Sports provides a lot of natural drama for many people. On for scripted TV dramas this almost always involves a football (Friday Night Lights) or basketball team (The White Shadow). One sport that has never gotten its own series is gymnastics. Leave it to ABC Family to pick up a television series called Make It or Break It that features a group of teenage gymnasts competing to go to the Olympics. Will Make It Or Break actually make it to the year 2012 for the next Summer Olympics? If they can keep up its freshman year ratings for the show, there is a good chance. Now the first volume of this new series is on DVD.
Make It or Break It focuses on four teenage girls training at the Rocky Mountain Gymnastic Training Center in Boulder, Colorado (aka “The Rock”). The girls, who come from far and wide, bring with them their distinct personalities. First, you have Payson Keeler (Ayla Kell), who’s the most serious, focused and dedicated gymnast among them, and the one who bears the burden of expectations. She has the best shot at becoming an Olympic gold medalist. Next, there’s spoiled rich girl Kaylie Cruz (Josie Loren), who’s been getting by on her cuteness for years and who doesn’t share Payson’s level of commitment for the sport. She cares more about hooking up with her secret boyfriend, Carter (Zachary Abel), than she does anything else. But she is not quite as mean as Lauren Tanner (Cassie Scerbo), who will lie, cheat, and steal for an edge. Now enter a newcomer to the group, the outsider from Fresno, CA who is not rich, Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbs). She just moved with her single mother from Fresno. Neither of them fit in with everyone else, but Emily has talent and drive, and she becomes an immediate threat to take Lauren, Payson, or Kaylie’s spot. Besides the gymnastic drama, they of course have time to deal with boy drama and demanding parents who seem to be overly concerned with their gymnastics “careers”.
There’s no mistaking this series for all the others currently on ABC Family (i.e., Secret Life of the American Teenager or Greek or Kyle XY), even though it is pretty similar. This is a teen drama, therefore the storylines are fairly predictable and the dialogue has a slight cheese quotient. The twist of this series is the gymnastics angle, of course. That makes it intriguing to watch most of the time. But you have to wonder if real gymnastic competitors share or take part in the same “off-the-floor” drama and shenanigans depicted on Make It or Break It.
While the young cast all play a part (even if the parts they play are stereotypical), at least the creators give them some dimension. Most of you, from the descriptions above, have already decided who you want to root for and who to root against. Another aspect working in the show’s favor is that the messages presented therein are those families can take to heart.
Episode 1 – Pilot
Newcomer Emily’s arrival at The Rock gymnastics training facility causes a stir amongst the other athletes. Lauren attempts to get her booted so that she has a better chance at the Nationals.
Episode 2 – Where’s Marty?
With their coach Marty (Erik Palladino) and their teammate Lauren gone, the girls and parents of The Rock try to sort through the mess left. Emily, Kaylie, Payson, and Payson’s sister Becca (Mia Rose Frampton) travel to Denver to find Marty and get some answers.
Episode 3 – Blowing Off Steam
At The Rocks, the girls continue on without any direction but are surprise when Lauren, Steve and a new coach arrive. Emily, Payson and Kaylie decide to to to a high school party before the new coach’s strict workout regime begins. At the party Emily runs into Razor, Kaylie fights with Carter and Payson thinks she’s wasting her time there. Later, Lauren’s birthday goes wrong when Summer arrives at the dinner party.
Episode 4 – Sunday, Bloody Sasha, Sunday
Sasha puts the girls through a brutal day of training as punishment for attending the party.
Episode 5 – Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Supermodel
The Rock hosts a mother-daughter fashion show to raise funds for the gymnasts to attend Nationals in Boston, MA.
Episode 6 – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Sasha readies his girls for Nationals by planning an invitational with the Denver team.
Episode 7 – Run, Emily, Run
The Rock is gearing up for Nationals and with it comes more pressure, while Emily has to deal with the consequences of her actions.
Episode 8 – All’s Fair In Love, War and Gymnastics
Kaylie’s family throws the team a party before they head off to Nationals, but everyone’s problems hamper the evening. Among them are the Kaylie/Carter/Lauren love triangle and Payson’s underhanded methods of curing her back pain. Meanwhile, Chloe is struggling to make ends meet, but refuses to let Emily know of their latest financial struggles.
Episode 9 – Where’s Kaylie?
When Carter comes clean about his infidelity Kaylie takes off the night before leaving for Nationals, and the girls must track her down before it’s too late.
Episode 10 – All That Glitters
The girls’ training is put to the test as they compete in Boston for a spot on the U.S. National team.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is great with colors generally looking as how it was presented on ABC Family originally.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish as well.
“Making It” Featurette –
This runs 9 minutes and it’s your basic “making of” Featurette. It shows the girls working with their stunt doubles. You learn that the actors are shot in the approach and exit, and then ex-Olympians step in to do all the “in between” stuff. The actors also talk about their backgrounds, and the “boot camp” they had to go through in order to prepare for their roles.
Deleted Scenes –
There are 6 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of this half of the season. They total 10 minutes. Nothing that provides much more insight, and likely cut for time reasons.
Make It or Break It is like any other typical teenage soap, but with a good balance of gymnastics drama and teen drama in the first volume of this series. It will be interesting if they can keep up the momentum and not fall off the balance beam. For now, though, when it comes to this release, feel free to stick it in your DVD player.
ABC Studios Home Entertainment presents Make It Or Break It: Volume 1. Created by Holley Sorenson. Starring Chelsea Hobbs, Ayla Kell, Josie Loren, Cassie Scerbo, Zachary Abel, Susan Ward, Candace Cameron Bure, Peri Gilpin, Wyatt Smith, Neil Jackson, Anthony Starke, Mia Rose Frampton, Johnny Pacar, Rosa Blasi, Jason Manuel Olazabal, Brett Cullen, Erik Palladino, Marcus Coloma, and Nicole Gale Anderson. Running time: 430 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: January 12, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
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