HELLCATS (fka CHEER)
Written By: Kevin Murphy
Draft Date: January 12, 2010
I'm not going to spend much time on this review, as there's really very little to review. Remember when all those Grey's Anatomy "in the world of ____" scripts were coming out a few years ago? Well, this is the first of the Glee rehashes. The title Cheer made a lot of sense, as it's ostensibly Glee in the world of collegiate cheerleading. And you can also see why it had to be changed. Too close for comfort.
The actual content of Hellcats is close enough on the surface to Glee, with several helpings of Bring It On (a film that is name checked when Marty, the ex-gymnast brainy girl who needs help renewing her scholarship or she'll get kicked out of college and thus is trying out for cheerleading despite making a habit of mocking the cheerleaders with her townie friend during their practices, rents the movie prior to her tryout... and, SHOCK!, is brought on the team because her infusion of cheerleading and dance moves makes the cheer coach excited). Honestly, why not just do a TV branded version of Bring It On? Yes, yes, I know, they come out with direct-to-DVD sequels every year or so.
Back to the Glee comparisons. Let's checklist this stuff, shall we? There are some direct parallels.
- team: McKinley High Glee Club / Lancer cheer squad
- a visit to see the big future competition: Vocal Adrenaline / Southern Christian cheer squad
- former champion in club when it was a strong program and is now back as coach: Will Schuester / Vanessa somethingorother
- other coach in school conniving to get funds sent back their way: Sue Sylvester / Red somethingorother (and, no, Red doesn't come close in the script to standing out the way Sue does... despite elements of carbon copying, Hellcats doesn't have the tone and zingers of Glee... and certainly not the musical performances)
- member of team working to various degrees with other coach to hurt the performance of the team: Quinn, Santana, and Brittany / Alice (who is injured and Marty replaces her)
- authority figure who tells coach that if they don't win at ____ level of competition, the club is over: Principal Figgins / Bill somethingorother, the head of athletics
- lovable outcasts: Rachel, Artie, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina / Marty (kinda?)
- budding romance between lead female and lead male jock type: Rachel & Finn / Marty & Luis
- shower scene with lead male jock type: yes (for Will to discover Finn's voice) / yes (for Luis to surreptitiously give Marty his towel when her clothing has been stolen from the locker room)
Um... yeah... so... who's suing who? Well, I guess Kevin Murphy got away with it when he crappily ripped off Cupid and made it into Valentine... though this is far closer to Glee than Valentine was to Cupid.
There are some things that are different. As above... no musical performances in Hellcats. Though there are cheer sequences (so, basically, we get dance montages instead). There are no Sue Sylvester zingers, but, well, Jane Lynch is incomparable so there was never going to be anything close.
Oh! And let's not forget the speed with with the Hellcats have to prove themselves. While Glee took 14 episodes (if you include the pilot) to get us through the first round of competition (but only the qualifying round that makes sure that sometime in the future they will have to face their true competition), Hellcats accomplishes that by the end of the pilot because the qualifying round is just one week away from the start of the action. And, oh boy, does it feel rushed. So much so that there is absolutely no room for aftermath... the final page of the script has a disembodied announcer telling us that Lancer has received a great score from the judges and qualified to fight another day mere seconds after the Hellcats complete their routine.
Pass. For the love of god, CW, pass on this project.