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Pom-Pom Girl

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"Hey, hey take it away, get that ball and fight!"
The Honeys, "Be True To Your School" by The Beach Boys

The problem with spectator sports is that the spectators are pretty powerless. Why stay invested in a contest when the only participants you like are clearly doomed to lose it?

But you're not completely powerless. You can't run on the field yourself but you can still help the team and the team needs you! Come, let them hear our support!

This is the job of the Pom-Pom Girl. When the home team's down, when the champ is getting beat around and the fans are losing interest, she draws their attention through dance and acrobatics then works them up into joining her in support of her charge. They still have a chance! Let them know it! The Pom-Pom Girl keeps the spectators engaged, gives them the belief that they can influence the contest they are watching. When the heroes make that successful comeback, fans will be inspired to come back for more and if not, then hopefully she at least let them have some fun even though the favorite they came to see lost.

The Pom-Pom Girl is a Stock Character and often Truth in Television. Though she does not always carry pom-poms and is not always female, the image of a perky dancer with pom-poms and the chants they tend to inspire are recognizable enough that they often appear outside of the intended cheerleading role. There are sporting events where pom-pom squads have no players to support and simply compete with each other to draw the best crowd reactions or judge's scores. Girls may also dress in frills and hold pom-poms for a special occasion like Halloween or in an attempt to cheer someone up. As long as she looks or acts the part it counts, go trope!

In most high school settings, she'll usually be the star quarterback's girlfriend, or actively crushing on him. And she's just as likely to be at odds with the Cruel Cheerleader (her antagonistic counterpart) because of it. That said, there's no reason an antagonist can't have cheerful pom squads of their own, especially not if they have good publicity or are legitimate competitors.

Compare Perky Female Minion, The Face, All Guys Want Cheerleaders, All-Cheering All the Time. For sources of inspiration outside of competitive events, see The Muse and Manic Pixie Dream Girl.


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  • This advert for Foster's lager, shown in Australia and the UK, is about a cheerleader who triumphs despite a certain, er, adversity.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Chapter 70 of The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You, Shizuka, Nano, and Nadeshiko dress as cheerleaders during Momiji's massage of Mimimi. Shizuka and Nano dress as Japanese cheerleaders (in tracksuits, gloves, and whistles) while "Naddy" dresses as an American cheerleader.
  • Cheerleading is the only event that Chiyo-chan of Azumanga Daioh is good at in the school athletic festival. Mainly because her status as the Token Mini-Moe gets her extra points for cuteness. However, there's no sign that she does any cheering at any time outside the annual festival.
  • Sanae Nakazawa in Captain Tsubasa is a more tomboyish example of this during the elementary school arcs, because she doesn't use pom-poms (she goes for a big flag instead) nor does she wear a cheerleader outfit at any point. Still, she otherwise fits the trope to a T when cheering for the Nankatsu Elementary team (and for Tsubasa himself), and even though she later drops this role in favor of becoming the team's Cute Sports Club Manager during middle school, she's still shown cheering for Tsubasa and Japan during the World Youth arc.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, the main character is a cheerleader and so are two of her friends (Chiharu and Naoko, who curiously doubles as a Bookworm), with the three of them providing the page image. Sakura Kinomoto is, of course, the sweetest girl ever.
  • Hikari Yagami is a cheerleader in the 22nd episode of Digimon Adventure 02. She's already known to be a very sweet girl. In fact, cheering on and winning the support of their mons is pretty much the job of a chosen child anyway so it's easy to see why she'd take to it.
  • Doraemon has the pom-pom like Cheerleader Gloves (Chiagāru Tebukuro). They're used to make a female person cheer you and help you win any game. Nobita uses them on his classmates to beat Suneo in a board game and a sprint, but also on his mother so he can scold back at his father. Said gadget even shows up in at least two movies, Doraemon: Nobita's the Legend of the Sun King and Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles ~Animal Adventure~, with Shizuka using them and cheering Nobita allowing him to kick butt effortlessly.
  • Being an American football manga, Eyeshield 21 is rife with them, with most teams having their own squad with a unique theme. The Devil Bats' cheer captain, Suzuna Taki, is friendly, intelligent, highly athletic, and responsible for recruiting most of the others, although she's also short and depressingly flat-chested. Achilles was conned into joining the Alexanders on the ruse he could date their cheerleaders.
  • Ganbare, Kickers!: The titular soccer team has three cheerleaders that follow the team in every game. While they are primarily interested in the team captain and goalkeeper Masaru Hongo, they always support the whole team.
  • Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya when Haruhi forces her to be a cheerleader. She is seen with this outfit also in the anime opening.
  • The cheerleaders of Heroman aren't really fleshed out besides Lina, but from what we do see of her is nice and all-around cool to with.
  • Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers: In Chapter 25, Hitomi tries on Kaoru's (too small) cheerleader outfit, right before Yuu walks in. He thinks it's cute.
  • In Hoshin Engi, Dakki and Kibi are seen playing the pom-pom girls at some point during the fight between King Chu and the heroes.
  • Hana Nono from HuGtto! Pretty Cure transforms into Cure Yell, whose motif is that of a cheerleader. True to form, one of Hana's primary character traits is her willingness to cheer on and support anyone.
  • Major: Alice Jinnai is this for the Memphis Bats, the Minor League team Goro ends up playing for when he travels to the USA. She's also the acting owner of the team (as the actual owner, her grandfather, is ill and can't fulfill his duties), and has been a fan of them since she was a little girl.
  • The three cheerleaders of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Madoka, Sakurako, and Misa are more or less fun-loving girls of average intelligence, unless you count Misa's plan to "score points" with the 10-year-old Negi so that she'll have a cool younger boyfriend once he grows up a bit. A plan the others heartily embrace.
  • Gary Oak has his own personal pom squad in Pokémon: The Series, though he loses them after Ash advances further in the Kanto league than him.
    • Dawn from Diamond and Pearl sometimes acted like a cheerleader and donned a pink cheerleading outfit (her Pokèmon also) to support Ash in his Gym battles with Roark, Maylene, and Volkner.
  • Lisa from Popcorn Avatar pretty much becomes Kurando's literal cheerleader, and even dresses for the part. This is justified in a way, as there's very little Lisa can do but cheer for Kurando, as she can't intervene directly in avatar battles.
  • Mariko Konjo from Ranma ˝, a powerful cheerleader who also mastered "Martial Arts Cheerleading" fighting style, which can turn even frilly pom poms into deadly weapons. And to fight and defeat her, female Ranma has to learn this martial art, so s/he counts as this too.
  • Ai Kaminari alias Yatterman-2 from Yatterman in a few episodes where she cheers during the mini-robots battle with a cheerleader outfit, but without pom-pom.
    • A villainous example with Mirenjo in another Time Bokan show, Yattodetaman. In episode 2, she starts an exhibition during the battle in a cheerleader outfit that ends with a Wardrobe Malfunction distracting for a second the heroes mecha. She uses a similar outfit in the OVA when his team faces the Skull Lease trio.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics has Betty Cooper, who is a sweet, intelligent Girl Next Door. Granted, with the large amount of Negative Continuity in the Archie series, she's only a member of the cheerleading squad when the plot requires it; you're just as likely to see her watching a game from the bleachers instead of cheering from the sidelines.
  • Black Canary: Ignite: Kat, the head cheerleader, is a laid-back girl with a punk hairstyle and is best friends with Dinah The Hero. She takes cheerleading seriously, viewing it as a challenging job that not everyone can do, but she doesn't demand perfection during tryouts either, "just friendliness, flexibility, and school spirit."
  • The Powerpuff Girls become de facto pom pom girls in DC story "Jelly Jam" (issue #32). A monster jar of jelly (long story) battles a giant jar of peanut butter the Professor created to fight it. The girls cheer from the sidelines with the rest of Townsville.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one The Flintstones comic strip, Wilma dresses as a cheerleader and uses a cheer to get Fred to take out the garbage.
  • Paige in FoxTrot has shown interest in the sport a few times and even made the squad for a brief arc. While she does clearly enjoy taunting her brothers, she can't really be classified as either mean or clueless, at least not any more clueless than the other characters.

    Fan Works 
  • Tales Of The Survivors Of Willamette: Both Tompkins twins are cheerleaders, and while Heather is pretty self-absorbed, Pamela "doesn't care much about the spotlight", is shy around boys, and cares about getting a good education.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Genie from Aladdin takes on a pom squad appearance during the battle between Aladdin and Jafar, but is reduced to lazily waving a flag around after Jafar berates him for it.
    Genie: Rick 'em, rack 'em, rock 'em, rake! Stick that sword into that snake!
    Jafar: You ssssstay out of thisssss!
    Genie: (complete deadpan) Jafar, Jafar, he's our man. If he can't do it, GREAT!
  • A Goofy Movie: The cheerleading squad is seen cheering about the end of the school year and the coming of summer break as they ride the bus to school and are among the few popular kids who aren't shown picking on Max.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Absent-Minded Professor: The Medfield cheerleaders seem genuinely impassioned and excited by their basketball team doing well and manage to maintain an encouraging spirit even when their team is forty points behind.
  • In American Beauty, both Jane and Angela are cheerleaders. While Angela is incredibly vapid and self-obsessed, we get to see her Hidden Depths and she seems good-natured enough. Jane in any other film would be a Cool Loser but is mentioned to genuinely care about cheerleading.
  • American Graffiti:
    • Laurie is a pleasant varsity cheerleader whose only moments of snappiness and acting out come from feeling hurt by her boyfriend.
    • Vicki from the sequel is a college cheerleader who stopped cheering for the school to cheer anti-war slogans at peace protests, complete with pom-poms and a Peace symbol painted on her shorts.
  • In the American Pie spinoff The Book of Love, cheerleader and Girl Posse member Ashley is friendly to the geeky characters and gets a Damsel out of Distress moment while stranded on a gondola. She is justifiably annoyed at being treated as a Lust Object by Stalker with a Crush Lube, but is willing to hear out his claims that his feelings go beyond sleazy lust.
  • The Blind Side, which is largely about football player Michael Oher, has Collins Tuohy as a cheerleader.
  • Bring It On, which is probably the first time cheerleading was portrayed as a genuine athletic pursuit in media. Although a couple of Alpha Bitches are on the squad, the movie serves to debunk a lot of stereotypes associated with cheerleaders. Missy is an Audience Surrogate who learns just how important cheerleading actually is.
  • In But I'm a Cheerleader, the protagonist even explains to another character why she loves cheerleading, and using it as a form of self-expression turns out to be a major plot point in the climax. Oh, and she's gay.
  • Dance of the Dead: Gwen is a fairly perky character (especially before the zombies show up), is nice to the Lovable Nerd even before realizing he likes her and uses her gymnastic skills to get past the zombies and reach the car they need to escape at one point.
  • Dead Before Dawn: The Eagles cheerleading team are portrayed as being heavily invested in their team and during the championship game, they all turn and lift up their skirts at the opposing team (the Wildcats) while wearing Goofy Print Underwear that says "Wildcats suck." Lucy, the only cheerleader to have a name and significant role, is a Brainless Beauty, but doesn't go out of her way to be mean. While she reacts with disgust and annoyance when Cool Loser Seth crudely hits on her, she reacts the same way toward Handsome Lech and Jerk Jock Patrick later on.
  • Descendants: The Auradon cheerleaders are mostly background characters, but are deeply invested in cheering for the team and (aside from their passive aggressive captain, Audrey) have no problems cheering for the villains’ kids, even before most people start thawing toward them.
  • DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story has a likable male cheerleader as one of the main cast and his cheerleader love interest is also depicted very positively. It is also what is possibly the first male cheerleader in film to fit the other trope.
    Peter: Hang on a second. You wanna become a cheerleader to prove you are not a loser?
    Justin: Yeah, why?
    Peter: Nothing. High school's changed a bit since I was a kid.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: Pageant contestant Leslie is an enthusiastic cheerleader with few interests beyond cheering for her basketball team. She isn't very bright, but is one of the nicer competitors and seems to have a strong relationship with her boyfriend.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High: The cheerleaders are excited about their job even though their team rarely wins and try to put on excited faces at pep rallies despite knowing they no one takes them seriously due to the poor performance of the team.
  • Fired Up! plays with the stereotypes but ultimately portrays cheerleaders with affection and some respect.
  • The Goonies: Andy's first scene shows her instructing some other girls about cheerleading routines and failing to notice a police chase passing by the football field. Later scenes establish that she's an amateur piano player, slugged her Jerk Jock boyfriend offscreen for getting fresh with her, and is fairly casual around the lower-class "goonies."
  • The Grudge: In the second movie, Lacey is seen proudly showing off her new cheerleading uniform to a friend, and is a Cool Big Sis to her little brother as he gets more paranoid about haunting, letting him sleep in her room when he’s scared to be alone.
  • Gus: Most of the Atoms' cheerleaders are approaching middle age, but are athletic (albeit prone to slapstick) and enthusiastic about the team.
  • Heather McNamara from Heathers is presented as the nicest of the Alpha Bitch Girl Posse and is the only cheerleader of the group.
  • The title character of I Love You, Beth Cooper is a Lovable Alpha Bitch/Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Hidden Depths (even if she Drives Like Crazy); her fellow cheerleader friends are also basically nice girls.
  • In Ive Been Waiting For You (an adaptation of Gallows Hill, by Lois Duncan) the two main cheerleaders are Girl Posse Jerkasses, but the rest of the cheer squad seem less unpleasant. Their one scene has them use cheerleading to eulogize a murdered classmate at her funeral. Afterward, several of them seem to be crying in the background.
    Cheerleaders: M-I-S-T-Y. We miss you Misty, This isn't goodbye.
  • Jeepers Creepers 2 All three of the cheerleaders among the kids who the Creeper attacks are fairly sympathetic and take their school's sports seriously before more important matters come up. Rhonda is a compassionate Action Girl, Minxie is a nervous Unhappy Medium, and Chelsea is polite and soft-spoken. The worst thing they do is sneak some cigarettes and (in Chelsea's case) display a few cowardly moments after a night of harrowing monster attacks.
  • Ali from The Karate Kid (1984), who is one of the few kids who spends most of the film encouraging the protagonist rather than putting him down.
  • Lucas: Maggie is portrayed as a nice person both before and after joining the cheerleading squad (in order to get closer to a football player she likes, and to have fun) and head cheerleader Alise, while a bit jealous and prissy, is never mean to Lucas. Several others on the squad do occasionally laugh at him until the end but cheerleading itself gets a neutral, somewhat positive portrayal.
    'Maggie: Don't call people superficial when they just want to have fun!
  • Man of the House: The five cheerleaders who witness a murder and require police protection are (initially) shallow but are generally warm-hearted and take cheerleading very seriously.
    Anne: As captain of the squad, it is my duty to inform you that if you wanna stop us from cheerleading, you're gonna have to pry the pom-poms from our cold dead hands.
  • Major Houlihan from M*A*S*H takes this to Genki Girl levels while cheering for her team as they battle a rival infantry unit in football. Played for Laughs as Houlihan knows zero about football and actually cheers when Trapper John is sacked in the end zone for a safety.
  • Meatballs: They don't have any uniforms, but during the basketball game, several female counselors get pom-poms and loyally dance and cheer for their team no matter how far behind they get. Several Camp Mohawk counselors wear actual cheerleading uniforms in that scene while cheering for their own camp, but they show a nastier side when they cheat at the following activities.
  • In the third The Mighty Ducks movie, one cheerleader eventually dumps her Jerk Jock boyfriend for one of the Ducks and is rarely shown being unpleasant to anyone compared to her squad mates.
  • The New Guy: Cheer Captain Danielle is perfectly nice, works a part-time job, and used to be a nerd. Her Girl Posse friends and fellow cheerleaders Courtney and Carmen are a bit more shallow and ditzy, but not really mean.
  • Night of the Comet: Sam is on the pep squad and spends the first half of the film in a cheerleading uniform. She is sweeter and more responsible than her sister for the most part (a Values Dissonance line or two aside) and is just as good of a shot as Regina.
  • Night of the Demons 3: Final Girl Holly is the local head cheerleader.
  • October Sky: Three of the school's cheerleaders eventually start doing chants to encourage Homer and his friends as they launch rockets. One of them, Dorothy, is polite to Homer and his friends even after their temporary disgrace, although she also doesn't return Homer's obvious crush on her and starts dating his brother instead.
  • The Pacifier: Zoe is seen energetically practicing with the cheer squad in one scene. While she acts like a Bratty Teenage Daughter at home, she's really just depressed over the death of her father and doesn't seem to be mean or entitled toward her classmates.
  • The Rage: Carrie 2: Downplayed. Head cheerleader Tracy may act encouraging and plucky during her cheer routine, but is a Alpha Bitch and Cruel Cheerleader the rest of the time. However, the other girls from the cheer practice at the beginning who make up her pyramid play the trope straighter, as they also take cheerleading seriously and aren't shown hanging out with the sociopathic popular clique.
  • Red Dawn (2012): Matt's girlfriend Erica is a good-natured cheerleader. She spends the first half of the film as a Damsel in Distress but becomes a member of the Badass Crew after being rescued.
  • Safety Patrol: Perky Goth Hannah, who is the head of the middle school cheerleading squad (who wear fairly conservative uniforms and have a well-choreographed dance routine) and the valedictorian, starts dating the Straw Loser main characters and gets involved in their Amateur Sleuth antics. She and her fellow cheerleaders also stand up to a bully who's harassing Hannah's geeky little brother.
  • In Slashers, the Slasherettes are a cheerleading team who are part of the presenting team who cheer equally for the slashers and the contestants, and entertain the audience during the ad breaks.
  • Yours Mine And Ours 2005: Christina Beardsley is a cheerleader who is well-organized, has a lot of cheerleading prizes in her room, is a decent sailor and gets along well with her many biological siblings (although she does spend most of the film viciously feuding with her new step-siblings before mellowing out).
  • Zoom: Academy for Superheroes: Initially subverted, then zigzagged. Three of the four cheerleaders at Cool Loser and future superhero Summer's school pick on her with no provocation in her introductory scene. However, in the final scene, Summer has joined the cheerleading squad herself, cheers enthusiastically, and uses her powers to help make a more impressive pyramid.

  • 1632: In an early scene, the Grantville High cheerleaders chant to welcome the Scottish cavalrymen, and a few of them have more prominent roles later on.
    • Julie Simms becomes the series' premier Friendly Sniper by the time she turns 20.
    • Missy Jenkins becomes a librarian and marries the son of the local stoner.
    She hadn't really been a ditz, he now realized. That had just been his prejudices at war. She'd been a cheerleader because everyone expected Chip Jenkins' sister to be one. She'd been one of those four girls every squad needs. The indispensable ones who made up the base of the pyramid. The one who held up six perky, bouncy girls. Without wobbling.
  • Agent to the Stars: Michelle is a former cheerleader who was still cheering and waiting tables when Tom met her. She is definitely a Brainless Beauty, but is also a well-meaning and good-natured person who wouldn’t think of being intentionally rude to anyone.
  • Black Tide Rising: The short story "Not in Vain" follows a cheerleading squad during the initial outbreak who are characterized as energetic, yet perfectly nice, with a strong team dynamic and a willingness to sacrifice themselves to make more of the vaccine is infected, something which happens for an unfortunately large number of them.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Adrianna Cruz, one of Dan's clients in Hair Rising, is a former cheerleader who went on to law school and volunteers at a community center.
  • Seanan McGuire has written a short story collection titled Dying With Her Cheer Pants On about a cheerleading team of magic-users and magical beings who fight evil.
  • Fear Street: Many of the characters in the five-book cheerleading story arc fit this role, including the leads. During the Fear Street Seniors miniseries Cheer captain Phoebe Yamura is a completely inoffensive character with a lot of school spirit and athleticism, in addition to being an Academic Athlete and a Butt-Monkey (due to the jealous sabotage by two squad members she beat for the captain's slot, a cheating boyfriend, nearly being arrested after said boyfriend gets murdered, something she is wrongfully suspected of, parents who pressure her to quit cheerleading, and a violent stalker). Several of her squad members — Samantha, Joey, Gina, Caitlin, and Dani — also seem fairly down-to-earth from what we see of them, although Jade, Dana, and arguably Greta come across more negatively.
  • Fun Jungle: Violet, the head cheerleader of the middle school doesn't seem to have an enemy in the story, is friends with the narrator, helps out with a couple of his Kid Detective adventures, and is gradually revealed to like animals a lot despite her aunt and uncle owning a game farm.
  • The Great Greene Heist: Megan is a cheerleader (although she quits the squad during the Time Skip between books to pursue her other interests), an avid Trekkie, runs the Tech Club, rarely has a mean word for anyone who isn't an antagonist or Alpha Bitch, and is quick to volunteer for Jackson's Zany Schemes.
  • InCryptid: Antimony was a cheerleader in high school, and flashbacks show her teammates as being kind, talented, and hardworking, subverting the cheerleader stereotype.
  • Though it's technically not cheerleading, the characters in The Kayla Chronicles assume the girls on the school dance team are shallow and appearance-oriented, only to find that most of them are intelligent and willing to stand up for themselves when necessary.
  • Macdonald Hall:
    • The students at the neighboring finishing school act as spirited cheerleaders for the football and hockey teams (although they go on strike over an argument with the boys in the fifth book) and provide their friends with plenty of help with Zany Schemes outside of games.
    • In The Zucchini Warriors, a group of cheerleaders from an opposing team are Graceful Losers and have pizza with the opposing team. * Princess Holy Aura: Cordy is a key member of the Whitney High cheerleader squad, though she later admits that she was worried that she might have turned into a Cruel Cheerleader.
  • In one of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelisations Sabrina ends up swapping lives with the Alpha Bitch Libby and is nearly half-killed after one cheerleading practice, not realising how much athleticism it takes. Libby's Girl Posse are portrayed as bitches, naturally, but one of the other cheerleaders also invites Sabrina out to a concert.
  • Flores Quintera in Spellsinger turns out to be a very intelligent Action Girl suffering from a glass ceiling. She wanted to be an astronaut, but she's too pretty to be taken seriously and living in the 1970s, so she ended up taking a communications course at university to get in on the public relations end of the space program, and only joined the cheerleading squad because women at her university aren't allowed to join the actual football team.
  • In The Squad by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the cheerleaders are the members of a Junior CIA group and flaunt ditziness and/or bitchiness as an act to maintain their cover and keep people from probing them too closely. Chloe is genuinely bitchy to Toby, but that's because she thinks that the addition of Toby to the squad threatens her position on it, given their common area of expertise.
  • Stepping on the Cracks: The main characters look up to Barbara, a gentle, athletic recently-graduated cheerleader whose late husband was the quarterback. Barbara gets along well with the sensitive and bookish Stuart, once stood up to his Big Brother Bully, and doesn't resent Stuart's choice to be a conscientious objector.
  • In Gordon Korman's book Supergifted, Noah Youkilis joins the cheerleading squad out of a desire to show his commitment and support of his new school. Most of the squad find this kind of cute and support him (although part of this comes from him mistakenly getting the credit for a heroic act of stopping a runaway truck from crashing into head cheerleader Megan Mercury's house in the middle of the night). Megan herself remains opposed to Noah, due to being a Debt Detester, initially believing that he joined as a joke, and feeling that his lack of athleticism is dragging the cheer squad down (to be fair it is at first, but Noah trains hard to the point where he can keep up with the girls). Additionally, she's portrayed as putting a lot of effort, training hours and school spirit into cheerleading.
  • In The Twinkie Squad, this is both played straight and subverted. Head cheerleader Beverly Busby is an incredibly condescending Alpha Bitch whose easily fooled by the Cool Losers even while viciously insulting them (although she is also the student council president and a lead in the school play, so she isn't lazy or completely stupid). Her friend Carol comes across as a pom-pom girl, being a good deal nicer, finding the humor in things which Beverly finds insulting, and generally being the Only Sane Man to their group of Jerkasses and sycophants (not that Beverly listens to her logic much).
  • Whale Talk: TJ's girlfriend Carly spent a few months as a cheerleader before deciding she liked basketball better. Her best friend Kristen is still a cheerleader and is an Extreme Doormat Domestic Abuse victim who never looks down on the Cool Losers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 13 Reasons Why: One of the cheerleader characters, Sheri, is the next most sympathetic protagonist after Clay. Although cheerleader Jessica is shown as something of an Alpha Bitch, she eventually undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy was a cheerleader at her old school before being called as the Slayer. After moving to Sunnydale she tries out for the squad but only gets selected as an alternate and eventually quits entirely. Cordelia, who tried out at the same time, is selected and stays on the squad until she graduates.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Sabrina and her best friend Roz are both on the cheerleading squad, and Lizzie, the head of the squad, is generally friendly and encouraging.
  • Cobra Kai: Moon is the most prominent cheerleader in the show. She starts out as a Peer-Pressured Bully but turns into a Wide-Eyed Idealist and New-Age Retro Hippie who strives to bring out the best in her classmates and help the warring karate dojos find common ground.
  • Cold Case: Rainey Karlsen from "Stand Up and Holler" and Felicia Grant from "Almost Paradise" are both nice, intelligent cheerleaders who view popularity as a curse rather than as something that entitles them to belittle others. Rainey's fellow cheerleaders fit the more negative stereotype of the sport, though.
  • In Eureka, the city is composed entirely of geniuses, even the athletes, and the cheerleaders entertain themselves by talking about chaos theory in between games.
  • Freaks and Geeks:
    • Sam's Lust Object Cindy is a cheerleader who volunteers as a designated driver and is always friendly to everyone. That being said, once Sam starts dating her, she proves to be shallow and humorless, and they quickly break up.
    • Maureen enjoys making bottle rockets with the geeks and joins the cheerleading squad for the fun of it. While she stops spending time with her old friends after this, she's never unkind to them or embarrassed by their presence.
  • On Glee, Santana and Quinn start off as alpha bitches, but then Quinn becomes a Lovable Alpha Bitch, and there turns out to be a reason for Santana's bitchiness. Brittany also seems like a Dumb Blonde, but she is really much more of a Cloud Cuckoolander. Mercedes and Kurt are the only straight happy help you cheerleaders from the start.
  • Growing Pains: Most of the cheerleaders in the show (Annie from, "Long Day’s Journey into Night", the Cute, but Cacophonic girl Mike pursues in the season 3 prom two-parter, two of the girls who compete with Carol for homecoming Queen in season 4, three girls who support Mike when he runs for class President, etc.) are portrayed as energetic and friendly, although some of them also fit the unintelligent cheerleader cliche..
  • On season four of Happy Days, Joanie Cunningham becomes a pom-pom girl. Howard, her dad, admonishes her to keep her skirt down when during a basketball game she jumps up and down and flashes her white bloomers at the crowd.
  • Jenny on The Hard Times of RJ Berger is a total sweetheart of a Cheerleader. She's so sweet that she's in a Betty and Veronica with the main character and his childhood friend with a crush on him and manages to be the likeable one!
  • As a TV show about college cheerleaders, Hellcats has all kinds of personalities in the squad, only one of whom isn't upbeat and encouraging(and still isn't too bad once one gets to know her). Ironically, they're never once seen cheering for the football team but said team is seen cheering on the squad once.
  • Claire of Heroes was a good person who enjoyed parts of cheerleading. At college, she meets a girl she starts to make friends with who was also a cheerleader.
  • In the Heat of the Night: The junior high cheerleaders who are killed or injured by a Drunk Driver in "Fifteen Forever" are described as friendly, well-meaning girls who everyone liked.
  • Just the Ten of Us: As some of the only girls at their school, the older Lubbock sisters act as cheerleaders for the football team and try hard at it. Wendy and Cindy can be dumb or boy crazy at times, but all four girls are generally nice.
  • The Librarians 2014: While the head cheerleader at Wexler college in ...And the Cost of Education is introduced being snippy towards a mascot she thinks ran out on the team and has a bad case of Weirdness Censor, overall she comes across as peppy and earnest, and is one of the star students of the architecture class.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Reese's first Girl of the Week Wendy is a perky cheerleader who is the victim rather than the perpetrator of bullying. Reese joins the cheerleading team to impress her, but she doesn't return his crush until he engages in a more shy form of flirting and shows the dedication to really learn their athletic routine. The other cheerleaders also greatly enjoy what they do and include male cheerleaders who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy but are well-liked by their female teammates.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! argues that some feminist activists who argued that cheerleading should not be classed as a sport were driven by their anti-cheerleader prejudices. Most of the real-life cheerleaders who appear in their show generally fit the normal well-adjusted teenager model.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Turbo: Ashley Hammond, the energetic fashion designer, mechanic, and second Yellow Turbo Ranger, is also a diligent and enthusiastic cheerleader. Ashley also teaches a dance class for 10-year-old girls, is well-liked by her students, and makes sure they have rides home.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury: Lily is a sweet-natured young woman who used to be the head cheerleader at her high school and incorporated street dancing moves into the squad's cheer routine.
  • Relic Hunter: In one episode, Adventure Archaeologist Sidney mentions that she was a cheerleader in high school, causing her assistants to curiously look at her high school yearbook once she leaves the room.
  • In Season 1 of Riverdale sympathetic Betty and Veronica (yes those two girls) join the squad. Alpha Bitch Cheryl is the captain and initially refuses to let Betty on, but Veronica lobbies for her.
  • Saturday Night Live parodies this with the recurring "Spartan Cheerleaders" sketch, in which two would-be cheerleaders whose over-the-top enthusiasm far outstrips their skill get rejected by the school's squad, form their own two-person squad and try to cheerlead every event possible, including a chess tournament and a math competition. They annoy everyone, but they don't let that get them down.
  • In Saved by the Bell Kelly and Lisa are on the cheerleading squad. Lisa does veer into Alpha Bitch territory occasionally but is still good-natured. They both get offended when Jessie calls cheerleading "silly", and Jessie herself eventually joins the squad too.
  • The Small Wonder episode "The Reluctant Halfback" has Vicki and Harriet as football cheerleaders.
  • While most of the Neptune High cheerleaders in Veronica Mars are hostile or ambivalent characters, Meg, the head of the squad, is portrayed as a dedicated and enthusiastic cheerleader, sweet and supportive towards Veronica and the other main characters for the most part, aside from one episode where her boyfriend had just dumped her right when she found out she was pregnant.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Harper is the nice, smart, peppy, straight version. Alex can be a bitch and is Book Dumb but she didn't want to be a cheerleader anyway and was tricked into it by Justin.
  • An episode of The Worst Witch featured Cackle's putting together a basketball team to face another girl's school. Miss Bat assembled a cheerleading squad made up of sympathetic Clarice and Sybil.

  • The Beach Boys:
    • "Be True To Your School", essentially being a homage to high school fight songs, contains snippets of cheerleading chants (provided by Brian Wilson-produced girl group The Honeys featuring his then-wife and her sisters) clearly meant to invoke this trope in the listener's head.
    • "Pom, Pom Play Girl" is a song where the narrator crushes on the head cheerleader who is already dating the football team's quarterback.
  • The Connells' "74-75" has an intro performed by pom girls in some versions of the music video for the song.
  • Toni Basil recorded the pop song "Mickey" in 1981, complete with music video, in cheerleader get-up. She plays a cheer bunny urging her boyfriend to remain faithful and attentive.
  • The video for Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" has Taylor trying a number of different dance styles, including cheerleading.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Bible, the Seraphim function as this for God Himself! They have six pairs of wings, but only one pair is used for flying. The others are used to cover their faces and feet because apparently the trope Holy Is Not Safe applies to them too. And praising God is all they ever do. They are not adolescent girls, just highly specialized Winged Humanoids.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • GLOW had several wrestlers with a cheerleader and pom motif, especially Debbie Debutante and Susie Spirit, and they were always babyfaces.
  • Chris Candido and Tammy Lynn Sytch's first gimmick after leaving SMW was that of baby face cheerleaders. Crowds recognized them from Smoky Mountain and wouldn't let them forget that they had killed Boo Bradley's cat, so the gimmick failed.
  • Stacy Keibler's cheerleading background was frequently brought up, more so when she was face. She occasionally wore her Baltimore Ravens uniform and performed a routine for the fans.
  • The Ballard Bros brought The Power Twins to Ultimate Pro Wrestling. They usually didn't dress the part, instead having the gimmick of wearing lots of wild and vibrant outfits but otherwise fit the part, mainly existing to work up the crowd through singing and dancing(or horrify them when they got attacked). The twins went on to be central to a Coors Light ad campaign. The Ballards also brought Cheerleader Melissa from All Pro Wrestling, who was a lot meaner than the twins even after her Heel–Face Turn but did dress the part and carry poms.
  • Randi Rah Rah and Patti Pep, the cheerleaders from the Women Of Wrestling promotion. Pep was corrupted, renamed Patti Pizzazz, and made into the personal assistant of the evil delusional actress Lana Star but ended up being fired by Star for being too kind and for maintaining her friendship with Rah Rah.
  • Male Cheerleader Bryce Benjamin took up this role after the NWA All-stars turned face...when he wasn't wrestling himself anyway.
  • Black Rose has a cheerleading background, and got to show it after Rico Suave turned on Bronco #1 and joined with the New Wrestling Star and New Empire promotions that were invading WWC, making the Broncos and herself by association faces by default. Besides whipping up the crowds she once inspired the men of the WWC locker room to storm out in force after Bronce #1 and Eddie Colon had been cornered by the independent circuit invaders.
  • CM Punk's initial gimmick in Ohio Valley Wrestling was that of a pom cheerleader with Alexis Laree drug into it for good measure. Punk, to his credit, was really enthusiastic and tried really hard to make it work but no one, not even the "writer" who came up with the idea, liked it and Paul Heyman killed The Gimmick dead...until it was resurrected for Johnny, Mickey, Kenny, and Mitch of the Spirit Squad. They were initially presented as unhelpful examples whose "cheering" caused Jerry Lawler to lose a match but were later played straight when they came back together to fight The Flood out to kill off Chikara.
  • Wrestlicious has Amber Lively, the perky and friendly cheerleader, which is a nod to GLOW and WOW before it.
  • The dance group Apple Tale serves as this for Karate Girl Syuri Kondo when she wrestles or fights, although they have to ask Yoshihiro Tajiri or whoever the relevant authority is for permission, as they lack managerial licenses.
  • The fifth season of WWE Tough Enough actually had the contestants be required to perform a cheerleading stunt. Each of the contestants learned how much skill the activity requires and the importance of balance and grace overlaps with wrestling quite a bit. Tomboy Ivelisse later said this was her favourite challenge.
  • Shazza McKenzie, "The cheerleader without any cheerleading experience", though she is sometimes bullied by other wrestlers who don't care about that part and just hate cheerleaders in general, eventually leading to a Who's Laughing Now? Face–Heel Turn. Still, she happily poses for the fans at the sound of the bell by reflex.
  • They started out as evil pole dancers who shadowed Byron Saxton in the FCW revival but when they became Brodus Clay's, and later R-truth's, minions, The Funkadactyls switched to being happy dancing, if still somewhat seductive cheerleaders who waved pom poms in support of their men, or each other if they had to wrestle.
  • On the World Wrestling Network's China tour, all the Dragon Gate USA, Full Impact Pro, and SHINE wrestlers were provided friendly professional cheerleaders, which resulted in even some of the nastiest wrestlers getting cheered.
  • Celtic Championship Wrestling's first Halloween Episode had ring announcer Siren — already a bubbly Genki Girl — donning a cheerleading costume for the show.
  • Sonny Kiss is another male cheerleader, who unlike Benjamin dresses like a female NFL cheerleader and combines this trope with Drag Queen and Camp Gay. Almost everyone not actively trying to beat him in a match loves him, as he spends most of his non-match-winning time waving pom poms while trying to make everyone feel good. Even without the pom-poms, he spends most of his actual match time trying to put on a show for the fans, which often hurts his win-loss record.
  • The boys who follow Dalton Castle are basically this when they are not waiting on his every want and need, acting as furniture or helping him compete in the Tag Team divisions of Ring of Honor. Just replaces "pom poms" with "hand fans" and the effect is exactly the same. TNA just gave him female cheerleaders instead.
  • Julia Hart (not part of the famous wrestling family of the same name) is a perky blonde cheerleader (and actual former college cheerleader) and occasional female wrestler who primarily accompanies The Varsity Blondes (Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr.) in AEW. She supports them from ringside and their entrance usually involves them lifting her up onto their shoulders.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All the teams in Blood Bowl have the option of hiring cheerleaders as part of their coaching staff to encourage the fans to show their support. In all the editions of the game where they have been included, cheerleaders give their team bonuses for various results on the Kick-off table that involve the fans. The 5th Edition rules also include temporary and special character cheerleaders that have extra rules.
    • The first Video Game adaptation features varying types of cheerleaders for each side. So while Humans have traditional pom-pom shakers, Vampire cheerleaders are zombified, Orcs have war drummers, Lizardmen have skink priests waving football rattles, etc.

  • Grease: Perky Patty Simcox seems like a typical 50s example of the trope (though she's happy to badmouth Sandy to Danny in Act 2, swerving to Cruel Cheerleader), and sweet innocent Sandy joins the squad early on, happily cheers at the pep rally in the film version, and prefers to date jocks (until her Tomboyness Upgrade at the end).
  • Spamalot: The Lady of the Lake summons her Laker Girls to welcome Galahad to the Round Table, complete with cheers and, in many productions, pom poms.
  • We Are the Tigers centers on a disgraced high school cheer squad trying to make a comeback. Deconstructed and reconstructed — while most of the girls, particularly captain Riley, take their position as "the soul of the school" seriously, they're all dealing with intense pressure and deep issues behind their cheers, which only get worse when members start turning up dead. Riley in fact murdered Farrah and Chess because they didn't fit the Pom-Pom Girl standard due to their alcohol and drug issues, but the remaining squad members come together in the wake of it all to become a stronger squad, reconstructing the trope. Particularly deconstructed in "Shut Up and Cheer".
    And put my pom-poms up
    Oh I 'ra, ra, ra' and disappear
    Shut up and cheer
    Shut up and cheer
    I got that big smile on
    They won't even know that I am here
    Shut up and cheer

    Video Games 
  • Megumi Suzuki from Asuka 120% is the Cheerleading Squad representative in the annual fighting tournament of her school's culture festival.
  • In Grandia Sue and her pet Puffy pull out pom poms when doing their status buff move.
  • Felicity "Flick" Browers in Growing Up is the preppy cheerleader of the high school the Player Character goes to. She puts a smile on her face and maintains a slim body so she can perform at her best, but she's actually forcing her smile and skipping meals to keep up with the pressure.
  • Juliet of Lollipop Chainsaw. She's also a zombie-slaying Action Girl.
  • In the mobile phone game Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen, the Sugar Cheerleader outfit. "The ball in yellow and white is just like a little sun. Devote your passion to cheers!"
  • In Monster Hunter 4 and Monster Hunter Generations, a rare and powerful Palico ability is to whip out a pair of belled pompoms and start cheering their team on. This gives hunters infinite stamina, but the noise tends to aggro everything nearby. Since Palico gender is left to player interpretation, this can lead to Pom-Pom Guys.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan centers around a group of men who help people achieve difficult tasks by cheering them on. Its sister project Elite Beat Agents centers around state-sponsored cheerleaders, though the agents look more like The Men in Black than pom-pom girls. The hardest difficulty level swaps the men out for teams of cute girls, complete with pom-poms, who play the trope completely straight.
  • Pokémon:
    • Plusle and Minun are Moe electric mouse-thingies that always cheer on other members of the party (and are said to cry when their teammates lose).
    • The Pom-Pom Style Oricorio is designed after a cheerleader, with it having pom-poms in the tips of its wings, and it is known to cheer Trainers up who are feeling glum by dancing.
    • One of the Trainer Classes in Pokémon Black and White are Backers, with the female variant being two cheerleaders, and they can be found either in the Big Stadium or Small Stadium.
  • One of the two protagonists of Project × Zone, Mii Koryuji, is also a high school cheerleader. Though she does berate her mentor Kogoro a lot.
  • Clem (who is a boy) and Crystal from Psychonauts act like cheerleaders and often cheer for the other character. They're nice kids but are also suicidal Stepford Smilers.
  • Optional Blade Kora from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a cheerleader theme, including trying to lead a cheer chant for her Driver, getting involved in a "Girl Power" competition, and a special attack outright called "Electric Pompoms". She is also very nice, bucking the Cruel Cheerleader stereotype.

  • Caliban Academy's cheerleaders from Kevin & Kell seem pretty ordinary. Then again, not many have been shown, and only once did a named character go for it — Corrie, who drew some slight attention for her wool pompoms.
  • In Sin Fest, devil girls Fuchsia and Baby Blue occasionally played this role for the forces of Hell, but it ended when Fyoosh abandoned Team Evil for Chaste Hero Criminy and all the fun went out of such things for Blue.
  • In The World of Vicki Fox, Vicki's new roommate Ceri worried about having the bunk with a cheerleader but ends up finding her tolerable.
  • Alex, Sam, Lita, and Jo of The Wotch and Cheer!! aren't exactly typical girls, they're the collective embodiment of pep and affability.

  • Gregg Easterbook of takes time out of his football column every week to highlight some NFL cheerleader who is well educated (most of them are) or has a day job helping others.

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    • The Chipettes in the episode "The Gang's All Here" where they come as cheerleaders initially to help The Chipmunk in their battle against a gang called the Steam Rollers. However, when the boys need help, they are quick to enter the ring.
    • The episode "Quarterback in Curlers" has Alvin take this role when Brittany, the head cheerleader in the school, joins the football team and quits cheerleading. They don't fit well in their new positions as Alvin makes selfish cheers and Brittany uses overly complicated plays.
  • Penny from The Amazing World of Gumball is a cheerleader and one of the nicest characters on the show. She and the title character have crushes on each other. The other cheerleaders shown, excluding Masami (Teri, Sarah, Molly, Carmen, and Leslie) are all varying degrees of sweetness too.
  • Lisa, Amy, and Janet from American Dad!, though their support of athletics earns them the ire of gym class-hating Debbie Hyman.
  • While the cheerleading co-captains in American Dragon: Jake Long are stereotypically unpleasant, Tricia from the episode "The Love Cruise" is dating a Goth and does a public cheer about their relationship.
    Tricia: Gimme an L-O-V-E! Love is real for you and me!
  • Batman Beyond: One-Shot Character Jackie Wallace is a cheerleader who also plays soccer and is self-aware enough to joke about how she spends more time practicing her cheers than studying.
  • Danny Phantom: In "My Brother's Keeper":
    • Mr. Lancer, normally stern (if not sadistic) teacher, surprisingly reveals he was the male version of this in high school. He still gets a little too into Casper High Spirit Week during the course of the episode. Subverted, since the students understandably find the enthusiasm of a middle aged teacher much more weird than inspiring.
    • Inverted in the sense that the cheerleaders at the pep rally all lack any pep due to being victims of Spectra, but Jazz, despite not being a cheerleader, ends up fulfilling the role of the cheerful optimist rallying the students in her speech. Her support of Danny even inspires him to fight back against Spectra's "Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Brittany in Daria is the head cheerleader. And though she is portrayed as particularly empty-headed, she is rather sweet otherwise and does care for her just as dumb but more stupid than really mean boyfriend Kevin.
  • Malina, the main female character of The Emperor's New School, is a cheerleader who cares about studies and ethics. In fact, one episode shows that cheerleaders at Kuzco Academy are required to keep high grades and that an A-minus isn't considered high enough. Truth in Television as many schools do require a minimum GPA for participation in athletics, although usually not to this extreme.
  • Tootie in The Fairly OddParents!, often for Timmy.
  • Fillmore!:
    • Recurring cheerleaders Maryanne Greene and Cheri Shotwell are a bit ditzy but fairly nice and seem dedicated to cheering.
    • Maryanne's friend Alexis from "Codename: Electric Haircut" is another cheerleader who everyone speaks highly of but who has mysteriously disappeared after returning to her old role as a helpful computer geek, although she finds a balance between the two lifestyles at the end of the episode.
    • Lorraine Almaden from "Nappers Never Sleep" was an example of the trope, but quit cheering due to having only taken it up to hang out with her former friend Bianca, who turns out to be more of a Cruel Cheerleader.
  • Technically, Dotty Dog is this in The Get Along Gang. There's even artwork of her waving pom poms. However, she never really does any cheerleading in the series.
  • The eponymous heroine in Kim Possible. The other cheerleaders are also really nice and seem to have average intelligence, while Kim's archrival, Bonnie Rockwaller, is truly the only mean-spirited cheerleader on the squad and Tara's the only one implied to be a Brainless Beauty.
  • Peggy became a cheerleading coach in an episode of King of the Hill but only the ex-coach is truly mean-spirited (and villainous for focusing on the cheerleading competitions instead of cheering on the football team). Connie even joins the squad, and while there are few mild jokes alluding to the girl's cattiness, they're not portrayed too stereotypically.
  • The Little Rascals, episode "Rascals' Revenge": At the start of the episode, Darla is a cheerleader in Alfalfa and Spanky's informal football game (and the original page image).
  • Milo Murphy's Law: The cheerleaders for both teams in "Rooting for the Enemy" are nice and enthusiastic. The Tigers cheerleaders allow a bystander from the bleachers to dance on the field with them, and the Geckos cheerleaders visit Milo in the hospital and do a chant encouraging him to get better.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Midnight Sun Fun Run," Trini sets up a cheering station where she uses pom-poms to cheer the runners on.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Rainbow Falls": Resident Genki Girl Pinkie Pie takes it upon herself to cheer on the Ponyville team at the qualification rounds for the Equestria Games. The bookworm Twilight also becomes increasingly interested in Pinkie's cheerleading routine over the course of the episode — and joins Pinkie's impromptu cheer squad in time for the competition.
    • "The Cart Before the Ponies": Among the fillies and colts spread out over the course in this role at the Applewood Derby, Cheerilee also signals the start of the race.
  • Nerds and Monsters: Becky becomes a quite enthusiastic cheerleader in "Monster Ball", despite Irwin claiming she is too intelligent to be seduced by that kind of role.
  • Punky Brewster: Margaux Kramer becomes a de facto pom-pom girl rooting for a boy named Tony in a series of athletic games at a neighborhood party in "Double Your Punky."
  • Total Drama. Four different characters over the course of the show, though Lindsay is a Brainless Beauty and Samey of Pahkitew Island is a good cheerleader but has to deal with an evil twin sister.
    • Courtney briefly became this in "Action" when, for a challenge, she tries to teach her shark to cheer and start a dancing with two pom pom like example.
  • Where's Huddles?: Ed Huddles has a 2-year-old daughter named Pom Pom, who wears a sweater and a pleated cheerleader skirt.
  • Miss Martian/M'Gann in Young Justice joined the cheerleading squad but is one of the heroes, as well as being usually a friendly and nice person. And the entire cheer squad seems to be pretty decent people. Karen Beecher goes on to become the superheroine Bumblebee, while Wendy Harris becomes a good friend to several of the heroes in their civilian identities and provides some much-needed emotional support and stability to them.