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make it or break it.jpgIt’s official: my favorite new television addiction is ‘Make It Or Break It’–the one hour weekly gymnastics melodrama airing its second season now on ABC Family. The show revolves around four girls, all gymnasts, Emily (the poor, scholarship girl), Payson (the unflappable girl with the most intense ambition), Kaylie (the cute, sweet one who has a weakness for boys), and Lauren (the quintessential mean girl always scheming to hurt someone to get herself ahead).
Together, they make for four truly engaging characters. Then add their families, coaches, and the politics of the gymnastics world into the mix and this show is such a winner. I’ve been impressed by how much the series is able to show a balance between the lives of the girls and how they are influenced by being world class gymnasts, and then the sheer excitement of the sport itself. There are a number of episodes in season one that had me on the edge of my seat, as if I was watching the national gymnastics championships for real, or that have made me teary, given the difficult challenges the girls face or the way their families and friends rally around them in hard times. And then there is the wonderful portrayal of teen life when you happen to not be a typical teen.
One interesting standout character, who has slowly become one of my favorites among the supporting cast, is Candace Cameron who plays Summer, the pseudo Mom to the tough and often hateful Lauren. Cameron is a well-known as a Christian actress, and her real-life faith identity is central to her character on the show–both in terms of her openness about being a Christian, and also how she dispenses advice. What I love most about how her Christian identity intertwines with her character, though, is that, while she’s explicit about how Christianity effects her choices (with Lauren, with her love life, with regard to the other three girls), she is never preachy, and when she is dispensing advice, they’ve written incredible subtlety and a humanness into her character’s history that just make you eventually love her. At least that is how I feel: as the show has expanded her character I’ve liked her more and more.


Anyway, all the episodes for season one are available online (try hulu), and season two is only on episode three so it will be easy to catch up. A new ‘Make It Or Break It’ airs tonight on ABC Family at 9pm. Don’t miss it!
Make It or Break It

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