A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

Friday, March 26, 2010

it is the closest the irish will ever get to christmas.

Now, in light of other more horrifying, craptastic gymnastics-themed after school specials, what we're about to see here isn't that bad.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's BAD, but not as disturbing as the previous one.  This one actually had Cathy Rigby as a consultant, and it shows, however slightly.  I don't know what was going on during the 80-84 quad to make people think that the public needed to be enlightened to the atrocities in gymnastics, but there seemed to be this epidemic of hating the sport.

Well, perhaps this video will explain to us just why training in gymnastics is the worst thing you could ever allow your children to do, ever.

As always, let's start at the beginning.

The first thing we see is a vibrant, young couple frolicking on the beach.  The girl steals her boyfriend's hat, and then jumps on his back, because that's not annoying at all.  Since he's a bitty guy, he plummets to the sand, and naturally he lands nearly on top of her, as all teenage boys tend to do.*

*This is also shown in Make It or Break It, if you'll recall. 

It is seemingly the only way writers know to get their actors close enough to each other to convey that awkward, OMG WE'RE TOUCHING experience.

She rolls away from him, and teeters off to this branch/log of wood thing.  Which obviously becomes a beam to her, and she starts showing us some of her rocking gym moves.  I'm not going to lie, that's really corny, but kind of cute.  I mean, who of us didn't do that ALL OF THE TIME?  Plus, she has pretty hands, which I am quite the stickler for.  So already, I'm liking this show much more than the previous ASS (after school special, you sickos.)

So, am I on glue, or is this actress actually doing her own stunts?  According to IMDB, she was some sort of soap star by the age of 18, but I don't care about that crap.  I wanted to find out if she had any gym background.  Doesn't say.  They also don't have any stunt people listed.  And let's be honest... this doesn't look like a film with a budget big enough to hire doubles.  Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part.  Just the concept if using real gymnasts blows my mind.

OH MY FRICKING FRICK.  This actress also played Mary Angela on Friends!

Heck yeah. 

I knew I liked her.

Back to the real stuff.  She does a pretty front walkover on her driftwood before bowing to her boyfriend.  Cue conversation about how excited she is to train at "Wade's," which I'm assuming is the Karolyi's of their world.  Why, if she does well at Wade's, she could make it all the way to Nationals, maybe even the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.  But... she's worried because at this gym, she won't be the grand poobah anymore.  Small fish in a big pond, and all that.  They share a steamy smooch, and then it's time to go.  Like, right then.  No use wasting time, I suppose...

We pull up to the ranch, I mean Wade's.  Her parents do her bitch work while she runs off to check out the gym.  In one roundoff backhandspring, they show more feasible gymnastics than an entire episode of MIOBI.  This gym actually resembles a real gym, albeit a tiny 1970's one.  I mean, it actually has mats on the ground.  Same safety issues though, it seems, as Ginny (her name is Ginny, btw) sidles up right next to the beam while another girl is using it.

Ginny awkwardly stares at a young blonde girl on bars, who is obviously the HBIC.  She does some decent skills, for the 80s.  She does a toe-front dismount, and then hops right on beam.  Yup, seems like the ranch to me.  Miss Wade comes over to introduce herself, and brag about how good all of her girls are.  Ginny mentions that she's caught off guard, because she knew the other girls would be good, but not this good...  I wonder where this is going.

They cut to a busty girl on beam, who's doing her business.  However, when they show her going into her dismount, it's quite obviously a much smaller, younger girl.  Whatever.  I'm still impressed by the girls they found who could do gym.  Apparently Ginny knows this girl, Carla with the Boobs.  I'm sure they'll be fast friends.  Wade whisks Ginny off to check out the dorms, while the blonde HBIC gives her best Nastia bitchface.

It's not bad, for a young thing.  When asked who the new girl is, Carla with the Boobs tells HBIC that Ginny was last year's Oregon state champ, and she should be considered competition.  We get a cool "we'll see" from HBIC.  She's so cool.  Yes, we will see, won't we, HBIC.  We will see...

So Ginny's chilling in her room, unpacking, when the other girls start sprinting down the hall (I know that's the first thing I did after a nice, long workout.  Ran like a MF down a hallway.)  We overhear HBIC and Carla with the Boobs talking about Ginny. Naturally, being girls, they have to yell while they gossip, so Ginny also hears everything they have to say.  I can't really even understand it, but I think it's just the same crap they were saying at the gym.  HBIC comes in, and introduces herself, and is all fake-nice, as is the style in girl-world.  Ginny is just as catty back, and tells her "I'm Ginny Coker... from Oregon."  Bitch.  Dun dun DUNNN.

Next, we're shown the girls grubbing at lunch.  They even have real gym posters in the background, unlike the wacky, upside-down posters over at The Rock...

Some girl rudely asks Ginny to pass the salad, and Ginny hesitates... because she ate it all.  Girl, I have SO been there.  Now, what kind of gymnastics show would this be without the inevitable MUST LOSE WEIGHT conversation?  The salad bitch lets us know that if you're even a few ounces over competition weight "the great dictator" will put you on a green and beets diet.  I think that's what she said.  HBIC totally starts to troll Ginny, asking her if she thinks she can "make it all the way" this year, and "how old are you, Coker?"  I knew I liked this bitch.

"Sixteen, almost...seventeen."

"Really??  THAT old?"

This girl has game. 

Miss Wade barges in to inform us that since they have a very important regional meet (again, what's with the regionals??) coming up, so the "overweights" will have to be up one hour early, no breakfasts, morning runs and workouts instead, and only exercise, vitamins and lettuce for dinner. 


It's shit like this that chaps my ass about gymnastics shows.  Assume all you want that that's how every evil coach in the real world really handled things.  Maybe it was, how would I know?  But if they wanted to teach us about unsafe dieting, or the pressures on athletes to stay thin, then talk about it!  Suggest a healthier way to do it!  Don't just buy in to the scandalous lives of gymnasts and how they only eat lettuce and vitamins.  Furthermore, this film makes it seem pretty ok to implement those rules, and to refer to the girls as "overweights."  /rant.

Back to the show, Ginny is immediately added to the overweight list, because, well, she is rather busty.  And she ate all that salad.  Now there will be no lettuce left over for the other girls at dinner, humpf.  Back in the dorms, Ginny and Carla with the Boobs get into some competitive situps, because that's what girls who are put on the overweight list do.

At the next session, Ginny has to show her beam and bars to everyone in the gym.  She does alright, but she's lacking a bit in the difficulty department.  HBIC, the Bruno Grandi of the group, if you will, tells it like it is.

"She couldn't have won much with that simple routine..."

Miss Wade confirms HBIC's opinion, telling Ginny that with the low difficulty, that pesky weight problem, and being almost seventeen, well... they've got a lot of work to do.

Cue montage of the girls struggling during workout.  Miss Wade does some conditioning on the track with the girls, and runs like a banshee.  Do you remember that episode of Friends where Rachel is too embarrassed to run with Phoebe?  It's something like that.  Back at the gym, Miss Wade stands around with her clipboard, which seems to be the thing to do in these shows.  This part made me chuckle.  Ginny, while repeating this one transition she just can't seem to get, falls on her back JUST LIKE in the first ASS we saw.  Did it break her back?  No.  She just got up and tried it again.  Just like in the real world.  Ouch, and to rub salt in the wound, Miss Wade brings HBIC over to show Ginny how to really do the skill.  Poor HBIC, she had to get off of her perch.

A totally realistic spot for any girl to be chilling in the gym.  

I'm sure Martha totally lets Bross just hang out on beam all day. 

Ginny tries the skill yet again, but still can't get it.  Miss Wade suggests that she drop the skill, at least until after regionals (because it is such an important meet...)  Ginny doesn't like this idea one bit, because they were totally just telling her how she absolutely needed to up her difficulty.  But, whatever, what Miss Wade says goes.

Next, we're shown Ginny trying to bust into the gym late at night.  Miss Wade, seemingly with no other life, is hovering right outside of the gym, so she hustles over to inform Ginny that the doors are always locked at night, so that crazy bitches don't go in there to work out alone and then hurt themselves.  And then somehow Ginny gets sucked into helping Miss Wade clean the gym, so that blows. 

Finally, we're back at workout.  The girls are doing some wackadoodle vault drill where they run over elevated blocks and use a trampoline instead of a springboard.  Ginny starts off with a handspring, but tells Miss Wade that she'd like to try a tsuk.  Because you don't need to do drills or anything for a tsuk.  Just throw that shit.  Carla with the Boobs throws a handspring front, and lands on her ass.  Miss Wade bitches at her, telling her that her pre-flight is way too high.  SHE'S ON A TRAMPOLINE!!!  Of course it's high.

Then comes the random Asian girl...

This gif doesn't even do this fall justice.  The scream needs to be heard in order to really be appreciated. 

As we all know, all injuries are career ending, if not life threatening, so this poor girl is out of REGIONALS.  This will remind the rest of the girls to be careful, because if they get hurt, then who will compete at REGIONALS??

Maybe this is in Ginny's head while she's getting ready to throw her back tuck on beam.  Or it could be that she's watching HBIC do her awesome beam series of 3X BHS.  I love her so much.  Whatever it is, she's psyched out because she keeps missing her tuck.  This is all made worse by AGAIN overhearing all the girls gossiping about her back in the dorms.  HBIC is just telling it like it is, what with Ginny missing her dismount a dozen times, well, she won't even place at REGIONALS, let alone nationals or worlds.  Ginny, being all lurky, comes out from behind the corner and confronts HBIC about all this.  HBIC, being both bitchy and genuine, tells her that she's pretty good on floor, but she needs the back tuck to place on beam. 

Ginny's not putting up with that shit.  She somehow jacks the key to the gym, and busts in.  Bring on the creepy music.  Miss Wade somehow hears the key turn from like a mile away, and runs off to find out who's breaking into her gym.  The Ginnster throws one back tuck before Miss Wade is there to freak out at her.  Rightly so.  That's just a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Wade grounds her, puts her on the overweight list forever, and takes away the back tuck for REGIONALS.  Oh noes!  That's the final straw.  Ginny flips out at Miss Wade for being so tough and so mean.   What's a girl to do?  Run away to the nearest burger joint, of course.

The next morning, Ginny has her boyfriend pick her up from the burger shack.  She's already downing some fries before she even gets in the car.  She has a heart-to-heart in the car with her boyfriend, all the while stuffing her face with cheeseburgers.  Then, right after she gets home, we see her heaping piles and piles of mashed potatoes onto her plate at dinner.  Her parents look concerned, but eh... not really.

After dinner, Ginny waddles on down to the beach, and hops up on that old piece of driftwood.  She does a couple of moves, and then balks before throwing her back tuck.  She must just not love gymnastics anymore.

As she gets back to the house, she notices Carla with the Boobs, who has shown up inexplicably.  They see each other and start to scream, as girls are apt to do.  Seems Carla with the Boobs got booted from the gym, so she assumed she could commiserate with Ginny.  Seeing as how she quit and all.  Carla with the Boobs is stressing because her parents are going to think she's a failure, and that gymnastics is all she wants out of life.  Ginny starts to compare her having a bitch-fit and walking out to Carla with the Boobs' being cut, and we all know how annoying that shit is.  She lets Ginny have it, calling her out for being intimidated by HBIC, and for being a little wiener because she's not the best girl in the gym.  She ends her little speech with a "and now you'll never know, you dumb jerk."  It is literally the most random delivery of any line in the history of anything.

Motivated by her recent ass-chewing, Ginny goes out to the ole' piece of driftwood to work out.  And just like how Emily Kmetko can do her full bar routines on the monkey bars at the playground: this girl can throw back tucks on pieces of lumber on the beach!

Well wowee.  This is all it takes to remind her that she actually loves gymnastics, and she runs off to beg Miss Wade to take her back.

Miss Wade has no words, other than to tell Ginny that she's put on some weight.  She tells Wade she only gained a couple pounds (in like two days??  I feel you sister...) which only gives Wade the opportunity to put her on the overweight list for another billion years.

Cue really long training montage.  Ginny is shown getting better, and more importantly, thinner, while HBIC stews and gets all worried.  Ginny gets a rip and *snort* has to stay off the bars for the rest of the day.  Ok.  Sure.  

During this whole montage, I was trying to figure out if they were using stunt doubles or not.  If they are, then it is effing SEAMLESS, and MIOBI should be ashamed. 

Finally, we're at REGIONALS.  Or on the bus to regionals.  Miss Wade gives a weak little pep talk to both HBIC and Ginny, as they are the only two that matter.  Once they arrive at the meet, there's an establishing shot of the gym, and I have to admit I was relieved to see that they were doing real vaulting, as opposed to whatever trampoline nonsense they were doing back at home.

Cue yet another really long montage of the competition.  They pretty much just show HBIC and Ginny nailing all of their routines.  And by nailing, I mean landing their vaults Khorkina-styley.

Ginny sticks her final dismount, off of beam, and they immediately cut to HBIC being awarded her medal.  But wait... which podium is she on??  Why, she's on the 2nd place podium, which means Ginny wins!  Shocking.  After being awarded the world's tiniest medals, HBIC looks up to Ginny and tells her that she did alright... for an old lady.

See, I knew all along that HBIC was actually awesome.  She should have won too, in my opinion.  But that's neither here nor there.  The point is... well, I don't know what the point of all this was.  While entertaining, this ASS was especially pointless.  Just seemed to be yet another film made to purport the theory that gymnastics is horrible to all involved... unless they win.  Then everything is cool beans.


  1. A funny blast from the past! A bunch of those vinatge leotards are in my collection, check it out:


  2. I absolutely loved this little after-school special (I watched it about a month ago.) You're commentary was hilarious and spot-on. I just found your site a few days ago and I've been working through most of the posts. Great job!

  3. Oh man, this is hilarious. I watched this special on YouTube ages ago and snarked my way through it. Love the all-caps REGIONALS! And my goodness, they certainly did love those piano selections for floor routines--huge in the '70s, everyone had them. And if you're a fan of the '80s show The Facts of Life, Ginny was "Home Run Helen" in Season 2.

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