Beyond the Bitch
by Caitlin Tegart
In comedies, women are often the girlfriend, the wife or the bitchy friend of the girlfriend or wife (Leslie Mann, God bless you, you’ve worn all the hats). But there was a time when women did some seriously kooky shit in movies and got the be the funny, flawed, active idiot all the guys get to play. So let’s take a look at these movies and aspire to reach their level of kookiness.
Competitive cheerleading. A disenfranchised gymnast. Racial tension. When studio executives pulled those three topics out of a fish bowl and greenlit Bring It On, did they know the amazingness they were going to summon? Did they know at that moment, that their masterpiece would remain close to the hearts of women and gays everywhere for decades decade and spawn four straight-to-DVD sequels? (None of which I’ve been asked to write. It’s fine though.)
Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) is just swimming along in her senior year. It’s the year 2000 in Southern California: Essentially, the pinnacle of human existence. Torrance plans to win the sixth national championship for her team, the Toros (are they named after her?) but then, enter Eliza Dushku. Now, if you can remember back to when Eliza Dushku was relevant, when she enters a plot it’s time for blondie to brace herself! Dushku’s Missy tumbles into the Toros’ try-outs and does a strange cheer about hating cheerleading and lack of public funds for gymnastics. This was possibly the most important thing to happen in gymnastics in the post-Strug, pre-Make It Or Break It era.
Missy is asked to join the team because of of her rad tumbles and despite her bad, brunette-ish attitude, but then she wants to quit because recognizes the Toros’ moves as thievery! Thievery, I say! Torrance can’t – and won’t – believe it, until Missy drives her to Compton, a place people talked about in the ’90s.
There Torrance sees the Clovers, an all-black squad doing their cheers. Head Clover Isis upbraids Torrance, believing she’s there to copy more cheers. When Torrance tells the rest of the Toros about their intellectual property infringement, the rest of the squad doesn’t care, like the hackers they are. So the Toros plan to use the stolen routine at the state championship, except – whoops – yet another team has stolen the Clovers’ cheers and they perform right before the Toros. You guys, cheers are so hard to think of! But, in a totally inexplicable plot move, the Toros move on to the finals, where they rock out their own cheers! But lose to the Clovers. And heal white/black race relations in the country. Eight years later we elected President Barack Obama. COINCIDENCE?!
My ranking of the Bring It On sequels:
4. Bring It On Again (College nerds cheerleading? No thanks!)
3. Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (Didn’t see this one, but has to be better than Bring It On Again, amirite?)
2. Bring It On: All or Nothing (Hayden Panettiere moves to the ghetto!)
1. Bring It On: In It To Win It (Ashley Tisdale at cheer camp: ’nuff said.)