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Make It or Break It: “Requiem for a Dream”

So who’s ready for some Emily pregnancy dramz? But first, a gift. Or, should I say, a gif.

Remember when I said last week that I was hoping someone would make a gif of Payson’s expression when Lauren said that obnox thing about “Payson’s boyfriend” aka Max aka you might as well just fire that guy because I’m never going to like him now and he’s not good enough for Payson? Well, my friend Mardie made one. Because she’s cool like that. Imagine that being my expression last night while watching the news about Osama bin Ladin.

Okay! Previouslies: Sasha + Payson + video camera + Lauren = THE WORST. Everyone’s still feeling the burn from last season’s impromptu kiss caught on tape, even though it was almost completely innocent and not in any way Sasha’s fault. Lauren’s confessed her wrongdoing to her father, but she still hasn’t been forced to take responsibility. But Sasha’s back, so it sort of doesn’t matter? Kaylie’s had some emotional breakthroughs with Damon’s help, and a jealous Emily broke up with him. Then she found out she was pregnant with his baby! OMG.

Emily and Chloe at the doctor’s office–she’s six weeks along. “I can’t believe it? How did this happen?” Emily asks. Doc Obvious asks, “Did you use protection? That’s how it happened.” I like Doc Obvious. If she’d just come around a little earlier, she could’ve given Emily a what’s-what about her gymnastics that might’ve made her less completely awful. It also comes up that Emily’s only had one period ever in her whole life. And she’s seventeen. That solves that mystery, although doesn’t explain why she looks 27. Oh, because the actress is 27. RIGHT. Chloe explains to Doc Obvious that ladies who are gymnasts don’t get periods. Doc Obvious gives Em pamphlets on keeping the baby, giving it up for adoption, and terminating it, but tells her that until she makes a decision, no gymnastics. Chloe is NOT pleased, and I don’t blame her.

Sasha’s back! And he’s riding a motorcycle! What happened to the motor home? He walks in on Summer organizing a big PR thing for the girls that’s going to be televised, I guess. Sasha doesn’t want it to happen; he’s freaked out about Emily and carrying her secret all by himself, and he’s jittery about the girls given their defeat at the hands of the Russian team in Hungary. But Summer insists, and Emily shows up anyway and is in total denial. I’m confused about why they’re all acting like Emily’s World team status is still undecided–didn’t that World team coach say he was deep sixing her in favor of Kelly Parker? Didn’t that JUST HAPPEN last week?

Kaylie and Damon in the Cruz’s recording studio. Damon’s dumb record label loved the song Kaylie wrote and want Damon and Kaylie to record it together for Damon’s first single (”Yeah right” - everybody who’s ever listened to music). The recording label says that she has a “heartbreakingly pure voice.” LOL! “We have something hot going,” Damon says. “AS A DUO.” Back at the Rock, the reporter is grilling Em on why she deserves to be on the World team and Payson comes to her defense. Pressure’s on, Em! “Yes, yes it is,” Emily says. “But I can do it.” Oh, that’s a change of tune. Figures she’d pick now to be confident in her gymnastics.

Sasha assumes this means that Emily is terminating her pregnancy, but she hasn’t settled on that. Sasha says that she has to make the decision herself, but she has to make it fast. She’s waiting until she finds out if she’s really going to Worlds which…makes a little bit of bizarre sense? On an entirely different subject, how weird is it that John Krasinski is in Something Borrowed but he’s not the love interest? I don’t get that at all.

Woof, Kaylie, you cannot sing. Damon must be falling in love with her, there is no other way to explain how he can’t see that. I mean, hear it! “You’re helping me realize that I can do something else with my life other than gymnastics,” Kaylie says. Um, so we have Kaylie gone from gymnastics and seriously contemplating never coming back, we have Emily pregnant and probably having to sit out a year (if not all the years–being a mother is a huge responsibility!)…that’s half the team! Payson cannot carry the burden of this entire show on her shoulders, especially without a love interest, and I will NOT watch Lauren TV every Monday, I will NOT.

I will also not stand for Damon giving up on Emily like this. I’m not saying he shouldn’t, I’m just saying that it’s out of character. It would make more sense for Kaylie to latch onto him and manufacture some kind of romance out of the situation and for him to push back, not ready to move on from Emily–it makes NO sense, given what we know of Damon, that he would be like, “Meh, ok, moving on.”

Lauren, unsettled by Sasha’s return, encourages (browbeats) her father to propose to Summer so that Sasha can’t swoop in and snatch her back up. He, of course, is like, “I think you’re right.” It’s sad how much of Lauren’s puppet Steve is. Over at Casa de Kmetko, Emily’s in yet another strop with her mother. Chloe’s just trying to relate to her, saying that she understands because she was a pregnant teenager, too. “After fighting it my entire life, I ended up just like you,” Emily says, AS IF THAT’S NOT HER FAULT. Chloe brings up abortion and Emily wants to know if Chloe–who had Emily even though it meant being a teen mom–is okay with it. Chloe says she is, but Emily’s not sure if it’s morally right.  Surprisingly, Emily hasn’t told Damon, and Chloe tells her she doesn’t have to tell him.

Steve does a whole proposal schtick and asks Summer to marry him, but she needs to think about it. Not the answer Lauren was expecting. Chloe and Sasha talk about Emily, and how she’s not dealing with it. Sasha shoots down the suggestion that Emily can have the baby and then come back to gymnastics; once her body changes, that’s it. “She’s one of those girls who thinks she can have it her way all the time,” Sasha says. “This time she can’t.” Sasha doubts Emily’s ability to go all the way in gymnastics anyway, so he won’t tell her what to do.

Kaylie’s therapy session. SNOOOOOORE. Next. I hate this plotline so much. Oh, wait, therapist is giving Kaylie the go ahead to start training again if she wants. BUT DOES SHE WANT? No. She wants to sing bad songs and make out with Damon.

Lauren’s having a hard time at the gym and Sasha thinks it’s pyschological, but since she won’t admit to having anything on her mind, he suggests extra training to fix the problem. She balks at spending time alone with him at the gym, and he assures her that nothing untoward happened between him and Payson. I’m a little confused here…is Lauren doing this just to be mean to Sasha, or is she genuinely skeeved by him? I’m guessing she’s going to use it to manipulate Summer into turning away from Sasha and towards Steve, because that’s what she does every time.

Summer and Kim talk about Steve’s proposal, and I was going to skip over this, but the conversation is a little too weird not to talk about. “Lauren needs a mother, and I know it’s me, I can feel it in my bones,” Summer says. JIGGA WHAT? Seriously? Girl, do not get it twisted–this is your life. Lauren doesn’t need a mother, she needs a shrink, girlfriend is a straight up sociopath. Marry Sasha, have beautiful blond half-Romanian bebes with him, and just FORGET LAUREN ALREADY GOSH. “Even if I did still have feelings for Sasha, he doesn’t share my values.” Um, what values would those be? Not having sex before marriage? You were the one who tried to have sex with him and he pushed you away! He’s not a Christian, but so what? Neither is Steve! And neither is Lauren; she plays for the other team, and by that I mean Hell. Kim advises her to lay it all on the line with Sasha and see what he says. Yeah, Summer’s really the type to just throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks.

Emily and Payson have a patently insane conversation where Emily asks if Payson’s BROKEN BACK ever feels like “just a blip.” Payson’s like, “Bitch, it was the biggest test of my life, TRUST.” Emily, you are not going to get out of this so easily! Stop effing around, make a choice, and deal with the consequences. I like that Emily is hanging out at the gym, conspicuously not working out. Simon Tam walks in and tells her that she’s officially on the World team again. Seriously, show? For real this time? I thought that she was on the World team when she EARNED A SPOT ON THE WORLD TEAM. Emily, of course, runs out of the gym. Because that’s normal. Payson follows her out and Emily confesses about her pregnancy. “How could you do this? You’re not stupid!” Uh, Payson, yes she is. Payson full on yells at her about how the rules are there to protect them, but Emily turns it around and is like, thanks for the support. Payson’s like, OH NO YOU DO NOT MAKE ME THE BAD GUY. She points out that Emily was never serious about her gymnastics, and everybody keeps giving her chances and she keeps screwing up. Emily rightly points out that she’s not special, that people just keep giving her breaks and nothing she’s got has actually been earned. Wow, a rare moment of clarity. Shouldn’t last long, don’t worry. “I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to stay mentally tough here.” Payson’s the best. Emily’s all, maybe this is a sign I should just give up. I mean, yes, it is, but also, don’t force a baby to live with the weight of your cowardice, Emily! You know she will resent the crap out of that child.

Summer’s getting it up to talk to Sasha about them, but then he drops the bomb on her about Emily, and she tells him to man up and give Emily some advice already. Seriously, if Payson and Summer and Kim teamed up, they could rule the world. Of course Summer assumes Emily’s going to have the baby, but Sasha doesn’t want her to–he wants her to go to Worlds (even though she doesn’t deserve it) and the Olympics (even though she doesn’t deserve it). I wonder if this will make up Summer’s mind about Sasha and his values? Oh, wait, yes. She’s pissed. That doesn’t mean you have to marry Steve you moron! Ugh. Never mind. Kim and Payson can rule the world by themselves.

Also, this Kaylie singing thing has to STOP RIGHT NOW. Ugh, they just hugged. And kissed. GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS. Damon’s all into it–”Emily and I are broken up now, it’s okay”–and Kaylie’s like, um, it’s not okay, she’s my friend. Damon, you spent two seasons of this show saying how you were going to love Emily to the end of the Earth, then you break up with her for like two days and you’re kissing her friend? You just lost ALL of my respect. There are no good men on this show except Sasha. Truly. Is that the message of the show? Men are the worst? Except the Romanian Olympic gold medalists?

Emily finally thanks Chloe for her support. DON’T LOOK NOW EMILY. Chloe has told Simon Tam (the NGO guy) that Emily is pregnant. Oh snap! He wants to help her. It’s happened before, they “took care of it”, and the gymnast went on to make the national team. Maybe I’m just dense or something, but I can’t tell what Emily’s going to do here. They’re doing a pretty good job of showing how she’s being pulled in a million different directions. And now things are even more complicated because Emily gets a sudden rush of paranoia–is something going on between Chloe and Simon Tam? I’d actually like to know that, too. I don’t blame Chloe if there is, he’s pretty hot. Emily decides that Damon will understand and support her even though nobody else possibly can. Woof. Chloe is getting desperate–she really does want Emily to have an abortion, you can see that in her reaction to Emily telling Damon about the pregnancy. I don’t blame her, but yeesh.

This is so intense. Chloe reminds Emily that lots of teen fathers ditch their babies and baby mamas, but Emily, who is totally spinning now, insists that Damon loves her and will be there for her and rushes off to see him. Eek. Can’t wait till she accidentally walks in on Kaylie finally giving in and making out with Damon. Should be AWESOME. She’ll probably have a miscarriage. I’m calling it now.

Lauren and Sasha are working on overcoming her case of the “twisties” (where her mind forces her body to add a twist to her routines out of fear of getting hurt) and she succeeds in beating it. When she realizes that Sasha really cares about helping her without any ulterior motive, she actually breaks down crying. Is that guilt I see dripping out of the corners of her eyes? She says that she never thought Sasha cared about her as a gymnast, that he always prioritized Kaylie, Payson, and even Emily above her. He said that he always thought she didn’t want to let him in. They hug it out. A surprisingly touching scene.

Damon is “playing guitar” in his apartment when there’s a knock on the door. Is it Emily or Kaylie? I think Kaylie. Emily will come later and catch them canoodling. Show, I thought you were better than that. Oh, wait, it actually is Emily. Damon gives her the brush off. “Emily, what are you doing here? You broke up with me, remember? You know, I’m kind of getting tired of this push/pull.” She asks if he meant it when he said he would wait till 2012 to be with her (you know, that’s just around the corner now, guys, let’s be for real here), that he would love her forever, and he’s all, “How many times are we going to go over this?” She does bust in on him a lot and give him the third degree about feelings he has already freely expressed to her. That’s gotta be annoying.

Emily tells him she’s pregnant. She’s manic about it. She’s like, we don’t have to wait, we can have the baby, we can have a family, I can come on tour with you, and meanwhile Damon is losing his MIND. Can you imagine? I bet he’s thinking, God, why did I ever think I wanted this? I mean, Damon made a good point last week about the weird tension in their relationship coming from Emily’s trust issues, not her gymnastics, but he’s also one of those guys who only wants what he can’t have! Now that she’s like, okay, this is real, let’s do this, he’s probably starting to realize he’s no longer interested. And that is WAY SAD YO. Poor Emily. I say that sincerely.

Damon deftly turns it around on her and is like, you’re really going to give up gymnastics? “What about your dream?” That’s, like, the show’s tagline. “My dream is killing me,” she says. “This is my way out. All I feel is relief.” She decides she’s going to go home and pack and she’s going to move in with Damon and they’re going to do the whole thing, and meanwhile he’s just reeling and not saying anything.  This is not good.

Lauren, finally realizing the harm she has done in nearly destroying the best coach ever, sends Ellen Beales the whole training cam video to clear Sasha’s name. What are the odds this’ll turn out poorly? At this point, everybody seems to be over that tape. I guess it could make Sasha eligible to be the World team coach. Kaylie and her mom have a little heart-to-heart, but I’m not sure what that gives Kaylie. Ohhhhh…she’s come to see Emily. As part of the whole honesty and integrity thing she learned in therapy, Kaylie admits she and Damon kissed but that she would never intentionally hurt her and it’s not going to become anything. Emily doesn’t respond, and Kaylie leaves, but as you can probably imagine it throws Em into a tailspin re: Damon.

Payson is reading a tabloid and lamenting the nation’s obsession with teen pregnancy, then she whoopses the secret about Emily. “We put up with so much crap from each other because we’re not just friends, we’re a team, and we go through the most grueling training together,” Payson explains. She feels let down by Emily, but Kim patiently points out to her that she’s not being much of a leader by villainizing Emily. Although, seriously! Payson’s right, Payson’s always right. But she’s not being super compassionate, which I guess was Kim’s point. FINE MOM.

The girls–Lauren, Kaylie and Payson–show up at Casa de Kmetko, but when Chloe answers the door she’s crying, and tells them Emily’s not there. She’s boarded a bus to Las Vegas, where she’s going to stay with her godmother. She’s having the baby. Oh man. You know, I give Emily a whole lot of grief, but I completely understand this turn of events and I’m brokenhearted for her about Damon. I loved him, too, girl. Even though most of the time I didn’t think you were very deserving of his unfailing support and encouragement, you don’t deserve to be deserted by him now. He’s having a real Adam Rove* moment here, and I’m just really disappointed.

Emily rides the bus and remembers the good times with her friends and family and gymnastics as “The Girl Who Broke In Two” plays. That’s actually on the Opposite of Hallelujah soundtrack! The Rock girls are at gymnastics camp. They talk about how nobody really understands what you go through as an elite gymnast except your team. Even Lauren agrees that Emily was a good enough gymnast (DEBATABLE) but she didn’t have the mental strength to do what was necessary to succeed at the sport. They look at the tree stump where the four of them carved their initials and the words “Olympics 2012″ and they tear up over losing Emily. Kaylie decides that she’s not ready to give up on gymnastics yet.

What they don’t know is that their parents (plus Summer and Sasha) have followed them up there and are watching (sort of creepily) from the bushes while the girls mourn their lost friend (”It’s like a funeral,” Kim says) and reaffirm their goals. The parents finally crash the party with sleeping bags and tell them that Sasha is the new World coach. UM. TIMELINE MALFUNCTION. When did Lauren send that tape to the NGO, this afternoon? Sure. Fine, show.

Next week: The fallout from Emily’s decision. Damon’s not ready to be a father, Chloe doesn’t think Emily’s ready to be a mother. Damon comes to the Rock (I’m assuming to pursue Kaylie, what a JERK FACE) and Austin punches him, which should be GREAT. Also, shirtless Sasha.

*And by that I mean how in the second season of Joan of Arcadia, Adam Rove, Best Boyfriend Ever (TM), cheats on Joan when she won’t have sex with him. AS IF! This is why “nice guys come in last” is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Even nice guys are only nice when you’re not interested. Once you’re head over heels in love with them, they do something awful to hurt you. This is the lesson that television has taught us.

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com
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Make It or Break It: “Hungary Heart”

Okay, ladiez (I assume everyone reading this is a lady–maybe I shouldn’t? Mens, you are welcome too), here we go. You know it’s a Super Important Episode because of the Pun in the Title, although personally I would’ve gone with “Hungary, Hungary Hippos” because IRONY.


Anyway, previously: Remember how Kaylie and Damon sang together at his gig? Me neither! I had blocked it out entirely, and I sort of wish it had stayed that way, but no. They sang. Emily saw. She was not super excited about it. Kaylie wasn’t super excited about her friend Maeve’s death (legit) and ended up confessing to her new best friend Damon that she (Kaylie) has a real eating disorder and she doesn’t want it to mean the end of her life (versus just the end of her career). The girls were easily the dumbest I’ve ever seen them when they completely blew off trying to practice for a meet with some Iowa team they didn’t think was any good, only to get their asses kicked. Even Payson! Nobody’s thrilled with Darby as a coach, so I figure it’s only a matter of time until she splits and SASHA RETURNS YAY!

Payson’s at the Rock after hours looking for Kim, and she finds out that there’s a “way to get rid of” Darby, and also that Sasha is living in Romania. Steve’s giving Darby a lecture about being a serious coach and Payson and Kim overhear him expressing other people’s doubts about whether or not “the Rock girls” deserve to be on the World team. When Payson asks if that’s really true, Darby rips into her, blaming the Pinewood debacle on them, but as everyone knows, Darby, they are children and you are an adult and if you had not been the worst they might’ve listened to you about taking that meet seriously.

Damon shows up unannounced as Emily’s leaving for the airport. Chloe’s freaked out: “What if someone from the NGO is watching?” Wait, I’m sorry. Do we really think that the NGO has, like, undercover agents sitting outside Emily’s house day and night to make sure she’s not dating anyone? I’m pretty sure they don’t have the staff for that! Chloe has seen way too many Bourne Identity movies. Damon’s pissed because Emily is ignoring his phone calls; he doesn’t even consider that she might be pissed about Kaylie, because he’s sorta thick, Damon is. Emily: “Is she your muse now?” Are we just saying that like it means anything or isn’t totally lame? Damon insists that he loves her and that she needs to trust him, but she says she can’t. Even though he’s basically been totally trustworthy this whole time except for that jail thing in season one? She breaks it off with him for good. UGH EMILY.

The ladies gather at the airport. Chloe is wearing an extremely unflattering denim skirt. Darby gives them the same “I’m not your friend, not your coach, now RESPECT ME DAMMIT” speech, and it looks like Payson’s got a little scheme to get rid of “Coach Conrad” up her sleeve. Good. Don’t ask Lauren for tips on scheming, Payson, just a little friendly advice.

Kaylie’s therapy group. I’m starting to get pretty bored of this storyline, tbh. I don’t mean to be dismissive of Kaylie’s problem, but it’s just so endlessly uninteresting, made worse by the SINGING! And the Damon-befriending! I just want our old Kaylie back, although I do give them props for not abandoning this subplot after two episodes, Gossip Girl style.

Payson’s got an insane plan to get Sasha back–she’s going to get on a flight to Bucharest, Romania (as opposed to Budapest, Hungary, as Lauren points out) when they stop in Heathrow on their way to Worlds. Lol! Riiiiiiight. She’s going to buy the ticket on the gold credit card Steve just gave Lauren. “Look, I know you’re upset about your boyfriend,” Lauren says to Payson, and I seriously need someone to make an animated .gif of Payson’s expression upon hearing that, it’s so hilarious. Emily wants to help Payson because “Sasha’s the only person left who believes in me.” Um, no, I think that’s Damon. I doubt Sasha cares very much about you anymore, Em, and also way to make it all about you. They all–Emily, Payson, Lauren–decide to go to Bucharest. Good plan dummies!

The girls encounter Kelly Parker on their way to the plane to Bucharest; she tells them that the NGO called her in to replace Kaylie if she doesn’t show. Which she’s not going to, right? I mean, she’s in rehab, and she’s just started admitting to herself that she has a problem that needs fixing. So I guess Kelly Parker gets a spot on the World team without qualifying. Life is so cruel.

Summer does an excellent job of putting the smackdown on Darby, who’s ready to call the NGO and rat the girls out. Summer tells her that under no circumstances is she going to do that, and Summer’s going to fix it. Fix it, Summer! Payson does some quick math and figures they’ve only got two hours between planes, trains and, presumably, automobiles, to convince Sasha to come back and coach them at Worlds. That’s assuming he’s home when they knock on his door! He could be working out or grocery shopping or on a holiday in the countryside with his new chickadee or something. You guys, this is why you should call first.

Emily is drinking some Romanian energy drink and Payson ham-fistedly lectures her about energy drinks sometimes having banned substances in them, which is very obviously this episodes red herring. Will Emily get disqualified for doping? you ask yourself. No. She’ll be disqualified because SPOILER ALERT she has a human growing inside of her. END SPOILERS. She tells the girls she broke up with Damon, and Lauren says, “Look on the bright side–at least you didn’t sleep with him.” Payson and Emily exchange meaningful glances that tell Lauren everything she needs to know (learn how to play it cool, guys, honestly). And get this: Lauren TAKES EMILY’S HAND as if to comfort her. What? Lauren, you cannot be for real. Lauren also assures Emily that Kaylie would never, ever steal her boyfriend (unspoken subtext: because she knows what it feels like to have your boyfriend sleep with your best friend cough cough LAUREN), and Emily questions whether or not she’s made a mistake. So many, Em. So, so many.

Damon and Kaylie chat idly about how Emily is crazypants and thinks something’s going on between him and Kaylie. This is actually a halfway decent conversation. Damon correctly identifies what is infuriating about Emily’s personality, then Kaylie tells him that yes, gymnastics is that intense and dangerous, and it can make you nuts. But, Damon asks, would Emily always be pushing him away even if there was no gymnastics, and the answer is YES DAMON. She doesn’t trust anyone and she likes being the victim of other people’s lousy choices so she makes them into villains. Your heart will go on. Kaylie, though, gets a burst of inspiration: Maybe it’s not the sport, she writes in her notebook.

Payson, Lauren and Emily arrive at Sasha’s supposed home only to find out from a rather zaftig middle-aged lady that nobody by the name of Sasha Belov lives in the village. But he does work in the bar where the girls go to while away the hours until the next train to Budapest. FANCY THAT. Of course he yells at them, and tells them he’s not coming back. But he is keeping up with all their massive failures. The girls each try to get Sasha to come back, and when Emily and Lauren strike out (not a huge surprise, their respective strategies being to whine about how they might not be “good enough” and to tell Sasha that Summer doesn’t care about him anymore) Payson tells them to go on ahead to Budapest because she’s staying behind.

Damon is reading Kaylie’s thoughts about why she might’ve become anorexic in the first place and starting to get a new appreciation for how effed up gymnastics can make you. Kaylie explains, in a really succinct way, how everyone always expected her to be happy and confident because she was rich and pretty and a good gymnast, but she didn’t know who she was, so she focused on winning, until she did win and didn’t feel any differently about herself. That’s when she stopped eating. Yikes. Poor Kayls. Damon decides that he has to let Emily go, because she is who she is with or without gymnastics and she’ll never trust him enough to be normal.

Summer shows up at Sasha’s bar looking for the girls, but only finds Payson chowing down on some gulash. Summer begs Payson to get real about Sasha–he’s not coming back. Payson gives Sasha an impassioned speech about what a quitter and disappointment he is and gives back his gold medal before flouncing out of the bar. Summer also gives him an impassioned speech about how you do the best with what you have and how he’s not at his best unless he’s coaching the girls. Because she’s awesome, she doesn’t make it about her at all. Kim and Steve have a nice moment where they cooperate and are friends.

Payson and Summer arrive at the Hungary meet but Sasha’s not with them. Sad faces all around. Damon wrote Kaylie a song. BLECCCHHHHHHH. But behind all the extreme grossness of this encounter is a real truth: that when you want something for so long, and you work so hard, almost single-mindedly to achieve it, and you do achieve it, and it doesn’t change your life or who you are, doesn’t make you happier or make people love you more, the disappointment is crushing. They don’t kiss, thank God, but Kaylie is crying. Yikes.

Sasha shows up at the girls’ room in Budapest! He yells at them, of course, and says that if they want him to come back to coaching them they have to show him that they’re worth coaching by kicking ass at the meet. Then there’s this weird sequence where the teams participating in the meet are announced, with a weird flashback to…right before this meet? When Sasha tells them that he let them down and abandoned them, but they let each other down and abandoned his teachings, so they’re all going to be cool and get with the program. I’m confused. Anyway, the US team is announced in the arena and they stride out, smiling with their heads held high.

As Steve and Kim booze it up at home watching the meet, the girls perform. Where’s Darby? She didn’t even come into the arena with the team. We meet another gymnast who might be a problem for the Rock girls at Worlds, Ivanka Kerlenko (Russian, with the bangs to prove it). Lauren does well on beam, but Ivanka’s routine is a higher degree of difficulty. Emily falls on uneven bars. UGH EMILY WHAT NOW? Josh Whats-His-Name who may or may not be the Worlds coach tells Sasha he’s bumping Emily off the roster and adding Kelly Parker instead. Can he even do that? Kelly didn’t qualify, as we’ve heard a million times! Sasha tells him, “Emily can do this, she just needs to know you believe in her.” “That’s the problem,” Josh says. “I don’t.” Josh puts Kelly in. Can he do that in the middle of a meet? Kelly nails her vault.

It comes down to Ivanka and Payson on floor. Ivanka does a sort of witchy routine that gets wild applause. Payson does her ballet-y floor routine, which tbh doesn’t seem better than Ivanka’s, but the crowd seems to disagree. Still, the Russian team gets the gold, with US getting silver and Romania getting bronze. That team really is falling apart without Sasha.

Kaylie reads aloud from her notebook in therapy group. She deserves to be happy. Fair enough, Kaylie.

The chairman of the Hungarian National Committee (of gymnastics, I assume) wants to talk to Emily; Sasha comes with her. Something was weird with her urine sample. She starts babbling about not knowing that the energy drink had anything banned in it, and he’s all, girl, chillax, get upset about something REAL because you’re PREGGERS YO.

Next week! Nobody understands Emily (so just like every other episode). Chloe cries. Payson yells at Emily for screwing up. And my DVR cut off.

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com
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Nested part deux

This is embarrassing, but I realized this morning, as I was filling my Brita filter (New York living–Glamo-R-US!), that I had forgotten to include one last (but not least) matryoshka item I own. Is it sad that I have so many that I forgot about one? It’s quite possibly one of the best ones, too, because it also filled a strange hole in my kitchenware. My friend Maggie visited around my birthday this year, and she brought me a pair of matryoshki salt and pepper shakers, which I love love LOVE. But since I wrote the last post in my room and I don’t usually keep my salt and pepper shakers in my room (although it has been known to happen on occasion), they weren’t right in front of my face and I forgot about them.

So, there. Now you know the depths of it. Nothing has been kept from you.

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com
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If you’ve ever been to this website (you have), or you’re a fan of my book (YOU ARE, RIGHT?), you know I have a little bit of a thing for matryoshka dolls (a.k.a. babushka dolls, a.k.a. Russian nested dolls). The funny thing is that I didn’t even care much about nested dolls until my parents came back from a Baltic (not to be confused with Balkan–good thing I fact-checked this post) cruise five years ago. They’d brought my sister–not even me!–a robin’s egg blue matryoshka and I was so taken with it that my sister gave it to me (or did I steal it? I don’t remember). I then wrote it in to All Unquiet Things, which started this whole matryoshka business in the first place.

For a long time, that little doll was the only matryoshka I owned. And then people started reading the book and I started to get matryoshki as gifts, and occasionally buying them for myself. At current count, I have:

  • Three real matryoshki–the original one from Russia (i.e. the one that started it all), one shaped like a Santa Claus that my friend Kim brought me from Denver, and one that I bought for myself in old town Sacramento (where, btw, there is an entire store of matryoshki run by a very friendly Russian woman). That Sacramento one is smaller than the rest of them but has ten dolls inside–the smallest one is about the size of a grain of rice.
  • One set of ceramic matryoshka measuring cups that are too fragile to actually use, so they sit on my shelf with the regular matryoshki. Perhaps I should invest in this plastic set as well. They were a gift from my friend Cambria, and I believe they came from Anthropologie.
  • One 8×12 print of a matryoshka family that is sort of hard to describe here, but will look great on the wall of my next apartment with the other 8×12 prints I’ve been acquiring (mostly from 20×200, although I think this particular one is from Etsy) which I fully intend to frame and hang French salon style.
  • Two matryoshka Christmas ornaments that are not at all Christmassy, and thus hang on my wall year-round. I got them a few years ago after Christmas from–I think?–Anthropologie. They originally retailed for something insane like $24 each (you know Anthropologie), but I got them post-holidays for $5 each. They’re really cute, though. They’re like little puzzles that have removable pieces. Again, hard to describe, but I adore them.
  • A cute fabric business card holder that my friend Jennifer (sister of Kim, who I sometimes mention here) gave me this past Christmas.
  • A matryoshka necklace (this one, but without that second charm hanging off).
  • Another matryoshka necklace, although this one is made of–I think?–papier mache and hangs on a ribbon. It was a free gift with purchase from that store in Old Sacramento, because I bought two dolls, one for my editor and one for myself. I don’t wear it because it’s so light that it hangs oddly, but I still love it.
  • A bunch of matryoshka buttons and magnets that I bought to use with AUT giveaways here on the website and then…never got around to it? Well, the book comes out in paperback May 10, so maybe I’ll do some prize pack giveaways on the AUT Facebook page I’ve been neglecting. They’re really cute, and were from Etsy.
  • A matryoshka doll throw pillow, again off Etsy.
  • A matryoshka doll tote bag, a gift from my good friend Mary Dubbs, the source of all the best blurbs I ever got for AUT.
  • A small matryoshka doll reporter-style notebook, gift from Kim.
  • Two–count ‘em, TWO–pairs of matryoshka doll socks. The first pair was a gift from Mary Dubbs, and the second pair were a gift from my roommate, Eesha, just a few weeks ago. I may be the only person in the world who owns two pairs of matryoshka doll socks.

Okay, I’m sort of embarrassed, now that I’m cataloging all of this stuff for you. I knew I had a lot, but I had no idea I had this much. I’m not even counting the four little dolls I got after my grandmother passed away–they’re not real matryoshki because they don’t come apart, but they’re sort of shaped and painted the same and my aunt Kika insisted I have them because when she saw them she “thought of me”, so maybe we should throw that onto the pile, too. Oh, and I didn’t count the little matryoshka pin I bought at a Regina Spektor concert in 2007 that I just noticed was affixed to the strap of one of my tote bags. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

And, yet, I would buy more matryoshka stuff. For instance, this water carafe my friend Shannel just linked me to on Facebook, despite the fact that its very existence is a little bizarre. First of all, what? What’s wrong with just using a glass at bedtime? Do you need a carafe? Also, the picture of it with the head separated from the body: Gold. Not to mention the ad copy: “You’ll wonder how you used to sleep without this sweet little lady by your side” More like, “You’ll never get another night of sleep again with this creepy glass doll watching over you each night like a translucent Edward Cullen.” And yet, I added it to my cart. I mean, I still regret not buying one of those adorable matryoshka coin purses off Fredflare (there’s a lot of matryoshka stuff on Fredflare) when I had a chance, or the little dessert plates, and I know I’ll regret not buying the nested glasses or this matryoshka cosmetics case from Belgium. But I suppose you have to put a limit on your own crazy, especially when you finally recognize it after it’s been sneaking up on you for years. So maybe I don’t need the carafe; or the glasses; or the cosmetics case. Maybe, in the end, it’s best if the dolls find me.

Although, if you’re interested in becoming a weird doll lady yourself, by all means consult this helpful six-step guide on how to collect matryoshka dolls. Or you could give my one-step method a whirl: write a book with a matryoshka doll as a plot device. You’ll acquire more of them than you ever dreamed.

(No offense to anyone who’s ever given me a matryoshka item. I LOVE THEM! Seriously! And I also give matryoshka dolls as gifts, most notably to my editor and agent. Actually, I bought Joanna’s matryoshka from a nun at the Union Square holiday market a few years ago, which is oddly apropos considering the premise of The Opposite of Hallelujah.)

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Black is the Color…of a movie screen! (*headdesk* ugh *sigh*)

(Why am I the worst at coming up with subject lines for my blog posts, you guys? Really, I’m awful. Take the blog away from me!)

I just wanted to pop on to tell you (if you hadn’t already heard elsewhere) that the film rights to my friend Alex’s BRILLIANT sci-fi trilogy about a near-future America in which, upon puberty, children either die or develop frightening psionic powers, where those that survive the so-called “Kid Killer virus” are experimented upon and placed in internment camps, have been optioned!

My love for BLACK IS THE COLOR is well documented on this blog, so as you can probably imagine I’m BEYOND pumped. It’s hard for a person like me to love a book so much and not be able to talk to anybody about it, since I want to talk about everything, all the time. I can read The Hunger Games (as I am doing now, rereading it, actually, and also I’ve moved on to Catching Fire) and chat about it for hours with my coworkers, my friends (who’ve all read the series), people on Facebook, etc. It’s painful to love a book nobody else but a few privileged few have read yet! So I can’t wait for it to come out (summer 2012!), and I’m crossing my fingers for a film version, although I’m not quite sure there’s a young actor in the world who can live up to the Liam in my head (as evidenced by my hesitancy to accept Josh Hutcherson as Peeta).

Yay! Go Alex!

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Writing the wave

(Sidenote before I even begin: My computer is doing this weird thing where everything is bold right now? I don’t understand. Why is the Internet so wonky?)

This past weekend, I had the best writing experience of my life. I’ve been working on my next book, which is a soft sci-fi that will (hopefully) expand into some sort of a multi-book series (duet? trilogy? WHO KNOWS THE POSSIBILITIES ARE INFINITE LOL INSIDE JOKE), for a little over three months now. I talked a little bit about it back when I first started it, when I was racing through it at a breakneck pace, but then I sort of hit a wall around page 200 because…I didn’t know how the rest would go. I was having some momentary trouble with a character who gets introduced about halfway in, but then I figured him out, and the rest of the plot, and the juices really started flowing. Still, there’s a limit to what I can get done on the weekdays, because of my steady employment and whatnot, so it wasn’t until last Friday that I really dropped into the zone and started pounding out the pages.

The only thing I did for two days was write. Oh, and have one dinner with my friend Cambria, and G-chatted with Alex. Basically our conversation went like this:

12:00 PM
Me: I’m at [this spot in the manuscript].
Her: Awesome

1:45 PM
Me: [Such and such] is happening!
Her: Seriously?

5:00 PM
Me: [So and so] is doing [such and such]!

And so on until 1:15 AM on Monday morning, when I typed the last words (”So we did.”). I was buzzing, high on adrenaline, desperate to tell someone–so I woke up my roommate (who in my defense had only gone to bed a little while before) to tell her. She was like, “That’s nice, let’s talk about it in the zzzzzzzzzz.” Then I had a dance party in my room to “Coming Home” by P. Diddy, as you do (headphones in, of course, I’m not the worst roommate ever). Then I couldn’t sleep until 4:00 AM. Then I went to work four hours later.

And now it’s several days later, Joanna has the full MS and Danielle is reading the partial I sent a few weeks ago, and I’m…working on the sequel. Because I’m still so excited about the story and I can’t wait to keep going! Now I just have to figure out what to call it on this blog while I’m talking about it, because I’m superstitious about titles. Hm. I guess I’ll just call it Book 3 for now. Who knows? Maybe by the time I have an update it’ll be sold and announced and I can just call it by its real title!

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Make It or Break It: “Life or Death”


That’s kind of a heavy episode title, isn’t it?

Previously on Make It or Break It: Max is into Payson, and vice versa. Emily can’t have a boyfriend and breaks up with Damon after sleeping with him. Kaylie was in rehab, but she’s in denial about her problem, although it’s possible that she’s on her way to understanding because her friend Maeve from the clinic died of a heart attack brought on by her own eating disorder.

Kaylie reads an article about Maeve and is obviously disturbed. Emily’s still being stank to her mom since finding out that she works as a bartender at a strip club, which is uncalled for. She’s doing her best, Emily! Ugh. Max is taking some “action shots” of people at the gym, “people” meaning Payson. Oh, yeah, I forgot he was a photographer. Lauren, having dodged the bullet of her dad going to Summer about the fact that his evil daughter is the one who leaked the Sasha/Payson tape to Ellen Beales by crying a lot, is back to her old self; she strolls over to the beam to give Emily a hard time about Damon, implying that he’ll probably hook up with other girls while he’s “waiting” for Emily. True!

Speaking of Damon, he’s sitting in front of a computer screen looking at pictures of Emily while singing, I kid you not, the lyrics, “I see your face on my computer screen.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? At least he agrees, because he crosses those lines out in his notebook. Kaylie walks in, listening to him sing (remember how he’s recording his album in Kaylie’s parents’ house?). Kaylie helps Damon with his song (don’t ask).

So the Dallas club is coming to the Rock. Wait, no they’re not–they canceled. Some corn-fed gymnasts from Iowa are coming instead. Darby’s pretending to be psyched, but she’s pretty transparent and the girls aren’t buying it. Darby tries to make friends with Payson, who’s being polite (barely) but distant, and it’s freaking Darby out. It’s obvious Payson doesn’t think this chickadee is cut out to be a real coach, and she’s not wrong. Darby needs to worry about getting the girls’ respect, not their friendship. She makes a deal with Payson: help her get everyone excited about the Pinewood meet and she’ll help Payson with her gymnastics. Wait, isn’t she Payson’s coach? Isn’t it her job to help Payson with her gymnastics? Where’s Sasha?

Summer and Kim have a convo that twists my gut. Kim asks her if she’s thinking about moving in with the Tanners (I’m assuming this means getting married to Steve, since Summer’s not that kinda girl, if you know what I mean) and Summer says, basically, that Steve and Lauren need her, so maybe. Kim asks what she needs and Summer says “I like being needed.” Oh, Summer, girl, get with the program. Meanwhile, Summer’s new faux daughter, aka Lucifer, is coming on so strong to Max. Yick. Lauren, have a little self respect.

Damon and Kaylie are working on the song and bonding. Maeve’s mother calls. I think she identifies herself as “Musak Benson”, which cannot possibly be right, but anyway she invites Kaylie to speak at Maeve’s funeral. The catch is that she has to talk about how Maeve was recovering from her anorexia, which is not true. Kaylie has a slight mental breakdown because everybody wants her to say what she feels but she doesn’t know how she feels. He advises her to write it down and…sing it?

Max and Payson talk; Payson never called him back after she told him to call her and he did. Also, he wants to take her new headshot for the Rock’s lobby, which is something Lauren asked him to do for her and I assumed she made it up. Apparently it’s real. I guess he, also being a Rock gymnast, would know if she was lying about that. But anyway, he decides to spend time with Payson instead. She’s not super great at posing, but she is “funny”–both haha and dorky. I don’t believe that a pro like Payson can’t take a freaking headshot. Kim invites him for dinner, but he has to take off–I’m assuming to take Lauren’s picture. Kim and Payson have another great mother-daughter moment.

Damon IMs Emily. He tells her he’s got a gig and wishes she would come, but obvs she can’t. She and Chloe have another barbed wire conversation about Damon. Meanwhile, Kaylie writes bad song lyrics and Damon interrupts her. He offers to go to Maeve’s funeral. Interesting. I thought that was Austin at the funeral in the previews. Maybe it is. She refuses his offer.

Lauren is dressed like Britney Spears circa “Hit Me Baby One More Time” while Max is taking her pictures. Payson returns his call. Max asks her out for coffee; she suggests they go for a run, because the whole date thing makes her uncomfortable (she doesn’t tell him that). You know what else is uncomfortable? Lauren has changed into a bra and underwear. She is really the least subtle person on the planet. AND MAX TAKES PICTURES OF HER. YOU DO NOT DESERVE PAYSON YOU PERV! Summer walks in and gets piiiiiiiissssed. She reams Lauren out and Lauren cries in order to get Summer to keep the peep show a secret. AND IT WORKS! SUMMER! I THOUGHT I COULD COUNT ON YOU! Ugh.

Emily’s moonlighting as Damon’s PR girl by putting up posters advertising his gig instead of, you know, practicing. Payson calls her on it, saying she’s not sticking any of her landings, and DO YOU KNOW WHAT EMILY SAYS? “Pinewood sucks, I don’t need to stick my landings to beat them.” Ladies and gentlemen, is that or is that not the attitude of a champion? Spoiler: it’s not. Emily, just quit and go back to Damon. You don’t deserve to go to the Olympics.

Lauren asks Max to go to Damon’s gig. When he asks if Payson’s going, she’s all, why, and he’s like, “She’s a nice girl, don’t you think?” LOADED QUESTION. “Sure,” Lauren says. “I also think she’s a lesbian, so you’re wasting your time shaking that tree.” Someone needs to smack her, pronto. Steve said that you can’t spank a teenager, but I’m not so sure about that.

Kim gives Darby a Kim-talk about setting boundaries for Payson because the girl thinks she’s the bionic woman. Because she’s a coward (not that Kim’s wrong, but Darby’s a marshmallow), she tells Payson she can’t do the high start value vault she’s been practicing. Does Emily do anything but sit on the mats and pine over Damon? Darby calls a sleepover at the Rock. Lauren tells Payson she has a date with Max. Not exactly, but all right.

Kaylie and Damon attend Maeve’s funeral. Yikes, Damon, what are you doing? Oh, Maeve’s mom’s name is Musette. That’s not a name, but okay. Musak (I’m still calling her that) is in such denial about Maeve’s death, it’s actually really heartbreaking. Kaylie can’t handle saying a eulogy about how happy and healthy Maeve was. She confesses to Damon outside the church about Maeve, and how she, Kaylie, isn’t getting better, and how she doesn’t want to die. Damon comforts her, and they go to the gig, where Damon reads her lyrics back to her. They helped him finish the song, and he wants to sing it tonight, with her, on stage. I wonder if Emily is going to show up?

More trust circles. Darby wants to psych them up by releasing their gripes and grievances to the universe with popcorn. That is not a metaphor. Lauren uses this opportunity to strongarm Darby into letting them go to Damon’s gig. Payson is so not into it. At the gig, Lauren drops the bomb on Payson about the half-naked photos Max took of her, then Damon drags Kaylie on stage, not noticing that Emily is there. When the song is over they hug, and Emily is bummed.

Back at the Rock, Summer sees that the girls are gone. Of course, Marcus from the NGO comes to check up on Emily. He sees the flyers and realizes that Emily and the rest of the team are at Damon’s gig, which is just wrapping up. He sees Emily and asks her if she’s going to get in trouble. “I don’t care, it was worth it,” she says. Erm…That’s committment, folks! Kaylie tells Emily Damons’ a great guy, she can see why Emily’s in love with him. Why not just stab her in the heart and get it over with? Oh, and Max is there. He bounds up to Lauren like a golden retriever puppy, but Summer swoops in to whisk her away. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I’M AN IDIOT,” Summer says. Word. Payson breaks her date with Max after seeing the photos. Marcus arrives; Emily escapes, but Darby gets caught with a beer. Marcus isn’t pleased.

The Pinewood girls arrive. They’re kicking some Rock ass, and Darby tells Payson to do the high starting value vault she’s been working on, even though Payson’s never done it without the practice trampoline, in order to win the meet. Kim is not happy, and Payson of course misses the vault, landing on her back which, as you may remember, she BROKE last year. Darby is the wuuuuuuurst. Payson gives Darby a lecture about what a “real coach” does and doesn’t do, and Darby runs off crying. Even Lauren thinks she’s lame now.

In her room, Kaylie rips a page out of her notebook, the page with all her calorie and weight counts. “My name is Kaylie Cruz and I am anorexic,” she writes.

Next week: Damon and Emily argue, I’m assuming about Kaylie, and Emily throws some stuff, although I’m pretty sure that half of these scenes are from last season. Also, Emily’s pregnant.

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Make It or Break It: “The Buddy System”


I’ve been very bad about doing these recaps. When the season started (uh, four weeks ago), I was so excited to recap! And then, as things tend to do when you commit yourself to them, it started to feel like work and I was like, meh. I didn’t even watch “The Buddy System”, the third episode this season, until tonight, and there’s ANOTHER EP still left to watch. Not that I don’t love this show–obviously, I love it way more than is really appropriate given my age. Right? But who cares! On with the show!

Previously on Make It or Break It: The Rock girls got a new coach, Darby, who is basically a cartoon so she shouldn’t last long. Payson and Lauren became co-captains of the Rock, inexplicably, because who would ever want Lauren as their captain? Lauren confessed to her father that she leaked the footage of Payson kissing Sasha to Ellen Beales, because she’s a moron. Damon discovered that Chloe works at a strip club (as a bartender, gosh!) and Emily and Damon slept together for the first (and last, because Emily’s not allowed to have a boyfriend or any sort of life outside the Rock per that contract she just signed with the National Gymnastics Organization) time and it was sweet and lovely despite the fact that Emily was involved.

OK, let’s get started! Darby’s gathered the ladiez of the Rock in a “nonheirarchical circle to affirm and support one another”, but Payson’s not buying it. She and Lauren share snarky barbs as they both check out new guy Max’s hot bod. Lauren takes her place in the circle and Darby calls on Emily to give her a warm fuzzy. To her credit, Emily gives it an honest go, but that’s probably because she’s so distracted thinking about how she doesn’t get to be with Damon anymore. Wah wah–tell it to your parole officer, Emily! Payson calls Lauren a slut, sorta. Having struck out with the respect circle, Darby decides that everybody’s going to have a partner (the “buddy” of the episode title) whose routine they have to learn, and vice versa. Lauren and Payson are obviously teamed up for maximum drams.

Emily wants to know who her buddy is. Darby: “Who’s got two thumbs and and choreography that one the Pacific Coast Classic in 2002? This gal!” She points to herself. You are no Liz Lemon, Darby! Stop it, MIOBI writers. You’re not pulling it off.

Elsewhere, in another trust circle, Kaylie is in group therapy, not even trying to act like she’s listening to a girl named Suzanne talk about how she struggles with the pressures to be perfect. After the session, Suzanne approaches Kaylie and tries to bond with her, but Kaylie’s not into it. Maeve, the bad influence from the treatment center, pulls up in a red striped convertible and woos Kaylie into her clutches by speaking those immortal words: “Baby, it’s time to shed some of that rehab fat.” Ugh. If I didn’t have a SNEAKING SUSPICION about what’s about to happen to her, I’d be like, go away. Also, she actually spoke the words, “I die.” Subtle.

Payson’s still bitching about the buddy exercise, and Lauren takes this opportunity to snake her in front of Max. “Are you always in heat?” Payson asks her, and Lauren calls dibs on Max. LOL to both things!

Back at Casa de Monster Child, Steve is watching Payson kiss Sasha on a computer. “Lauren, what did you do?” he says aloud when he realizes that Sasha was innocent. The question is, Steve, what are YOU going to do about it? And the answer, knowing Steve, is cover it up to protect his devil spawn YET AGAIN, I’m sure.

Maeve and Kaylie are blissing out in a sauna as they bond over their shared experience in high pressure careers. Maeve offers Kaylie some “over the counter asthma medication” that “keeps her energized, not munchy”, but Kaylie demures, fearing the random drug testing that comes with being an elite gymnast. They talk about Austin, and Kaylie regrets admitting she had a problem, because while it got her out of rehab, her parents are on her 24/7 and actually believe that if she returns to training she might die. So Maeve, Queen of the Brilliant (Awful) Ideas, tells her to turn her parents against the therapist. THIS SHOULD TURN OUT REALLY, REALLY WELL.

Darby is teaching Emily some sort of twist and shout type floor routine that won her a medal once upon a time. It doesn’t appear to have any real gymnastics in it, but okay. Oh, wait, there’s a tumbling pass. Instead of learning anything, Emily asks Darby if she regrets missing out on being a teenager. Darby gives her some tough love about how she has to get her shit together because she’s “running out of second chances.” Couch Darby: master of understatement.

Lauren is doing what basically amounts to a stripper routine on the beam as Payson tries not to get her eyes stuck from rolling them too far in the back of her head. Payson gives it a shot, but it ain’t good. “I’ve got more sass in my little finger,” Lauren tells her. “You know, they’ve got penecillin for that,” Payson shoots back. Gold, Payson. Everything you touch is GOLD.

Except Max, because he’s too busy ogling Lauren’s crotch. “Enjoying the view?” Austin smarms. “She’s like a Vegas show,” Max drools. “All she needs is a headdress and a G-string.” Lauren vamps for them, basking in the attention. I wish Austin and Max didn’t look so much alike. Again I ask: where’s Carter? I miss that curly-headed douche. Speaking of Carter, Austin warns Max against Lauren, who “mangled” Carter–um, not true? Because…what? Basically, Payson’s a lot of work and Lauren’s easy. Boys are gross.

Payson’s attempts to “be sexy” make her look like Frankenstein’s monster. I know she’s more power, less priss, but come on! It’s like she doesn’t know how her joints work! Austin gives her a pep talk and offers to help her. Payson says no at first, but Austin points out that, yes, the fact that sex sells is the patriarchy at work, but, well, you want to win gold medals? Payson wants nothing more.

Chloe gets all over Emily for looking at Damon’s web page. Are they seriously not talking on the phone? Or email? Dumb. Also: unbelievable. Chloe reminds Emily that she’d never been with anyone before Damon and “you went on, what, like five dates?” Oooh burn. Emily takes it personally, of course, and they fight, but Chloe assures Emily she’s just looking out for her and trying to be a responsible mother like Emily wanted her to be.

Kaylie turns her parents against her therapist by suggesting her parents made her feel less than perfect, thus bringing on her eating disorder. It works pretty well since her parents are overbearing hotheads who want her to be perfect! Well, her dad is. Ronnie just seems exhausted by the whole thing.

Steve lectures Lauren about the video, and she has a good point when she says, “Since when do you care about right and wrong?” Since now, I guess. Steve’s having some pangs of guilt about keeping this from Summer after promising her he wouldn’t lie to her anymore, but it’s not like he actually tells her.

“Do you ever get tired of being the ‘mom jeans mom’?” Payson asks her mother. Kim’s eyes bug out and then she parents her daughter with such grace and good-humor I fall in love with her all over again. There are many different types of sexy, she points out, and you don’t have to be good at everything. Payson listens, but also she hates Lauren, so she takes Austin up on his offer to help her. Austin helps her get in touch with her sesssssuality by waving some perfume in front of her nose and telling her to focus on her second shakra. Lol! Then they “walk like Lauren”, which what makes them both look like idiots. If this works, I’m going to die from laughing. He’s making her crawl across the floor like a cat! He calls her “pure of heart”! OMG!

Cruz family dinner with Maeve as a guest. Because the Cruzes are totally self-absorbed, they don’t notice that neither girl is eating. Maeve does some Jedi mind tricks on Kaylie’s parents. Another family dinner, at the Tanners this time: “It’s never too late to teach your children the right values,” Summer says vaguely, not knowing what it is that’s really bothering Steve. She suggests he make her accountable for her actions and it’s like his mind is blown. You are the worst parent ever, Steve!

Lauren nails Payson’s routine and Max compliments her teaching. Lauren clowns Payson in front of him, and Austin tries again to help. They briefly talk about Kaylie, but Austin insists that while he liked her, she has to focus on getting better. On cue, Kaylie strolls into the Rock with Maeve. Darby’s pumped, Austin’s not. I hate the way Maeve talks. “He’s the real deal, lemon peel,” she says of Austin. Man, I’ve got to give this show credit, though. That actress is convincing as an anorexic model.

Emily takes off to confront her mother for working at a strip club. I’m pretty sure Emily would never be able to get into a strip club because she’s a freaking teenager, but whatever. I’m not going to let that be the thing I take issue with here, because Emily is being the worst. “I’m paying the bills and I’m funding your dream,” Chloe rightly says, but Emily is embarrassed. Okay, well, don’t go to the Olympics, then, I don’t know, Emily! GOD.

Payson decides to tackle the Lauren problem the way she tackles all gymnastics problems: with military precision. She does a good job! Too much eye makeup, though. But Max asks her out! Yeeeeeah Payson, get yours.

Steve makes a valiant attempt at holding Lauren responsible, but she cries and he caves. OF COURSE. God, Steve. She didn’t learn anything! Speaking of not learning anything, we’re back at the Cruzes, and they’re arguing, but they decide not to let Kaylie go back to the gym and she flips. They see her total desperation and it looks like it really scares them.

Emily gets a visit from Payson, who channels her own mother when she tells Emily that she has to stop whining, stop thinking about what sucks and focus on her dream. I feel for Emily here, because the actress is really selling this, her confliction over giving up Damon for something that might never happen–going to the Olympics. But Payson tells her she can’t focus on the “what ifs”, only what she wants most. I’ve said this before, but Payson Keeler is my spirit animal. I love her so much.

Oh, and Maeve died. But that’s for next week’s episode!

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com
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Don’t Look Any Further

If you’re one of the handful of people who read my Make It or Break It recaps, you may notice I didn’t post one last night–but don’t despair! I was celebrating the twenty-eighth anniversary of the birth of my friend Cambria by consuming much wine and cheese, so I didn’t get a chance to watch, but I’m planning on spending some quality time with the Rock girls and boys tonight and will post a recap ASAP.

This is apropos of nothing, but I woke up this morning around 3:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had this song playing over and over again in my head; it sounded very familiar, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the words and/or title, and it was driving me INSANE. I kept trying to work it out until I realized that by doing so I was preventing myself from falling back asleep, if such a thing was even possible, and eventually I let it go and dozed off, only to wake up two hours later having finally worked out the title.

My friends, behold the wonder that is “Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards. (Please, for your own viewing pleasure, watch the video. It’s cheesy and awesome.)

Why did I wake up with this strange, sort of creepy eighties song in my head at 3:30 AM on a Tuesday morning? Good question! I have no idea. I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard it playing anywhere recently. What makes it a little nightmarish is that I recognize the song from (NERD ALERT) a season 7 episode of The X-Files called “Orison,” in which the song serves as a “high school memory trigger/divine warning” (according to Wikipedia) for Scully. Considering that “Orison” is marks the return of fetishist/serial killer Donnie Pfaster, it’s no wonder I couldn’t fall back asleep after that.

Edited to add: Cambria shed some light on why I had “Don’t Look Any Further” in my head! Apparently, they were playing it at a bar we went to on Saturday night, but I guess I was too busy hating that bar and wanting to get the heck out of there to notice. Mystery solved!

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com
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Spam I Am

Sorry folks, the spam filter is still broken. Before it would just send all comments to spam and then I would be able to fish them out, but now it won’t even do that! Dumb spam filter. Anyway, if you have any Very Important Thoughts about Make It or Break It (or anything else, really–perhaps a nice limerick? It is only Tuesday, after all), definitely email me at anna [AT] annajarzab [DOT] com. I would tell you to comment on LiveJournal, but it looks like my MIOBI post didn’t feed out to LJ…curious. What is going on with you, website? I’ve got some major maintenance to do on this beast.

Originally published at AnnaJarzab.com