Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Make It or Break It. Haven't you missed it?
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't. However, I am also known for liking the crappiest, shittiest shows on television. Hello, Paradise Hotel? I love trashy TV.
So, recap from the first half of the season: Emily Kmetko was arrested at World Team Trials in a leotard because she janked some seizure meds from the pharmacy instead of calling 911 like normal people. Lauren is, as usual, a huge snatch and pissed at her dad for lying about her mother. Payson is aloof and only concerned about the whereabouts of her coach/lover, Sasha Belov. And Kaylie's in rehab for developing the inevitable eating disorder and passing out, where else, but on beam during Trials.
We open with a scene that proves I am far too old to be watching this show. The girls show up at the Rock for midnight training, totally normal, and are bitching about having to work out so late. Kaylie, in her new "team leader" role, reminds them that they've had to miss birthday parties and spring break, blah blah blah, so who cares about a little missed beauty sleep? Lauren doesn't give a shit, because at least the boys have to be there too.
Cut to the guys doing insane stunts like jumping to the rafters, some twisty crap, and I'm pretty sure they show McClure doing a high bar routine in reverse. Wowzers. So the girls are all WTF, until they realize the guys are now suddenly vampires.
Well that's just great. Since when are vampires bad? I thought every young teen quivered with excitement every time a studly, young vampire walked by. Whatever, these vampires aren't sparkling, so the girls spaz and jog slowly toward the exit. Payson, being the... least fit of the group is naturally the first to go. Lauren is seduced by that gross hag Carter, but Kaylie manages to escape the Rock. It's probably because she's so thin and agile.
So Kaylie is strolling leisurely through the foggy streets of Boulder/Los Angeles, when she sees another tall vampire approaching through the darkness.
Do you ever see girls who are horribly frightened, but just scream and don't move a muscle? Me neither.
I love how in real life, she's like 4 feet shorter than she is. But then for the close ups, they must have her stand on a box or something, because she is magically taller. That, or they make him stand in a ditch. They had to do that for the brother in The Wonder Years you know.
Sasha then pulls up in some speedster, and whisks Kaylie to safety. Except that now she's a vampire, and destroys him.
Turns out it was just a dream, which Kaylie was sharing with her therapy group at rehab. Her group leader is trying to get all that mushy crap out of her, and Kaylie is just not having it. She insists that she has no issue, and that she is just an intense athlete who needs to get the fuck out of dodge and back to training. This is also our first introduction to Skinny Minny, who is Kaylie's roommate in rehab.
Back at the Rock, the girls are pulling up in whatever minivans their mothers happen to be driving that day. Emily, again, chews the shit out of her mom, because all teenage girls are entitled to their parents doing everything for them flawlessly, and supporting their really expensive sports. Girl, if your mom can do nothing right, MOVE THE FUCK OUT.
Payson whines to her mother about losing her dream, yaddi yadda, and Lauren rolls up with Summer, because she's too mad at Daddy for lying to her about her druggie mom. Well Lauren, maybe that's karma's way of paying you back for being such a huge ho to everyone else on the show. Think about that.
The girls lounge around on the floor, eternally stretching, while some various extras do dip walks and full turns in the background. Those crazy extras. Since any and all official business happens at the gym, Emily's probation officer shows up to meet with some random "National Gymnastics Association" asshole, and various parents. Her spot on the World's team is in jeopardy until this little committee snoops around enough and decides whether or not Emily's personal life is up to snuff with her athletic life. The team is scheduled to go to Denver over the weekend for an exhibition showcasing local talent in order to support a Denver bid for the 2018 Olympics, and Em wants to be there. They decide she can attend, but only IF she wears- GASP- an ankle monitoring bracelet. Oh the shame.
Well hello, Miss Tasha!
The girls arrive in Denver, only to be greeted by that pesky Denver Gymnastics team, lead by that delightfully bitchy Kelly Parker. Kelly lets the girls know that she is hell bent on jacking one of their World team spots, which will naturally be determined by who performs best at the exhibition. Because that's TOTES how it works in real life.
Austin shows up with a "hot" new friend named Max, who instantly gets creepy with Payson.
Lauren, being the hormonal slut that she is, is all "HAIL NO" and is all over Max like white on rice. The group tries to convince Max to choose Boulder over that cesspool Denver.
The girls visit Kaylie at rehab for 45 seconds, and then peace out of there. But not before Emily compares having to wear a bracelet to Kaylie having a life-threatening eating disorder. TOTALLY the same thing.
Of course, there is the quintessential dance party scene. Lauren is all slutted up, ready to get all up on Max. So she's pumped when he shows up, wanting to take pictures.
Payson looks truly gorgeous, while Lauren throws up a duck face, and Emily looks homely. I wonder which girl he'll go for? But then, OH DRAMA, turns out Carter (Kaylie's ex-BF who stuck it in Lauren a while back, and mysteriously moved away from the Rock) is now training at Denver, and is probably sticking it in Kelly Parker now. Lo is PISSED. However does one solve such a dilemma? One answer: SLUT OFF.
For an ABC Family show, this is some awfully racy dancing. The girls try to one-up each other, with Kelly tossing a Jersey Turnpike, and Lauren essentially just throwing a leg up on Max and riding him.
To ruin the fun, Emily is sitting at a table all alone, until Austin throws her a bone and offers to dance with her. Because she's just too damn moody, she says no, and explains to him how awful her life is, and how shitty her mom is. Austin, in the first blip of reality in the whole show, tells Emily to fuck off, and to stop blaming her mom for everything. FINALLY. Enough of this whining teenage garbage.
Back at Case de Kmetko, we see the lovely Chloe Kmetko getting dolled up for her cocktailing job at the strip club. When who should knock on the door but that intrusive National Gymnastics Association asshole. Dude, you're not social services. He just thought he'd stop by late at night to check out the real haps on where Emily lives. Chloe lets him know that she was just about to leave for work, and then ever the asshole, NGA guy is all "At 9pm??" Bitch, some people have night jobs! Get over it. And then he discovers, in the horror of horrors, EMILY DOES NOT HAVE HER OWN ROOM. Sweet Jesus no. She'll never make it to the Olympics without her own bedroom, don't you see?? Chloe, being the one lovely, believable, endearing character on the show tells him what's what, and kicks him out. But not before giving him a bitchface that puts Nastia/Bogi/Musty to shame.
Back at the raging party, Payson learns from Kelly Parker than Sasha is hiding in Denver, so her mom runs out to find him. She locates him immediately at some boxing club, where he confirms that he's bailing, and going back to Romania. Oh, that's right, Bela's his dad. Lest we forget.
Time for the exhibition! Emily is having a stroke because she's worried about people seeing her ankle bracelet, until Austin unpacks a bag full of the ugliest leg warmers I've ever seen. So they're ALL covering their ankles, and not just Emily. How sweet.
Denver begins their show, which involved a lot of back handsprings and twisting. Have you ever noticed in this show how they always make a "whoosh whoosh woosh" noise whenever someone twists? There was a lot of whooshing today.
Following Denver is the Rock, with a considerably sassier number for all to see. I'm having a hard time figuring out the setup for all this. I see a tumble track, but are the mats just mats? Or are they on top of a floor? They're throwing full-ins and arabian double/half outs, so I have a hard time believing they're just some blue mats on top of grass.
The girls are sassing it up, having a jolly old time, until Emily, Payson, and Lauren get on beam. Emily gets into a side handstand, when SHAME of all SHAME, her legwarmer slips down and the crowd sees her ankle bracelet! Whatever will the children think????
Emily has a meltdown and bails off of beam, and runs off. And just stands there. After some painfully awkward moments, Max jumps on stage and starts throwing some flairs on the vaulting table. The show is saved! The crowd goes wild, and that misfit Emily is forgotten. Oh, until she jumps back onstage and makes some wildly unwelcome speech about being such a failure and a disgrace and generally making everyone feel more uncomfortable than they did before.
After the exhibition, Austin Tucker finally comes to visit Kaylie at rehab. She asks him point blank if he is really "falling for her," and when he says yes, she admits that she too is falling for him. He tells her to back off, and focus on rehab. She does not like this response.
That is the face I make throughout most of the show.
The girls go back to Boulder, and Chloe, being the best person on the show, switches her room with Emily, so that brat can have her own room. Lauren moves home to be with her creep ass dad, and Payson puts Sasha's medals in a drawer. Maybe she's not obsessed with him anymore? I don't know.
We end back at rehab with Kaylie and Skinny Minny. Skinny reveals to Kaylie that she's not down with treatment at all, that she's just a model who's faking it so she can get out of that joint and get back to modeling ASAP. Kaylie is thrilled with this info, and the girls plot their escape from rehab.
And thus, we end our first revisit back to the crazy world of the Rock. Whatever will happen to these horrible teenagers? Will Kaylie bust out of rehab, skinny as ever? Probably. Will Emily continue to be an intolerable bitch? Most likely. Will Lauren finally get an STD or something to result from her evil, slutty ways? Also likely. Will Payson continue to just be there, reminding us in every way that these girls are not real gymnasts?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
This edition of WTF Wednesday is disturbing at best.
Now, I don't get what you'd call "tons" of views. After all, who am I but just a sad, lonely blogger trying to stay warm during a snowy LATE MARCH? (Eff you, Minnesota. EFF. YOU.)
But I can see the few who read here, to an extent, and how they find this little gem of a site. Sometimes it's kind of fun to check what search terms are being used to get here. 99% of the time, it's "spanny smile," "gymnastics barbie," "copterlegs," or "horrifying hair." In which case, I am doing my job. That is the kind of mindless crap I like to focus on.
Then there is that remaining 1%. You weird motherfuckers. I can see what you're searching, and I don't like it.
Perhaps this stupid TMZ story is to blame, I don't know. Regardless, you will not be finding such pictures on this website, athankyouverymuch.
I blurred out the actual name (it was not Carly), because I'm not sure she's even 18 yet. And even if she is, GROSS PEOPLE.
Inappropriate. Also, Chellsie flexing? Is there some creepy video of that out there somewhere? Is it viral, like Alicia sacking a guy in the face? (No pun intended. Still kind of funny though.)
In summation, I would like to let all the internet creepers out there know that I CAN SEE YOU. And you best not be creepin' around my shit no mo'.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
SCAM: Part Two. If you'll recall, we had the score at 1-1. Wieber took the first event with a clean, tight vault, while Mustafina won uneven bars with a hit, innovative routine.
On to beam. Despite Mustafina having a .3 lead in start value, this wasn't much of a contest. Musty had a couple of sizable errors, while Jordyn hit the routine of her life. Again, I don't see much a debate here, but just for clarity-
The next complaint is inevitably the low chest on her full. To which I say: it's a full. I understand it's a deduction, so by all means, take it. Personally, I love the skill, so a low chest doesn't bother me much. If you're picking your teeth with your knees, ala Shawn Johnson, then maybe. This doesn't seem so bad.
I know a lot of people were wondering what was up when Jordyn downgraded her double pike to the 2.5, but after seeing this meet, I absolutely agree with the decision. Lovely twist, as Jordyn does, and a nice landing. Hey, it worked for Nastia. Maybe easier and cleaner is the way to go.
Just to reiterate, Jordyn nailed the crap out of this set, with nary a wobble. Keep this in mind.
Mustafina, when she hits, can have a decent beam set. It is a rare occasion that she hits her connections, but when she does, they are well worth the wait. What's baffling is that she only seems to pull them out when it absolutely counts. I remember watching world team finals, and thinking to myself
"Oh, it's just Musty. She'll beef her connections, just like she always does..."
Imagine my surprise. Since then, I have accepted that when it counts, Musty will nail the shit out of her connections. She is nothing if not a total baller.
However, the rest of the routine was not so good. She created her own little scale after her double turn, and then helicoptered the crap out of her dismount. Girl needs to ditch her triple full, like yesterday. She needs to twist as little as possible. It's not getting around, it's terrifying, and I fear she will break her ankles on live television.
2-1, Jordyn Wieber.
True to the NBC wet dream, it all came down to the final event.
Why did Jordyn get to go after Aliya? That's kind of scammy, but all the same, Mustafina hit the floor first. Things did not go so well. Despite debuting a new routine, which I happen to like much more than her previous one, Aliya just did not have that confident spark that she always seems to have. The whole routine was flat. A hot topic was her new 3.5. To which I reply: yikes yikes. It was not a pretty skill. I am of the opinion that until you can do the easier skill cleanly, you probably shouldn't upgrade.
Both girls had similar crappy turns. Aliya fell out of her triple, which she usually hits well. It boggles my mind every time someone reports that she is trying to add another turn to her Memmel. Again, master one skill before you move on.
This is where the scandal returns. Mustafina lost her legs a bit, and crashed on her arms during her barani. Obvious fall, right? Not if you're Tim Daggett, who seems to think it "might" be considered a fall. Bitch, it's a fall. The tricky question is, which part fell first? Feet first, and it's just a fall. However, if her hands hit first, which they did, then that negates the skill, leaving Musty without a required pass. That's an additional .5 off of her start score.
The judges gave Aliya the benefit of the doubt, and did not dock her start value.
The final routine belonged to Jordyn Wieber. Despite a shaky start, Jordyn calmed down and nailed her final two passes, scoring well enough to overtake Mustafina, crushing artistry trolls all over the world.
The first two passes were not great. She bounced out of bounds, but despite what Tim Daggett says, with only one foot and not two. The triple was off-kilter, and she took a Khorkina-esque cover up step. As mentioned before, she hopped right out of her turn.
I would like to, again, point out the leaps. THE LEAPS.
The second is a bit cheated, but is there any question as to whether or not they're 180?
Just to be fair.
Regarding the last picture, this proves that one can do a turning leap without T-Rex arms. NASTIA.
People will debate this, but floor obviously goes to Wieber. She didn't fall. She didn't miss a requirement.
Final score: Aliya Mustafina-1. Jordyn Wieber- 3.
In conclusion, despite an American winning in a last minute upset, there was no SCAM this year. If judges threw anyone favors, they were given to the world champion. All she needed to do was not fall, and the title was hers. She failed this mission, so Jordyn swiped it.
For the record, this is the first SCAM in probably ten years that I have watched more than once. Despite it being messy and full of scandal, this meet was super exciting. It's great to have some competition, and to not know who the winner will be a month before the meet.
Monday, March 7, 2011
A lot of gymnastics went down this past weekend. Most notably the American "SCAM" Cup.
There are lots of opinions floating around the gymnternet right about now. I will only be addressing mine, which is:
Seriously, everyone needs to just shut. up.
Starting with Al, Tim and Elfi. I mean, they were offensive to EVERYONE. Everyone sucked, Musty is nothing but a diva, Jordyn is pissing off the world, and HQS is that "Chinese woman."
"Mustafina is glaring at the monitor because there was just a presentation for the Magnificent 7." SHUT UP.
"In 1996, Khorkina took off her medal, whipped it around her head, and threw it in the trash." SHUT UP.
"I ran into Alexandrov in the hotel, and when I mentioned Jordyn Wieber, he turned into the hulk and ripped his shirt off." SHUT UP.
"I totally speak Russian now, and I overheard Alexandrov telling Aliya to do the easy routine." SHUT UP.
"Welp, I'm just going to kick my feet up and relax while Mustafina clinches her first American Cup title." SHUT UP.
"What are the chances of both Aly Raisman and Alicia Sacramone both making it to London? Five unicorns out of twenty leprechauns." SHUT UP.
"Oh wait, Aly Raisman is still here? Shit." SHUT UP.
"That is a disaster. That might be a fall, that might be up to five tenths off." SHUT UP.
"She said she has no idols. Not even Khorkina. KHORKINA." SHUT UP.
"Ugh. She fell on a super nice switch ring. So fucking silly." SHUT UP.
These people have no business commentating on gymnastics.
What is possibly more upsetting than the Trio's ignorance, however, is the gymnastics community's response to them. People believe what they say, wholeheartedly, when we should all know better. Just because Tim Daggett says it DOES NOT MAKE IT SO. Now THAT is Gymnastics 101.
Let's discuss the meet, shall we?
I will preface this rant with the fact that I am pro-Jordyn Wieber, and I'm not all that into Aliya Mustafina. I thought at Worlds, while clearly the deserving winner, she was grossly overscored on almost all events. She should have won even with real scores, so I don't understand why judges seem so blind to her faults. I also don't see the ARTISTRY that every is always on about. Aside from some lovely carriage and upper-body posture, she doesn't DO anything. How can I rave about her choreography and interpretation of the music when she's NOT MOVING?
However, I went into the American Cup with an open mind. I wanted a clean meet, and I wanted fair scores. I was very excited to see who was the legit winner when both of these requirements were applied.
Unfortunately, this did not happen.
It was obviously NOT a clean meet, and the scores were out of control.
There are a lot of ins and outs in gymnastics, especially with the open code, and the million zany deductions there seem to be. It's a lot to learn, and even the most experienced of fans will inevitably miss something.
But a lot of what happened this weekend was hard to miss.
Let's start with vault. We had a great chance to compare two vaults. The same vault, done two very different ways.
A leg separation to start, a very early twist off the table, impeccable twisting, with a great landing.
That vault was followed by this
Which one looks better? Which one was cleaner, more dynamic, more complete?
Despite the very obvious differences, the judges only scored these two vaults mere tenths apart. Now, what is the point of having an open-ended code, with a zillion deductions all worth at least a tenth, if not to differentiate routines that are vastly different? We might as well go back to giving every vault a 9.962 and have a 14-way tie for first place.
I'm not going to lie, I didn't even cap UB. Mustafina's UB is HOT, and even without Jordyn's fall, she obviously cleans house on this event.
But it's fair to say that Jordyn won vault, while Aliya won uneven bars, is it not? 1-1. Let's keep that in mind.
But it's fair to say that Jordyn won vault, while Aliya won uneven bars, is it not? 1-1. Let's keep that in mind.
I did do beam and floor, and I'll post those tomorrow. I don't want to have a gazillion pictures in one post.
But here's a preview.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I know, I know. NBC would have you think otherwise, but there actually were other successful American gymnasts before Mary Lou. Did you know that the classy Kathy Johnson won the second annual American Cup in 1977? True story. Now, granted the competition wasn't all that tough, but nevertheless it still happened. While she would valiantly attempt to recapture her title, the next few years belonged to those pesky Soviets.
1980 brought a changing of the guard. Tracee Talevera led the charge, and paved the way for a slew of Americans to win the prestigious (just imagine Tim Daggett saying it in your head) American Cup. The first half of the decade consisted of either present or soon-to-be Karolyi kids beating various Romanians, and the occasional Chinese or Hungarian. The Soviets returned around 1986, but sadly, Baraksanova and Strazheva were no match for the limber Kristie Phillips. Some might argue that this was when the meet started to get a little scammy.
Americans continued to eek wins out over the competition for the next ten years. Then, in 1997, a turn of events. Lifetime gym fans will remember this meet as the first time we got to see a young Vanessa Atler blow a meet what was guaranteed to be hers. Alas, in a show that was to be indicative of the rest of her career, Nessa suffered a shocking loss to the super-innovative Elvire Teza. A similar story repeated itself to allow Viktoria Karpenko to win the Cup the following year. While Jennie Thompson somehow managed to set the ship upright in 1999, the first Scam of the new millennium belonged to fan favorite Elena Produnova, who beat out young American upstarts such as Morgan White and the sassy Tasha Schwikert.
Americans didn't pick up steam again until 2002, when Tasha Schwikert, who stepped in last minute two years before, finally won her title. This was also the time when the American Cup format started to get a little iffy. In 02, the USA "only" had three participants. However, the following year, the powers that be figured such a number was unacceptable, and instead decided to up the number to four. Meaning HALF of the field would be Americans. So it was absolutely shocking when the Americans placed 1-4 in 2003.
The next five years were a huge qualification mess. Formatting was clearly a non-issue. You want event finals only? Go for it! You want four Americans to qualify? Sure thing! Oh wait, only two Americans? You got it! The only thing that remained consistent from year to year would be the winner.
The last two years have been no different. Jordyn Wieber and Rebecca Bross won their respective meets, solidifying the legend that is the American Cup.
But all that changes this year.
This year's field, being one of several World Cup meets, was dictated by the all-around results at the World Championships in Rotterdam. In theory, the top eight girls from worlds would have a rematch in Florida. While a fine idea in theory, the reality is that most of those girls rendered unable to compete this weekend. Lame. Bross is recovering from surgery, Jiang Yuyuan is being sent to Canada instead, and a host of other girls have either declined or have injured out.
But rest assured, the remaining line up is not too shabby. The meet still features the current world champion, Aliya Copterlegs Mustafina. Form issues aside, she is a favorite to win. My very own favorite headcase, Huang Qiushuang, also stands to impress. In her second American Cup, Aly Raisman has impressed even the most hardened AHHTISTRY buffs with her obvious effort to work on her flexibility and presentation. Ariella Kaeslin and Jessica Lopez are Scam veterans and longtime fan favorites. Australian Lauren Mitchell has had an absolute beast of a season, and Hannah Whelan shows that not all British gymnasts are horrifying on floor.
The game changer has been the addition of Jordyn Wieber to the field. Originally the alternate, Jordyn got the call to compete when Whelan's teammate Nicole Hibbert (she of the hair) injured out.
Now, some have already deigned this move proof that the SCAM will always be a part of the American Cup. As if Martha had her cohorts fly to GB, set Hibbert's board wrong ala Lauren Tanner, all in hopes that the USA would be able to field another gymnast who was capable of at least giving Mustafina a run for her money. Evil as Martha may be, this was not the case.
Regardless of how it came to be, Jordyn's addition to the group really makes this an interesting meet. It is absolutely fair to say that this is the most anticipated American Cup in YEARS, if not ever. Girls from three different countries have realistic shots of winning the thing. The remaining girls have outside chances as well, if others fall, which they always do. (HELLO, HQS.) The field, as Al Trautwig says, is wide open.
Speaking of Trautwig, won't someone PLEASE think of the fluffs! There is no excuse for NBC to ignore all of the amazing fluff potential this year. We have it all: comebacks, world champions, the underdog. Are you listening to me, NBC? NO. EXCUSE.
So there you have it. A not-so-brief history of our very own American Cup. And since we have a whole 50-some hours to go, I figure I'd entertain the masses with a preview of this weekend's meet.