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Series / How to Rock

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Only You Can Be You.

How to Rock was a Nickelodeon series about a girl named Kacey Simon, member of her school's social elite until her degrading eyesight and the tooth injury that results from it force her to get glasses and braces, which causes her Girl Posse to kick her out. With her former friends wanting nothing to do with her, she ends up hanging out with the members of a music group called Gravity 5, who turn out to be much better friends than the ones she knew.

Loosely based on the book How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston. How to Rock aired its first two episodes on February 4, 2012.

The series was cancelled after one season of 26 episodes. Its final episode aired on December 8, 2012.

Tropes used in this series:

  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • The first episode has Kacey wearing braces and glasses, which are taken off towards the end. However they served their purpose by proving Molly and Grace were eager to kick her to the curb if her appearance threatened their image.
    • This usually happens with Kacey in her new circle of friends. They'll get mad at her and, for the most part, they make up in the end.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Molly was still kind of unpleasant in the book, but not to the degree that she is in the TV series. Notably, in the book, she and Kacey remain friends even after Kacey's Heel–Face Turn. (They do go through a rough patch after Kacey's fall, but it gets mended by the end of the book.)
  • Aesop Amnesia: Kacey occasionally slips back into her old Perf habits, though it's actually handled a lot more realistically than most instances of this trope. Kacey's Heel–Face Turn is a work in progress, not something that just happens and is done.
    • An even more notable case of situation is that until "How to Rock Christmas", Kacey failed to realize that her desire to be the best at everything is the exact reason why Molly is after Kacey.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kacey, prior to her fall. After it, Molly takes her place. Molly also qualifies as a Big Bad, for she is often described as "evil". Later on in the series, she proves to be more of Anti-Villain and ''How to Rock Christmas" shows that she actually has a legitimate reason for her visible dislike of Kacey. This demonstrates a minor deconstruction of the trope, considering how to her, people she would normally consider "losers", such as Nelson and Kevin, aren't worth giving any trouble to; Kacey is more deserving of it.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Grace kisses Nelson on the cheek in "How to Rock Christmas." Nelson then kisses Grace on the cheek in "How to Rock Christmas."
  • Batman Gambit: Defied. Molly employs one on Kacey by trying to be nice in "How to Rock a Birthday Party". At first it appeared was going to work, but it didn't, because Kacey explains that it was All According to Plan.
  • Becoming the Mask: Stevie in "How To Rock a Secret Agent."
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Stevie "Loserberry." She doesn't mind so much when it's just you and her, but call her that in front of her friends and she'll introduce her bass to your face.
    • Also, do not call Zander a dork behind his back. This caused Zander to retaliate by tying Molly's and Grace's shoes together.
    • Don't trick Grace into saying she hates unicorns, or she'll chase you down like she did to the cue card guy in "How to Rock a Newscast"
  • Be Yourself: The message of the song "Only You Can Be You".
  • Big Bad: Molly Garfunkel. By comparison, Kacey did not tow the line when she was leader of the Perfs.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Initially, Kacey was the founder of the Perfs, believed in perfection, and manipulated others while priding herself in being the most popular girl in school. However, her accident led to her prompt removal by Molly. However, Kacey still appears to retain a manipulative streak even after leaving the Perfs.
  • Big "NO!": Kacey screams this in "How To Rock A Lunch Table" after the Perfs take back their table once she stepped off for a few moments. immediately followed by Molly's Big "YES!".
  • Bittersweet Ending: "How to Rock a Uniform": Thanks to the school uniform rule being revoked and everyone going back to their cliques, Nelson and Grace can't hang out at school anymore. However, Nelson is still happy with the fact Grace was looking at him from the Perfs' lunch table, compared to the beginning of the episode where she barely noticed him.
  • Buffy Speak: In "How To Rock A Guest List":
    Stevie: I can come to your party. I couldn't come when I said I couldn't come because I had a thing, which was a real thing and not a made up thing, but now it's not a thing anymore, so I can come.
  • Canon Immigrant: Stevie appears in Meg Haston's "How To Rock Break-Ups and Make-Ups" as Zander's ex-girlfriend, but her name is Stevie Andrews and the two don't have much in common.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Molly even admits she is evil in "How To Rock A Messy Bet".
  • Casting Gag: Samantha Boscarino, who portrays Alpha Bitch Molly is a rather recognizable example: She has portrayed three different, yet similarly characterized girls before.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Hold it down" for Gravity 5
    • "Peace out, girl scout" for Kacey.
    • "Perf Power" for the Perfs.
  • Christmas Episode: "How to Rock Christmas."
  • The Conscience: Stevie usually plays this to Kacey, and sometimes to Gravity 5 too.
  • Cool Loser: The members of Gravity Five, as well as Kacey once she joins them. Justified, as Molly has it out for them specifically and devotes all of her considerable social power to undermining them. Actually, Kacey is really her main target and Zander, Stevie, Nelson and Kevin just get caught in the crossfire.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Grace is such a Dumb Blonde that it comes as a total shock to all around her in "How to Rock Camping" when she proves to be a camping genius.
  • Cycle of Revenge: High School example: In "How to Rock Christmas", it is revealed that Molly has been taking revenge on Kacey for the way Kacey treated her as Queen of the Perfs, especially in trying to be the first to have everything. Later, Kacey wants to take revenge on Molly for kicking her out and for trying to humiliate her. Both reasons are quite understandable, yet came to a point where both the Perfs and Gravity 5 got tired of them getting at each others' throats. By "How to Rock Christmas", Kacey and Molly seem to have come to an understanding.
  • Dance of Romance: Nelson and Grace, as well as Kevin and Molly in "How to Rock a Singing Telegram".
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Stevie plays this perfectly in nearly every scene she's in.
    • Zander is pretty good at this too. Example from How To Rock A Good Deed:
    Stevie: Let's let our hero rest.
    Zander: Yeah, she's had a long day of sitting on her butt.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Refers to rocking to music and rocking life (i.e. dealing with and figuring it out).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Odd for a show that lasted only 26 episodes, but the show presents a far more cartoonish and outlandish tone and outlook early in the first half, but then eventually becomes way more grounded in the second half though. Specifically, Gravity 5 and the Perfs fighting like cats and dogs during the first half, but becoming way more amiable with each other in the second half to the point that they're practically friends.
  • Easily Forgiven: Kacey on multiple occasions does self-absorbed things and hardly ever learns her lesson and yet she keeps getting chance after chance. She gets better though.
  • Enemy Mine: Between Stevie and the Perfs in "How To Rock A Messy Bet", so Stevie can win the bet. However, this goes awry for Stevie when Molly's only focus is torturing Kacey.
    • Gravity 5 and The Perfs have had to form temporary alliances for numerous episodes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "Fashion Victim" has Kacey getting down on herself about how awful she is at making clothes in front of Molly and Grace and even with the low-hanging fruit of easily going after Kacey with it, Molly finds she feels bad for her and can't do it.
    Molly: Wow. I should be loving this, but…this is just too awful to be fun even for me!
  • Even Mooks Have Loved Ones:
    • Grace is more or less close to Nelson, whom she has a noticable crush on.
    • As condescending and harsh as she can be on Grace, Molly does genuine care for her and consider Grace her best friend. Her crush on Zander also feels very genuine too.
  • Evil Laugh: Kacey attempts one in "How To Rock a Birthday Party" when she talks about how Molly coming to her party is part of the plan, but she chokes on it and starts coughing.
  • Eviler than Thou: Kacey acted like the typical Alpha Bitch as queen of the Perfs with Molly by her side. Ultimately, Kacey becomes victim to this trope once Molly betrays her. Molly is arguably worse as the new queen of the Perfs.
  • False Friend: Well-established in the first episode when Kacey realizes that Molly only liked her because she was perfect.
  • Freudian Excuse: Molly is only seeking to socially destroy Kacey because of how much she looked down upon Molly and made her feel smaller when Kacey was Queen of the Perfs.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Molly. After Kacey is thrown out, Molly appears to have transformed the Perfs into a group that is meaner and more oppressive.
  • Genius Ditz: Nelson is good with technology and an awesome keyboard player, but Stevie scientifically proves that he's dumber than a hamster.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: In every episode so far, Molly's attempts to subdue or humiliate Kacey and Gravity 5 always end in failure, with Gravity 5 successfully turning the tables on the Perfs, or at least getting the last laugh. However, two episodes end with neither a member of Gravity 5 nor Molly fully getting what they want. Subverted in "How To Rock Cee Lo".
  • Heel Realization: Both Molly and Kacey have this during How To Rock Christmas. They finally see how pointless and petty their behaviors were.
  • High-School Dance: "How to Rock a Singing Telegram", "How to Rock a Secret Agent."
  • Hired for Their Looks: Crossed with False Friend. The reason Kacie and Molly were originally friends was because the former was perfect, and when she admits she isn't perfect, this splits them up.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: Kacey lampshades this in "How To Rock A Yearbook" after it was revealed that a year prior to her downfall she exploited a loophole so the Perfs could get their own yearbook page. Unfortunately, Kacey closed the loophole so that no one, not even Gravity 5 could utilize it, and this goes back to bite Kacey now that she is no longer queen of the Perfs.
    • In the same episode, Molly and Grace coax Nelson and Kevin into revealing that Gravity 5 has become a club so that the former two can sabotage Gravity 5's performance assuming whoever joins will be the worst. However, Molly's scheme backfired when Kacey found a way to improvise the skills of the new members.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "How To Rock a Secret Agent", Kacey tells Stevie that Molly is only using her as a spy, even though she was doing the exactly same thing.
    • Stevie returns the favor in "How To Rock a Birthday Party": She called out Kacey for not knowing her birthday in Secret Agent, but she didn't know when Kacey's birthday was either. To be fair, each one was just getting to know the other and each one likely didn't know just because they each never asked.
    • Even though Molly felt being seen with people like Kacey would be social suicide, she ends up dancing with Kevin in Singing Telegram
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Molly is said to have a talent of staring at people and making them nervous.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is called "How To Rock X".
  • If You Taunt Her, You Will Be Just Like Her: Zander seems to have this opinion about Kacey's feud with Molly. Zander makes an exception, however, when Molly calls him a "dork". Zander does not take this well, and personally takes care of Molly and Grace by tying their shoes together.
  • In Name Only: The only thing that is remotely similar to Haston's novel is that it has a protagonist named Kacey Simon who falls from popularity after having to get braces and glasses. New characters have been added, others removed, and some had their last names changed.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Perfs call Stevie "Loserberry", as does Kacey during her time with them, until she falls from popularity and becomes Stevie's friend. Also, "Stevie" is one, her full name being "Stevana."
  • Insistent Terminology: Nelson repeatedly insists that people refer to his blanket as "Captain Blanket".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ever Since Kacey's eviction from the Perfs, Molly and the Perfs almost always get what they truly deserve for their actions against Gravity 5. Kacey, however, is not immune to this trope either, especially when she slips into her jerkass tendencies.
    • Arguably in the first episode, Molly gave this to Kacey as payback for how Kacey treated her in the past.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: One of the innate problems of the show, as even though Kacey became a part of Gravity 5 and friends with them, she never really lost any of her original Alpha Bitch qualities - they just became Lighter and Softer, as she (occasionally) used them to help her new friends.
    • In later episodes, Molly is shown to have more sympathetic traits.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Grace doesn't seem to have a particularly nasty attitude per se, she just loyally goes along with whatever Molly says.
  • Mirror Character:
    • Even though she hates Molly, Kacey is more or less just as ambitious and manipulative as Molly. Of course Kacey and Molly are both shown to be bossy and/or demanding. Both obsess over outdoing the other, with the goal moving their respective groups to the top. This is taken to an extreme in "How to Rock A Secret Agent" where Kacey is aware that Molly uses people, ironically does not realize she herself is doing the same to Stevie. Both attempt to get Stevie to find out what the other is wearing for a dance. After Stevie figures out both were using her, it does not end well for either Molly or Kacey (and Zander). Justified in that Kacey was one of the Perfs. The fact that Kacey isn't much different from Molly is even more evident in "How To Rock a Birthday Party", where she plots to send Molly to the wrong party and even has her own Evil Laugh. Unlike Molly, however, Kacey has a conscience and usually feels bad when she's a jerk to her friends. In "How To Rock a Christmas" Molly and Kacey finally discover that they aren't any different from one another, and in fact have both become horrible people.
    • This also seems to be the case for Molly and Zander. Both are leaders of their respective bands. Zander and Molly are both are overly confident and arrogant, as they obsess over their images and want to show the world who they are. Both are also highly talented singers.
  • Narcissist: Zander's obsession in "How To Rock a Messy Bet" is checking his reflection in the mirror.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Kacey worries that "she'll never live down" being seen by Molly or Grace working at Danny Mangos.
  • One-Hit Wonder: The Perfs only have one song, Popular, which they just perform over and over. This puts them in complete contrast with Gravity 5, who have a wide repertoire of songs they can perform.
  • Out-Gambitted: In "How To Rock a Birthday Party", Kacey is always one step ahead of Molly, who is plotting to overshadow Kacey during her party. Kacey (along with everyone else) does not even buy Molly's "nice" facade, leading her to change the location of her party without telling Molly.
  • Popular Is Dumb: Grace
  • The Power of Friendship: Gravity Five runs on it. It's also the only thing that keeps Kacey's egotistic tendencies in check, when she realises she's emotionally hurting her friends by being self-centered.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The show doesn't much resemble the original books, but this can largely be accounted for by the shift in medium. When you have to stretch a single book into an entire TV series, some things are bound to change. In particular, most of the changes between the show and the book revolve around the book's resolution and the fact that, if the show had followed it, the main protagonist-antagonist dynamic would be completely absent.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Grace in "How To Rock A Newscast." She also slips up a couple of times and reads Zander's prompts.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: When Kacey draws Zander's attention to Molly and Grace building a doghouse, she's a little disconcerted by how much he's wanting one of their pink construction helmets to wear.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Principal Kersey from "How to Rock a Uniform". He's strict, but not overly so and only because Kacey and Molly pushed the rules too far.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Perfs mainly dress in red and black designer outfits.
  • Revealing Hug: When Grace and Nelson hug in "How to Rock A Uniform."
  • Rivals Team Up: Once Molly and Grace were shown to have Hidden Depths and Anti-Villain qualities, episodes in which Gravity 5 and the Perfs made temporary alliances became common. Happened enough that the situations leading to them became increasingly contrived and the Perfs seemed more like friendly rivals than true antagonists.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • A fairly irrelevant one, but in How to Rock a Prank Stevie claims to only own two pairs of shoes, then corrects it to one after the second is destroyed. This joke would predictably have no effect on the wardrobe department and the numerous pairs of shoes worn by Stevie before and after the episode.
    • After Kacey almost got to tour with Cee Lo in "How to Rock Cee Lo", it seems off that her parents would think a career as a famous pop star would not be practical as mentioned in "How to Rock a Fashion Victim". That said, the latter episode was produced before the former.
  • Serious Business: Sitting at the right lunch table for Kacey. Slightly justified by the fact that Gravity Five's current table is in a pooping location for the school's bird population, which Kacey finds very unpleasant.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Everybody seems to be a shipper on deck for Grace and Nelson. With the exception of Molly.
    • Everybody seems fairly okay with the budding romance between Molly and Zander in "How to Rock High School Sensation".
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In the climax of the first episode, Molly stuns the Perfs revealing she switched her braces with a temporary night brace and her glasses for contacts, reverting her to her original girly self.
  • Ship Tease: The later half of the series (at least "How to Rock High School Sensation") heavily brings in flirtatious interactions between Molly and Zander.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest:
    • Big Time Rush in "How To Rock An Election"
    • Cee Lo Green in "How To Rock Cee Lo"
    • Romeo Miller in "How to Rock High School Sensation"
  • Spell My Name with an S: It's K-a-c-e-y. It's not very clear since there's not a lot of promotional material, so in articles/fansites/internet/wherever, her name gets spelled different each time. Casey, Kaci, Kacy, you get the drift.
    • Cymphonique!
  • The Starscream: Molly, who succeeds in removing Kacey from the Perfs in the first episode.
  • Sudden School Uniform: And the principal specifically called out Kacey and Molly for bringing it down on the whole school. By the end of the episode, he relents and only the two of them have to wear it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "How To Rock Braces and Glasses":
    Kacey: Why are you making me wear this?
    Molly: To show school spirit, not to hide your face.
  • Third-Person Person: Danny Mango, but when he's sad, he speaks in first person.
  • Title Drop: In "How To Rock Braces and Glasses", Kacey says that if she rejoins Gravity Five, "they'll have to keep up, cause she knows how to rock."
  • Tomboyish Name: Stevie.
    • Subverted. It's a nickname. Her real name is Stevana.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Stevie and Kacey, respectively.
  • Tragic Villain: Molly, to a certain degree, views Kacey as having been a bully to her and thus, why she wants revenge on her. Grace, being inherently nice, but undyingly loyal to Molly most of the time counts too.
  • True Companions: Gravity 5, to the point where, in "How To Rock A Guest List", Kacey adamantly refuses to attend a party thrown by a popular student if the other members can't attend too. Later, they return the favor when Kacey's obsessive behavior results in her being told she has to leave. They all tell the host that they won't stay if she can't.
  • The TV Series Of The Book
  • Unusual Euphemism: Nelson and Grace both call Kacey a "dirty duck" when they find out she was faking her injury in "How to Rock a Good Deed"
  • Villainous Breakdown: Molly gets one in "How To Rock a Uniform".
  • Villainous Crush:
    • Grace to Nelson.
    • Molly might have one on Zander.
  • Villainous Demotivator: Molly does (or rather, parodies) this to Grace when she fails to claim their table before Gravity 5 does. To Molly, Grace failing her duty at the hands of Gravity 5 is completely...unacceptable.
  • Villainous Friendship: Molly and Grace, but just barely.
  • Villain Song: "Rules for Being Popular" by the Perfs.
  • Wham Episode: How to Rock High School Sensation" brings about a significant change for the rest of the show's run format wise: Gravity 5 and the Perfs no longer fight so endlessly and now learn to co-exist somewhat peacefully to the point where they actually help each other out (though Uniform and Christmas didn't quite go with this, A Good Deed, Camping, A Fashion Victim and A Tennis Ball followed it to a T). How to Rock Christmas could sort of count too as while it is the last episode aired, it was made before High School Sensation, showing that it's a feud they can put aside at any time and get along rather than an unsolvable one. Just up until that point, they chose not to.
  • Wham Line: In the first episode when Molly reveals she only liked Kacey because she's perfect:
    Molly: Why didn't you tell us? You're totally perfect again!
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Happens more with Kacey than not. Be hard pressed to find another character it also applies to. For example, Stevie gives Kacey one in "How to Rock a Secret Agent" when Kacey doesn't know her middle name, birthday, or favorite color.
    • Kacey also gets one from Molly, of all people, in "How To Rock Christmas", about how she always has to have everything before everyone else. In A Yearbook, she blames Nelson following the rules in his position as to why the band won't get a photo to themselves while she sought unethical means of making it happen. Even worse, when she's apologizing for it later, Nelson tells her that it is his fault when really...there's absolutely nothing for him to be blamed for!