"Cheerleaders: Making the Squad" (three different editions available: Cheerleaders, Buccaneers, Chargers) is a reality series (3 episodes) following a group of young women as they compete to earn a spot on the cheerleading squad of an NFL team. Going in, one would expect this program to be the greatest catfight of all time, putting the ones on "The Bachelor" and "Flavor of Love" to shame. These girls should - in theory - turn hair pulling into an art form. There should be more pranks, jokes and sabotage than the entire run of "Punk'd".
After sitting through the tame edition of "Making the Squad" that covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders, I was hoping the girls from San Diego would kick it up a notch. I'm not asking for an all-out girlfight; I just can hardly believe that cheerleaders fighting for a spot on an NFL squad wouldn't seem the least bit competitive. Cheerleaders auditioning for a spot on an NFL team squad don't say, "Gee, I wish everyone could make it."
The series covering the Chargers opens in the same fashion, offering a short discussion of the history of the team's squad before launching into a look at the audition process, with over 350 new girls flocking to the gym to show off their stuff in front of the panel of judges. Some girls talk about having tried out three or four years in a row, while others let the stress get the better of them, losing their place in the middle of their routines. The judges then sit around making some comments about the looks of some of the applicants that aren't exactly kind and discuss reasons why those who screwed up their audition should be brought back.
The veteran cheerleaders of the Chargers team get a pass through the first round, unlike the Buccaneers girls in their "Making the Squad". The director in the case of the Chargers is a recent Chargers girl who was promoted to the position, who instantly goes to the veterans and starts chatting them up and wishing them luck. With the director talking about the difficulty of cutting girls who are friends, it makes one wonder whether or not the vets have a bit of an advantage.
There's still no catty comments or drama between the girls here (again, I'm not buying it), but at least the girls in general on this program seem to have a bit more personality. As the judges work their way towards the final group, the girls have to go through an interview process that includes checking references and, in the case of one girl, reinacting her "welcome" she did in her former career as a flight attendant. Another girl discusses her experience as a showgirl in a vampire show. Meanwhile, they also have to keep up with their lives (school, work, relationships, etc.)
In the last third of the series, we see the girls trying to pick a captain, going on their "mini-camp" to practice for the upcoming season (and do a scavenger hunt and initiation - while the latter sounds interesting, the cameras cut as the girls prepare to do whatever it is they did), doing the photo shoot and putting on a show at the nearby marine base.
"Making the Squad" is a watchable series that does have a few interesting tidbits about how a cheerleading squad works (in this edition, the team even puts on a runway show showing the new girls what to wear to a promotional appearance and what they should not wear) and how those girls get the gig. However, the show is an NFL Films production and, as such, it does feel like more of a promotional piece than a genuine look at the struggle for that spot on the sidelines.
Note: this series was filmed last Summer and features this season's squad. The NFL logo is visible in the upper corner of the screen throughout the show.
VIDEO: "Making the Squad" is presented in crisp, clear 1.33:1 full-frame from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. The picture remained sharp and well-defined throughout, with the only flaw being some minor shimmering. Colors looked rich and bold, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: A bold stereo soundtrack with bassy music and clear dialogue.
Final Thoughts: "Making the Squad" has some interesting moments as it takes a look into the process of picking an NFL cheerleading squad. However, it feels as if no one ever gets upset and everyone wants everyone to do well - and I'm not buying that. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, but minimal supplements. Football fans may want to check out one or more of these titles.