I Want to Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again

Common Sense Media says

Body-image issues are nothing to cheer about.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The former cheerleaders -- all now between the ages of 27 and 45 -- are trying to look like they did in high school. The focus is on losing weight over creating a healthy lifestyle. Many of the women are embarrassed by their bodies; these self-esteem issues aren't addressed. Body types and age-related physiological changes aren't discussed or accounted for. Jay refers to the women as "girls." Some catty behavior between women, although they're mostly supportive of one another. The cheerleaders are primarily Caucasian; two women and Jay are African-American.

Violence

Jay Johnson occasionally yells in the women's faces as a motivation strategy.

Sex

Women wear midriff-revealing sports bras and shorts for weigh-ins. Discussions of sexiness are usually in the context of not feeling attractive.

Language

Mostly mild language like "hell." Occasional stronger swear words are bleeped out.

Consumerism

Reebok fitness equipment visible; the winner gets a Reebok home gym. The Johnsons' Fitness Bootcamp company logo is visible on hats and T-shirts. Some recognizable popular songs can be heard in the background.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this reality series highlights the hard work that goes into getting fit, the focus is on losing weight and looking good rather than positive, healthy, long-term lifestyle changes. Some of the women clearly struggle with body-image issues and poor self-esteem. There's also some language (mostly mild) and fitness-related product placement.

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What's the story?

In the reality series I WANT TO LOOK LIKE A HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADER AGAIN, 10 women between the ages of 27 and 41 go through fitness boot camp in an attempt to look as great as they did while cheering for their high school teams. Under the supervision of Dallas Cowboys cheerleader fitness trainer Jay Johnson and his wife/business partner Lin, the women spend 10 weeks trying to turn back the clock. They endure grueling military-style workouts, team challenges, and open-air weigh-ins conducted by ESPN host/bikini model Jenn Brown. At the end of each week, the contestant who's lost the lowest percentage of body fat must leave the camp; whoever loses the most weight at the end of boot camp wins $50,000, the chance to perform in front of a live audience, and the satisfaction of knowing she can fit into her old cheerleading uniform.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The trainers claim that they're educating and motivating these women to create a healthier lifestyle, but there isn't a lot of discussion about healthy eating or differences in body types. Even though many of the contestants are mothers and/or have been out of high school for decades, the impact of age and childbirth on the ability to lose weight is never addressed. Sadly, body image and self-esteem issues aren't dealt with either, despite the fact that some of the women express feelings of embarrassment and shame about their bodies as they compare themselves to what they looked like as teens.

The show does emphasize the hard work it takes to get into physical shape, but its failure to recognize some of the major issues associated with weight loss overshadows any of the positive messages it contains about health and exercise. While some viewers may find it entertaining to see who wins in the end, ultimately it's not very informative or inspirational.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between body image and the media. Why is thin so in -- and how do the sculpted celebrity images we see in the media affect our perceptions of our own bodies? Families can also discuss physical fitness. Is losing weight the most important reason to exercise? What if you exercise and don't lose weight? Is it realistic to expect adults to strive to look the way they did when they were teenagers? What messages does that send about body image and self worth?

TV details

Cast:Jay Johnson, Jenn Brown, Lin Johnson
Network:CMT
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of I Want to Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 11 year old Written byvvfrn2 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
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Adult Written bycatgel April 9, 2008
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