MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.5: I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me

It’s been a while since I have been able to check in with the elite athletes of MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, and this week’s episode reminded me of what I like so much about this series: It focuses on charming, complex characters in stories that manage to be simple yet compelling.

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, but comforting to see I haven’t missed much. MIORBI’s “Previously, on…” montage caught me up just fine. The recap segment on serialized drama is very important, and I don’t think enough shows pay enough attention to them. It fits in with the old-fashioned, straight-forward storytelling; don’t look here for fancy camera tricks directorial gloss.
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Make It or Break It: Payson Stays Broke

Lauren, Emily, Payson and Kaylie

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT is getting more and more soapy as it goes along. The-powers-that-be realized it is not a sports series, and thus ramped up the drama, and now, following the winter hiatus they are really upping the soap opera factor. While reigning national gymnastics champion Kaylie (Josie Loren) tries to balance the demands of new fame and jealous peers — not to mention her surly relationship with men’s champion Nicky (Cody Longo) – my favorite storyline is Payson’s struggle with career-ending injury.

Payson (Ayla Kell) has been coming into her own as a coach-like mentor while steadfastly refusing to embrace the role, because that would mean she had officially given up on making an athletic comeback. This has led to her becoming more and more detached from reality – to the point where she is planning to win the national title next year. Even Summer began to wonder if some kind of miracle cure might allow Payson to rebound from a broken back and return to the mats. Now, if this were a daytime soap, we viewers could be certain that she would find that magic cure. But MIOBI is a nighttime soap, and thus it eschews the facile, “inspirational” path. Payson’s admirer Nicky weaseled her an appointment with the best spine expert in the country, and the table was set for her Lourdes-like rebirth. Well, it didn’t happen. The top back man in the world assured Payson that her spinal damage is inoperable. Payson was so worked up with hope, and then so crushed. Kell did a wonderful job depicting Payson’s bubbling, cheerfully positive mania in the run-up to her consult, but was subtle with Payson’s grief. Kudos to Peri Gilpin for her moving portrayal of Kim’s pain, embarrassment and helplessness in the face of her daughter’s injury. “I let myself hope,” Kim sobbed.
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