I never made my high school’s cheerleading squad (terminal klutz syndrome); and maybe because I don’t much like watching sports, I’ve never understood the cheerleader culture. It takes a certain type of girl to become part of a team. She must obey the rules – even the unwritten ones – to remain part of the squad. Of course there are perks, like being popular and attracting all the cute players, but at what cost?
Recounting her story to an unseen videographer, Allison Behave (the marvelous Linnea Sage), is a budding feminist and questioning lesbian. To the dismay of the cheerleading squad, the end of competition season means having to cheer on others – namely the basketball team. Tradition has the girls not only baking cupcakes for her assigned player, but also decorating the lockers – all at the girls’ own great expense. Allison rebels at the sexism of these traditions and tries unsuccessfully to get her teammates to realize the inequity.
Thank you Rachel Puchkoff for making a show about cheerleaders that delivers much more that its log line “Feminism, Farts, and Fun” promises. I was expecting an updated Bring It On, only with more sophomoric humor. Yes, there are farts and raunchy jokes. There are also some very well done and original musical numbers. But more importantly Wildcats is the story of one high school senior’s attempt to understand her sexuality, and to raise the collective consciousness of her sister cheerleaders. After watching Wildcats, I’d like to believe that had I become a cheerleader, like Allison I would have rebelled against the status quo. She’s my hero.
Laura Valladao’s cinematography combined with Ms. Puchkoff’s direction has given Wildcats the look of a much more elaborately financed series. The supporting cast are wonderful, but it’s Ms. Sage Allison who steals the show. I’m looking forward to seeing more from these talented ladies.
Watch Wildcats and find out more on the show’s website: catsgoingwild.com
By Susan Siniawsky