Review: Does Freeform’s “Cheer Squad” Have Spirit?


As we all know, because I don’t shut up about it, I love cheerleading. Like, a lot. I’m obsessed with everything about the sport. I made my high school create a role of “Varsity Cheer Waterboy” so I could help the team. I went to every competition and was their biggest supporter, while also helping in anyway I could. A year later, I came back and emceed a competition held at the school. I love it.

Freeform tried to tap into my obsession with their new show Cheer Squad, following the Great White Sharks from Canada on their way to uphold their win at Worlds — or the Super Bowl of cheerleading held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports every Spring.

I went into the pilot excited and came out with a resounding eh.

The actual portions of the show focusing on the sport were interesting. However, the set-up for the show is bizarre. The first episode is them at Worlds, spoiler alert, winning back-to-back titles. It was odd they chose this team to begin with, as their division isn’t one of the big ones. They don’t even compete in the main building. However, their routine was flawless and deserved the win.

That takes place during the first 20 minutes of the pilot, then is immediately followed by one of the girls learning to drive a stick shift. Wait, WHAT?! It was such a jump that had no purpose being there that it threw me for a loop. The rest of the show follows the girls going through a new season, leading back to Worlds to hopefully complete a three-peat. The editing and construction of the show

The editing and construction of the show doesn’t work. It would be much better showing us a quick clip of them winning, saying they want to three-peat, then showing the new season.

For those who aren’t familiar with the terminology, they do a good job of explaining new words, like the concept of hitting, to newbies. You’ll have to use some context clues for a lot (flyers, bases, etc.), but you shouldn’t be confused watching blind.

The big downfall is showing us stuff that no one cares about, like the driving stick shift lesson. I understand that their main goal is to make us relate to these girls,but the shoehorned life segments aren’t needed. They come across as overproduced and highly unnecessary. I was always wanting to just watch more cheer.

Cheerleading practices are cut throat, just like the sport itself. One mess up and you are screwed. Think of it as a mix between gymnastics, dance and weightlifting. It’s intense and these girls have made it their lives. It’s even more interesting considering the age of these girls. They are professional athletes who have changed their lives around to focus on cheerleading, a sport where you age out very quickly. I was surprised to see a 24-year-old on the team as the majority of girls “retire” professionally after high school.

Overall, I do think seeing their race to another Worlds title will be intriguing, but I am hoping the focus becomes cheerleading and their team, not how they make spaghetti at home.

3 out of 5 stunts

Cheer Squad premieres on Freeform August 22nd at 10pm, but episodes are now available for streaming on!

Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a pop culture writer based in Orlando, FL. For some inexplicable reason, his most recent birthday party was themed to daytime television. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.