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Season 9 E 17 • 08/10/2008
When 15-year-old Alex isn't tending to her 17 pet ducks or acing an AP exam, she's at the doctor's office getting an allergy shot. Alex has outdoor allergies so severe that she had to be home-schooled for a year, but even though new medication has allowed her to venture back into the world, her parents are as overbearing as ever. Between her worrywart mom and politician dad, this Ohio teen has become one serious goody-two-shoes. But Alex has had enough of playing it safe. She wants to break out of her mold and be MADE into a freewheelin' skateboarder. Naturally, when Alex reveals the plan to her parents, they aren't thrilled. Her dad is worried about his reputation, and her mom is worried about everything else. But as long as Alex promises to keep up with her schoolwork and not forget her values, they're willing to go along with it. The kids at school have different concerns -- like, is Alex cool enough to be a skateboarder? They'll find out soon enough, as Alex emerges from her last exam of the school year to find a crazed woman with a skateboard standing on her school bus. That woman turns out to be Holly Lyons, World Cup Champion skateboarder and now Alex's MADE coach. Alex and Holly get to talking business right away, setting goals for the upcoming weeks. They decide that at the end of her training, Alex will skate in a real competition at the Kettering Skate Plaza, the mecca of Ohio skateboarding. With only six weeks to prepare, Alex gets right to work with Holly. They start with the basics, but Alex is struggling. As her wipeout total climbs, Alex is brought to tears and almost calls it quits. Refusing to let her student throw in the towel, Holly takes Alex to the skate park for some more practice. Unfortunately, the afternoon is one discouraging moment after another, and Alex even gets dissed by a pint-sized grade school shredder. By the end of the session, Alex is contused and confused. Nothing is making sense, and blindly following MADE coach Holly Lyons seems to only result in more bruises. During a relaxing day at the pool with her friends, Alex admits that she's not sold on Holly's "throw 'em in head first" teaching style. However, when Alex is more vocal about her limits during her next practice, Holly feels disrespected. To top it all off, Alex's mom keeps butting in with one uninformed suggestion after another. Eventually, Holly gets fed up with them both and bails, telling Alex to call her when she's really ready to listen. With MADE coach Holly Lyons gone, Alex's mom picks up the reigns. But before they get too far along, Alex meets Dylan, a super-cute skater boy whose presence alone motivates Alex to do her best drop-in yet. Taking her success home with her, Alex continues to work with her mom. Despite her lack of skateboard savvy, mom actually manages to come up with some unorthodox training methods that are a better fit with Alex's style. Go mom! After a few days, Holly comes knocking. She wants to know why Alex hasn't called her, and Alex explains that she simply prefers her mom's style, even though mama don't skate! Holly tries to convince Alex that only a real skateboarder should be teaching her and reminds her that she's doing this to break away from her parents. Alex's mom doesn't like hearing that, and she blows up at Holly. Eek. Alex and MADE coach Holly desperately need to ease the tension, and who better to help than happy-go-lucky skateboard superstar Rob Dyrdek? They meet Rob at Kettering Skate Plaza, which he founded, and his words of encouragement leave Alex feeling better about working with Holly. Then, Alex spots Dylan, her skate-park crush. Still riding the high from her time with Rob, Alex somehow finds the courage to give Dylan her number, which he accepts with a smile. Score! Time stands still while Alex waits for Dylan to call. When he finally does, they agree to meet at the skate park to practice. Though his cuteness is a distraction, Dylan actually turns out to be a pretty good teacher. After the date, Alex asks Dylan to be her boyfriend, and he says yes! A love-struck Alex really struggles during her next lesson, and MADE coach Holly Lyons is starting to get concerned. Alex seems less and less motivated after every fall, and there are plenty of them. Eventually, Alex has a total meltdown. She's torn between her commitment to succeed and an overwhelming desire to give up in the face of such pain and hardship. Holly tries to give her some tough love, but mom steps in, telling Holly off and taking a hysterical Alex home. Feeling like her mom went too far, Alex sits her down for a heart-to-heart talk, tissues ready. Alex lays it all on the line, saying that she's tired of not being in control of her own life. Although the talk ends in tears for both of them, they feel good that everything is finally out in the open. With her commitment revitalized, Alex goes to meet with MADE coach Holly Lyons, who is so impressed that she rewards Alex with a trip to French Woods skateboard camp in New York. It'll be Alex's first time away from home, but surprisingly her mom takes it in stride. At camp, Alex has a blast perfecting the art of the ollie and finally getting her first taste of independence. Alex realizes that stepping out of her comfort zone is the only way to learn about who she really is inside. Alex returns from camp with the skate contest less than a week away. Holly decides that it's time her protégé looked the part, so she takes Alex to get a skate-style makeover. Shockingly, Alex's parents love her new red-streaked hair and temporary tattoo -- especially the temporary part. Alex is pretty nervous on the day of the competition, but luckily she has her friends, family and good luck charm, Dylan, to cheer her on. Alex puts together a solid run with only one wipeout, but the stiff competition leaves her out of trophy contention. Still, Alex knows that the real prize is looking in the mirror and finding a confident, independent young woman staring back at her. Now that she's been MADE, Alex finally feels like she can step out into the world and fight her own battles.