Posted on April 28th, 2011 by annakjarzab
Okay, ladiez (I assume everyone reading this is a lady–maybe I shouldn’t? Mens, you are welcome too), here we go. You know it’s a Super Important Episode because of the Pun in the Title, although personally I would’ve gone with “Hungary, Hungary Hippos” because IRONY.
Anyway, previously: Remember how Kaylie and Damon sang together at his gig? Me neither! I had blocked it out entirely, and I sort of wish it had stayed that way, but no. They sang. Emily saw. She was not super excited about it. Kaylie wasn’t super excited about her friend Maeve’s death (legit) and ended up confessing to her new best friend Damon that she (Kaylie) has a real eating disorder and she doesn’t want it to mean the end of her life (versus just the end of her career). The girls were easily the dumbest I’ve ever seen them when they completely blew off trying to practice for a meet with some Iowa team they didn’t think was any good, only to get their asses kicked. Even Payson! Nobody’s thrilled with Darby as a coach, so I figure it’s only a matter of time until she splits and SASHA RETURNS YAY!
Payson’s at the Rock after hours looking for Kim, and she finds out that there’s a “way to get rid of” Darby, and also that Sasha is living in Romania. Steve’s giving Darby a lecture about being a serious coach and Payson and Kim overhear him expressing other people’s doubts about whether or not “the Rock girls” deserve to be on the World team. When Payson asks if that’s really true, Darby rips into her, blaming the Pinewood debacle on them, but as everyone knows, Darby, they are children and you are an adult and if you had not been the worst they might’ve listened to you about taking that meet seriously.
Damon shows up unannounced as Emily’s leaving for the airport. Chloe’s freaked out: “What if someone from the NGO is watching?” Wait, I’m sorry. Do we really think that the NGO has, like, undercover agents sitting outside Emily’s house day and night to make sure she’s not dating anyone? I’m pretty sure they don’t have the staff for that! Chloe has seen way too many Bourne Identity movies. Damon’s pissed because Emily is ignoring his phone calls; he doesn’t even consider that she might be pissed about Kaylie, because he’s sorta thick, Damon is. Emily: “Is she your muse now?” Are we just saying that like it means anything or isn’t totally lame? Damon insists that he loves her and that she needs to trust him, but she says she can’t. Even though he’s basically been totally trustworthy this whole time except for that jail thing in season one? She breaks it off with him for good. UGH EMILY.
The ladies gather at the airport. Chloe is wearing an extremely unflattering denim skirt. Darby gives them the same “I’m not your friend, not your coach, now RESPECT ME DAMMIT” speech, and it looks like Payson’s got a little scheme to get rid of “Coach Conrad” up her sleeve. Good. Don’t ask Lauren for tips on scheming, Payson, just a little friendly advice.
Kaylie’s therapy group. I’m starting to get pretty bored of this storyline, tbh. I don’t mean to be dismissive of Kaylie’s problem, but it’s just so endlessly uninteresting, made worse by the SINGING! And the Damon-befriending! I just want our old Kaylie back, although I do give them props for not abandoning this subplot after two episodes, Gossip Girl style.
Payson’s got an insane plan to get Sasha back–she’s going to get on a flight to Bucharest, Romania (as opposed to Budapest, Hungary, as Lauren points out) when they stop in Heathrow on their way to Worlds. Lol! Riiiiiiight. She’s going to buy the ticket on the gold credit card Steve just gave Lauren. “Look, I know you’re upset about your boyfriend,” Lauren says to Payson, and I seriously need someone to make an animated .gif of Payson’s expression upon hearing that, it’s so hilarious. Emily wants to help Payson because “Sasha’s the only person left who believes in me.” Um, no, I think that’s Damon. I doubt Sasha cares very much about you anymore, Em, and also way to make it all about you. They all–Emily, Payson, Lauren–decide to go to Bucharest. Good plan dummies!
The girls encounter Kelly Parker on their way to the plane to Bucharest; she tells them that the NGO called her in to replace Kaylie if she doesn’t show. Which she’s not going to, right? I mean, she’s in rehab, and she’s just started admitting to herself that she has a problem that needs fixing. So I guess Kelly Parker gets a spot on the World team without qualifying. Life is so cruel.
Summer does an excellent job of putting the smackdown on Darby, who’s ready to call the NGO and rat the girls out. Summer tells her that under no circumstances is she going to do that, and Summer’s going to fix it. Fix it, Summer! Payson does some quick math and figures they’ve only got two hours between planes, trains and, presumably, automobiles, to convince Sasha to come back and coach them at Worlds. That’s assuming he’s home when they knock on his door! He could be working out or grocery shopping or on a holiday in the countryside with his new chickadee or something. You guys, this is why you should call first.
Emily is drinking some Romanian energy drink and Payson ham-fistedly lectures her about energy drinks sometimes having banned substances in them, which is very obviously this episodes red herring. Will Emily get disqualified for doping? you ask yourself. No. She’ll be disqualified because SPOILER ALERT she has a human growing inside of her. END SPOILERS. She tells the girls she broke up with Damon, and Lauren says, “Look on the bright side–at least you didn’t sleep with him.” Payson and Emily exchange meaningful glances that tell Lauren everything she needs to know (learn how to play it cool, guys, honestly). And get this: Lauren TAKES EMILY’S HAND as if to comfort her. What? Lauren, you cannot be for real. Lauren also assures Emily that Kaylie would never, ever steal her boyfriend (unspoken subtext: because she knows what it feels like to have your boyfriend sleep with your best friend cough cough LAUREN), and Emily questions whether or not she’s made a mistake. So many, Em. So, so many.
Damon and Kaylie chat idly about how Emily is crazypants and thinks something’s going on between him and Kaylie. This is actually a halfway decent conversation. Damon correctly identifies what is infuriating about Emily’s personality, then Kaylie tells him that yes, gymnastics is that intense and dangerous, and it can make you nuts. But, Damon asks, would Emily always be pushing him away even if there was no gymnastics, and the answer is YES DAMON. She doesn’t trust anyone and she likes being the victim of other people’s lousy choices so she makes them into villains. Your heart will go on. Kaylie, though, gets a burst of inspiration: Maybe it’s not the sport, she writes in her notebook.
Payson, Lauren and Emily arrive at Sasha’s supposed home only to find out from a rather zaftig middle-aged lady that nobody by the name of Sasha Belov lives in the village. But he does work in the bar where the girls go to while away the hours until the next train to Budapest. FANCY THAT. Of course he yells at them, and tells them he’s not coming back. But he is keeping up with all their massive failures. The girls each try to get Sasha to come back, and when Emily and Lauren strike out (not a huge surprise, their respective strategies being to whine about how they might not be “good enough” and to tell Sasha that Summer doesn’t care about him anymore) Payson tells them to go on ahead to Budapest because she’s staying behind.
Damon is reading Kaylie’s thoughts about why she might’ve become anorexic in the first place and starting to get a new appreciation for how effed up gymnastics can make you. Kaylie explains, in a really succinct way, how everyone always expected her to be happy and confident because she was rich and pretty and a good gymnast, but she didn’t know who she was, so she focused on winning, until she did win and didn’t feel any differently about herself. That’s when she stopped eating. Yikes. Poor Kayls. Damon decides that he has to let Emily go, because she is who she is with or without gymnastics and she’ll never trust him enough to be normal.
Summer shows up at Sasha’s bar looking for the girls, but only finds Payson chowing down on some gulash. Summer begs Payson to get real about Sasha–he’s not coming back. Payson gives Sasha an impassioned speech about what a quitter and disappointment he is and gives back his gold medal before flouncing out of the bar. Summer also gives him an impassioned speech about how you do the best with what you have and how he’s not at his best unless he’s coaching the girls. Because she’s awesome, she doesn’t make it about her at all. Kim and Steve have a nice moment where they cooperate and are friends.
Payson and Summer arrive at the Hungary meet but Sasha’s not with them. Sad faces all around. Damon wrote Kaylie a song. BLECCCHHHHHHH. But behind all the extreme grossness of this encounter is a real truth: that when you want something for so long, and you work so hard, almost single-mindedly to achieve it, and you do achieve it, and it doesn’t change your life or who you are, doesn’t make you happier or make people love you more, the disappointment is crushing. They don’t kiss, thank God, but Kaylie is crying. Yikes.
Sasha shows up at the girls’ room in Budapest! He yells at them, of course, and says that if they want him to come back to coaching them they have to show him that they’re worth coaching by kicking ass at the meet. Then there’s this weird sequence where the teams participating in the meet are announced, with a weird flashback to…right before this meet? When Sasha tells them that he let them down and abandoned them, but they let each other down and abandoned his teachings, so they’re all going to be cool and get with the program. I’m confused. Anyway, the US team is announced in the arena and they stride out, smiling with their heads held high.
As Steve and Kim booze it up at home watching the meet, the girls perform. Where’s Darby? She didn’t even come into the arena with the team. We meet another gymnast who might be a problem for the Rock girls at Worlds, Ivanka Kerlenko (Russian, with the bangs to prove it). Lauren does well on beam, but Ivanka’s routine is a higher degree of difficulty. Emily falls on uneven bars. UGH EMILY WHAT NOW? Josh Whats-His-Name who may or may not be the Worlds coach tells Sasha he’s bumping Emily off the roster and adding Kelly Parker instead. Can he even do that? Kelly didn’t qualify, as we’ve heard a million times! Sasha tells him, “Emily can do this, she just needs to know you believe in her.” “That’s the problem,” Josh says. “I don’t.” Josh puts Kelly in. Can he do that in the middle of a meet? Kelly nails her vault.
It comes down to Ivanka and Payson on floor. Ivanka does a sort of witchy routine that gets wild applause. Payson does her ballet-y floor routine, which tbh doesn’t seem better than Ivanka’s, but the crowd seems to disagree. Still, the Russian team gets the gold, with US getting silver and Romania getting bronze. That team really is falling apart without Sasha.
Kaylie reads aloud from her notebook in therapy group. She deserves to be happy. Fair enough, Kaylie.
The chairman of the Hungarian National Committee (of gymnastics, I assume) wants to talk to Emily; Sasha comes with her. Something was weird with her urine sample. She starts babbling about not knowing that the energy drink had anything banned in it, and he’s all, girl, chillax, get upset about something REAL because you’re PREGGERS YO.
Next week! Nobody understands Emily (so just like every other episode). Chloe cries. Payson yells at Emily for screwing up. And my DVR cut off.
Posted on April 23rd, 2011 by annakjarzab
This is embarrassing, but I realized this morning, as I was filling my Brita filter (New York living–Glamo-R-US!), that I had forgotten to include one last (but not least) matryoshka item I own. Is it sad that I have so many that I forgot about one? It’s quite possibly one of the best ones, too, because it also filled a strange hole in my kitchenware. My friend Maggie visited around my birthday this year, and she brought me a pair of matryoshki salt and pepper shakers, which I love love LOVE. But since I wrote the last post in my room and I don’t usually keep my salt and pepper shakers in my room (although it has been known to happen on occasion), they weren’t right in front of my face and I forgot about them.
So, there. Now you know the depths of it. Nothing has been kept from you.
Posted on April 22nd, 2011 by annakjarzab
If you’ve ever been to this website (you have), or you’re a fan of my book (YOU ARE, RIGHT?), you know I have a little bit of a thing for matryoshka dolls (a.k.a. babushka dolls, a.k.a. Russian nested dolls). The funny thing is that I didn’t even care much about nested dolls until my parents came back from a Baltic (not to be confused with Balkan–good thing I fact-checked this post) cruise five years ago. They’d brought my sister–not even me!–a robin’s egg blue matryoshka and I was so taken with it that my sister gave it to me (or did I steal it? I don’t remember). I then wrote it in to All Unquiet Things, which started this whole matryoshka business in the first place.
For a long time, that little doll was the only matryoshka I owned. And then people started reading the book and I started to get matryoshki as gifts, and occasionally buying them for myself. At current count, I have:
- Three real matryoshki–the original one from Russia (i.e. the one that started it all), one shaped like a Santa Claus that my friend Kim brought me from Denver, and one that I bought for myself in old town Sacramento (where, btw, there is an entire store of matryoshki run by a very friendly Russian woman). That Sacramento one is smaller than the rest of them but has ten dolls inside–the smallest one is about the size of a grain of rice.
- One set of ceramic matryoshka measuring cups that are too fragile to actually use, so they sit on my shelf with the regular matryoshki. Perhaps I should invest in this plastic set as well. They were a gift from my friend Cambria, and I believe they came from Anthropologie.
- One 8×12 print of a matryoshka family that is sort of hard to describe here, but will look great on the wall of my next apartment with the other 8×12 prints I’ve been acquiring (mostly from 20×200, although I think this particular one is from Etsy) which I fully intend to frame and hang French salon style.
- Two matryoshka Christmas ornaments that are not at all Christmassy, and thus hang on my wall year-round. I got them a few years ago after Christmas from–I think?–Anthropologie. They originally retailed for something insane like $24 each (you know Anthropologie), but I got them post-holidays for $5 each. They’re really cute, though. They’re like little puzzles that have removable pieces. Again, hard to describe, but I adore them.
- A cute fabric business card holder that my friend Jennifer (sister of Kim, who I sometimes mention here) gave me this past Christmas.
- A matryoshka necklace (this one, but without that second charm hanging off).
- Another matryoshka necklace, although this one is made of–I think?–papier mache and hangs on a ribbon. It was a free gift with purchase from that store in Old Sacramento, because I bought two dolls, one for my editor and one for myself. I don’t wear it because it’s so light that it hangs oddly, but I still love it.
- A bunch of matryoshka buttons and magnets that I bought to use with AUT giveaways here on the website and then…never got around to it? Well, the book comes out in paperback May 10, so maybe I’ll do some prize pack giveaways on the AUT Facebook page I’ve been neglecting. They’re really cute, and were from Etsy.
- A matryoshka doll throw pillow, again off Etsy.
- A matryoshka doll tote bag, a gift from my good friend Mary Dubbs, the source of all the best blurbs I ever got for AUT.
- A small matryoshka doll reporter-style notebook, gift from Kim.
- Two–count ’em, TWO–pairs of matryoshka doll socks. The first pair was a gift from Mary Dubbs, and the second pair were a gift from my roommate, Eesha, just a few weeks ago. I may be the only person in the world who owns two pairs of matryoshka doll socks.
Okay, I’m sort of embarrassed, now that I’m cataloging all of this stuff for you. I knew I had a lot, but I had no idea I had this much. I’m not even counting the four little dolls I got after my grandmother passed away–they’re not real matryoshki because they don’t come apart, but they’re sort of shaped and painted the same and my aunt Kika insisted I have them because when she saw them she “thought of me”, so maybe we should throw that onto the pile, too. Oh, and I didn’t count the little matryoshka pin I bought at a Regina Spektor concert in 2007 that I just noticed was affixed to the strap of one of my tote bags. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.
And, yet, I would buy more matryoshka stuff. For instance, this water carafe my friend Shannel just linked me to on Facebook, despite the fact that its very existence is a little bizarre. First of all, what? What’s wrong with just using a glass at bedtime? Do you need a carafe? Also, the picture of it with the head separated from the body: Gold. Not to mention the ad copy: “You’ll wonder how you used to sleep without this sweet little lady by your side” More like, “You’ll never get another night of sleep again with this creepy glass doll watching over you each night like a translucent Edward Cullen.” And yet, I added it to my cart. I mean, I still regret not buying one of those adorable matryoshka coin purses off Fredflare (there’s a lot of matryoshka stuff on Fredflare) when I had a chance, or the little dessert plates, and I know I’ll regret not buying the nested glasses or this matryoshka cosmetics case from Belgium. But I suppose you have to put a limit on your own crazy, especially when you finally recognize it after it’s been sneaking up on you for years. So maybe I don’t need the carafe; or the glasses; or the cosmetics case. Maybe, in the end, it’s best if the dolls find me.
Although, if you’re interested in becoming a weird doll lady yourself, by all means consult this helpful six-step guide on how to collect matryoshka dolls. Or you could give my one-step method a whirl: write a book with a matryoshka doll as a plot device. You’ll acquire more of them than you ever dreamed.
(No offense to anyone who’s ever given me a matryoshka item. I LOVE THEM! Seriously! And I also give matryoshka dolls as gifts, most notably to my editor and agent. Actually, I bought Joanna’s matryoshka from a nun at the Union Square holiday market a few years ago, which is oddly apropos considering the premise of The Opposite of Hallelujah.)
Posted on April 21st, 2011 by annakjarzab
(Why am I the worst at coming up with subject lines for my blog posts, you guys? Really, I’m awful. Take the blog away from me!)
I just wanted to pop on to tell you (if you hadn’t already heard elsewhere) that the film rights to my friend Alex’s BRILLIANT sci-fi trilogy about a near-future America in which, upon puberty, children either die or develop frightening psionic powers, where those that survive the so-called “Kid Killer virus” are experimented upon and placed in internment camps, have been optioned!
My love for BLACK IS THE COLOR is well documented on this blog, so as you can probably imagine I’m BEYOND pumped. It’s hard for a person like me to love a book so much and not be able to talk to anybody about it, since I want to talk about everything, all the time. I can read The Hunger Games (as I am doing now, rereading it, actually, and also I’ve moved on to Catching Fire) and chat about it for hours with my coworkers, my friends (who’ve all read the series), people on Facebook, etc. It’s painful to love a book nobody else but a few privileged few have read yet! So I can’t wait for it to come out (summer 2012!), and I’m crossing my fingers for a film version, although I’m not quite sure there’s a young actor in the world who can live up to the Liam in my head (as evidenced by my hesitancy to accept Josh Hutcherson as Peeta).
Yay! Go Alex!
Posted on April 21st, 2011 by annakjarzab
(Sidenote before I even begin: My computer is doing this weird thing where everything is bold right now? I don’t understand. Why is the Internet so wonky?)
This past weekend, I had the best writing experience of my life. I’ve been working on my next book, which is a soft sci-fi that will (hopefully) expand into some sort of a multi-book series (duet? trilogy? WHO KNOWS THE POSSIBILITIES ARE INFINITE LOL INSIDE JOKE), for a little over three months now. I talked a little bit about it back when I first started it, when I was racing through it at a breakneck pace, but then I sort of hit a wall around page 200 because…I didn’t know how the rest would go. I was having some momentary trouble with a character who gets introduced about halfway in, but then I figured him out, and the rest of the plot, and the juices really started flowing. Still, there’s a limit to what I can get done on the weekdays, because of my steady employment and whatnot, so it wasn’t until last Friday that I really dropped into the zone and started pounding out the pages.
The only thing I did for two days was write. Oh, and have one dinner with my friend Cambria, and G-chatted with Alex. Basically our conversation went like this:
Me: I’m at [this spot in the manuscript].
Me: [Such and such] is happening!
Me: [So and so] is doing [such and such]!
Her: OMG HOW ARE YOU WRITING SO FAST YOU CRAZY PERSON?
And so on until 1:15 AM on Monday morning, when I typed the last words (“So we did.”). I was buzzing, high on adrenaline, desperate to tell someone–so I woke up my roommate (who in my defense had only gone to bed a little while before) to tell her. She was like, “That’s nice, let’s talk about it in the zzzzzzzzzz.” Then I had a dance party in my room to “Coming Home” by P. Diddy, as you do (headphones in, of course, I’m not the worst roommate ever). Then I couldn’t sleep until 4:00 AM. Then I went to work four hours later.
And now it’s several days later, Joanna has the full MS and Danielle is reading the partial I sent a few weeks ago, and I’m…working on the sequel. Because I’m still so excited about the story and I can’t wait to keep going! Now I just have to figure out what to call it on this blog while I’m talking about it, because I’m superstitious about titles. Hm. I guess I’ll just call it Book 3 for now. Who knows? Maybe by the time I have an update it’ll be sold and announced and I can just call it by its real title!
Posted on April 20th, 2011 by annakjarzab
That’s kind of a heavy episode title, isn’t it?
Previously on Make It or Break It: Max is into Payson, and vice versa. Emily can’t have a boyfriend and breaks up with Damon after sleeping with him. Kaylie was in rehab, but she’s in denial about her problem, although it’s possible that she’s on her way to understanding because her friend Maeve from the clinic died of a heart attack brought on by her own eating disorder.
Kaylie reads an article about Maeve and is obviously disturbed. Emily’s still being stank to her mom since finding out that she works as a bartender at a strip club, which is uncalled for. She’s doing her best, Emily! Ugh. Max is taking some “action shots” of people at the gym, “people” meaning Payson. Oh, yeah, I forgot he was a photographer. Lauren, having dodged the bullet of her dad going to Summer about the fact that his evil daughter is the one who leaked the Sasha/Payson tape to Ellen Beales by crying a lot, is back to her old self; she strolls over to the beam to give Emily a hard time about Damon, implying that he’ll probably hook up with other girls while he’s “waiting” for Emily. True!
Speaking of Damon, he’s sitting in front of a computer screen looking at pictures of Emily while singing, I kid you not, the lyrics, “I see your face on my computer screen.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? At least he agrees, because he crosses those lines out in his notebook. Kaylie walks in, listening to him sing (remember how he’s recording his album in Kaylie’s parents’ house?). Kaylie helps Damon with his song (don’t ask).
So the Dallas club is coming to the Rock. Wait, no they’re not–they canceled. Some corn-fed gymnasts from Iowa are coming instead. Darby’s pretending to be psyched, but she’s pretty transparent and the girls aren’t buying it. Darby tries to make friends with Payson, who’s being polite (barely) but distant, and it’s freaking Darby out. It’s obvious Payson doesn’t think this chickadee is cut out to be a real coach, and she’s not wrong. Darby needs to worry about getting the girls’ respect, not their friendship. She makes a deal with Payson: help her get everyone excited about the Pinewood meet and she’ll help Payson with her gymnastics. Wait, isn’t she Payson’s coach? Isn’t it her job to help Payson with her gymnastics? Where’s Sasha?
Summer and Kim have a convo that twists my gut. Kim asks her if she’s thinking about moving in with the Tanners (I’m assuming this means getting married to Steve, since Summer’s not that kinda girl, if you know what I mean) and Summer says, basically, that Steve and Lauren need her, so maybe. Kim asks what she needs and Summer says “I like being needed.” Oh, Summer, girl, get with the program. Meanwhile, Summer’s new faux daughter, aka Lucifer, is coming on so strong to Max. Yick. Lauren, have a little self respect.
Damon and Kaylie are working on the song and bonding. Maeve’s mother calls. I think she identifies herself as “Musak Benson”, which cannot possibly be right, but anyway she invites Kaylie to speak at Maeve’s funeral. The catch is that she has to talk about how Maeve was recovering from her anorexia, which is not true. Kaylie has a slight mental breakdown because everybody wants her to say what she feels but she doesn’t know how she feels. He advises her to write it down and…sing it?
Max and Payson talk; Payson never called him back after she told him to call her and he did. Also, he wants to take her new headshot for the Rock’s lobby, which is something Lauren asked him to do for her and I assumed she made it up. Apparently it’s real. I guess he, also being a Rock gymnast, would know if she was lying about that. But anyway, he decides to spend time with Payson instead. She’s not super great at posing, but she is “funny”–both haha and dorky. I don’t believe that a pro like Payson can’t take a freaking headshot. Kim invites him for dinner, but he has to take off–I’m assuming to take Lauren’s picture. Kim and Payson have another great mother-daughter moment.
Damon IMs Emily. He tells her he’s got a gig and wishes she would come, but obvs she can’t. She and Chloe have another barbed wire conversation about Damon. Meanwhile, Kaylie writes bad song lyrics and Damon interrupts her. He offers to go to Maeve’s funeral. Interesting. I thought that was Austin at the funeral in the previews. Maybe it is. She refuses his offer.
Lauren is dressed like Britney Spears circa “Hit Me Baby One More Time” while Max is taking her pictures. Payson returns his call. Max asks her out for coffee; she suggests they go for a run, because the whole date thing makes her uncomfortable (she doesn’t tell him that). You know what else is uncomfortable? Lauren has changed into a bra and underwear. She is really the least subtle person on the planet. AND MAX TAKES PICTURES OF HER. YOU DO NOT DESERVE PAYSON YOU PERV! Summer walks in and gets piiiiiiiissssed. She reams Lauren out and Lauren cries in order to get Summer to keep the peep show a secret. AND IT WORKS! SUMMER! I THOUGHT I COULD COUNT ON YOU! Ugh.
Emily’s moonlighting as Damon’s PR girl by putting up posters advertising his gig instead of, you know, practicing. Payson calls her on it, saying she’s not sticking any of her landings, and DO YOU KNOW WHAT EMILY SAYS? “Pinewood sucks, I don’t need to stick my landings to beat them.” Ladies and gentlemen, is that or is that not the attitude of a champion? Spoiler: it’s not. Emily, just quit and go back to Damon. You don’t deserve to go to the Olympics.
Lauren asks Max to go to Damon’s gig. When he asks if Payson’s going, she’s all, why, and he’s like, “She’s a nice girl, don’t you think?” LOADED QUESTION. “Sure,” Lauren says. “I also think she’s a lesbian, so you’re wasting your time shaking that tree.” Someone needs to smack her, pronto. Steve said that you can’t spank a teenager, but I’m not so sure about that.
Kim gives Darby a Kim-talk about setting boundaries for Payson because the girl thinks she’s the bionic woman. Because she’s a coward (not that Kim’s wrong, but Darby’s a marshmallow), she tells Payson she can’t do the high start value vault she’s been practicing. Does Emily do anything but sit on the mats and pine over Damon? Darby calls a sleepover at the Rock. Lauren tells Payson she has a date with Max. Not exactly, but all right.
Kaylie and Damon attend Maeve’s funeral. Yikes, Damon, what are you doing? Oh, Maeve’s mom’s name is Musette. That’s not a name, but okay. Musak (I’m still calling her that) is in such denial about Maeve’s death, it’s actually really heartbreaking. Kaylie can’t handle saying a eulogy about how happy and healthy Maeve was. She confesses to Damon outside the church about Maeve, and how she, Kaylie, isn’t getting better, and how she doesn’t want to die. Damon comforts her, and they go to the gig, where Damon reads her lyrics back to her. They helped him finish the song, and he wants to sing it tonight, with her, on stage. I wonder if Emily is going to show up?
More trust circles. Darby wants to psych them up by releasing their gripes and grievances to the universe with popcorn. That is not a metaphor. Lauren uses this opportunity to strongarm Darby into letting them go to Damon’s gig. Payson is so not into it. At the gig, Lauren drops the bomb on Payson about the half-naked photos Max took of her, then Damon drags Kaylie on stage, not noticing that Emily is there. When the song is over they hug, and Emily is bummed.
Back at the Rock, Summer sees that the girls are gone. Of course, Marcus from the NGO comes to check up on Emily. He sees the flyers and realizes that Emily and the rest of the team are at Damon’s gig, which is just wrapping up. He sees Emily and asks her if she’s going to get in trouble. “I don’t care, it was worth it,” she says. Erm…That’s committment, folks! Kaylie tells Emily Damons’ a great guy, she can see why Emily’s in love with him. Why not just stab her in the heart and get it over with? Oh, and Max is there. He bounds up to Lauren like a golden retriever puppy, but Summer swoops in to whisk her away. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I’M AN IDIOT,” Summer says. Word. Payson breaks her date with Max after seeing the photos. Marcus arrives; Emily escapes, but Darby gets caught with a beer. Marcus isn’t pleased.
The Pinewood girls arrive. They’re kicking some Rock ass, and Darby tells Payson to do the high starting value vault she’s been working on, even though Payson’s never done it without the practice trampoline, in order to win the meet. Kim is not happy, and Payson of course misses the vault, landing on her back which, as you may remember, she BROKE last year. Darby is the wuuuuuuurst. Payson gives Darby a lecture about what a “real coach” does and doesn’t do, and Darby runs off crying. Even Lauren thinks she’s lame now.
In her room, Kaylie rips a page out of her notebook, the page with all her calorie and weight counts. “My name is Kaylie Cruz and I am anorexic,” she writes.
Next week: Damon and Emily argue, I’m assuming about Kaylie, and Emily throws some stuff, although I’m pretty sure that half of these scenes are from last season. Also, Emily’s pregnant.
Posted on April 20th, 2011 by annakjarzab
I’ve been very bad about doing these recaps. When the season started (uh, four weeks ago), I was so excited to recap! And then, as things tend to do when you commit yourself to them, it started to feel like work and I was like, meh. I didn’t even watch “The Buddy System”, the third episode this season, until tonight, and there’s ANOTHER EP still left to watch. Not that I don’t love this show–obviously, I love it way more than is really appropriate given my age. Right? But who cares! On with the show!
Previously on Make It or Break It: The Rock girls got a new coach, Darby, who is basically a cartoon so she shouldn’t last long. Payson and Lauren became co-captains of the Rock, inexplicably, because who would ever want Lauren as their captain? Lauren confessed to her father that she leaked the footage of Payson kissing Sasha to Ellen Beales, because she’s a moron. Damon discovered that Chloe works at a strip club (as a bartender, gosh!) and Emily and Damon slept together for the first (and last, because Emily’s not allowed to have a boyfriend or any sort of life outside the Rock per that contract she just signed with the National Gymnastics Organization) time and it was sweet and lovely despite the fact that Emily was involved.
OK, let’s get started! Darby’s gathered the ladiez of the Rock in a “nonheirarchical circle to affirm and support one another”, but Payson’s not buying it. She and Lauren share snarky barbs as they both check out new guy Max’s hot bod. Lauren takes her place in the circle and Darby calls on Emily to give her a warm fuzzy. To her credit, Emily gives it an honest go, but that’s probably because she’s so distracted thinking about how she doesn’t get to be with Damon anymore. Wah wah–tell it to your parole officer, Emily! Payson calls Lauren a slut, sorta. Having struck out with the respect circle, Darby decides that everybody’s going to have a partner (the “buddy” of the episode title) whose routine they have to learn, and vice versa. Lauren and Payson are obviously teamed up for maximum drams.
Emily wants to know who her buddy is. Darby: “Who’s got two thumbs and and choreography that one the Pacific Coast Classic in 2002? This gal!” She points to herself. You are no Liz Lemon, Darby! Stop it, MIOBI writers. You’re not pulling it off.
Elsewhere, in another trust circle, Kaylie is in group therapy, not even trying to act like she’s listening to a girl named Suzanne talk about how she struggles with the pressures to be perfect. After the session, Suzanne approaches Kaylie and tries to bond with her, but Kaylie’s not into it. Maeve, the bad influence from the treatment center, pulls up in a red striped convertible and woos Kaylie into her clutches by speaking those immortal words: “Baby, it’s time to shed some of that rehab fat.” Ugh. If I didn’t have a SNEAKING SUSPICION about what’s about to happen to her, I’d be like, go away. Also, she actually spoke the words, “I die.” Subtle.
Payson’s still bitching about the buddy exercise, and Lauren takes this opportunity to snake her in front of Max. “Are you always in heat?” Payson asks her, and Lauren calls dibs on Max. LOL to both things!
Back at Casa de Monster Child, Steve is watching Payson kiss Sasha on a computer. “Lauren, what did you do?” he says aloud when he realizes that Sasha was innocent. The question is, Steve, what are YOU going to do about it? And the answer, knowing Steve, is cover it up to protect his devil spawn YET AGAIN, I’m sure.
Maeve and Kaylie are blissing out in a sauna as they bond over their shared experience in high pressure careers. Maeve offers Kaylie some “over the counter asthma medication” that “keeps her energized, not munchy”, but Kaylie demures, fearing the random drug testing that comes with being an elite gymnast. They talk about Austin, and Kaylie regrets admitting she had a problem, because while it got her out of rehab, her parents are on her 24/7 and actually believe that if she returns to training she might die. So Maeve, Queen of the Brilliant (Awful) Ideas, tells her to turn her parents against the therapist. THIS SHOULD TURN OUT REALLY, REALLY WELL.
Darby is teaching Emily some sort of twist and shout type floor routine that won her a medal once upon a time. It doesn’t appear to have any real gymnastics in it, but okay. Oh, wait, there’s a tumbling pass. Instead of learning anything, Emily asks Darby if she regrets missing out on being a teenager. Darby gives her some tough love about how she has to get her shit together because she’s “running out of second chances.” Couch Darby: master of understatement.
Lauren is doing what basically amounts to a stripper routine on the beam as Payson tries not to get her eyes stuck from rolling them too far in the back of her head. Payson gives it a shot, but it ain’t good. “I’ve got more sass in my little finger,” Lauren tells her. “You know, they’ve got penecillin for that,” Payson shoots back. Gold, Payson. Everything you touch is GOLD.
Except Max, because he’s too busy ogling Lauren’s crotch. “Enjoying the view?” Austin smarms. “She’s like a Vegas show,” Max drools. “All she needs is a headdress and a G-string.” Lauren vamps for them, basking in the attention. I wish Austin and Max didn’t look so much alike. Again I ask: where’s Carter? I miss that curly-headed douche. Speaking of Carter, Austin warns Max against Lauren, who “mangled” Carter–um, not true? Because…what? Basically, Payson’s a lot of work and Lauren’s easy. Boys are gross.
Payson’s attempts to “be sexy” make her look like Frankenstein’s monster. I know she’s more power, less priss, but come on! It’s like she doesn’t know how her joints work! Austin gives her a pep talk and offers to help her. Payson says no at first, but Austin points out that, yes, the fact that sex sells is the patriarchy at work, but, well, you want to win gold medals? Payson wants nothing more.
Chloe gets all over Emily for looking at Damon’s web page. Are they seriously not talking on the phone? Or email? Dumb. Also: unbelievable. Chloe reminds Emily that she’d never been with anyone before Damon and “you went on, what, like five dates?” Oooh burn. Emily takes it personally, of course, and they fight, but Chloe assures Emily she’s just looking out for her and trying to be a responsible mother like Emily wanted her to be.
Kaylie turns her parents against her therapist by suggesting her parents made her feel less than perfect, thus bringing on her eating disorder. It works pretty well since her parents are overbearing hotheads who want her to be perfect! Well, her dad is. Ronnie just seems exhausted by the whole thing.
Steve lectures Lauren about the video, and she has a good point when she says, “Since when do you care about right and wrong?” Since now, I guess. Steve’s having some pangs of guilt about keeping this from Summer after promising her he wouldn’t lie to her anymore, but it’s not like he actually tells her.
“Do you ever get tired of being the ‘mom jeans mom’?” Payson asks her mother. Kim’s eyes bug out and then she parents her daughter with such grace and good-humor I fall in love with her all over again. There are many different types of sexy, she points out, and you don’t have to be good at everything. Payson listens, but also she hates Lauren, so she takes Austin up on his offer to help her. Austin helps her get in touch with her sesssssuality by waving some perfume in front of her nose and telling her to focus on her second shakra. Lol! Then they “walk like Lauren”, which what makes them both look like idiots. If this works, I’m going to die from laughing. He’s making her crawl across the floor like a cat! He calls her “pure of heart”! OMG!
Cruz family dinner with Maeve as a guest. Because the Cruzes are totally self-absorbed, they don’t notice that neither girl is eating. Maeve does some Jedi mind tricks on Kaylie’s parents. Another family dinner, at the Tanners this time: “It’s never too late to teach your children the right values,” Summer says vaguely, not knowing what it is that’s really bothering Steve. She suggests he make her accountable for her actions and it’s like his mind is blown. You are the worst parent ever, Steve!
Lauren nails Payson’s routine and Max compliments her teaching. Lauren clowns Payson in front of him, and Austin tries again to help. They briefly talk about Kaylie, but Austin insists that while he liked her, she has to focus on getting better. On cue, Kaylie strolls into the Rock with Maeve. Darby’s pumped, Austin’s not. I hate the way Maeve talks. “He’s the real deal, lemon peel,” she says of Austin. Man, I’ve got to give this show credit, though. That actress is convincing as an anorexic model.
Emily takes off to confront her mother for working at a strip club. I’m pretty sure Emily would never be able to get into a strip club because she’s a freaking teenager, but whatever. I’m not going to let that be the thing I take issue with here, because Emily is being the worst. “I’m paying the bills and I’m funding your dream,” Chloe rightly says, but Emily is embarrassed. Okay, well, don’t go to the Olympics, then, I don’t know, Emily! GOD.
Payson decides to tackle the Lauren problem the way she tackles all gymnastics problems: with military precision. She does a good job! Too much eye makeup, though. But Max asks her out! Yeeeeeah Payson, get yours.
Steve makes a valiant attempt at holding Lauren responsible, but she cries and he caves. OF COURSE. God, Steve. She didn’t learn anything! Speaking of not learning anything, we’re back at the Cruzes, and they’re arguing, but they decide not to let Kaylie go back to the gym and she flips. They see her total desperation and it looks like it really scares them.
Emily gets a visit from Payson, who channels her own mother when she tells Emily that she has to stop whining, stop thinking about what sucks and focus on her dream. I feel for Emily here, because the actress is really selling this, her confliction over giving up Damon for something that might never happen–going to the Olympics. But Payson tells her she can’t focus on the “what ifs”, only what she wants most. I’ve said this before, but Payson Keeler is my spirit animal. I love her so much.
Oh, and Maeve died. But that’s for next week’s episode!
Posted on April 12th, 2011 by annakjarzab
If you’re one of the handful of people who read my Make It or Break It recaps, you may notice I didn’t post one last night–but don’t despair! I was celebrating the twenty-eighth anniversary of the birth of my friend Cambria by consuming much wine and cheese, so I didn’t get a chance to watch, but I’m planning on spending some quality time with the Rock girls and boys tonight and will post a recap ASAP.
This is apropos of nothing, but I woke up this morning around 3:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had this song playing over and over again in my head; it sounded very familiar, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the words and/or title, and it was driving me INSANE. I kept trying to work it out until I realized that by doing so I was preventing myself from falling back asleep, if such a thing was even possible, and eventually I let it go and dozed off, only to wake up two hours later having finally worked out the title.
My friends, behold the wonder that is “Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards. (Please, for your own viewing pleasure, watch the video. It’s cheesy and awesome.)
Why did I wake up with this strange, sort of creepy eighties song in my head at 3:30 AM on a Tuesday morning? Good question! I have no idea. I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard it playing anywhere recently. What makes it a little nightmarish is that I recognize the song from (NERD ALERT) a season 7 episode of The X-Files called “Orison,” in which the song serves as a “high school memory trigger/divine warning” (according to Wikipedia) for Scully. Considering that “Orison” is marks the return of fetishist/serial killer Donnie Pfaster, it’s no wonder I couldn’t fall back asleep after that.
Edited to add: Cambria shed some light on why I had “Don’t Look Any Further” in my head! Apparently, they were playing it at a bar we went to on Saturday night, but I guess I was too busy hating that bar and wanting to get the heck out of there to notice. Mystery solved!
Posted on April 5th, 2011 by annakjarzab
Sorry folks, the spam filter is still broken. Before it would just send all comments to spam and then I would be able to fish them out, but now it won’t even do that! Dumb spam filter. Anyway, if you have any Very Important Thoughts about Make It or Break It (or anything else, really–perhaps a nice limerick? It is only Tuesday, after all), definitely email me at anna [AT] annajarzab [DOT] com. I would tell you to comment on LiveJournal, but it looks like my MIOBI post didn’t feed out to LJ…curious. What is going on with you, website? I’ve got some major maintenance to do on this beast.
Posted on April 5th, 2011 by annakjarzab
Previously on Make It Or Break It: Kaylie (sorry I spelled it wrong in the last recap, Kayls! I’ll do better this time) has an eating disorder and has been in treatment at the Willow Glen eating disorder facility, where she met a model/enabler named Maeve who’s going to help her beat the system and get out of the center with her anorexia intact. Emily and Damon both had “dreams” or whatever (I still think that Damon’s “music career” is an absurdity) but they’re still totally in lurrrrrve. Emily may or may not get to go to Worlds. Lauren was the worst and sent that tape of Payson kissing Sasha to Ellen Beales, so Sasha has taken off for parts unknown, he and Summer have broken up, and Lauren is hoping that will pave the way for her dad, Steve, and Summer to get back together, but…I doubt it. Lauren’s plans NEVER work out.
On to the recap! Kaylie’s gained three pounds at Willow Glen (like, total? Or in the last week, or…what?). She’s not super thrilled. She and Maeve are doing art therapy on the terrace, and the art therapist (real thing?) points out that Maeve is painting with the color red (duh). “Can you connect that with a feeling?” art therapist asks. Real subtle, lady. I bet you went to Harvard. Maeve is really laying it on thick. Kaylie’s canvas is blank, but she’s not doing a great job of selling her “I’m totally trying to recover from my eating disorder” script.
Payson is coaching the girls because they still don’t have one. I mean, jay kay! They have a new coach, Darby Conrad. Kim doesn’t like that she’s just twenty-five, but how old can Sasha possibly be? Thirty-five? Okay, that is ten years. “Lauren’s very excited about it,” Steve says in defense of Darby. Who cares what Lauren thinks? Apparently Darby and Lauren have a past friendship; she was Lauren’s big sister at NGO camp. “They were inseparable,” Payson tells Emily. “Oh, sorry, I mean insufferable.” Good one Pay.
Oh Christ, this Darby looks like she’s twelve and is already incredibly irritating. She’s just a silver medalist? Downgrade. Darby’s “so stoked” to be at the Rock. She’s not into rules like “no dating” and whatever. She finishes her speech with “Namaste.” I’m shocked Lauren likes this woman. Her “goddess within you” routine sounds like Lo Lo’s worst goddamn nightmare.
Summer’s freaked out about how Darby doesn’t respect the structure of the girls’ lives; “oppression encourages rebellion”, Darby says, which is not untrue, but Summer’s head basically explodes when she says that. Lauren is totally into Darby’s relaxed vibe, and when Payson disagrees Lauren calls her a lesbian. Good one? Shut up, Lauren. Payson is going to fall in love with Max and you’re going to be soooo jealous. Then to round off her carousel of insults, Lauren asks Emily, “Do you really think Damon’s going to wait around till 2012 to have sex with you?” Frankly, it’s sort of surprising they haven’t had a “Damon pressures Emily about sex” episode already in this show. Maybe that’ll be this episode! He was in the previouslies.
Emily’s off probation. That was fast. It’s been like a day. Whatever. So she’s free to see Damon, but he’s in LA. Lauren makes a great point that Damon’s always grand gesturing for Emily, bringing her brother to see her at Nationals and bailing her out of jail and all that shizz, and what has Emily done for Damon? Well, she did sneak away to Paris that one time to see him while he was touring in Europe, but yeah–Emily’s a shitty girlfriend and Damon’s the best.
Darby’s really trying to be friends with the three Rock girls. She’s already bosom buddies with Lauren, but she tells Emily and Payson she’s big fans of theirs (the fact that she even knows who Emily is is pretty astounding), and she tells Emily that she totally gets it, our health care system blows, “power to the people.” No. Just…no, Darby. Don’t encourage her. Also, Lauren’s declaring herself team captain because with Kaylie out she’s the highest ranked girl at the gym. Darby decides that Payson and Lauren should compete for team captain. Rock on.
Damon’s back in Boulder! Emily’s starting to drink the Darby Kool-Aid when she realizes that she can see him without breaking the rules. Not that she’s above breaking the rules. She just likes not to feel so terrible about it. This should turn out well.
Kaylie is still toeing the party line at Willow Glen, so she gets to go home. The doctor wants her to complete an outpatient program and not train at the Rock. Uh oh. She’s PISSED. Her mom is all for it, but her dad is just as annoyed as Kaylie is.
Damon’s taking a break from recording his album, but he says that everything he’s written sucks. The label is asking why his new stuff isn’t as good as his old stuff. I wonder if that means he’s going to break up with Emily so that he can write sad love songs about her. Well, at the very least he’s going to finish his album in Boulder. He calls Emily his muse. Barf. But he’s pretty over the moon about Emily being free to date him, which is cute. “Has anybody ever told you that you’re the most amazing girl in the world?” he asks. Just you, buddy. Just you.
Darby’s living with Lauren and Steve while she looks for a place. You know what I just realized? Lauren’s last name is Tanner. If Summer married Steve, that’d be the second TV show Candace Cameron was in where her last name was Tanner. Never thought about that before. Tangent! Anyway, so Lauren of course tells Darby that Payson doesn’t want her at the Rock and thinks they’d be better off coaching themselves. JSYK Darbs! Darby’s sort of cool about it, though, but that doesn’t stop Lauren from sowing her poisonous seeds in Darby’s mind.
Lauren’s not wrong about how Payson feels about her, though. Payson thinks she’d be a better coach. “Steve bought Darby for Lauren, and I’m not going to let them take over my gym,” she tells Kim. Summer’s having the same thought, asking Steve, “You didn’t hire Darby to buy back Lauren’s love, did you?” He denies it, but not without giving Summer shit about dating Sasha! Wait, are these two together again? Why? Summer, you are so much better than that. Steve’s laying it on real thick, even promising to have more kids, but Summer doesn’t look convinced. She insists that he promise not to lie to her again, which he does, but I’m not buying that Summer’s heart is in this, even after Steve throws the word “God” in. Still, they’re back together. Lauren’s so thrilled. I’m the opposite of thrilled.
Emily and Damon are laying on the ground, looking up at the stars and holding hands while Damon says, “Star light, star bright, first star I see to night.” Oh GOD YOU TWO. Put. It. Away. I’m sorry, I was wrong, they’ve reclined the seats in Damon’s car. They say I love you, and YES, it’s SWEET, OKAY? I’m not a heartless automaton.
Emily gets home and finds that NGO guy (what was his name again?) waiting at her house. At, like, nine o’ clock at night? Whatever. Emily’s still on the National team. She has to sign an honor code. LOL she has to give up her job and her boyfriend! And the kicker is that she’s still on the National team, but they haven’t decided if she’s going to Worlds. EL OH EL. Cream pie.
The ladies are meditating with Darby at the gym. Emily and Payson are not into it; Em tells Payson about the honor code, and Payson’s like, “What matters but gymnastics?” I love how Payson is always like, “Don’t you losers get it? Gymnastics are ALL THAT MATTERS. If you want to win, you do what it takes, you morons.” She apologizes later for being harsh on Emily, but let’s face it: she’s right.
OMG! Cardboard cutout of Ronnie Cruz in her Paula Abdul one hit wonder phase! Delightful. Did you know the Cruz house has a recording studio in it? Well it does. Of course it does. Ten bucks Damon’s going to end up recording his album there. Kaylie’s being a real beeyotch to her mom, and even her dad’s not into it anymore. He seems to see that she’s in deep denial crazytown, and just to prove it she throws one of Ronnie’s awards at a framed gold record. Yeah, she’s fine. Totally normal behavior.
Payson v. Lauren!! They battle it out on the various apparatuses (apparati?) as Tokyo Police Club’s “Bambi” plays. Lauren blows the landing on vault, they both do well on parallel bars, and Lauren decides to do a dangerous move to best Payson’s (nonexistent) double Arabian dismount on beam. They try to talk Lauren out of it, but she refuses to back down, and Darby is powerless to stop her because she’s got no real control over the girls. Payson concedes to stop Lauren from doing the move, but Lauren won’t accept it, and wouldn’t you know it? Lauren nails the move, but she falls off the beam on the dismount. Payson does a flawless beam routine and they tie. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re both winners,” Darby says, then gives them a long speech about the ancient Olympics or whatever. So Lauren and Payson are co-captains. HA. HA. HA.
Kaylie and Emily are having a smoothie or milkshake or something. Yeah right. Like the two of them are even friends outside the gym. Emily gives her the low down about Damon, pointing out that she hasn’t even given him sex yet. “That’s a big decision, Em,” Kaylie reminds her. At least Kaylie hasn’t completely lost it. But Emily loves Damon and wants to be with him “in every way.” AND GUESS WHAT? Kaylie offers up her family’s recording studio to Damon. What did I tell you?
Lauren rails at Steve about being co-captains with Payson, and then she threatens him: if he doesn’t make Darby make her the only captain, she’s going to “tell the whole world what I did.” For someone so selfish, she has not an ounce of self-preservation in her body! Steve, parent this child already! Do NOT give in. Let her ruin her life. She’s really, really good at it.
Kaylie shows Damon around the studio, and the truth comes out–she’s using Damon’s music as her anorexia art therapy beard. Maeve and Kaylie Skype and Maeve encourages her to crush on Damon. Don’t do it, Kaylie! Remember Austin?
SPEAKING OF DAMON! Emily shows up at his (pretty amazing) pad and asks him what he would say if she told him she was giving up gymnastics for good. He tells her he’d say she was making a mistake. Then she tells him about the contract, about how she’d have to give him up, and he pauses to take it all in for a second before saying, “Well I hope you signed it.” DAMON. YOU ARE UNREAL. But awesome. Emily is so overwhelmed by his willingness to support her, and to wait for her, until after the Olympics that she gives him the business. And by “the business” I mean the sex business. THE END.
Next week: Something something with Lauren crying something. Kaylie’s “friend” from Willow Glen dies, I’m pretty sure. Is Sasha really gone for good?