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Gymnastics TV show, so corny it's watchable

July 29, 2009 |  2:31 pm


There's a show Mondays on ABC Family called "Make It or Break It," and it's a fictional take on a high-level gymnastics club.

There's a female gymnast's mom who is/was having an affair with the club coach who then got blackmailed by another female gymnast's father, who lured the coach to another club and took his daughter with him but (and I think I missed an episode) said the gymnast had returned to the old club, which has a new coach, who has a Russian accent and a bunch of Olympic medals. There seems to be a lone male who is always working out and who is the boyfriend of the female gymnast whose mother is/was having the affair but said male gymnast had a one-night fling with the gymnast whose dad blackmailed the coach. I think the male gymnast is soon going to be blackmailed himself.

Got all that? And then there's the female gymnast who received a cortisone shot in between events in last week's show. Remember Peri Gilpin from "Frasier"? She plays the mom who let her daughter shoot up during the meet.

Also, remember Candace Cameron Bure, formerly of "Full House" fame? She plays the girlfriend of the father who bribed the coach. The father's daughter hates the girlfriend. 

If you've got that all straight, there is another female gymnast who is at the club on a scholarship. She is forced to work in a pizza restaurant on the side and her mom brags about having designer knockoffs. in early episodes, this girl seemed to have a brother who was in a wheelchair though he hasn't been around lately. The scholarship girl is a rebel. She disobeyed her coach last week, did an unapproved dismount from the uneven bars, fell and cost her club an important win.          

All this is going on while the girls are practicing for nationals. There was a hint in last week's episode of a possible eating disorder -- the girl with the boyfriend and the cheating mom was forced by her father to stand on a scale that is in the middle of the family living room and have said father tell his daughter she had gained 2 pounds in a week. This won't end well, I suspect. Oh, and the coach with the accent? He lives in a dilapidated motor home parked on what looks like the front lawn of the club.

In real gymnastics life, U.S. nationals are approaching (Aug. 12-15) but apparently with no high drama. Defending Olympic all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin said she is taking things slowly, planning few changes in her well-received uneven-bars routine and looking forward to the next three years and appearing in a second Olympics.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: U.S. all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times