A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show attempts to shatter negative stereotypes about cheerleading by promoting competition and athleticism. There's also an overarching message of getting to know people before you judge them.
Positive Role Models
There's at least one "villain," but most of the characters work hard to get along for the sake of teamwork and competition. Several characters undergo significant attitude adjustments and learn to see the good in others.
Violence & Scariness
Some verbal sparring and a few sports-related injuries, but nothing too intense.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Most characters dress suggestively and show lots of skin -- both in and out of uniform -- and dancing can be overly "sexy." There's also some sexual tension and implied sex, in addition to onscreen kissing and making out, between college-aged characters.
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In addition to the "hell" in the title, language includes words like "damn," "bitch," and "whack job."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking stems from the fact that the main character's mom owns a campus bar, but cheerleaders are prohibited from drinking alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, in spite of some skimpy outfits, sexy dancing, implied sex and gratuitous shots of washboard abs, this cheerleading-themed drama that's built around a pair of Disney Channel alums is comparatively tamer than others like it on prime time. The language rarely gets saltier than the occasional "hell" or "damn," and most characters generally prove to be strong role models. Although it's set in college, it will likely appeal to teens and tweens -- particularly those who love to cheer. But the sexual content is best left to older teens who can understand the consequences.
Is It Any Good?
The basic premise of a rough-and-tumble outsider joining the in crowd
is hardly new -- in fact, we've even seen it in other cheerleading
movies before. (On the big screen, we'd simply call this Bring It On.) But that doesn't mean that Hellcats
is a total snooze. On the contrary, in spite of some cheesy dialogue and
misguided montages, it's an earnest (but admittedly sexed-up) look at a world of serious
teamwork, intense competition ... and skimpy midriffs. If you can get past a
few eye-rolling moments, Hellcats is a heck of a good time.
A much-altered Tisdale -- who was once as well known for her blonde hair as she was for her over-the-top antics as Sharpay in the pop blockbuster High School Musical -- is barely recognizable as the squad's uber-responsible brunette captain.
But it's a good change, and she provides much-needed balance to
Michalka's often-overwrought attempts to look rebellious. (Side note: At Lancer College, having curly hair means you're "edgy.") For a couple of Disney alums, these kids have done all right.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.