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← PreviousNext →“Kissing Boys Makes You Grow Boobies!” or Make It or Break It 1×04, “Sunday, Bloody SashaSunday”

Oh, Make It or Break It. After the ever-so-brief glimpse of good last week, it’s reassuring to see you back to your cheesy, cringeworthy, completely removed from reality self. If you kept being good, I think my entire equilibrium would be thrown out of whack. It’s like if Old Faithful stopped erupting or something.

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Previously, on Make It or Break It: Sasha Belov comes to the gym and everyone’s going to eat, sleep, breathe gymnastics till Nationals. You girls will have no life, so none of those boys and sexin’, you hear? Kaylie and Payson have declared war on Evil Lauren, while Emily works her Sue-Fu on yet another unsuspecting victim, a dude named Damon. Kaylie gets wasted off cheap beer at a party, where Creepy Carter finds her and throws a fit. Meanwhile, Lauren accuses Summer, her Dad’s Jesus-loving secretary/girlfriend, of being a gold digger. Since Lauren clearly craves the attention of dodgy men, she gives it up to Creepy Carter and then steals his phone.

That’s right, kids… tonight we’re seeing a Very Special Episode of Make It or Break It. We’re kickin’ it ’80s style tonight, in what feels like a cross between the original Degrassi Junior High and the Breakfast Club. \~/ \~/

Oh yes, we’ve got a drinking game now. Check out the rules here.

“The Church of Laurentology welcomes you!”

The episode opens in church, with Lauren sitting in the pew sporting a somber side ponytail. The first words we hear are the sermon, in which the pastor speaks of guilt and the desire to be pure again. Y hello thar, anvillicious imagery. Nice to see you again. Lauren surreptitiously gets out Carter’s cell phone and reads Kaylie’s message for the millionth time. This is reminding me of a slightly more bizarre and homoerotic version of that scene in Clueless in which Tai shows Cher her “Elton collection.” But at least Tai didn’t carry it everywhere with her and bust out her “Rollin’ With My Homies” tape to randomly gaze at in church. \~/

The sermon continues as we cut to Casa Cruz. A hungover Kaylie wakes up and immediately checks her phone messages. Next we see Creepy Carter in the shower, showing us that he’s not nearly muscular enough to be believable as a gymnast. I mean, seriously. Have you seen those guys? They are cut. And might I mention what a fucked-up idea male producers have about (straight) female-directed fan service? Sure, the dudes (and lesbians) get chicks in bikinis and underwear and tight clothes but what do we get? Arvin Sloane stepping out of the shower, Dennis Franz’s ass, and now this. Thanks, show. Thanks a lot.

Lauren walks out of church behind her Dad and Summer, who are holding hands. Awww. Summer’s wearing this disconcertingly ugly pink-and-white dress, which has no bearing on the plot but it was bugging me so I had to share. Summer walks ahead to the pastor while Lauren and her Dad engage in a creepy convo about Dad and Summer’s sex life–or should I say lack thereof. Pa Tanner says that Summer does not believe in premarital sex. Lauren’s like, I can’t believe she’s a 30-year-old virgin.

\~/ Summer introduces the pastor to Lauren and her Dad. He goes on rather creepily about how Pa Tanner should marry Summer before someone else snatches her up. Yay, marriageable virgins for sale! Get ’em while they’re hot! Lauren seems to be the only one who agrees with me on how ridiculous this all is, because she gets a couple of good digs in before she swans off. Her phone rings and she pulls out a pink Blackberry. I’m a bit surprised. I would’ve thought Kaylie would be the one with a pink Blackberry. I’d figure Lauren more for something sleek and black and expensive-looking. The phone of EVIL!

As Lauren answers, we cut to Emily at home, wearing her Pizza Shack shirt. She’s talking on a phone that looks like something we owned in the 80s. Do they even sell phones like that anymore? We find out it’s Sasha calling all the main characters in for practice. Emily’s Mom, who gets a lot of screentime in this ep and whom I will heretofore refer to as Chloe (it is her name), wanders out in her usual skank wear and is like, “But it’s Sunday! Your day off!” \~/ Emily freaks out about missing her double shift at Pizza Shack. Chloe offers to sweet-talk the boss, but Emily puts the kibosh on that right quickly. No one must know she trains at the Rock! Or else… I don’t know! But it’s really important!

“These plot twists are giving me a headache.”

Cut to Payson at the Rock with Kaylie. Payson’s sporting her usual style of mylar-balloon purple leo while Kaylie dons a truly hideous strappy creation that looks like Wilma Flintstone’s dress mated with a paper shredder. \~/ \~/ Yes, I know it’s a design from Nastia Liukin’s line, and this is why she’s a gymnast, not a fashion designer. Kaylie’s checking her phone yet again, and Payson warns her that they’ll be in trouble if Sasha catches her. Kaylie complains about her hangover, but this is pretty much the only time in the ep we’ll hear about it. I guess it went away when the plot didn’t require it anymore.


\~/ Payson and Kaylie speculate over why they’re the only ones who got called in. Then Emily shows up, and Payson deduces that Sasha found out about the kegger. They panic for a moment until Lauren arrives (in a blue-and-green puke-colored leo, but yay French braids! \~/). This prompts groans from the others, but Payson points out that her being here is a good thing. As far as Payson knows, Lauren didn’t go to the party, so Sasha can’t be onto them, right?

“Tonight we drink beer in hell!”

Wrong. Sasha walks in and tosses them all beer cans. He proceeds to lecture them about how they’re supposed to be extraordinary, but apparently they’d rather party and get wasted. Payson pleads that she never wanted to go to the party and only went to keep her friends out of trouble. She did a right good job of that, I see. Sasha mocks her about playing chaperone and then moves on to Emily, whom he mocks for being a sheep. That’s the best you can do, Sasha? I’m disappointed. Lauren denies being at the party but Sasha finds the telltale stamp on her wrist. I don’t know whether to be skeeved that Lauren apparently hasn’t showered since the party or dismayed that she is such a dumb ass that she didn’t even rinse the stamp off. Sasha threatens to go back to England but Payson begs him not to. I’m with her. Please, Sasha, don’t go. So he stays and yells about how they’re all on probation and then he takes the beers back. Cool, can I have them? Sasha then informs the girls that it’s not enough for them to say they’re sorry. They have to feel it. Sasha, you can make me feel it anytime.

“Are you threatening me??

Credits, which amuse me because they show a montage of our cast members and stunt doubles performing dramatic-looking moves in the dark. Next scene opens at Pizza Shack. Chloe comes running in and approaches the manager, a frazzled ginger chick who looks hyped-up on emphatamines. Kind of like Beavis in Beavis and Butt-head do America. \~/ The manager tells Chloe that if Emily can’t make it, she needs to find someone to cover her shift or she’s fired. Cut to Chloe in a Pizza Shack shirt yelling orders out in a strange hybrid of English and bad Spanish. Damon shows up and mistakes her for the boss, but she corrects him and says she’s Emily’s sister. Damon reveals that he’s covering Razor and Chloe’s like, so you have no idea what you’re doing, either. Sounds like the writing room on any given day. I’ve worked at restaurants before and I can tell you that if you need a shift covered, it has to be by another employee. You can’t just have some random untrained person come in. Otherwise the place could have a lawsuit on their hands. Realism? The writers spit on your realism! Ptooey! Anyway, Chloe and Damon continue to banter, and I won’t bother recapping the dialogue–just imagine any cheesy 80s teen B-movie.

Cut to Chez Keeler, where Payson’s Mom and Becca are home alone. Becca wants to go to a movie with a friend but Ma Keeler protests on grounds that it’s “Family Day.” Becca points out that her Dad’s at work and Payson’s at practice, so it’s not much of a family day. They quibble for a bit until Ma Keeler reluctantly relents. Becca, feeling guilty, asks her Mom to go with them, but Ma Keeler passes. All alone on Family Day!

At Chez Cruz, Creepy Carter greets the maid who grouchily tells him Kaylie’s not here. Well, hell. Does everyone know about this but Sasha and the Cruz ‘rents? Carter’s almost as stealth as Seth Cohen. \~/ Creepy Carter finds Leo practicing putts on a little track on the ground, and I’m reminded of the Mayor on Buffy. \~/ Leo tells Creepy Carter that Kaylie loves him and is sorry, but she’s not here because Sasha called her in for practice. Creepy Carter freaks out because Lauren’s also at practice. Leo wonders why he’s got his undies in a bunch, so Creepy Carter tells Leo he did something horrible and unspeakable and unforgivable and you’d think he like, mass murdered everyone on this cast. Which actually seems like an act of mercy at this point.

“Do you girls mind? You’re distracting me from my cross-stitch!”

On that dramatic note, we cut to commercial, and return to some establishing shots of Boulder before settling on the Rock. Sasha is sitting on a folding chair chair, counting off and twiddling his thumbs. Meanwile, the girls are doing calisthenics and bickering. Lauren accuses Payson of blabbing to Sasha and calls Kaylie Miss Goody Two Shoes. OOOOOOOH SIQBURN! Lauren baits Kaylie by mentioning that Creepy Carter was at the party, and Kaylie freezes. Sasha notices, proceeds to call them all losers and tells them to start again. Have I ever mentioned that i love Sasha?

Well, I guess we know which one’s on the bottom.

Back to Creepy Carter and Leo. Creepy Carter spills his guts, and in a fabulous display of bad acting, Leo asks, “Is there any reason I shouldn’t smash your face in right now?” Maybe because you’re about as menacing as my grandmother, Leo? Sorry, grandma. Leo urges Creepy Carter not to tell Kaylie because she will be devastated. What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her. I’m appalled. What kind of a brother are you, Leo? So much for sibling loyalty! Creepy Carter says he’s got to get to the Rock and tell Kaylie before Lauren does. Leo makes a halfhearted attempt at righteous anger and gives Carter a pansy ass punch in the gut. It comes off about as fierce as if he’d poked the Pillsbury Doughboy in the stomach. Ryan Atwood would be ashamed.

Over at the Rock, the girls are now climbing ropes–well, sort of. They kind of move up and down but mostly just cling to the ropes a few yards above the mats. In my gym, we had to climb up to the top, touch the ceiling, and then climb back down, rinse and repeat as needed. But then, it’s harder to bicker about unattractive flat-faced guys that way. Lauren keeps baiting Kaylie about Creepy Carter until Payson tells them to shut up. Emily asks what is up with Sasha… is he like, a sadist or something? No, that would be the guy who greenlighted this show in the first place. Pa Tanner shows up and Lauren immediately runs up to him for help. Daddy blows her off, saying he’s here to talk to Sasha about the Rock and not to bail her ass out. Pa Tanner and Sasha head for the office but before he goes, Sasha is sure to tell Lauren that thanks to her, the girls have to start again.

In the office, Pa Tanner goes on about how he built the Rock with his bare hands in the snow and threw his blood, sweat, and tears into it. OK, more like his money. Sasha’s like, “Congratulations” and i just love his delivery here. It’s like, “Whatever, tool.” Pa Tanner appeals to Sasha to convince the board to reinstall him as president and manager, citing politics as the reason. He goes on about the other ‘rents’ agendas, as if his motives are all pure. Cut to Lauren attempting to climb the rope outside, and it looks like our friend subtlety flew the coop again. Sasha randomly asks Pa Tanner if he’s close with Lauren and if she can talk to him. Pa Tanner wonders what this has to do with the Rock, and I’m a little skeeved out. Was Sasha member of the Babysitter’s Club or what, because he seems way too invested in his clients’ lives. \~/ Sasha tells Pa Tanner he’ll sleep on it, and the two of them head out. On the way, Sasha tells the girls to do upper body work on the bars. Kaylie snarks that Sasha’s one coach Pa Tanner can’t buy, and Lauren continues to bait her about Creepy Carter.

Outside, Pa Tanner and Sasha continue to engage in a contest of who has the biggest cajones. Yeah, like it’s any contest. As Pa Tanner drives off, Creepy Carter shows up. Sasha, garbage can and notepad in hand, wants to know what he wants. Creepy Carter tries to worm is way into the Rock but Sasha shuts him down quickly. Creepy Carter, not to be deterred, dials Leo on a nearby pay phone and hits him up for Pa Cruz’s keys to the Rock.

When Sasha reenters the gym, he gathers the girls around him for a fun little ritual he likes to do from time to time. Does it involve sacrificial virgins? ‘Cause if so, I’m afraid Lauren’s out. Sasha passes out notepads and tells the girls to write down any resentments they have toward each other. Then they’ll fold up their notes and burn them in the bin. The girls are reluctant at first but the mighty gaze of Sasha compels them, and they begin to write. After dropping their notes in the bin, Sasha fishes said notes out and announces he’ll read them aloud first. Everyone’s like, “Oh, shit!” but Sasha assures them the notes will remain anonymous. So it’s like a real-life livejournal anon meme! Dra-ma!

As expected, the secrets focus on each girl’s one personality trait. Payson complains about how no one works as hard as she does or recognizes that she’s better than the rest of them. Kaylie whinges about Lauren’s betrayal and about Creepy Carter, whom she’s totally not seeing, you guys. Lauren goes on about how no one took her part against Miss Trailer Trash, who has no technique and consistency and will tank at Nationals exclamation point! Wait, did I write that note? Everyone glares at Lauren and she’s like, “Well, it’s true!” I know it is, Lauren, and this is why I love you. Finally, Emily whines about how no one has made her feel welcome at the Rock. I would like to know what she expects. People to swoon over her and to offer to write a feature on her in their school paper? \~/ (Oh sad, sad day when I’d rather be watching Twilight.) Bitch should’ve moved to Forks.

With that fun out of the way, Sasha burns the notes and announces that today’s conditioning is over. However, they girls are not free to go–now they’re going to clean all the mats. Emily tries to get out of it, prompting everyone except Payson to follow her lead. But Sasha won’t hear any of it. He makes them surrender their cell phones, although Kaylie tries frantically to check her voicemail first. Emily has no cell phone. I weep for her. While Lauren and Kaylie continue to bicker about Carter, Sasha heads out saying he’ll check on them occasionally. I love Sasha, but what a dumb ass. Like you really leave a bunch of teenagers alone and trust that they’ll do what they’re told? Hasn’t he ever watched like, any teen show ever?

More bickering over the confessions. Kaylie continues to deny dating Creepy Carter and Lauren delivers another awesome line: “Sasha’s not stupid like Marty.” Girl might be a bitch but she speaks truth. Payson tries to restore order but gets sucked into the argument too. Then Emily brings the scene to its whine-tastic climax with a gem that can basically be summed up as, “BAWWWW YOU’RE RICH BAWWWW I HAVE TO WORK AT PIZZA SHACK BAWWWW I’M POOR BAWWWWW FEEL SORRY FOR ME!” Everyone shuts up and listens, of course. Even the mighty Lauren is powerless against the Mary Sue.

Cut to the Pizza Shack. Chloe and Damon continue to banter, and it’s a real testament to how insufferable everyone else is that I’m actually glad to be watching these two. Damon asks Chloe where she got her madd Spanish Skillz (which mostly consist of scattered Spanish words and English ones with an -o attached to the end), and she runs down the list of charmingly blue-collar jobs she’s worked. Damon wants to know what brought them to Boulder, and Chloe tells him it’s so Emily can train at the Rock. She might go to the Olympics, you guys! With a double tuck bar dismount and Tsuk tuck! Chloe realizes belatedly that it’s all supposed to be a big secret. Damon, speaking for the rest of us, casually asks why. Chloe talks about how Emily is this “private” person, as opposed to Chloe, who is the open-book type. Emily just wants to be everything her mother is not. Seeing as Chloe’s fun, likeable, sympathetic, and a decent actor, I’d say mission accomplished. The manager comes in and scolds Chloe and Damon, and Chloe tells her to get some manners. Gee, I wonder why Chloe can’t hold a job. Yeah, the manager’s a pain but you don’t just talk back to them unless you want to get fired. The manager leaves and Damon makes a crack about her being a meth head. I’m thinking the only meth here is going around the writers’ room.

Back at the Rock, the girls are scrubbing the mats and complaining. Payson warns Emily that she might get kicked out for working part-time. Lauren asks if she’ll really get fired if she doesn’t show up, and Emily condescendingly delivers a winner of a line: “That’s how it works in the real word.” Which trust me, has zero bearing on this show. Kaylie points out that she and Payson invited Emily to places, but Emily just counters that they totally dissed her when she got here this morning. How? Because they didn’t play fanfare and roll out a read carpet? “OH YAY EMILY’S HERE! NOW THE PARTY CAN START!” Payson points out that she’s not exactly accessable, what with the mopey ~mystery woman~ act and once again Payson brings the only semblance of logic. I might have to ordain her a priestess in the Church of Laurentology. Emily keeps whining about the Pizza Shack until Kaylie offers to cover for her. Kaylie says she owes Emily one after she covered for her and Carter, but I personally think she was just sick of hearing her. Lauren and Payson aren’t on board with this, but Kaylie gives an Inspiring Speech about how they all need to support each other in and outside the gym. Payson and Lauren are appropriately shamed and agree to help Emily.

They try to figure out how to get Emily out unbeknownst to Sasha, but the only way out to avoid detection is out the window. They wonder how Emily will get up there and Lauren is awesome again when she says, “Well, if she’s so great, why doesn’t she vault up there?” Seriously, she and Payson get the best lines. Kaylie gives her a dirty look and Lauren’s like “Kidding!” but you can totally tell she totally wasn’t. They get the idea to have Emily climb the rope up to the window and shimmy outside, like Tarzan. \~/

Peppy pop music plays as the girls help Emily climb out the window while Payson keeps watch. They are nearly busted when Sasha walks in but of course they aren’t, because heaven forbid Emily Sue get fired from the Pizza Shack. How else will they move the whole Leo/Damon/Razor/Emily love rhombus? The others tell Sasha that Emily’s in the bathroom and he totally buys it, despite the fact that their delivery is as convincing as their gymnastic stunt work. Sasha leaves, and now they argue about the consequences of getting caught covering for Emily. Payson groans that she’s going to get an ulcer. It’s OK, Payson, I can relate.

Ma Keeler arrives to pick up Payson, and discovers that Sasha’s living in a trailer outside the gym. No, I did not make that up. Sasha tells Ma Keeler that it’ll be a few hours because the girls are cleaning the mats. Ma Keeler lectures Sasha about how Sunday is the only day the girls have time to spend with their familes, and today is their family day! Sasha invites her to have a seat at his lovely picnic table, and offers her the job of managing the gym. Wow, I guess he was really impressed by Family Day. Ma Keeler says she’ll sleep on it.

Back at Pizza Shack, Chloe and Damon are still talking about Emily. We see that Chloe’s wearing her usual stripper shoes. I feel the need to mention that none of the restaurants I worked for allowed open-toed shoes. It’s a health risk. Furthermore, everyone pretty much wore sneakers or running shoes, because you’re on your feet for hours and they will die in heels. “BUT IT’S JUST A SHOOOWWWWW! GTFO WITH YOUR REALISM!”


Chloe asks Damon how Razor feels about him invading his territory. So is Razor like, King of the Shack the way Hodgins is King of the Lab? \~/ \~/ Damon’s like, it’s not like Razor’s Emily’s boyfriend. Chloe’s like, “I wish.” You might change your mind if you found out that Razor got Damon to stalk Emily in his stead, Chloe. Chloe confides that Emily’s never had a boyfriend and Chloe doesn’t think she’s even been kissed! What is Emily, 16? Drew Barrymore can beat that. \~/

Just then, who should walk in but–SMASH CUT!–Emily! Damon tells Emily her Mom is awesome. I agree. But rather than thanking Chloe for covering for her, Emily’s pissed because Chloe might–gaspshock!–tell Damon stuff about her! Man, what an ungrateful bitch. Her Mom just saved her ass! I’m really starting to feel sorry for Chloe.

Back to Creepy Carter standing on a suburban street. Leo pulls up in his Porsche and hands over the keys to the Rock. He warns Creepy Carter about the consequences of getting caught, but Carter’s creepery will not be foiled! “Bring it on!” he says. Thank you, Creepy Carter, for reminding me of yet another movie I’d rather be watching. \~/

Back at the Rock, Lauren speculates on what other secrets “Playground Prodigy” has. Haha, she’s like Sawyer with the nicknames. \~/ I want to speculate on Emily’s deep dark sekrits! EMILY KILLED HER FATHER! SHE BLEW UP HIS HOUSE AND DROVE OFF ON A MOTORCYCLE! \~/ That actually… makes a lot of sense. Payson declares that she herself has no secrets, which segues into one of the most uncomfortable “girl talk” convos of this entire show. Maybe of all of TV. It even beats out Troi and Crusher’s boob convo in Star Trek: Insurrection. \~/ So Lauren announces that she has a secret… she’s not a virgin anymore!

Not a Virgin – Poe

Kaylie pounces on that like Porthos on a slice of cheese. \~/ (I hate you, show, for making me appreciate Enterprise). Lauren says it was at the party but lies about her deflower-er. She says she didn’t know the guy and doesn’t remember his name. Payson is appalled and gasps, “How could you?” OMG, a one-night-stand! Lauren is a HORRIBLE PERSON! I’m clutching my pearls. Lauren excuses her hobaggery saying she just wanted to be like other girls her age. Payson objects, saying that “Not all girls our age are having sex! And we’re not like other girls!” Lauren counters that they at least have boyfriends, as though possessing a boyfriend is the barometer of normalcy. And what about the non-gymnasts who are single? Are they all freaks? Thank you, ABC Family, for teaming up with Stephenie Meyer in the quest to take feminism back another fifty years.

Lauren goes on about how she has nothing in her life but gymnastics and a Dad who wants to replace her with his gold-digging secretary, and holay creepy! Seriously, do these writers even think when they write this stuff? The part of me that still holds onto a fragile if persistent faith in humanity wants to believe they do it on purpose and are totally chortling afterwards, but the dominant part is way too cynical for that–I mean, this network airs Secret Life. Payson’s like, “I can’t believe you had sex!” I can’t believe anyone involved in this can keep a straight face! Lauren tells Payson not to feel sorry for her, and she’s glad she did it. Creepy Carter might be a creeper, but I guess the sex was maja. WARNING: Link is NSFW

And if that wasn’t bizarre enough, Payson delivers the line of the evening: “Aren’t you afraid that having sex will stimulate your hormones or something? You could get… big boobs or big hips! It’s death to gymnastics!” I guess Alicia Sacramone never got the memo. I might also mention that this line might sound a lot more convincing if it did not come from an actress with more T&A than half of Hollywood’s young starlets. Lauren demonstrates how the writing room parties like it’s 1998 by pointing out that doing the wild mattress dance will not give you titties like Pamela Anderson or a booty like J-Lo. Payson declares she’s not having sex till she has a gold medal and maybe not even after that. Well, Payson, if that’s how you want to play it, I hear there’s a lot of sexin’ going on in the Olympic Village.

She goes on to lecture everyone that they have their entire lives to have sex and only one shot at the Olympics. Payson and Kaylie aren’t about to blow it on boyfriends. Nah… too easy. That prompts Kaylie to confess about Creepy Carter. I think Payson’s head is exploding. This prompts more Creepy Carter-induced arguing until Payson breaks in. She lectures everyone about their bitch drama and backstabbing, but this time I actually feel for Payson because her concern is about their friendship rather than Emily “IT’S ALL ABOUT MEEEEEEE!” Kmetko. The girls tearfully apologize and I wait for them to do trust exercises off the mat. “Lauren, I don’t hate you because you’re a backstabbing bitch. You’re a backstabbing bitch because I hate you.” \~/ They kiss and make up and all get into a totally cliché water fight just as Creepy Carter walks in.

Kaylie runs up to him and sucks his face off in front of everyone, telling him glowingly that everyone knows. Lauren catches Creepy Carter’s eye and shakes her head, so he doesn’t tell Kaylie. Kaylie and Creepy Carter make out but Payson warns them to put a lid on it before she projectile vomits all over the mats they just cleaned. Oh wait, that was me. Payson is just afraid Sasha will catch them. Lauren has to turn away from the happy couple, because she just can’t bear it. You and me both, Lo.

Back to the Pizza Shack. Damon wants to know who the real Emily Kmetko is. She gets pissy and he asks if she’s always been such a snob. I like this guy. Emily tells him about the 174907432421 places she’s lived because her mom likes “fresh starts.” He asks about her father and she gives a noncommittal answer–“not in the picture.” She says he’s not a “stick-around” guy but few men are, citing “observation based on experience.” I think we’re supposed to infer this comes from Chloe’s failed relationships, but I like to think there’s a dark chapter in Emily’s past. Maybe some dude left her ~brokenhearted.~ Maybe she’s a lesbian! That would explain why she hasn’t been particularly excited about her multiple love interests and why she’s so obsessed with privacy. Hmmmmm.

Emily deflects the convo to Damon, who says he wants to head out to LA to be a rock star. I love how everyone on this show is a total cliché. Damon suspects that Emily likes being an outsider, because otherwise it would mean exposing who she ~really~ is. He adds that it must be hard being an outsider if she’s part of a team–the Rock. Em deduces that her mom blabbed, but Damon tells her to give her Mom a break. She’s just proud of her, and he’s the Fort Knox of secrets. I have to say that Damon is by far the most interesting of Emily’s love interests. At least he challenges her instead of just rambling about how hot and special she is. I’m sure this will turn around next week but you know me and the few fleeting good moments in this show–I enjoy them while they last.

Emily wants to bail out of Pizza Shack, and Damon offers to cover for her if she does a standing tuck. Yaaayyyy more bad Emily stunt work! Just what we need to make this episode complete. We get some badly dubbed-in “ooohs” and applause. Damon is impressed. At least one of us is. Emily says he should see her standing full twist. No, please don’t show it to us. Haven’t we suffered enough? Emily asks Damon if her mom told him any more embarrassing secrets and he assures her she didn’t. More banter, and the scene mercifully ends.

Cut to the Rock, where we see that the rope is still hanging outside the window. Sasha comes in and asks where Emily is. The other girls are totally silent and panicking but wouldn’t ya know, Emily comes running over and bails their asses out. Nice how she sneaks back in literally behind Sasha’s back whilst making no noise whatsoever. Mary Sues have soopah powahs! Sasha speechifies about lighting candles and thank Heathus this ep is almost over. The girls all hug it out, bitches, then get into this big water fight and make a huge mess of the place they just cleaned. I love how writers of bad TV shows and movies seem to know of no other way to show characters laughing and having fun than by making them get in big messy fights. I guess it’s not a real friendship until you’ve dumped manky mop water all over your BFF.

Everyone’s all happy and huggy and smiley as they walk out of the gym. Ma Keeler picks Payson up and asks how she would feel if Ma Keeler started managing the Rock. Payson laughs, thinking she’s joking. Chloe pulls up and Emily finally thanks her for filling in at the Pizza Shack. Chloe talks about how cute Damon is and gets a little too excited. Emily, as usual, shows no overwhelming reaction one way or another–like or dislike. Emily, this is doing nothing to dispel my lesbian theory. Emily asks what else Chloe told Damon and Chloe insists she said nothing.

“Oh, and you’d best get to a clinic post haste before the itching and swelling and burning starts up. But don’t worry–there’s an ointment that’ll clear it all up!”

Meanwhile, Lauren’s left standing there alone, all woebegone. Over at Sasha’s trailer, Pa Tanner is still quibbling with Sasha about managing the Rock, but Sasha blows him off. Creepy Carter, still creeping around, comes up to Lauren and apologizes for hitting it and quitting it. He takes full responsibility. I guess it was his attempt to be gentlemanly but sorry, you’re still a creepy sleaze. Lauren just smiles sadly and says it’s OK, it wasn’t her first time. Creepy Carter thanks Lauren for not telling Kaylie about them, and Lauren assures him that she did it for Kaylie, not him. I don’t see how she’s doing Kaylie any favors. First off, Creepy Carter’s spent most of his screentime being a pushy, borderline stalkerish control freak. Kaylie’s better off without him. Secondly, if Carter’s going to run out and get wasted and bang the first chick who’s willing whenever they have a fight, who’s to say he won’t do it again? What a catch. Creepy Carter asks Lauren if she knows where his phone went, and she feigns ignorance. Once he’s gone, though, she pulls it out again and gazes angstily at a photo of Kaylie and Carter. OK, is Lauren paging Glenn Close or what because it is getting really Fatal Attraction up in here. I can’t decide who’s creepier. Lauren gets into her Dad’s Hummer and the drive off, Lauren gazing sadly out the window as a heart-wrenching pop ballad plays.

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And thus endeth tonight’s Very Special Episode. This is one of those times when (I seem to say this often about this show) I think they were trying to address actual issues faced by elite gymnasts but as usual, fell way short of the mark. Yes, I get that these girls are very sheltered and probably have less knowledge and experience than the average teen. But the creators seem to have forgotten that their audience doesn’t. This episode would be right at home if it aired in 1985, but in 2009, you’re going to have to do more than pontificate about first kisses and loss of virginity via girl talk that reads like something out of one of the YA books I snark here. Remember, your viewers are the same kids that tune in to Gossip Girl and the new 90210 and various MTV reality shows in which teens drink, smoke, party, and swap boyfriends as casually and often as most of us change our socks. I’m not saying this show should become Skins with gymnastics. But if you’re going to have a Very Special Episode about sex at least treat it in a way that feels fresh or current, and not like you recycled a rejected Afterschool Special script.

That said, from the preview it looks like next week’s going to be a real doozy. Mother-daughter fashion show! I can already feel the America’s Next Top Model jokes flowing from my fingertips onto the keyboard! Until next week–and remember kids, don’t have sex! Or you might end up looking like this: