The real reason I hate episodes (of any show) that revolve around cheerleaders is - where in the nation do real cheerleaders act like this? Is cheerleading really such a bitchy and backstabbing sport? Do girls really spend their high school life aspiring to be members of this elite squad? Because I'm almost positive that's not how it went in my high school.
Now, part of that might be due to the fact that a) I went to such a ginormous school that there were endless circles of popularity, countless sports and activity groups, and everybody could find a niche plus friends, and b) I was mostly sheltered in my advanced classes and only spent time on a regular basis with kids who were not, you know, total idiots like the morons showcased as football players in this episode, but there's also factor c. C) As far as I understood it, the cheerleaders were sideline entertainment at best, as all the truly athletic girls were actually *playing* the sports rather than cheering at them. The cheerleaders were mostly made up of the really sweet and bubbly outgoing girls, though not necessarily the *most* popular ones. You cheered when they did really cool tosses and clapped along to the fun cheers, but you weren't in awe of them once they left the field. Even the dumb guys saved their ogling for the danceline, which had more revealing costumes and much racier moves. And slightly bitchier attitudes, as a rule, but still nowhere near Becca's level in this ep.
There's also the fact that in my high school, the cheerleading squad contained more freshmen/sophomores than juniors/seniors, and anyway I'm pretty sure new members were picked by the coach and not the captains ('course, we had multiple levels of squads, too; JV and varsity at least...). So, in a (very oversized) nutshell, that's what I hate about TV cheerleaders in general.
Now back to stupid TV teenagers. I do not and never will understand this mysterious drive to be "popular" that supposedly afflicts all girls when they enter junior high and remains until they leave for college. I don't remember ever desiring to be popular. I had one best friend and then a smallish circle of people I was friends with at school, and it was fine and dandy. I never got picked on or teased, aside from a few gross boys before advanced classes kicked in, and even then I was so smug and secure in my intellectual superiority that I was mostly amused by it.
Oh! OH! And that whole weird segment in the classroom where the cheerleaders mocked Rainey for looking smart? What the hell? In what parallel universe of a high school is it uncool to *not* fail your way through classes? Dumb kids got laughed at. Smart kids were...well, it should be blatantly *obvious* that it's just cool to know the answers. Especially if you're attractive. Being smart *and* hot is, like, the ultimate win situation. And this is not just my advanced-classes track talking, since our homecoming king was one very smart, religious, actively-involved-in-theater guy, and if you look through the "most likely to..." pages of our senior class in the yearbook, it is plain that the smart kids had plenty of weight in the popularity ring. Football players? Not so much.
And now on to the actual episode review! Which is insanely short, by the way, since I refuse to so much as fast-forward through this episode to figure out what I want to talk about. I will never watch it again, as it was ten types of horrible. Rainey started out being a dumb cheerleading stereotype, and then redeemed herself, which was amazing. She pulled her head out of her ass, looked around, and realized what normal people have known all along - it's good to be smart, and TV cheerleaders are a sham. Hell, she even got the cute/smart/sensitive guy in the end. (that kiss was the only bearable part of the episode, even though it promptly turned tragic and heartbreaking). And what takes it all away? Her insane friend Celeste.
Mom said from the beginning that her best friend was going to be the killer, "that blonde girl is probably going to quit, and her friend's going to feel betrayed, so she'll kill her." So while I held out hope that Becca would the be the killer - because if we're going to go for stereotypes, we might as well punish the stereotypical bad girl - it wasn't. Well, Becca set up the circumstances, but in the end, Rainey died because her insane friend deliberately failed to call an ambulance and instead held her in her arms and waited for her to die from the drug overdose. That was just sickening. And WHY? Why, why, why, why why? She was distraight over the idea that Rainey was going to tell her mom about the hazing, and get the cheerleading squad disbanded. You know what? That's not an answer. What did Celeste get out of being on the cheerleader squad, exactly? She got bullied, called "Thunder Thighs," hit on by dumb and skeevy football players, almost forced into a lesbian kiss, and when she resisted, got raped by half the football team. (or so we were led to assume; it was all but spelled out for us but we never actually saw it. Thank God for small favors) I spent the whole nasty locker room scene wondering why nobody asked the bitchy cheerleader if she was really a lesbian. I think it would have been a decent threat; I'm pretty sure that in 1997, especially in this world, being gay was not included on the list of popularity traits. Really, why else was she trying to make the girls kiss if "there aren't any guys around"? Someone really ought to have been asking "What perverted pleasure do YOU get out of this?"
(Then again, I don't get the whole concept of hazing in general. "We all did it, so now you have to." I see. You had a sucky experience, but instead of wanting to get back at the people who made you go through it, and stopping the cycle of madness, you want to inflict it on innocent people. Yes. That makes so much sense. God knows tradition is never, EVER wrong.)
Where was I? Right. Celeste was bitter that Rainey left her alone in the locker room, thus allowing that to happen to her. Not bitter at Becca for leading her in there, just Rainey for leaving. What stopped her from following? Rainey just went "Bitch plz, I'm out of here" and strolled out the door. Celeste couldn't walk right after her. Celeste couldn't file a police report? Oh wait, that would result in the disbanding of the cheerleading squad, which was totally OMG HER REASON TO LIVE! Despite the fact that I saw zero benefits to it whatsoever.
In conclusion: horrific episode, awful, downright disgusting. Its one redeeming quality, besides the fact that towards the end, Rainey finally started to say exactly what I wanted her to say, was the part of the final song montage where Vera and Miller 'fess up and share their high school pictures - Vera proving that he was, in fact, an impressively good-looking hockey star, while Kat was the geeky girl with glasses and braces. I about broke a rib laughing. Perfect! Oh yeah, and there was one amusing quote at the beginning, after Kat hypothesizes that Lilly was "the bad girl" in high school.
Vera: You too, Miller? Looked at you the wrong way, you'd get popped in the mouth?
Kat: Who says you still won't?
Hah, I love their verbal warfare. And next week, the team investigates their oldest crime ever, which promises to be ten types of awesome.
I don't understand what's so great about Bennett. Mom says "because he's 80 years old, but his voice hasn't changed. He still sounds the same." And what would that sound be? Boring? Why, yes! It's a Sinatra-esque sound, and good LORD is it dull. Also, 80! Old! Boring! Now, old houses and books are fascinating. Old music, not so much. And this episode proved it, with a bunch of frickin' show tunes that put me to sleep. Show tunes and jazz. Jazz! I despise jazz with unprecedented levels of dislike. It's pretty much right up there with rap.
Because all my friends are in jazz band, I have tried for *years* to appreciate the genre. But I just can't. I hate solos/improvisation, I hate swing, and I super hate slow ballads. The only thing worse than jazz band is a jazz singer. Should I say the J word one more time? No? Kay. Most of these songs I recognize, either from filing in the music library or from playing snippets in regular band when we picked upbeat songs for spring concerts. But I don't like them. I considered this hour nothing short of full-on torture. I have only 7 points to make:
1. Jordin gets 5 votes for being awesome and nothing else. Boring. Be better next week.
2. Melinda FREAKING Doolittle, whose voice is still not special-sounding to my ears, was the most entertaining performance because it was the only song I almost liked. Still no votes for you.
3. Gina gets 2 votes for being better than most people here, although I hated her song and her outfit. She sang "Smile." I don't even like that song when Josh Groban sings it, so there wasn't much hope for her.
4. Haley gets 1 vote for being better than most people here, but I hated the cutesy stuff she tried to do during her song, and I despised her outfit. I wish she would stop showing off her legs and/or boobs, because it makes her look like a vapid, bubble-headed stripper who knows her only hope is to make the male half of the population drool. You are better than that. Trust in your voice and the fact that it is not big and annoying like Melinda or Lakisha, or eye-roll-inducing like all the boys.
5. Sanjaya gets 2 votes. YES! SANJAYA GETS VOTES! I AM FEEDING THE MONSTER! Why? Because I covered my eyes and he actually sounded decent. He sounded decent that one week early on when he did a song in this style, and I have come to the conclusion that he is good at this type of crooning song, so he gets rewarded for that. Also, he was dare-I-say-it-almost-cute with his hair slicked back. Normally I hate that style, but it works on him. He is capable of looking suave.
6. Lakisha's dress, ewwww. She was spilling out both in front and in back (hint: semi backless dress = ungood for the overweight), and while I'm not generally a supporter of cosmetic surgery, I think she should invest in a breast reduction. It's kind of hard not to stare when she's wearing a cleavage-baring dress like that, and not in a good way. That has to be uncomfortable just to live with.
7. I have 2:1 odds on Phil going home tonight, and 3:1 on Haley, but I'm really leaning toward the former, since he was not only boring, but ugly. He looked like he was trying to grow some hair sprouts back, but since it turns out he really *is* mostly bald, he should stick to hats.