I think watching Hellcats will still be my little secret guilty pleasure although it has surpassed my (and others’, it seems) expectations. From the promos, it looked like everyone was dead-set against the addition of street-wiser and more intelligent Marti Perkins to the collection of perfect cheering dolls. From the promo, it looked like Marti was going to “ho” up the squad, which she joined merely because she could get a scholarship and continue her pre-law studies.
As it turns out, the show is more diverse than that. Ashley Tisdale’s name is attached more to the show than the actress who plays Marti, Alyson Michalka. She plays Savannah Monroe who believes in her own peppiness and positive-thinking, partly, as we learn in the second episode, because she is devoutly Christian and home-schooled. She looked catty in the promos but turns out to be Marti’s ally and they (groan) discover they have more in common than they initially thought. I’m not part of the High School Musical Generation but now have a chance to admire her pretty looks–in particular, I keep thinking there is something about her or the way she speaks that reminds me of Sarah Michelle Gellar, a favourite of mine.
The true villian is Alice who was injured in the first episode and thus replaced by Marti. She was a “flyer” and hooked up with her “base”, good-looking, kind Lewis, played by Robbie Jones. Of course, Lewis takes a liking to his new “flyer” in part because she’s a better person. Red Raymond, the new football coach, also seems villianous trying to taunt the cheerleading coach, Vanessa Lodge, with whom he had a relationship when they were Hellcat football player and cheerleader; I hope Vanessa will not be shaken because her fiance, Derrick played by D.B. Woodside of 24 fame, is one great guy so far.
I keep seeing one Asian face, that of Jeremy Wong who plays Darwin (good God), and hasn’t a true line for himself in two episodes. The casting notes call him a “hunky Asian base”, often seen supporting Ashley Tisdale’s character. Darwin seems to be buddies with Patty “The Wedge” Wedgerman who has had two lines so far. For not having lines, he seems to feature somewhat prominently amongst the other so-far undistinguishable other cheerleaders. In real life, Hellcats is Jeremy’s first television role as he is a true cheerleader, a member of the Vancouver All Stars Cheerleading Team and…. (researching this as I’m writing), he’s Alex Wong’s brother!! I found this out while scanning Jeremy’s Twitter feed. What a small world?
Suddenly a lot of things fall into place. We all know from SYTYCD that Alex Wong hails from Vancouver (yay!). I had this inkling in the first episode that where Marti and Dan meet up was kind of east Vancouver-like near Second Narrows Bridge, and figured out it’s West Vancouver (Ambleside, I think) where they meet up. It was definitely confirmed with shots of Burrard Inlet, floating gas stations near Stanley Park, the white railings behind Vancouver Convention Centre, those old bus shelters on UBC campus as Marti zips around on her bike, and, finally, shots of the team walking through the old convention center’s halls. I kind of eschew local news so have to figure this kind of stuff on my own. Yup, UBC stands in for Lancer University and Vancouver stands in for Memphis, Tennessee!