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The Show You Love to Hate & Vice Versa
(18 votes, average 3.78 out of 5)

Like many old weekly soaps, such as Dynasty and Dallas, Make It Or Break It has succeeded in generating interest via unbelievable story lines and unscrupulous characters.

I wrote an unflattering review of Make It Or Break It before it came out last fall, and then watched about half of the episodes before giving up. I expected all the gymnastics cliches, which came in abundance. But I suppose the infamous gas-station scene — where Kaylie and friends did cartwheel flip-flops to ward off their would-be assailants — told me I should have been doing something more important, like disinfecting the kitchen trash can or expressing the anal glands of our Basset hound (don't ask).

Even though I fully understand I am not among the target audience for this show, I decided to tune in again last night, just to see what I had missed and why people love to hate it — and hate to love it. Afterward, my only regret was that I'll never get that hour back again.

Here are 10 observations from MIOBI:

1. Including actual gymnastics in a show supposedly set in a gymnastics club has become too much of a hassle for the producers. Last night's gymnastics scenes totaled about 20 seconds. Apparently, the interior of the Rock is about as boring as, well, the inside of any gym. And the daily grind of workouts is even drier. Instead, why not jet (privately!) to L.A. for a party or two? And Payson can get another doctor's opinion while there. Now that's creative, if not convenient, script writing. Is it just me, or does the plot have a "Make It Up As We Go Along or Break It" feel?

2. The sequence of Emily tucking after a pirouette and then slinging a double flyaway was certainly interesting, considering the stunt double was obviously about to jump off. It reminded me of American Anthem, when Mitch Gaylord's high bar dismount at the big meet somehow hovered over the ground forever as the camera panned the emotions of every other cast member. He probably did a quintuple-twisting octuple by the time they showed him land.

3. Lauren is the best tumbler on the team; she flip-flopped on BFF Kaylie last night, just like she does with every other character, for that matter. But you already knew that.

4. Payson looked really confident strolling the red carpet, despite the back brace. Maybe it was the experience she gained earlier in the season when her team put on its own fashion show.

5. The line "Goodnight, Butterfly" made my two teenaged kids laugh and roll their eyes.

6. Emily and her boyfriend seem to speak in text.

7. It was odd to see a promo for Secret Life of an American Teenager, plugging an appearance by Shawn Johnson. (BTW, happy 18th, Shawn.) My daughter said, "Shouldn't she be on MIOBI?"

8. I wonder if, say, Bridget Sloan, works part-time at a pizza joint. "Marta, is it OK if I miss the first two days of training camp? I couldn't get anyone to cover my shifts — not even my mother."

9. The music is the best part of this show.

10. The music is the best part of this show. (Sorry, but out of complete indifference, I could only come up with nine observations.)

Feel free to add a 10th to the list.

Comments (16)add comment

Kylie said:

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I dont know where the script writer gets there facts but they didnt do their homework very well.
Coaches dont get to pick who goes to what competition, they also dont pick a gym for the national team to train at, other than the olympics national champs dont "jet set" across the country for pool parties and like you said it is a gymnastics show yet there is barely any gymnastics shown and the skills that are shown are not even close to elite level.
 
January 19, 2010
Votes: +2

Hello Kitty said:

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MIOBI
The show might be unbelievable and stupid, but for once we have a show for GYM fans, not a movie but a show. I hang out every week to download each episode (I'm from outside the USA), it's addictive.
All I have to say is: "GO ROCK!" smilies/grin.gif
 
January 19, 2010 | url
Votes: -1

KW said:

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...
10. They say to be contending for the olympics but yet there difficulty level is not even at an elite level (in my opinion...).
 
January 19, 2010
Votes: +0

Liz Mitchell said:

Liz Mitchell
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I think that the day-to-day grind of gym practice, school, homework and ice buckets ON THE SURFACE doesn't sound that interesting, so the writers added all this over the top drama to add some interest. BUT I think what they're missing is that the hard work, the disappointments, the overcoming of obstacles, the friendly rivalries, etc. (the more subtle things) COULD make for an EXCELLENT show... but it's like they had to "dumb it down" to what they thought viewers would like. I watch it, despite it faults, b/c hey, at least it's a show about gymnastics, and some parts of it I do enjoy. For example, can you imagine how Payson feels w/ her injury? This is something more based in reality, I think. Think Kerri Strug w/ her bad fall in '94. Yes, she came back from it, but any injury like that can take out the most talented gymnast, and then often times ends up being an advantages for other gymnasts to take home medals they might not have been able to before. Another example along the same lines, Milo at the 94 Worlds: She was in better physical shape than Miller but she just didn't compete as well. She SHOULD have won but didn't. Life isn't fair that way. The brunette (can't think of her name) "won" the Nationals in MIorBI b/c Payson wasn't there, even though she prob. wasn't the most talented gymnast there. So...I think that part is realistic and interesting.

One thing I really don't like though: the Kmetko girl's mother. Too over the top, too unbelievable. What would be wrong with a "normal" single working mother? Sheesh...
 
January 20, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

Tupelo said:

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I will never watch it. There are enough things to keep us dumbed down in this world - a really bad show about a sport I love portrayed so dramatically over the top is not a waste of time that I need. People will watch anything, won't they?
 
January 20, 2010
Votes: -1

Mike said:

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Ok it is stupid and not the real world of gymnastics any real gymnast can see that. But Maybe just maybe it will drive a few new bodies into the gyms.
 
January 21, 2010
Votes: +1

Kim Dowis said:

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Well, I do have to say that this show may be entertaining, but it is completely ridiculous at times. I remember an episode a few weeks ago where the girls were on beam, but they were talking to each other during the routines and standing pretty much on top of the beam while one girl went. That does not happen in real life, well at least not at my gym. I do love how they are Olympic contenders, but are doing level 8 routines. The writers need to do there homework and spend a week in a gym to find out what really happens. The movie stick it is more real than this show
 
January 21, 2010
Votes: +2

Retired Gymnast said:

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I think you are all missing the boat on how exciting a show about gymnastics on television every week is... Haven't you heard that bad press is better than no press? We should all be thankful that there is a show completely devoted to gymnastics! Of course there are other storylines. All shows have other storylines. Imagine ER or Grey's Anatomy without all of the drama and relationships, etc-- just different scenarios of surgery and emergencies... very boring. As much as we all love gymnastics, it would be boring to the average viewer to watch these girls work out and compete every episode without some type of social interaction outside the gym. Believe it or not, there are plenty of non-gymnasts that watch this show and they come back each week anticipating the next story to unfold-- all without complaining about the lighting in the gym or some other Hollywood added aspect of the show. If Make it or Break It does not make it, it will be very disappointing, and partly due to those in the gymnastics community who are not supportive of it due to the addition of much needed direction and production of people not versed on gymnastics the same way that we are.
 
January 21, 2010
Votes: +3

ModelGymnast said:

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Incredibly Funny Review
I laughed when I read this article, because of the way it was written and I agreed with it so much. I feel really embarrassed watching the show; that's how poorly written it is. I want to like it because as someone previously mentioned, it is so nice to have something gymnastics-related on television regularly. The girls aren't very pretty either, but I guess that's the category most gymnasts fall into anyway. Nonetheless, perhaps the show will set the table for better things yet to come.
 
January 23, 2010
Votes: -2

alexandrite105 said:

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thank you, retired gymnast, my thoughts exactly. i could not have said it better! i think people are being way too critical about the show, especially when it comes to the level of gymnastics on the show. these are actors, new ones at that, who need stunt doubles to do the gymnastics pieces. what elite do you know would risk injury for an abc family tv show?!?! hello! of course they aren't going to do real elite skills. this is how injury happens, and if an injury is going to happen, it better be because they're training for a real meet.

as far as what kylie said about how gyms and coaches are picked and gymnasts flying across the country, sure, it may not be completely accurate to real usag, but why is that so important? it's just a tv show that puts gymnastics on the map a little more.
 
January 25, 2010
Votes: +0

Gizmogymns said:

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This article was spot on! The actors don't even have half of the typical gymnast bodies not alone the faces of them running down the vaulting runway in slow motion are absolutely hysterical!
 
January 25, 2010
Votes: +0

wayexgymnast said:

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More believable than...
I know I've been out of gymnastics for quite some time, and therefore a little out of touch, but the show's inaccuracies don't bother me as much. Maybe because the gymnastics has gotten a little better than the ridiculous vaults from last season's opener. Maybe it's because I spent some time acting and understand that what works in real life, doesn't necessarily play on stage or on screen. Maybe because someone tried to explain the figure skating level/competition system to me the other day with no success and I was reminded that what makes sense to people who know gymnastics is not common sense to others. Barring all that, after watching Secret Life prior to Make it or Break it- I KNOW that it's at least more believable than the way the teens talk about sex on Secret Life, not to mention their god-aweful acting!
 
January 26, 2010
Votes: +3

LG said:

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And Dwight, you *are* being a bit too critical and missing the point of the show. And I'm writing this, not as a teenager, but as someone who is probably older than you and has spent nearly as long in gymnastics. I think Retired Gymnast said it best. She obviously understands what works on television. The comparisons with ER were very apropos: I have friends who are doctors in big city emergency rooms. They don't see as much drama in a year as they packed into one episode.

Although I agree that the show has had laughable gymnastics and over the top drama and soap opera quality script-writing, it obviously serves a purpose and fills a need. It would be nice if the writers would take some of the criticism to heart and maybe work on believability. If Liz Mitchell is available, I think they should hire her.smilies/cheesy.gif

Model Gymnast: Your comments about how unattractive the actors are fall under the category of embarrassing, and your snide comment about real gymnasts' looks even more so - not to mention being completely irrelevant to the quality of the show.
 
January 29, 2010
Votes: +1

Dwight said:

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LG, maybe you're right. I admit I'm not the target audience. I agree about ER, too, although it seemed there were at least several characters with integrity, not that that's a requirement of a TV series. By the way, have you seen the "Make It Or Break It Recap" by a group of UCLA students on YouTube? I don't know how they managed to keep a straight face.
 
January 29, 2010
Votes: +0

EatSleepGymnastics said:

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:/
I am a 13 year old girl and can do most of the stuff in this show...(the gym i mean)...and i am level 7...no where near even elite! but i suppose its all the gym doubles can do, a real olympic contender would actually be too busy contending for the olympics!! i dont really think you can win lol. im glad there is something about gym on tv (well i watch on youtube but y'get my point). not as good as stick it though, that movie is grawesome smilies/smiley.gif
i like documentaries about gymnastics too smilies/cheesy.gif
 
February 07, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

gymbagbaby said:

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I think you guys are being stupidly nit picky about this. Its just a tv show!!!
Its just a tv show! Not a documentary. A tv show! Give it a rest. You all sound like totally typical insecure and green with jealousy little girs!
Im a nationally ranked gymnast for 12 years and it is just a fun show! Its not .
supposed to be real. Got that? Not real. It wouldnt be as amusing if it were! Now stop with the childish nit picking and grasping at straws just because you were not picked to be on this show its annoying and very unattractive quality! Its just like when girls go on and on about Britney Spears or whatever. JEALOUS! And you know it....
 
February 28, 2010
Votes: +0

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