here, but even I am not that tasteless. Oh wait, I just name-checked VC Andrews. I am.

Cut to the party, which takes place outdoors in front of what I assume to be the host’s house. Kaylie’s all impressed by Emily’s hooker wear, which makes Emily more self-conscious. She quickly covers up with her sweater. Payson’s sporting an old Rock sweatshirt, which is mildly amusing but I’m kind of over the whole Payson=SuperGymnast angle. She’s the Temperance Brennan of gymnastics, I get it. Except not even Brennan is that obsessed. \~/ The girls are all awkward and trying to figure out what to do at the party. It’s kind of cute. Kaylie wants to get beer and Emily, the party expert, points out the line for the keg. Kaylie’s too much of a prima donna to wait in line. Emily offers to wait while Payson and Kaylie look for another keg. Payson’s hesitant to split up, but Emily dryly reassures her that they’ll be fine.

Meanwhile, Lauren and Pa Tanner arrive at the restaurant. Pa Tanner chooses that moment to tell Lauren that he invited Summer, a.k.a. DJ Tanner. Predictably, Lauren has a fit. Pa Tanner implies he’s serious about Summer and defends her against Lauren’s withering arguments. He brings up Summer’s faith and Lauren wonders how Christian someone who wears D&G can be. What, Christians can’t have good taste in clothes? Summer arrives, and Lauren glares resentfully from the table.

Back at the party, generic pop music plays in the background while Emily stands by the keg. A greasy-haired guy fills her cup. Meanwhile, Pizza Dude moseys over in a plaid shirt. 1995 called, they want their wardrobe back. Emily frantically asks Keg Dude if she looks like a freak. Keg Dude’s clearly stoned off his ass and is like, uhhhhhhhhh. I’ll answer–yes, Emily, you do. A dress and fancy jewelry at a kegger screams high school girl, although that might work in her favor considering all the drunken frat boys hanging around. Pizza Dude, whose name we find out is Razor (I… really don’t know what to say to that) says hi and Emily feigns surprise. It’s a bit ham-handed on the writers’ part, but a fairly understandable reaction. Of course, that’s where any shred of realism in this scene ends.

Razor introduces Stoner Boy as his friend Jasper. Jasper is staring at Emily’s nonexistent boobs, which makes her all self-conscious again and she covers up with her sweater. \~/ Jasper is like, “It’s Pizza Shack girl!” Razor’s embarrassed and quickly amends his statement to, “More like bandmate.” A new guy shows up and is adds, “You were expecting the Jonas Brothers?” I find it rather disturbing that an alleged heterosexual teenage boy not only knows who the JoBros are but brings them up to impress a girl. Razor and New Guy quibble over who named the Rolling Stones, and apparently they had a bet over it. Meanwhile, Emily’s standing there all huddled up in her sweater and Razor wonders if she’s cold. Jasper brings up the freak comment so all the guys can drool over how hot she is. \~/ I’m beginning to think everyone in this show is Pioneertown hot, except that there are actual cast members hotter than the so-called hot ones. It’s like Jolene Blalock vs. Linda Park all over again. \~/ You know it’s dire when I’d rather be watching Enterprise.

Razor introduces the new guy, whose name is Damon. Upon learning Emily’s name, Damon cryptically says, “That… makes… sense” but none of the guys explain this to Emily. Razor’s starting to creep me out, yo. Just what has he been telling his friends about Emily? Is Damon one of her Mom’s clients? Given the amount of flirting she does with Emily’s love interests, this would not surprise me. So anyway, the other guys exit stage right so Razor can get some ass, but Emily calls them back and flexes her Sue-Fu with Rolling Stones trivia. Damon gives her the bet money, and it’s clear he’s totally scamming on her. \~/ After Damon leaves, Emily explains to Razor that her mom likes to date failed wannabe musicians who know way too much about classic rock bands. Razor asks if Emily’s here with someone and she naively tells him she is, not knowing what he actually means by that. I could kind of buy Kaylie or Payson being that socially inept but Emily’s supposed to be the most “socialized” of them… I mean, she’s been to high school parties! This segues into her asking Razor not to tell her friends she works at Pizza Shack. They banter about Emily’s status as International Woman of Pizza Shack Mystery and he’s clearly bothered by her cageyness. He walks off and she’s like, “Wait… you don’t get it!” Just a shot in the dark here, but maybe he would if you tell him, Emily.

Back at the restaurant, Pa Tanner gives Lauren a charm bracelet and she loves it. She happily informs Summer that her Dad gets her a new charm every year. In a ham-handed effort to sell Summer to Lauren, Pa Tanner tells her that the charm bracelet idea was actually Summer’s and that she picked out all the charms. It gets awkward real fast and Pa Tanner hastily excuses himself. Summer tries to do damage control, but Lauren won’t be consoled. She accuses Summer of being a gold digger and flounces off. On the way out, she slaps the bracelet into the bus boy’s hand with a cynical remark to give it to his girlfriend if he wants to get lucky tonight. Pa Tanner returns with the cake to find Lauren gone and Summer sitting there uncomfortably. Smooth move, ex-lax.

Cut to the party. Payson stands around looking awkward and bored–basically, mirroring my thoughts during past episodes (this one is actually surprisingly good). Kaylie reappears, clearly wasted. Payson thinks it’s time to go but Kaylie wants to stay and watch the band. Razor’s band comes onstage, and Damon steals the mike long enough to dedicate the song to Emily Kmetko. Kaylie is all like, “OMG! You know the band?” Emily is self-conscious and tries to downplay it. Razor’s band launches into a pop-rock ditty that would be right at home on a CW show, and the girls are very impressed. No comment on my end. Trust me, you don’t want one. While watching the band, Payson and Emily lose track of Kaylie and run off to look for her. Hold up, did the guy just sing a lyric about people he has sex with? Oh ABC Family, you’re so ~edgy~.

We soon find Kaylie, who’s doing a keg stand while a group of boys cheers her on. I remember doing drunken gymnastics at a frat party once. A girl after my own heart! Creepy Carter shows up and not surprisingly, has a shit fit. A guy with a bitching ‘fro is like “Are you the boyfriend?” This sparks a self-rightous Creepy Carter tirade about how Kaylie lied to him and now she’s here at a keg party with other guys. Hold the phone, people. Kaylie’s at a party? With boys? I’m clutching my pearls as I type this. I might ask exactly what you are doing here, too, Creepy Carter. Kaylie basically calls him on all his bullshit and has a meltdown over the pressure he’s exerting on her in addition to her Dad and to Coach Sasha. Although I have a considerable beef with the way this show has portrayed elite gymnastics, Kaylie’s reaction here is actually quite sympathetic. I can buy a real-world elite gymnast reacting this way, although her pressures wouldn’t be the ridiculous theatrical variety you see on this show. The few emotionally resonant moments in this episode are kind of a depressing indication of the potential this show might have had if it weren’t run by morons.

Anyway, Creepy Carter reacts by having a bitch fit and flouncing off. Kaylie channels Jack Shephard and sinks down on the keg in tears. \~/ \~/ Aww, don’t cry, Kaylie. You’re better off without this douche-yacht. But alas, teenage girls tend to have a habit of chasing after boys who are complete idiots, so I’ll give her a pass here.

Cut to Kaylie staggering into Leo’s Porsche SUV. Emily is riding shotgun of course, so she gets to sit next to Love Interest #7868769876. Before she gets in, she waves goodbye to Razor. Damon points Leo out as competition, and I have to say Leo’s winning by a landslide right now. First off, he’s rich; second off, he’s hot; third off, he’s not a creeper. Why do I say this? Well, Razor’s creeper quotient is about to shoot way up. He and Damon verbally masturbate over how hot Emily is and I’ve got to quote Heathus again–what is it with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples or something? \~/ \~/ \~/ Razor’s going away on a roadie gig, so he asks Damon to cover for him at Pizza Shack and to watch out for Emily. Hey Razor, you want to watch Emily sleep and slash her brakes while you’re at it? What is with these creepy possessive guys? Edward Cullen must be their role model. \~/ (I’m sorry, but Twilight kind of wins for slightly higher hot guy quotient–get Peter Facinelli to replace Marty and then we’ll talk–and the baseball scene. Hey, I should add a poll! Twilight baseball scene or MIOBI gas station scene? Oh, and \~/ for Peter Facinelli).

Leo’s on the road now, and we’re treated to a shot of the interior of his fly wheels. Seriously, this boy has taste. Except for women, that is. We’ll work on that, Leo. Kaylie’s feeling sick and Leo and Payson implore her not to toss her cookies. She was probably was listening in on Damon and Razor’s convo. There’s more Emily/Leo action as they exchange knowing smiles over Kaylie’s drunken antics. I gotta say drunk!Kaylie is kind of adorbs. She grew on me a lot during this ep, both her and Payson. It was nice to see them get more lines and screentime after being overshadowed by Evil Lauren and Saint Emily in the last two eps.

Back at the party, Lauren is walking around all dejected like, beer cup in hand. The party is ending and the inebriated guests are clearing out, but Creepy Carter’s still there. He’s sulking on the porch of what I assume is the host’s house. Lauren joins him and they both obsess over Kaylie, basically blaming her for their being defective human beings. Then in lieu of Kaylie, they both make out with each other. Oh, Lauren. I can only hope the beer cup was an indication that you were just drunk, horny, and not at all picky. What is the appeal of Creepy Carter? Well, they say girls are attracted to guys resembling their fathers, and Lauren’s got Daddy Issues up the wazoo, so you do the math.

Cut to Leo’s car. Payson’s been dropped off and Kaylie’s passed out in the back, so it’s Leo/Emily flirtin’ time! Leo asks Emily if Razor’s her boyfriend. Sigh, here we go again. They banter about Marty’s “no dating” rule and Leo says Emily doesn’t strike him as the kind of girl who’s afraid of breaking the rules. Oh, you rebel, Emily. Leo points out that she’s not like most girls her age. This moment almost works because I can believe an elite gymnast would be more mature or focused than a “normal” teenage girl. But then they go and ruin it all by making it about Emily Sue and her ~speshulness~. Excuse me while I hurl in the bushes with Kaylie. Leo insists on walking Emily to the door. What a gentleman. Ma Kmetko opens the door in some cleavagey leopard-print lingerie, then proceeds to hit on Leo. \~/ \~/ Do I sense some Julie Cooper action in the future? *Sigh* I’m sure Leo’s far too normal and non-stalkery to end up with Emily, so I kind of hope there is. Leo deserves to get some action.

The next scene finds us at Chez Cruz, where Leo takes Kaylie back to her room and takes care of her. Kaylie drunkenly rambles about how she doesn’t deserve Leo or Creepy Carter. You’re right about Creepy Carter, Kaylie; you deserve better than that douche-kayak. Leo reassures her that it’ll all be fine in the morning. Once he leaves, Kaylie whips out her cell and texts Creepy Carter. Ugghhhh.

Back in the party house, a shirtless Carter wakes up next to Lauren. Look, this drinking game has already got me toasted enough. Do I have to go throw up again? Lauren wakes up and adjusts her clothing while Carter zips his pants. It’s pretty obvious what went down here. The scene gets really awkward and Carter books out of there fast. But before he goes, he gives Lauren this really weird kiss and Lauren looks deeply uncomfortable. Right there with ya, Lauren. She hears a phone ringing and it turns out Creepy Carter forgot his phone. Lauren sees Kaylie’s message and starts to cry. It’s OK, Lauren. Creepy Carter makes me cry, too.

Well, that’s it for this week! I can’t recap the preview because I didn’t catch it on the rewatch (I streamed off ABC Family) but it’s OK, you’ll survive. Instead you get overanalysis of why this ep actually didn’t suck. While writing this recap, I noticed that for me at least, what makes a show is the characters. I find that if I care enough about the characters, I’ll keep watching a show no matter how stupid and ridiculous the plots are. Until this episode, the characters of MIOBI were little more than half-drawn archetypes. Kaylie and Payson were completely overshadowed by Evil Lauren and Saint Emily. As a result, I was hard-pressed to care about anyone on the show, and the focus was instead on all the farfetched theatrics and melodrama. And man, was there a lot ot snark there.

The characters are still pretty much firmly rooted in their archetypes but we’re starting to see more layers, especially Kaylie and Payson. And while I speak mostly for myself here, part of what intrigued me so much about the idea of this show is the way being involved in elite gymnastics might affect the people–not just competition drama, but how their daily lives are shaped by this lifestyle they chose. So far, MIOBI has been 90% competition-based drama and club rivalries that have no bearing on reality. But this episode actually spent some time focusing on the characters instead, which is why I found it so much easier to swallow. When we don’t have constant reminders of what a gross misrepresentation of the sport those aspects of this show are, its watchability improves dramatically. I could buy a lot of the characters’ behavior this time around as long as I sort of forgot what came before and imagined they trained/competed like real-world gymnasts.

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It’s still a soap, but it’s a heck of a lot better of a soap when they actually put some effort into it instead of going for the contrived drama with their strange club-obsessed gymnastics system. But I’m sure it’ll be business as usual next week, and if not, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.