I'm a sucker for girly movies about athletics. The Cutting Edge, Bring it On, Stick It...all suck me in with their numerous cable viewings, and hell, I own two of them on DVD. Just something about young women kicking ass in sports is inspirational. Especially since lord knows I could never do that crap.
So I was really excited to hear about ABC Family's new series Make It or Break It about some high school level gymnasts. I was concerned how the show would structure itself to fit into a weekly hour drama format, since it seems like the kind of idea that is best served by a movie. After all, it's going to lead up to the big competition where the main character conquers adversity to win, right?
And I think that's going to end up being true, but on the way, there are many twists and turns with relationships between the characters, including in a nice change, the lives of the parents of the kids.
The main character of the show is Emily, a promising gymnast whose family has moved to Boulder, Colorado, so she can train at The Rock (a very prestigious gymnastics facility) with head couch Marty. Emily can only afford to be there because she received a scholarship. Her mom is an Erin Brokovich-esque character, single mom, hoping to find work at a salon, dresses like a ho because she likes it blah blah, which sets up the usual "daughter acting as the mother" cliche. But the characters are likeable so it works.
In the pilot we are introduced to the other main characters: the other three girls at the gym, including the wildly bitchy Lauren, their parents, Marty, the head coach, and Alex Cruz, the owner of the gym. Due to Emily's skill, Lauren gets pushed out of a bid to go to Nationals and in retaliation gets her to Dad to lure Marty away to a new gym. This leaves Emily and the other gymnasts high and dry without a head coach.
There's the usual teen drama plots: Emily has two possible suitors, one of the other girls is involved in a forbidden relationship with a male gymnast, Lauren's Dad is involved with his secretary (played by Candice Cameron!), the wife of the owner of the gym is having an affair with Marty, etc. etc. While nothing here is really original, the acting and writing of the show is well done and I find myself rooting for the characters.
As I noted above, there's actually a lot of time spent on the interactions and relationships between the adults on the show which is a nice touch. Clearly ABC Family wants this to be the kind of show that parents and kids can watch, at least the female members of the family, and I think they have succeeded.
So, if you enjoy movies like Bring it On and Stick It, you'll probably also like Make It or Break It. It's a harmless bit of teen fluff with bonus gymnastics! The show airs Mondays at 9pm on ABC Family.