Last night, my sister Erin and I watched the 2008 Lifetime Movie, Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal.
Why Were We Watching It?
This is my fourth favorite Lifetime movie, coming in right behind Confessions of a Go Go Girl, The Babysitter’s Seduction, and Mother, May I Sleep With Danger. It comes on every few weeks and, if I’m at home, I’ll usually end up watching it. I forced my sister Erin Nicole to watch it with me because she actually was a Texas cheerleader and I figured she would have some insight into the film that I might otherwise miss. Plus, it’s just fun to watch movies with Erin!
What Was It About?
Emma Carr (Jenna Dewan, who would later become Jenna Dewan-Tatum) is the new cheerleading coach at a small Texas high school. She views cheerleading as being the most important part of a young girl’s life and she quickly proves to be an inspirational and beloved teacher. However, five mean girls — the Fab Five of the title — are determined to do what they want, regardless of whether it’s good for the cheerleading squad, the school, or Coach Carr’s marriage. Making things especially difficult is the fact that the leader of the Fab Five (played by Amber Benson) is the daughter of the school principal (Tatum O’Neal). While Coach Carr tries to instill a sense of teamwork and self-esteem into the rest of the squad, the Fab Five spend their time drinking, hanging out in sex shops, and posting racy videos on YouTube.
Needless to say, this film is credited as being “based on a true story.”
Though the film was undoubtedly exaggerated, it still did manage to capture just what it’s like to go to an athletics-obsessed school in small town and suburban Texas. Seriously, it’s a world that only makes sense when you’re actually a part of it. Once you leave and think back, it all looks like a silly Lifetime movie.
Everytime after I see this movie, I find myself occasionally clapping my hands while chanting, “Pump, pump, pump it up/Pump that spirit, keep it up!” Seriously, it’s fun!
What Did Not Work?
Both Erin and I were occasionally amused and often annoyed by how seriously Coach Carr took cheerleading. Every time that Jenna Dewan started to give a speech about the importance of cheerleading (“You represent your school!”), Erin and I started laughing. She was just so serious about it that I found it hard to believe that her character wasn’t being played for laughs. Imagine my shock as I realized that the film meant for us to take her seriously.
(However, Erin has assured me that there are coaches out there who really do view cheerleading as being a mission from God.)
“Oh my God! Just like us!” Moments
As we watched the film, I continually asked my sister if this movie was an accurate portrayal of what it was like to be a scandalous high school cheerleader in Texas. According to Erin, the film was accurate but exaggerated. She said that she had known girls like the ones portrayed in this film but, even at their worst, they weren’t “as demonic” as the Fab Five. Erin also asked me to make clear that she was certainly never one of those girls. And I can vouch for that! There’s a reason why Erin’s nickname is “the nice one.”
When I first started high school, quite a few people told me that I needed to follow my sister’s example and try out for cheerleader and I have to admit that I was occasionally tempted to do so. However, I never did because I already had ballet and drama club, I wanted to establish my own identity, and Erin told me that being cheerleader meant that I had to be perky all the time and, quite frankly, I’ve always needed my time to sulk. So, I’ve never regretted not following the cheerleader route but I still found it amusing that the evil redheaded cheerleader in Fab Five was named Lisa.
My home state is the best! Seriously, would anyone ever want to watch a movie called The Vermont Cheerleader Scandal? I think not.