On the second episode of ABC Family's Make It or Break It, a group of world-class teenage gymnasts fights off some scary-looking guys by doing cartwheels and back handsprings. Girl power via tumbling runs? That's when I knew I'd love this show.
Granted, the show wasn't a hard sell for me — or at least the part of me that gets obsessed with the Olympics every couple of years. But over the few weeks it's been on, Make It or Break It has become one of my favorite shows of the Summer. Why? A few reasons:
- The girls themselves. I love three of the four main characters — and the fourth is gaining fast. I adore perfect Payson, the champion good girl; devious Lauren, the troublemaker with daddy issues; and newbie Emily, the playground recruit who works a secret pizza parlor job to pay for the gym. I relate least to girly-girl Kaylie, who might want romance more than a gold medal, but she's growing on me.
- Ayla Kell. The serious perfectionist, Payson, could be the dullest character in the cast — but I am loving actress Ayla Kell, who gives Payson a sweet vulnerability to go with that tough tomboy exterior.
- The capers. In one episode, Kaylie does a fancy gymnastics trick on a keg at a party. In another, the girls use a climbing rope to swing Emily to an open window so she can make her shift at the pizza place. Turns out, standard teen show situations are just funnier when there's tumbling involved.
For more reasons and a fun video, just
- Bizarro Paige. Did you ever watch Degrassi: The Next Generation? Because Cassie Scerbo, who plays Lauren, looks a whole lot like Lauren Collins, who played Paige. So, to me, Lauren is basically Paige Michalchuk relocated to Colorado and devoted to gymnastics instead of cheerleading, and that's kind of a fun idea to kick around.
- The coach. The show took a while to bring out its hottie, but Neil Jackson as the British-accented coach, Sasha Beloff, will do just fine for me.
- The tricks. OK, so we're not always watching Olympic-level gymnastics — but the show sure tries. And while the actresses don't do their own flips, all the rest of the moves we see are their own. (For more on that, check out the video below.)
- The drama! And I'm not talking about just gold medal dreams here. I mean, one girl sleeps with another's secret boyfriend in, what, episode three? This show knows how to do high stakes.
OK, so tell me: Who else is watching tonight?
Photo copyright 2009 ABC Family