Okay you guys, no TV secrets here: I'm a HUGE Make It or Break It fan. Guilty pleasure? For sure! It's on ABC Family, after all (airing right after the truly abysmal Secret Life of the American Teen, which only makes MIoBI look like a Sorkin show by comparison), but I can't think of another show in recent memory that has treated female athletes with such respect. Can you? Maybe Pretty Little Liars, but the swimming team thing is only a subplot for Shay Mitchell's character. Sure, MIoBI plays up the soapy side of things with our protagonists (they kind of have to, don't they?), the characters do fall into generic categories (the Girl from the Other Side of the Tracks, the Unprovoked B*tch, the Down on Her Luck Champion with a Heart of Gold), and the girls have their share of catty infighting about boys. At the end of the day, though, it's about elite athletes trying to succeed at their very competitive (and dangerous) sport. Respect. Name another show where a legitimately hardcore but sympathetic female athlete has a 13-episode arch dealing with her depression about not being able to compete in her sport because of injury, or a show that takes the tired TV formula for anorexia subplots and makes it instead about a gymnast's attempt to achieve athletic success (Female Athlete Triad, anyone?). Anyone who's been around competitive female athletes (in college or elite athletics, etc.) knows people who've been there. Yeah, that's right: MIoBI is addressing the real experiences of women/girls in sports at a time when TV coverage of female athletes is actually dwindling. RESPECT.
Enough defending it, though. I really just wanted to advertise its return to ABC Family on Mondays at 9/8c, which starts tonight. If we had to lose the increasingly awesome Pretty Little Liars to hiatus, at least we get an entertaining replacement to keep us busy for a few months. Have you seen the promo for the new season? Who's going to die? It can't be one of the main four girls, can it? How is Emily Kmetko's dream "literally killing her"? And while we're on the subject, how is the show going to handle Chelsea Hobbs' recent pregnancy in the long term? An injury for Emily by the end of the season perhaps?
It's no Southland, but Make It or Break It sure is fun!