Whenever The New York Times says a new series isn’t worth watching we know we should watch anyway because how does a paper with a readership age worthy of “60 Minutes” viewers know what teens/young adults are going to like anyway?
The show opens with our heroine Marti (Aly Michalka) who is on scholarship at Memphis’ Lancer University, riding her bike around the streets of Memphis and voicing-over something about ribs. She’s got curly blond hair, wears way too much makeup and has cool, crochet bike gloves. She meets up with her best, platonic male friend Dan on campus and they proceed to make fun of the cheerleading squad (the Hellcats) who are practicing right in front of them. Marti pretends to shoot one with a mimicked bow and arrow and *surprise* one of the girls falls over and sprains her wrist. This happens to be antagonist Alice (Heather Hemmens) who has a major chip on her cheerleading shoulders because transfer student Savannah (Ashley Tisdale) became captain over her.
Marti then rides home and opens a letter in her still crochet bike-gloved hands informing her that her scholarship was *gasp* canceled. Marti rides over to her mom Wanda’s job at a bar to confront her. We’re not exactly sure what happened here because we were too taken aback by the mom’s plastic surgery face and the fact that her cheeks and forehead did not move when she was talking.
So Marti needs a new scholarship to keep going to school and is in the scholarship office weighing her options when Savannah walks in with a Hellcats scholarship poster. Savannah says something to Marti about “we can bench press our own body weight and we are athletes.” The two then hit it off literally when they get into a slap fest over who knows what – we’re too busy saying “MEOW!” Marti decides to tryout for the squad but first has to practice cheerleading moves so she rents “Bring it On,” and dances around her loft ala Flashdance. Since she was just making fun of the cheerleaders a few minutes ago it doesn’t really make sense why she wants to be one all of a sudden but whatev.
At tryouts she busts out hip-hop moves that impress squad coach Vanessa (Sharon Leal), Savannah, super-hot cheer squad male member Lewis (Robbie Jones) but not Alice. Marti makes the squad, moves into the Hellcats house and rooms with Savannah. Savannah is the type-A personality that Tisdale excels in, very anal and funny. Best lines: Savannah: “You can have the upper drawers.” Marti: “I’m a bottom.” Savannah: *blank stare*
Meanwhile coach Vanessa is told that unless the squad wins the national title the Hellcats will be downgraded to only support for the football team and no more competitions. The new football coach Red Raymond (Jeff Hephner) then shows up and you can cut the sexual tension here with a flipping cheerleader (like the show did to segue to different scenes). Seems like Vanessa and Red have a history that Vanessa wants to forget in the arms of the team doctor Derrick, but Red will probably try to rekindle.
Meanwhile Marti and Alice get into it in the showers when Alice tells Marti she didn’t want her on the team and she won’t last. Alice steals her towel and bathrobe. Marti emerges from the shower (still in full drag-queen makeup), tries to get one in the men’s section but a few guys show up so she has to hide naked in the toilet stalls. Lewis sees her and helps her by getting rid of the other guys by dropping his towel and asking his friends if he’s hanging too much of one way or the other. They get disgusted and leave. Marti thanks Lewis and you get the hint that he likes her a bit.
Then Marti and Savannah are chatting on their beds talking about Lewis and Marti’s mom. Turns out Marti used to be a competitive gymnast but her mom embarrassed her by coming drunk to one of her meets so she stopped competing. Alice overhears this and pays a visit to Wanda and invites her to a Hellcats competition.
Next episode: “I Say a Little Prayer” Will Marti re-accept Wanda after finding out about her roommate’s own family drama?
– Is it just me or does Dan remind you of that character on Sex and the City who Carrie had good sex with but couldn’t date?
– Marti needs to tone down the makeup… she looks more like a 50-year-old drag queen than a college co-ed.