After a re-watch of ABC Family/Freeform's Make It or Break It, one of my favorite teen classics (yes, I know the show ended in 2012, but it's still a classic to me, okay?).
I decided I needed to share this amazing, yet underrated show with others.
Sure, the gymnastics are a bit unrealistic (these girls aren't doing Olympic-level skills), but it's the journey that counts. The series follows four girls – Payson, Kaylie, Lauren, and Emily – that are all competing against each other and others to head to the Olympics and win gold.
Payson deals with probably the most setbacks of any of the girls, yet somehow she always comes out on top. She's the most mature of the girls, usually, but there's a lot she doesn't know.
My favorite Payson season is season 3 because it captures just how much Payson grew in the first two seasons.
Kaylie grows so much in the first season after a life-changing event leaves her much more responsible than she was before. She, too, deals with ups and downs and struggles with the pressures of being an elite gymnast.
My favorite Kaylie season would have to be season 2B because Kaylie learns more about herself than she ever has before. It's truly eye-opening.
Lauren is a bitch; let's face it, she's a terrible human being. But, that aside, her back story is very relatable, and she uses gymnastics as her escape.
My favorite Lauren season is also season 3 because we see what Lauren is truly made of.
And as for Emily, she's the most relatable of the girls. She's not professionally trained which is made out to be her advantage and disadvantage in this high stakes world.
My favorite Emily season would have to be season 2A because Emily finally stops doubting herself and her position at The Rock. That always holds her back.
Bumps and Bruises
Elite gymnastics doesn't come without its share of injuries and setbacks: both physical, mental and emotional.
The series focuses on these four girls as they make their own paths to the Olympics; some do better than others at times, but ultimately, it's a show of strength that these girls can overcome the obstacles.
Boys, breaks, hearts, everything these girls go through is to make them and their gymnastics stronger. The typical, silly teenage drama that ABC Family was infamous for was definitely not lost on Make It or Break It, but it had a point.
It wasn't just to tear down the girls, which happens all too often the case with dramas like this.
One thing I find most inspiring about these girls is their inability to give up. Even in the worst of times when they want nothing more to quit, their dream pushes them onward, and they push forward out from under the dark cloud.
The Final Moments
Girls come, girls go, but the bond between these girls is almost like they're sisters.
Some are closer than others, some fight with the others, but in the end, they come together because no one else understands them better than the others.
They repeatedly say they aren't normal girls, which they aren't. They're elite gymnasts; they don't go to high school, they don't hang out with other people. Their lives are The Rock, their families, and gymnastics.
In the end, we see a bond that is unbreakable (which is certainly tested a fair amount throughout the series).
Tragically, we never see these girls go to the Olympics, but perhaps that's for the best. It ends with the Olympic team announced for 2012.
By not seeing the Olympics, we're left to speculate whether our favorite won, or if our least favorite won, but we can be sure of one thing: the U.S. team definitely won team gold in London that year.
If we knew which girl won, it would ruin the series a bit; this way, all of the girls get to win, and isn't that the best ending?
Reboot and Re-watching
Make It or Break It would be a good series for the revolving door of reboots to revive. Not with the same girls, of course; their time passed, and we can watch their journey.
Perhaps special appearances should be made, or one of the previous girls can be the new coach, but a series about elite gymnastics is unique and hasn't been attempted otherwise.
With the way Freeform is headed, the series could go a lot deeper and darker than the former did, and they could show more complex gymnastics than they did previously.
It's one of a kind, empowering and inspiring, and everyone should head to Hulu or the Freeform app to watch this show.
Long live Make It or Break It!
Jay Ruymann was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in January 2018.