It’s been pretty quiet around the Rock while Make It or Break It has been off the air for almost a year. So with just hours until our favorite melodramatic teen gymnasts grace our screens again, we couldn’t wait to talk about the new season with executive producer Holly Sorensen.
First thing’s first, if you haven’t been properly introduced to MIOBI, tonight’s episode is your chance to become part of the Rock girls fan club. “The premiere episode plays like a series premiere, not just a season premiere,” she says. “It completely stands alone. If you’ve never watched the show before, this is the year that you could absolutely pick it up and watch it.”
But if you’ve been a supporter from the days when Kaylie was just a spoiled daddy’s girl and Summer was merely that crossover actress from Full House, it might be time to reboot your MIOBI knowledge because there’s no recap montage in the first episode.
The last time we saw the Rock girls, they barely squeaked through Worlds and their personal lives were in upheaval. Emily was pregnant and left the team to have her baby. Kaylie came clean to the press about her eating disorder. Troublemaker Kelly Parker was trying to forge her way into their friendship. Payson injured her left leg and is left puzzled by Max’s dual confession about bisexuality and being in love with her. Mega mean-girl Lauren finally admitted she leaked the picture of Sasha and Payson kissing.
Tonight, we pick up a couple of months before the Olympics. Wave goodbye to their old stomping grounds because the girls are now working, living, and training at an Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs. They’re also learning what it means to compete in a team sport that’s also an individual sport. “You really have to work as a team but there’s only one winner,” Sorensen said. “This year, it’s really clear that at the end of the road there’s only one gold medal. That’s starting to dawn on them and affect their relationships.”
So what’s the deal with Emily Kmetko?
Don’t expect to see her at all at the new training center. Chelsea Hobbs, who pays the rebellious athlete, recently gave birth to her second child and won’t be around this season. “The door is always open for Chelsea to come back,” Sorensen said. “She was the axis character for the show. I love the character and Chelsea too.”
Unfortunately that also means bad news for Emily/Damon fans. The scruffy, raspy guitarist (Johnny Pacar) is gone as well, as is Max, since Joshua Bowman is now on Revenge.
The New Girls In Town
But fear not, gymnastics enthusiasts… the loss of a couple characters means more screen time for new faces. You already know about the new coach over at the training center. It wouldn’t quite be MIOBI without an outsider just to show us how bizarre and the extreme the world of vaults and Olympic dreams is. Enter Jordan Randall (Chelsea Tavares). “We had it in our head for a long time, a kind-of a Dennis Rodman-like character: heart of gold inside and a lot of trouble on the outside,” Sorensen says.
Wendy Capshaw (Amanda Leighton) also makes her entrance as a fearless preteen prodigy. “The younger you are, the f—ing scarier you are,” says Sorensen.
But enough about the new kids in the gym. Here’s what’s going on with our favorites this season.
Yes, Kaylie did finally spill the beans about her anorexia, but don’t expect that storyline to just vanish. Our little team captain has still got a long way to go. “The issues she faces are very different from the ones she faced before,” she says. “It’s really about finding herself as a person outside a relationship. It’s a much more subtle story. A disease like anorexia doesn’t go away.”
Luckily, she’ll have Austin by her side. Sorensen tells us this is a good year for Kaylie and Austin, who is also at the training center.
Payson fans, get excited. After Max’s shocking bisexual confession and then disappearance, we were starting to worry that our overachiever might never find love. Worry no more, Pay find herself a love interest from a different background and we’re not surprised he’s also a gymnast. “It’s hard for someone like Payson not to be with someone that understands the level of disciple and commitment that she has towards her dream,” Sorenson says. “It just works and the actors have ridiculous chemistry.”
We won’t be seeing as much of the colorful families that surround the young acrobats this year, but expect the Summer/Lauren relationship to make some strides. “Summer comes back at a time when Lauren really needs her,” says Sorensen. “Lauren has really gone through a lot but nothing like she’ll go through this season. This a big testing season for Lauren.”
Troublemaker Kelly and her hilariously snippy mom are both back. Of course, that means there will be more fireworks. Look out for Kelly’s mom to clash with everyone from the NGO to the girls.
This season sounds juicy and I’ll confess that I can’t wait for the girls’ catty drama and for the inevitable tears. “There are a lot of tears. It wouldn’t be MIOBI without tears,” Sorensen says. “When the stakes get higher and the competition is fiercer, everything gets heightened. It’s a really surprising season.”
Admit it, PopWatchers: Have you missed these feisty little highfliers as much as I have? Are you excited for tonight’s premiere, 9 p.m. on ABC Family?
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