Let's start from the very beginning.
We begin our magnificent journey at the Rock. The gym's main bitches roll up, and we know this because they each pull in to their assigned parking spaces. This is the first and only time we see that Daddy Tanner has a whole hummer dedicated to the cause of pimping out his daughter.
Team Tanner my ass. More like Team Bang All of the Ladies in the Gym. Next, Kaylie shows up decked out in head to toe pink. Again, this is a trend that didn't last long. I'm assuming Nastia put the kabosh on that. They are followed by the Keelers, in their ratty old wagon. This must mean they're poor. The three main bitches are just showing up, but workout is already in full swing for the lowly minions.
This is our first introduction to the various levels of background talent. Some girls can do flyaways. Others stand around like Santa. This girl sports a Ponor-esque super mega high cut leotard monstrosity. This must have been way before the GK sponsorship.
That leo just screams 1997 Reese's Cup. Gross, our first taste of Creepy Carter. With his ragamuffin haircut and butt chin. He stalks Kaylie from across the gym.
In an homage to LGIPB, and all Lifetime movies, the other moms in the viewing room get up to let the Cryptkeeper (who isn't nearly as cryptkeeperish in the beginning) and Payson's mom sit in the front row. Urban legend has it that only the mothers of the HBICs (read: Kristie Phillips) were allowed to sit in the front row at the gym. So move over, second string bitches.
We see Lauren stretching out with the rest of the beginners, proving to us that she is able to sit in a seal stretch. Way to go, sweetheart!
The girl on the right looks just as thrilled as I am. Do they always use underage extras? I feel like we don't see as many little ones as the season goes on. Some of the SAG kids walk over and ask Payson for an autograph. She's just too "focused" to hear them, but Lauren gives her a mighty pimp slap, and she wakes up long enough to oblige the kids.
Lauren, Payson, and Kaylie make some small talk about Boston, which is where Nationals are held this year. This is where things get a little murky. Lauren refers to the meet as their "last Nationals," and then they all blather on about the Olympics. However, we all know that these little nuggets still haven't gone to the Olympics, so who knows when/if that will actually ever happen.
The three yack on as if they had just met, and never discussed gymnastics before. They hit all of the tradition gymnastics stereotypes, restricted eating, and their entire lives riding on one moment. All that crap.
Meanwhile, smarmy Daddy Tanner is having a chat with Marty Walsh, current Rock head coach. They discuss how awesome their gym is, and how awesome their girls are, while Daddy tells Lauren to point her toes while she's on beam. Because she's on beam now. But only for a half second, because now Marty is lining the girls up, and explaining to them how they will compete to make the roster for Boston. Say what now?
I guess their thing is to compete in flights (???) so the girls want to be in the top three, or the first flight. I honest to God have no idea why that would matter at all, but apparently it does.
Oh sweet heavens, there she is, our first glimpse of the Miss Chloe Kmetko, aka Bitchface Chloe. She rolls up in an even shittier jalopy than the Keelers, which must mean she's REALLY poor. A skinny, sloppy ponytailed girl jumps out of the car, and heads into the gym. Great. Welcome, Emily Kmetko.
Inside the gym, Lauren is explaining how the top three always consists of Payson, Kaylie, and herself, so why worry? At that moment, Emily comes cruising by, tumbling some whip backs into a back tuck. Lauren immediately becomes pissy. Probably because she sees THIS.
This leads us to the opening credits. I still remember watching these for the first time, and how hard it made me snort. I'm serious, I snorted so hard, my brain hurt. We open with shots of Emily and Lauren chugging down the vault runway.
We see a quick montage of the girls tumbling and vaulting, which includes Emily Kmetko obviously just doing a belly flop onto a stack of mats. The last shot is Kaylie smacking the bars with her grips before falling, creating a plume of chalk into the air that spells Make It or Break It. Snort-a-riffic.
Back in the gym, we see Emily flick her wrists, and take off for her pass of 2.5-front tuck, while Daddy Tanner trails her like a super creep. He runs over to Marty, and asks him who the hell the new girl is. Marty explains that she's the new scholarship kid. You know, the one they FOUND ON A PLAYGROUND. Sure. Lauren immediately starts biting on Emily's leotard, and how it makes her look so very poor.
From across the gym, Creepy Carter and another unnamed boy check out the girls.
Payson is cool, and the first to talk to Emily. Kaylie is also nice enough, but Lauren has a meltdown as soon as she learns that the new girl is going to be training with them.
In order to really show that girl who's boss, Lauren takes to the beam in order to intimidate her new teammate. Ooh, scary. We are immediately blessed with the beam stylings of Ashley Postell, who does her entire routine on a normal sized beam.
After beam, the girls are in the bathroom, where we see our only reference ever to Lauren barfing all of the time. We couldn't have a gymnastics show without the obligatory eating disorder, now could we?
AHAHAHAHA Kaylie does get a good line though. "Great. I look like a butterball. I am turning into Mary fricking Lou." Hilarious.
Back inside, Lauren and Kaylie each drape a leg over the pommel horse while they watch Emily set up for vault. Lauren realizes that Em is afraid of vaulting. Despite this discovery, Lauren still wants to perform as much sabotage as possible. Anything to keep her in this "top flight" crap.
Emily, apparently the only one working out today, is over on bars. After dismounting, Marty explains to her that in order to be a successful gymnast, her mother will have to be present for all workouts and team gatherings. Because that is a super important part of things. Parents are not allowed to be employed or have other children at the Rock. This is also our first glimpse of the "NO DATING!!" rule at the gym. Hmmm, foreshadowing....
After workout, we meet Sister Mary Summer for the first time. She shows up, and tries to be all buddy-buddy with Lauren. As far as she knows, Sister Mary is nothing more than her dad's secretary. Despite mentioning her "boyfriend," Lauren totally blows it off with a classic "I thought Jesus was your boyfriend." Take THAT, conservative undertones of ABC Family!
During the Keeler car ride home, Payson's mom tries to compliment her daughter on her FX, but Payson's kind of a bitch and tells her mom to shut it, because she "needs to focus." Yes, focus on the car ride home.
Because they're so humble and grounded, Payson's mom informs Pay that she's allowed to be a brat on the way home, but it's time for dinner and chores once they get home. Then, because they're so kind and poor, they pull over when they see a cold, lonely Emily Kmetko standing all alone, waiting for her ride. Payson's mom offers Emily a ride, which she politely declines. She's just sure her mother will be there momentarily.
Obviously, she was wrong, because we see her hoofing it all the way home. On her trek home, she happens to pass by two nasty teenagers going at it in the back of a jeep.
Emily skitters by unseen, and finishes her journey home. After she arrives, Bitchface Chloe is immediately remorseful, and while Emily does give her a little sass, it's nothing near the insane bitchiness we see later in the series. So, Emily isn't entirely hateable. Yet. Bitchface Chloe, Emily, and sometimes-there brother Brian sit around the table and worry about money, as obviously poor families with generic leotards are apt to do.
Emily reassures everyone, because as of that afternoon, she has secured herself a position at The Pizza Shack, a franchise of some sort that she seems to have some experience with back in wherever she's from.
Emily seems so cool, and relaxed. WHAT HAPPENED???
Next, we see the two nasty jeep makeout lovebirds pull into the gigantic mansion that we learns belongs to the Cruz family. Creepy Carter pressures Kaylie to mess up her life, and go public with their relationship. Kaylie reminds him that if her dad finds out about them, he will kill him. No joke kill him. And I get it. I would kill him too.
They haven't got too long to chat though, because Lauren rolls up in her convertible while what appears to be licking the visor.
Get a little closer. Because their relationship is so hush-hush, Kaylie and Creepy scramble around, trying to play as if he was just giving her a ride. Lauren isn't stupid, so she mentions something about kool-aid, and then brags about her new Olympic Rings necklace that Daddy gave her. But necklaces and illicit romances aside, Lauren lets her know about what is really important: getting rid of that scag Emily.
While everyone else is going home to relax, Emily is hard at work at the Pizza Shack. She is gainfully employed by this awesome, methed out girl who I know I've seen in other stuff, but I can't figure out where. Anyway, I love her.
She is just thrilled that Emily can step in right away, since she already has all of this experience. She begins with serving one Miss Lauren Zizes, who happens to be stoned and wants a pizzone.
She obviously knocks this scene out of the park. We'd expect no less. Emily has to deal with bozos like these all night long, past midnight. This includes her coworker, some wormy kid named Razor. I knew he was wormy the minute he bragged that "singing emo" was his thing.
They have a few more creepy moments, and then part ways.
The following morning, we are treated to an early morning conversation between Payson's mom and dad. They have the totally cliched "did we do the right thing, making this our whole lives?" discussion seemingly in the middle of a windstorm.
Payson and her awesome sister Becca from Bridesmaids come out to the car. Becca is all chill and cool, while Payson continues to be a little bitch to her family.
This trend continues when Emily oversleeps, and then freaks out at her mother for not waking her up. So she can train elite gymnastics, work a job, and take care of her brother, but she is unable to set her own alarm clock. Gotcha. They all race to the gym.
The crew warms up before the "Rock National Team Trials," whatever the fuck those are. Lauren hopes that Emily just flakes out, but too bad, because she shows up. After their 20 second warm up, Kaylie is up on bars. Her routine consists of kip, cast handstand, immediate double back. That will surely be enough to keep her in the top flight!
She is followed by Payson, who does two giants before a piked double back. She's obviously the "good one" on the team. Lauren shows us even less, pretty much just a blind change into a double front dismount.
With Emily, we're treated to some real camera tricks. The camera pretty much just spins around with her as she does giants, until she flings her double back.
All the snotty Rock girls cheer for and hug one another, but totally ignore Emily. Dumb snots. On floor, we see a montage of the girls doing shitty hurdles, and some random fulls and stepouts.
Kaylie shows that she's the "cute" one, and finishes the routine smiling at the judges. This gets her father extraordinarily excited. Next, on beam, is Lauren Tanner.
As only she can do, she wobbles on a layout stepout, and instead of stepping off the beam, she absolutely splats on all fours.
Emily follows with some forgettable garbage, aside from a GLORIOUS TUCKED FULL dismount. Lauren is PISSED. So she stomps into the office to discuss her options for sabotage with Daddy Tanner. She cries and complains to Daddy, who tells her to suck it up, and nail the shit out of her vault.
While setting up for vault, we get to see some of the highly talented extras work their magic in the background.
We see Payson lining up for vault, and hear the announcer (??) blather on about how she will be performing the most difficult vault of the day. In fact, it has never been landed before in competition. Whatever will it be??
What do you call a yurchenko vault without the salto? That's what it was.
While we were being treated to that gem, Lauren was eyeballing the sheet with the board settings on it. She uses the distraction of Payson's world class vault as an opportunity to change Emily's board numbers. Then, before anyone can guess what's going on, Lauren races up to vault. She upstages Payson by actually doing a real tucked yurchenko.
Emily gets set to vault, completely unaware that her board settings have been moved by six inches. This is where things start to get a bit Make-It-or-Break-It-y. Like, in the real world, having such a massively mis-set board would be a recipe for death. But not at the Rock. Here, it's just some teenage shenanigans. What fun!
I know it's for a campy TV show, but I don't find neck injuries entertaining. Ever.
But that's Lauren! Breaking girls necks, but never getting punished. But she's troubled, so it's ok. Anything to get what she wants! She's just being Miley/Lauren.
While Emily is carted off to the office instead of the hospital, Kaylie wows us with a Nabieva-style vault.
Lauren is thrilled that top three remain intact, but little does she know, Emily is in the office pushing away EMTs and demanding a second vault. Sitting with her is Bitchface Chloe, who is giving what is only the first of many Oscar-worthy performances.
In the middle of this touching little speech, we hear that mysterious announcer chime in that Lauren is just now taking her second vault, I suppose after everyone else has gone. So not only do they make up their own rotations (UB, FX, BB, VT) but they also just vault willy nilly. After hearing that, Emily makes up her mind to risk further injury and take her second vault. Some random coach tries to stop her, but Bitchface Chloe gives him enough bitchface to crack ice, so he lets them both go.
In the two seconds after Lauren's second vault, awards and flowers have already been handed out, with Kaylie, Payson and Lauren in the top three.
Emily struts on the floor, and demands that second vault. Lauren freaks out a bit, and Emily insists on setting her own board this time. Smart. Some jazzy tune plays while everyone mulls and gossips over this last minute addition.
Emily slowly trots up the vault runway, and takes off of the board with form that will surely give her a top score.
She nails her tucked tsuk, another world class vault, and the crowd goes wild. Payson and Kaylie suddenly decide that Emily is worth their time.
Lauren obviously starts to have a meltdown about not being in the top three, and in response, sells out Kaylie for a contract violation of wanting to bone Creepy Carter, hoping it will get her booted from the top.
Bitch. After being put on the spot regarding her and that nasty Creepy Carter's whereabouts the previous afternoon, Emily jumps in and says that Kaylie was with her, helping her study her Spring Creek Student homeschooling nonsense. Coach Marty buys it, and admonishes Lauren for being such a conniving little bitch. Lauren sprints off to Daddy, and throws another fit.
The rest of the crew happily leaves the Rock. Not Daddy Tanner though. We see him storm into Marty's office, and inform him that he has been busy hiring a private investigator to get some dirt on Emily and the Kmetkos. The PI didn't give a crap about the Kmetkos, however, but instead seemed pretty interested in Marty. Daddy does the old "slide over some pictures" move, and despite its cheesiness, it seems to get Marty rather ruffled. Daddy goes on to explain his demands: he wants Marty to jump ship, along with Lauren and the bottom half of the Rock team, and move over to the Denver team. That'll teach anyone to ever beat Lauren ever. He sounds like the Russian Federation of Gymnastics.
The following day, the remaining Rock kids show up to an empty, dark gym. Upon hearing that Marty bailed, Payson starts spazzing out. Despite doing "everything RIGHT," shit didn't work out her way. That's life, honey. Deal with it.
Lauren makes her final appearance, and blames everything on Kaylie and Emily. More Russian nonsense. She sashays off, while everyone else just stands there, dumbfounded.
And thus, we end our very first episode of our very favorite ABC Family masterpiece. A few things stood out to me:
1. Emily wasn't such an insufferable bitch.
2. Payson was kind of an insufferable bitch.
3. Daddy Tanner was a lawyer. Who knew?
4. There was some good bit part casting, what with Becca, Lauren Zizes and Meth Boss.
My apologies for this being roughly five months late. I was so busy with work, uninspired, but then I had these past few weeks off due to a timely hip surgery. And while I am a ways into recovery, I still have way too much time to sit around and do absolutely nothing. So why not dive into these pics and finish an entry I started back in June?
Until next time, may your leos be high-cut, and your boards be set correctly.