Make It Or Break It Down: Season 1, Episode 5

The abrupt end to the 2020 NCAA gymnastics season was a shock to everyone, us included. And while we understand and support the measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it means that a lot of us are suddenly left with extra time on our hands…

Which is why we’ve decided to embark on an important journey, one that will take us back through one of television’s most important series to date: Make It or Break It. Every Saturday (and a number of other bonus days) from now until the 2021 season, our editors Katherine, Kalley and Claire will be breaking down and recapping each episode of everyone’s favorite gymnastics show. 

Want to watch along? You can find MIOBI on Hulu and the Freeform app, all you have to have is a subscription/cable login. You can also buy the DVDs or purchase seasons or single episodes on various platforms, like iTunes. Join us in the cheesiness and the early 2010s TV gymnastics by using the hashtag #MakeItOrBreakItDown on Twitter as you watch.

You can read our S1E1 recap here.

S1E5: Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Supermodel

The ad that Hulu played prior to this episode starting was for Jack Daniels whiskey, which I wouldn’t mind having a bit of prior to starting this episode. Alas, make do or go without.

Emily enters The Rock with her mother in tow. She’s there for the “mothers meeting” because, as we’ve seen, fathers don’t have any role running this gym. Imagine a world.

Emily shares the very real concern that her mother will embarrass her, to which she dismisses her and immediately name drops Sasha Belov with the not-at-all embarrassing nickname:

#StopFetishizingBritishMen2020 (this is as much a reminder to me as it is to her).

Kaylie presses Lauren about her ~sExUaL AwAkEnIng~ and whether she’s mad that she never got a “call back” (what I have to imagine is the 2009 equivalent of a “u up?” text). Lauren’s like:

While Carter, seeking a performance review I guess, lurks in the background, Lauren demonstrates that sex really does have the power to help you leap tall buildings in a single bound. Or at least, perform a D-rated beam mount.

I could comment on the silliness of this logic, or I could dig deeper into how this scene continues the show’s tradition of upholding gender roles by implying Lauren couldn’t have gotten this skill without the help of a man…

Mrs. Keeler has called this questionable meeting because The Rock needs money. Emily’s mom, probably called to be there for her financial wizardry, helpfully proposes the idea of a mother/daughter benefit fashion show, which Payson’s mom doesn’t love because 1) she doesn’t love her daughter and 2) it “sounds like a big production.” Has she…seen the sport her daughter competes in?

Speaking of her daughter, Payson throws a halfway decent double full which Sasha immediately poo-poos because she didn’t smile at the end. He then gives her a critique in which he calls her a “beautiful young woman” and demands to see the “beauty with the brawn.”

So, Payson, let’s see that smile!

The mothers proudly share their idea of the fashion show with the gym. Payson, ever the optimist, is aghast at the idea of spending time that could be used preparing for nationals having fun (you’ll remember the Kegger). Sasha, on the other hand, thinks this “preening and makeup” is an “excellent idea.” This is way too much weirdness from creepy coach, and we haven’t even hit the 10-minute mark.

Our fab four are in various stages of “eff this” over the fashion show. Lauren is gagging at the prospect of walking down the runway with de facto mom Summer, while Payson has no use for the frivolity at all. Meanwhile, Kaylie’s just excited to do to Carter what I’d do to every man who’s done me wrong.

Ogling eyes are out in full force today as Emily’s mom checks out Sasha once more (if this becomes A Thing That Happens I’d smash my computer in solidarity with Emily). Right after Emily reiterates how little she wants her mom to be involved in her gym life and in, you know, the business of embarrassing her.

Then, Carter looks on at Lauren in the distance while Kaylie competes with Mrs. Kmetko for the title of Biggest Blabbermouth in this God-Forsaken Show, going on about Lauren’s sex life about which Carter knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Noticing his wandering eye, she tries the subtle approach of asking Carter if he still thinks she’s hot, to which he convincingly replies:

That nickname alone would have me heading for the hills.

Sasha further displays his weird commitment to this fashion show by denying Payson’s request to not participate in the show, going on to refer to it as “part of her training.” Knowing the rumors going around about the FIG adding a walking in stilettos bonus to the beam code, I guess he’s got a point.

Carter traipses to his car after a long day at the gym to find a present waiting for him in his front seat.

Lock your damn car! If only every serial ghoster was available enough to be ambushed in such a way; justice would be served way more often, in my opinion.

Carter apologizes to Lauren for taking her virginity because her first time should have been with “someone she really liked.” Lauren’s like:

“I just hope Kaylie never finds out about us.” I can tell how concerned you are about that, given your willingness to be seen together, in front of the gym, doing this:

Anyway, today in “Nothing Surprises Me Anymore,” Sasha proves he’s a white man weirdly into Eastern medicine by urging Kaylie to get in touch with her “third chakra.” Then, because he’s an expert on, well, everything, he asserts to Payson’s mom that she doesn’t want to do the fashion show because she’s “afraid of her femininity.”

At a nondescript, probably gentrified restaurant, Lauren’s Daddy and Summer are eating lunch while he professes how HAPPY he is that she and Lauren are finally getting along. But make no mistake: “The only good thing about a Rock fashion show is getting to see my sexy girlfriend walk the runway.”

Cut to a lovely shot of her cross necklace dangling gently in the breeze. Clever editing!

Because they’re so close now, Summer takes it upon herself to read into Lauren’s psyche and make the insightful conjecture that she’s a teenager and might be…hormonal and into boys. WHAT? She then tells her boyfriend that he should have “the talk” with his daughter. And because men and responsibility go together like ice cream and asparagus, he immediately asks Summer to do it instead. Nothing could go wrong. Nothing.

Meanwhile, at Pizza Shack, some serious flirtation is going on between Emily and Deadbeat Guy No. 2.

Damn, is it getting hot in here or is that the (probably improperly regulated) pizza oven?

I guess if they’re going to give the two of them so much ~suggestive~ dialogue, I’ll need a new nickname for Deadbeat Guy No. 2. I just don’t think I can bring myself to use his full name. Mostly because he does stuff like kiss Emily without asking because “you mom said you’d never been kissed before.”

Kaylie’s mom is super excited for the fashion show; so excited that she refutes efforts by Kaylie to inquire as to when she first had sex with her dad. The thought of breaching this topic of conversation voluntarily with my mom is probably the most unrealistic part of the show to date. See above GIF.

“You don’t have to even think about boys and marriage because you have gymnastics.” Did Kaylie’s mom just get inside the heads of most of the gymternet?

Kaylie decides to talk with someone who will REALLY be interested in sex, because it’s kind of her entire identity as a character at this point…Lauren has entered the chat. Kaylie informs her that she’s ready to “do it” (THAT’S a more realistic euphemism if I ever heard one), and I can’t think of anything Lauren would have rather heard in that moment.

Later, everyone is preparing for the fashion show by perusing rack upon rack of clothes at Kaylie’s house. And let’s just say some of these people are showing their true colors with their choices.

“I don’t know anyone who could refuse these awesome bangles.” I do, and her name is 2012 and beyond.

In an attempt to live vicariously through their daughters (which they, of course, have never done before) Emily’s and Payson’s moms gleefully pick out clothes while their daughters Wish They Were Anywhere Else. Lauren is annoyed that none of the outfits have plunging necklines, so naturally Summer says it’s time for an intervention.

In reality, she actually admits that she had a little hoe phase of her own back in her glory days.

PLURAL. Oh it’s getting raunchy. Summer tells a touching story of how she was called the unfortunate nickname “One Dirty Summer” because she…flirted a lot? Christian social norms will never cease to amaze me.

Devastated at the proposition that she can no longer respect herself because she had sex, Lauren allows a single tear to cascade down her cheek.

Meanwhile, at the site of the fashion show, two other women are having a motherly conversation; Payson’s mother tells her that strong is the new beautiful and she shouldn’t worry about not being girly enough to do the fashion show. I could offer a hot take here, but that’s kind of a nice sentiment.

That is, I felt that way until I had to witness the two of them dancing in unity on the stage, which is so indescribable that I can only suggest watching for yourself if you can spare some brain cells.

Backstage, Emily and her mom go over their looks for the charity golf outing later that day.

Kaylie and her mom go onstage with their “urban safari” looks, which is cute because there’s truly nothing safari-like about them. But we DO have animals to set the scene:

The primal scream he just emitted was quite upsetting to Lauren, who somehow heard it from backstage, above all the noise. That, along with Kaylie’s renewed confidence in her decision to sleep with Carter tonight, pisses her off to the point that she takes matters into her own hands. She decides to steal Emily’s dress for a look that should REALLY make Carter jealous:

Because nothing says jealousy-making like a homecoming dress off the rack from Kohl’s. She decides she doesn’t need Summer’s church mom mystique cramping her style and saunters down that runway herself. Summer’s wounded pride is the equivalent of the girl in blue.

Emily’s furious when she sees Lauren stole “her” dress and is ready to walk out because:

But then her mother gives a weirdly inspirational speech about “not letting the Lauren Tanners of the world get to you” and being beautiful and lovely and going out there and enjoying this. So Emily goes out there in what’s basically a glammed up version of the “Risky Business” Halloween costume…

…and is having a grand old time until she sees DEADBEAT GUY NO. 2 sitting in the wings!?? He doesn’t even go here!

We cut to a shot of Sasha at the bar…after last week’s go-around with the beers in the gym, I’m nervous to see him drinking.

Maybe I was worried about the wrong mom seducing Sasha. 👀Or she’s just being nice, which I’m fairly certain isn’t an emotion that registers on his scale.

Lauren drowns her sorrows in…cranberry juice, probably, is bummed that her hoe-y lewk didn’t raise the most money when her dad and Summer come over for a little talking-to. We learn Lauren’s real mother is not an African relief worker, as she’s been telling everyone—she’s a person with an addiction who’s been absent for much of her life.

Instead of a legit conversation about this important issue, because it’s ABC Family, we cut immediately to Deadbeat Guy No. 2 further harassing Emily with his presence.

Turns out it was he who bid on Emily’s Risky Business haute couture. You know, with all the money he has from band gigs and working shifts at the pizza place at which he’s not employed. And he had enough money left over for a little gift:

He and Sasha are slowly proving to me that maybe, just maybe, evil trolls have hearts. Will be exploring this development further in the coming weeks.

Speaking of having a heart, Lauren comes to a realization about Carter, and she doesn’t like it.

So she tips off Kaylie’s mom that her daughter is about to perform a disgusting, gross act in the sanctity of her home that very evening. Have fun explaining that one to your “best friend!”

Cut, a few hours later, to said best friend’s boudoir where she’s anxiously awaiting the night ahead.

Candles, mood lighting, we’ve got it all up in here. I wish you guys could hear this music. It sounds like the backing track for a 1970’s porno.

Carter comes in and immediately is relegated to his rightful place in the closet when Kaylie’s mother enters and decides that if all the other moms can have an emotional talk with her daughters this episode, then she can too. It starts off a little something like this.

She goes on about how men are gross and evil and Kaylie should never compromise her gymnastics career for a man because “if it’s real, love will wait, but certain opportunities won’t.” WHY DOES EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW THINK SEX IS EQUIVALENT TO THROWING YOUR LIFE AWAY?

Carter appears to agree, as he bursts from the closet and asks Kaylie if they can pretty please wait until after nationals so she can protect her fragile body. Then she asks if they’ll be together forever and he, reasonably, says yes.

Welp, hope you weren’t looking forward to getting that punch front mount, Kaylie—maybe next time!

Balance Check

Every week we will break down the little moments that stood out as being extremely on point and those that wobbled a bit too much. Shout out to Vulture and its Gossip Girl Reality Index for providing the template for our version. 

Faker Than Having Sex Giving Someone Gymnastics Superpowers 

  • Why doesn’t Emily ever show up to practice in actual gym attire? Minus 2
  • Lauren’s claim that having sex was the key element to finally being able to nail her front tuck mount. Minus 3.
  • “Wait. The girls need money to go to nationals?” Minus only 1 because while this seems like common sense, it was spoken by Chloe Kmetko.
  • “Are we late for book club?” Minus 2 for how consistently Danny Tanner finds ways to belittle  and undermine the women and boost his male ego. Minus an additional point for the unnecessary pause in this phrase: “I leave the Rock in your … hands!” Ugh. He is the worst.
  • Minus 3 for the whole unnecessary plot line of trying to convince Payson the only way she’ll be successful is by turning her into a girly-girl instead of focusing on building her strengths. It’s sexist and irritating and making my eye twitch.
  • The head coach of a major gym spending his valuable time counting sit-ups. Nope. Minus 1. 

Total: -13

Realer Than the Amazing Feeling of Looking Hot for Revenge

  • Chloe Kmetko not understanding why Emily is so desperate to keep the fact that she is a gymnast secret. Plus 3 because SAME.
  • On that note, Emily’s mini-spiral monologue about needing to keep things separate for her own sanity made me feel seen and also attacked, so, Plus 2 for that as well. 
  • “I’ve hyper-extended both elbows, I feel like I can survive losing my virginity.” Plus 2 
  • “This wasn’t about a guy. It was about me.” Plus 5 for Lauren owning her own sexuality and being unapologetic about it.
  • Carter responding to Lauren asking, “how do you know I don’t really like you?” by saying “I love Kaylie” as if that both explains and excuses away his behavior is peak teen boy justification Plus 3.
  • Danny Tanner being so out of touch with his daughter that he assumes she isn’t interested boys (when she is easily the most boy-crazy character) because she’s an elite gymnast (does he think Payson is his daughter?) is really spot on. Plus 5. 
  • “No man, woman, or nasty blonde brat is going to stand in your way. You can’t let the Lauren Tanners of the world push you around!” PREACH. That whole pump-up speech was honestly something most people I know need to hear at some point in their life. Plus 3. 

Total: 23

Just like Lauren nailed her new beam mount, MIOBI nailed that episode landing firmly in the plus category with a 10.


1: The Feeling After You Find Out NCAAs Is Cancelled (Too Soon?)

2: The NCAA Banning Chalk Blowing Choreography

3: Brandie Jay’s Accidental DTY

4: Kelly Garrison Squeal After a Stuck Oklahoma Vault

5: It was beautiful, it was lovely, we went out there and ENJOYED THIS

Recap by Katherine. Weaver

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.