Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Anthony Arrigo (21st March 2010).
The Show

“Make It or Break It”?

Break it. Then break whoever made it. Surely someone needs to be held responsible for unleashing this Hell upon the Earth. The ABC Family channel apparently saw fit to combine insipid clichés, callow writing, banal dialogue and a dash of “let’s see how uncomfortable we can make our male audience (read: unfortunate dads or boyfriends) feel watching nubile teens in gymnastic spandex” in a television blender, and the result is nothing short of the very definition of mind-numbing. Have you ever watched something and felt the life being drained from your soul? Not just your body… the very essence of what makes you human. It’s an exhaustive feeling; one that left me in a tepid puddle on the couch, trying valiantly to collect my thoughts. Even now, my brain is attempting to reconstitute itself from a muddled glob of mush.

It isn’t always easy to put words behind what makes something so terrible. No, scratch that. It’s easy to severely lash out at a bad film or TV show. Something that shows even a modicum of competence, but ultimately falls short of the mark required to make it worthy of repeat viewings. But then there’s a show like “Make It or Break It” (2009-present). Now, I’m no fool who would pretend that this show isn’t produced and squarely aimed at a tween audience, specifically tween girls. Maybe they were hoping a curious teenage boy or two could get hooked on the ample amounts of underage ass on display. But anyone pushing, oh… 17, let’s say, would be well advised to avert their eyes lest they be frozen from their sockets by the Medusa-like ability this show has to turn your brain to stone.

Where to begin? Here’s an idea: look at the front cover of the DVD set. Don’t read the synopsis. Just a quick glance at the cover reveals all that you need to know: 4 girls in spandex, each one sporting a facial expression which succinctly sums up their character, and the tagline, “Competition. Deception. Perfection”. Now, anyone worth their salt should be able to deduce precisely what the entire show will be about based on those few clues. We’ve got the elitist bitch of the squad, Lauren (Cassie Scerbo); the new girl with a tough life, Emily (Chelsea Hobbs); the perfectionist do-gooder, Payson (Ayla Kell); and the “every girl” character, Kaylie (Josie Loren). The pilot episode sets up all the tension, drama, romance and heartbreak needed to pad out these 10 episodes, which make up about half of the first season. These girls, as part of en elite gymnastics squad which trains at Rocky Mountain Academy, or “The Rock”, work hard at perfecting their game while they suffer through the typical trials and tribulations of being under legal age.

Something appeared as the first episode was getting underway that almost caused my heart to seize: directed by Steve Miner. Now, that name may or not may mean anything to you, but as a lifelong horror fan I was a bit floored. Here’s the man responsible for some of my favorite horror films, titles like “Friday the 13th Part II” (1981), “Friday the 13th Part III” (1982), “House” (1986), “Warlock” (1989) and (arguable the best sequel aside from the first), Halloween: H20” (1998). And here he is, all this time later, cranking out crap like this. I know the guy’s gotta eat, but give me a freakin’ break. I guess he must have really wanted to get outside that box because this is about as far removed from his earlier efforts as possible. I’ll admit his output over the last decade and change has been fairly piss poor. The days of some level of excitement hitting me when I see his name attached to a project have long since gone, but it still calls for a big “WTF” when I see him on a project like this.

I think it’s also worth noting that well-known character actor David Paymer directed a few of these episodes as well. I guess a lot of actors like to try their hand at directing because I often see a lot of familiar names on the various series that I watch. I guess one paying gig is just as good as the next. You have to really be doing it for the love of the game, I suppose, because I can’t imagine having something like this on my resume.

This “Volume One” set is advertised as being an "extended edition," but the only thing that appears to be lengthened is the finale. None of the other episodes are noted to have anything additional included. Thank god because I was starting to feel uncomfortable spending so much time watching these barely legal teens strut around. I half expected Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC’s once-ubiquitous “To Catch A Predator” to appear from hiding within my humble abode, asking me to “have a seat over here”.

The episodes included in this set are:

- "Pilot"
- "Where's Marty?"
- "Blowing Off Steam"
- "Sunday, Bloody Sasha, Sunday"
- "Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Supermodel"
- "Between A Rock and A Hard Place
- "Run, Emily, Run"
- "All's Fair in Love, War and Gymnastics"
- Where's Kaylie?"
- "All That Glitters" (Extended Finale)

Video

Each episode has been given an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, the results of which are consistent with the quality you’d expect from an official release. All of them have been well-produced; the image is clear and clean with no digital artifacts or noise to disrupt the picture. Colors look solid - just check out all of the different spandex suits on display during the training sessions. The image is sharp and well-defined for standard definition.

Audio

There’s nothing impressive about the English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track. A few scenes feature a musical swell or background sounds from a keg party, but the majority of the track is teenage girls bitching to each other about everything under the sun, including each other. So, the fact that it’s clear and precise may be a nightmare in disguise. I’ll give it a few points for being well-balanced and free from any type of distortion.
There are optional subtitles available in Spanish and French.

Extras

The 2-disc set for “Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One” contains some deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, along with some bonus trailers. I’d say consider yourself lucky, but if you’ve actually bought this set then you might have been hoping for more. Maybe you’ll get it with “Volume Two”.

DISC ONE:

The only extras here on this disc are some bonus trailers for the following:

- “When In Rome” runs for 2 minutes and 33 seconds.
- “10 Things I Hate About You: Volume One” runs for 1 minute and 7 seconds.
- “Gary Unmarried: Season One” runs for 1 minute and 10 seconds.
- “The Last Song” runs for 1 minute and 43 seconds.
- “Greek: Chapter Four” runs for 1 minute.
- “Blu-ray disc promo” runs for 1 minute and 2 seconds.
- “The Boys Are Back” runs for 1 minute and 22 seconds.
- “10 Things I Hate About You” runs for 1 minute and 23 seconds.
- “Surrogates” runs for 1 minute and 22 seconds.
- “Army Wives: The Complete Third Season” runs for 1 minute and 17 seconds.

DISC TWO:

“Making It” is a behind-the-scenes featurette which runs for 8 minutes and 53 seconds. The principal cast and crew behind the show talk about the inspiration behind the project, and the actors give us a glimpse into how they train for their roles.

There are 6 deleted scenes available for the following:

- “The “M” Word” runs for 2 minutes and 8 seconds, Steve (Anthony Starke) and Summer (Candace Cameron Bure) talk about marriage.
- “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…” runs for 29 seconds, someone sees some scandalous text messages.
- “You Go, Girl!” runs for 1 minute and 13 seconds, Summer talks about what she sees in Steve.
- “Mrs. Cruz is not your BFF!” runs for 3 minutes and 43 seconds, Ronnie (Rosa Blasi) and Chloe (Susan Ward) share a drink.
- “Funny Money” runs for 1 minute, Chloe lies about having money trouble.
- “What’s in the Bag?” runs for 1 minute and 10 seconds, Emily is asked what she keeps in her gym bag.

Packaging

The 2-disc set comes housed in a clear amaray case with episode listing information printed on the inside of the cover art. There is a slipcover which replicates the cover art included as well.

Overall

The Show: F Video: B Audio: B- Extras: C- Overall: D

 


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