Follow TV Tropes


The Cheerleader

Go To
Think Satan with pom-poms.

Sabrina: Oh! I'm glad you guys are home, I'm really worried about Valerie. She's fallen in with a bad crowd.
Zelda: Trekkies?
Sabrina: No, worse ... she's trying to become a cheerleader.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, "The Pom-Pom Incident"

In Hollywood, All Guys Want Cheerleaders... until they actually get to know them.

In any High School setting, no Stock Character is portrayed as harshly as the cheerleader. Cheerleaders are often depicted as outright evil, with the Alpha Bitch as their leader. If the girls aren't evil they might just be Brainless Beauties, following their Alpha Bitch leader out of ignorance or a desire for her approval. The Captain, if not the whole squad, will usually be portrayed as Really Gets Around and/or a Hormone-Addled Teenager. From evil to slutty to dumb, any cheerleader in North American media can be expected to be portrayed as shallow and superficial, because popularity is her first and only concern.

If a sympathetic, smart character is a cheerleader, she will probably end up quitting the squad as part of her 'growth' (apparently in Hollywood, one can't be a rounded person and remain a cheerleader). A good girl might want to join the squad, but her friend will think that cheerleading is inherently bad and try to stop her, leading to a lesson on how a person should get to do what makes her happy.


Male cheerleaders are sufficiently rare in fiction that they are usually developed as characters themselves rather than falling under The Cheerleader trope. A good rule of thumb is that if you see a male cheerleader, then cheerleading will be depicted positively, or at least less negatively. Male cheerleaders are often stereotyped as being gay.

This trope has noticeably weakened in recent years (if only slightly), perhaps due to the popularity of things like the Bring It On-series. A sympathetic depiction is still more the exception rather than the rule, however. In fact, media with positive depictions of cheerleaders will often feel the need to go out of their way to explain to the audience (via an outsider POV character like in Hellcats) that cheerleaders can be good people too, as well as show that cheerleading in real life isn't even close to being how it's portrayed in pop culture. For starters:

  1. Despite what a lot of people think, cheerleading's a highly competitive, very physically demanding, very high-paced and very technical sport (which can affect this character's personality).
  2. Contrary to the stereotype of cheerleaders being unintelligent (which was basically created by Hollywood), roughly 80% of all cheerleaders who're still in school have a 3.0 GPA or higher — plus, as previously mentioned, cheerleading itself is a very technical sport, so it requires its participants to be fast thinkers and being able to work out the routines that they perform.
  3. Also as previously mentioned, cheerleading's a very physically demanding sport, and besides practicing routines and cheers/chants, people who do cheerleading exercise and workout a lot, and typically have to be very physically strong, especially if they're bases and/or spotters, who're the ones that lift flyers in stuntsnote .
  4. Compared to a lot of other sports, being part of a cheerleading squad is also a really big time commitment, since aside from practicing (obviously), cheerleaders also typically perform at sports games (especially for football, basketball and sometimes baseball) and compete at various cheerleading competitions.

On another note, this trope isn't Truth in Television (unless diffusion of responsibility is a factor) and many of the stereotypes people think of when it comes to cheerleading were basically created by Hollywood—most people who do cheerleading do it because they like it and are generally very extroverted. While some cheerleaders in real life can be mean, most are typically genuinely nice people, as bitchiness doesn't exactly mesh well with winning the crowd and teamwork is very important (though you should still Beware the Nice Ones). Competition level cheerleading also requires fitness levels around the same as any other professional athlete and cheerleading is one of the most likely causes of female sports injuries due to the gymnastic stunts performed and lack of protective gear. Anyone performing at that level has the same drive and dedication as any other athlete.

See also Jerk Jock, Alpha Bitch and Popular Is Dumb. Contrast with the positive Cute Sports Club Manager. A cheerleader also has a better than average chance of being a Dumb Blonde, but this isn't required. They can be The Fashionista, but often suffer from a Limited Wardrobe: at least during school hours many cheerleaders never wear an outfit other than their uniforms.

If you're looking for the cheerleading performance itself, her potential foil, or maybe just the dress worn while doing it, you want the Pom-Pom Girl. A cheerleader who is not an Alpha Bitch can sometimes be portrayed as a Lovable Jock.

A Midriff Baring Outfit is optional for Fanservice.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • From the manga omakes, Eda from Black Lagoon used to be one when she was younger. When de-aged in said omakes, she hides from the others so they won't find out.
    • She certainly looks the part, pretty, blonde, flirty (despite being a nun!) and easily distracted by a bag full of cash. In a subversion, this persona is all but definitely a front, Eda is pretty much a Guile Heroine and an active CIA Action Girl.
  • In the Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions anime, this is how Shinka said of all members of the cheerleading team. Shinka herself came off a bit like a cheerleader for a few episodes before she started warming up to the other members of the club and left the club in episode 9.
  • In the Pokémon anime series, Gary Oak travels around with a bevy of cheerleaders in the early seasons. Later, as he becomes nicer and more humble, he dispenses with them.
  • Mariko Konjo of Ranma ½ is mean, using Martial Arts cheer leading to sabotage the opposing team — and even poisoning her own team if they're up against the boy she likes. As for dumb, she's is a ditz, but can be clever when it comes to battle tactics. Her Mooks aren't portrayed in a positive light either.
  • Non-school example: The Gambee pilots in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry treat newbie Sara about as badly as the cheerleaders in standard high school fare do the Cool Loser heroine. It escalates as time goes on (and as the STRAIN pilots attempt to befriend Sara), to the point where after the "queen bee" of the group dies in combat, her friend lures Sara to a disused portion of the ship and she and several other girls start pushing her around. After a little while, however, the lead girl starts outright beating Sara, screaming "It's your fault she's dead!" and starts to go for a nearby lead pipe, at which point the other girls get horrified and start trying to talk her down. Thankfully, the STRAIN pilots intervene before things get worse.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, during Ryuji Otogi/Duke Devlin's introductory arc, he was cheered on by a trio of very dumb and annoying girls who even dressed up as cheerleaders, and joined in the mocking of Jonouchi/Joey when he was forced into the dog costume.

    Comic Books 
  • Chassis included a cheerleader named Twist who became so obsessed with her favorite racer that she started killing his rivals.
  • One issue of MAD has the male version in its "A Mad look at..." department. A group of friends are discussing the sports teams they've joined. One boy says that he's joined the cheer squad, and his friends ridicule him... Until they see him surrounded by a bevy of sexy cheerleaders; supporting a teammate up in the air by way of a hand on her butt.
  • In Robin the cheerleaders at Gotham Heights High seem nice enough but the only ones who get much time on panel don't seem particularly bright and regularly ditch class to smoke.

  • In Art of the Dead, Tiffany, the Alpha Bitch at Donna's school, is also the head cheerleader. Every time Donna has an Imagine Spot regarding her, she is always dressed in her cheerleader outfit.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all the cheerleaders (including Buffy herself at the start of the movie) are shallow, nasty and stupid. When Buffy becomes the Slayer and gets Character Development, she stops being a cheerleader. The episode of the show was sort of a Continuity Nod.
  • In A Cinderella Story, Shelby likes ruining the life of Sam, the nerd. She's portrayed as self-absorbed, bitchy, and spiteful, but its unclear how stupid she may be.
  • Subverted in Fast Times at Ridgemont High in a brief clip where the cheerleaders are shown to be slightly humiliated girls who get made fun of for being annoyingly peppy at pep rallies.
  • Pictured above, the Panthers from Fired Up, who are clearly evil.
  • Weirdly enough, this one was skewered in High School Musical 3: Senior Year. The Alpha Bitch, Sharpay, is not on the squad... and the only cheerleader we actually meet is Martha, the hip-hop loving nerd. Presumably, her Ascended Extra status from the second movie helped. In fact, the characters who would most fit the status are Sharpay (literal drama queen), Chad (basketballer) and Taylor (brainiac).
  • Breanna in It's a Boy Girl Thing is a trifecta of dim, evil and slutty.
  • The eponymous cheerleader in Jennifer's Body is vapid, rude and skanky... and that's even before she gets possessed by a demon.
  • Heather in John Tucker Must Die isn't totally evil, but she's still bitchy, shallow and vain. Then again, so are most of the girls.
  • Ninja Cheerleaders gives us April and Courtney, both of whom get quite nasty, but it's only in the line of duty (or whenever Courtney decides to insult the Y chromosome). Monica, the third girl, is the ditzy one, but none of them are actively shallow.
  • Priscilla (Jaime Pressly) in Not Another Teen Movie embodies this trope. She's even labeled on the DVD front cover as 'The Nasty Cheerleader'.
  • Power Rangers (2017) shows that Kimberly was previously on the cheerleading squad, and she's ostracised by her friends at the start. But it's later revealed that she shared a nude photo of her friend around to the whole school, meaning that Kim herself was an example of the trope.
  • The Princess Diaries has Mia having to deal with the cheerleading captain and her followers.
  • Christie Masters, the antagonist of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion was a cheerleader in the high school flashbacks, along with her Girl Posse. Surprisingly, one of her followers, Lisa, who was hinted to be nicer but afraid of Christie, is shown to have matured and fallen out with her old friends, who are shown to have not changed at all. Lisa actually stands up for Roxy and Michele at the reunion and puts Christy in her place.
  • The first Scream (1996) film had a Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults scene where Sidney was forced to listen to a vapid and obnoxious cheerleader smugly analyze Sidney as being the killer (her friend who called this theory pathetic was notably not a cheerleader.)
  • Penny (who alone makes up the entire cheerleading squad) from Sky High (2005), though being a Disney movie the slutty part is left out.
  • Mercedes in Teenage Sorcery is not only a mean cheer-leading captain, but also a powerful evil witch. Her pranks in the movie include making food disappear for a bunch of boys one of whom accidentally drops some water on her skirt, hazing a freshman by making him vanish into nothing, and other similar magical shenanigans.
  • Tina and Diane, the co-captains of the cheer squad in Varsity Blood, best fit the stereotype of the cheerleader, being a pair of promiscuous Alpha Bitches who are obsessed with status, constantly demean the other girls on the squad, and expect their slightest whim to be obeyed. Hannah, Heather and Linda come across as more reasonable human beings, albeit with quirks of their own.
  • In Whip It the High School age Cool Loser heroine has a feud with the local Alpha Bitch. Said Alpha Bitch is a very minor character in the film but we do learn that she is a cheerleader, much to the heroine's contempt.
  • You Again gives two examples, spanning two generations. Joanna (Odette Annable's character) was Head Cheerleader and a particularly cruel and arrogant version of the Alpha Bitch. Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis' character), also a former Head Cheerleader wasn't nearly as bad but was apparently pretty insensitive towards her less popular friends. Interestingly both characters matured into genuinely kind-hearted, pleasant people after school. Maybe it's the uniform.


    Live Action TV 
  • One of these, Pamela, is the both the Alpha Bitch and the Asshole Victim in 1000 Ways to Die's episode "Pam-Caked!". She's so jealous of her Lovable Jock rival Amber that she drops her in the middle of a presentation and makes her fall to the ground hard AND head-first... only to be accidentally trampled to death by the whole football squad because she stood up to brag about what she had done -- in front of the school banner, where the dudes couldn't see her.
  • Cheerleader Susie in "The Joker Goes To School" episode of Batman (1966) joins The Bad Pennies and becomes The Joker's henchwoman.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy in the television version, who after trying it for one episode never mentioned it again until helping out Cordelia with cheerleading in the XBOX game, set before the season 3 episode "Lovers Walk".
    • "Witch" was the same episode which had an ex-cheerleader turned witch as the villain. Notably her daughter (who she is possessing) didn't want to be a cheerleader and doesn't join the squad once she's freed.
    • Cheerleader Cordelia Chase was initially characterized as "shallow", "vain" and "self-centered". She eventually became a friend of the protagonists, but until her Character Development on Angel was still portrayed as self-centered and brutally honest in a hurtful way.
  • Played with in an episode of Castle where a friend of Alexis' convinces her to try out for the squad but she decides that it requires too much commitment and time away from her other activities. The other cheerleaders are never met so we don't get to see if they fit the stereotype.
  • Done straight in the Cold Case episode "Stand Up and Holler": the victim was a pretty intelligent girl who joins her school's cheerleading squad. On the advice of the Alpha Bitch — who is the captain of the cheerleaders — she starts to hide her intelligence and focuses more on being cool. Before she is killed by the Alpha Bitch and the victim's Unlucky Childhood Friend she starts hanging out with the Cool Loser and decides to quit the squad.
  • Degrassi provides several teenagers on the Spirit Squad or Power Squad. Not all of them are evil, but a few do reach for this trope on occasion. Paige, Hazel, Holly J, and Chantay most often. Like in Sabrina, there's an entire episode based around Emma freaking out over her best friend looking to join the squad (she too gets over it but from her reaction you'd think Manny had joined a cult).
  • Played with in Desperate Housewives; Susan was a popular cheerleader in high school and though she claims she was perfectly nice she did 'accidentally' steal another girl's boyfriend and lumber her with an unfortunate nickname (Mike calls her on her seemingly selective memory). Also many fans consider to Susan to be The Ditz anyway. A later episode also retroactively makes Bree's bitchy, slutty, dim daughter Danielle a cheerleader.
  • Rachel in Friends was a cheerleader in high school. Sure she's fairly likable as an adult but by all accounts she was an Alpha Bitch during her teen years.
  • The Cheerios in Glee manage to hit nearly every stereotype on the list. However none of them hit the trifecta of mean, Really Gets Around, and dumb. Quinn is originally an Alpha Bitch but also smart and though she gets pregnant it's from having sex once (whilst cheating on her boyfriend, but she still doesn't Really Get Around). She eventually turns into a Fallen Princess and after gaining sympathy, rejects cheerleading. Santana is bitchy and Really Gets Around, but doesn't seem to be dumb. As of Sexy, it also appears that this is just part of her armoured closet. Brittany is the traditional Dumb Blonde (to extreme levels), but she isn't mean-spirited at all. Terri is an adult former cheerleader and while dumb and bitchy, also was not a slut (marrying her High-School Sweethearts). Sue Sylvester, the coach, is an UNBELIEVABLE Bitch but is far from dumb. It's also implied that all the other Cheerios aren't too bright. In an interesting subversion, though, one of the Cheerios is consistently shown to be very bright (and also very bitchy, and very sneaky) - Becky Jackson, the forever-underestimated girl with Down Syndrome.
    • Interestingly enough, despite the portrayal of cheerleaders in the show, cheerleading itself is still portrayed as a serious, legitimate sport, complete with competitions. To say Sue's collection of trophies is vast is an understatement, and it's even mentioned that several of the Cheerios were getting cheerleading scholarships.
    • However, none of the main girls actually like cheerleading; they just do it because they want to be popular. In "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle", they all admit that they actually hate it. Because no one could enjoy cheerleading.
      • It's more like no one could enjoy Sue's harsh and insane style of coaching then anything. Quinn tells Lauren in "Born This Way" that she first got involved in cheerleading exactly because she started dancing to lose weight and found she loved it and was great at it.
  • Zigzagged in Hellcats. Marti gets around quite a bit but is smart and heroic, Alice and Cathy, especially Cathy are bad but not dumb and, by college standards not particularly slutty, although as a supposed conservative Christian Cathy is a hypocrite in that regard. Savannah on the other hand hits none of the buttons being nice, chaste and smart.
  • Heroes: The head cheerleaders from season 1 and 2. Claire's fellow cheerleaders in season 1 are only background characters and the ones in season 2 are more afraid of the Alpha Bitch who's the head cheerleader rather than being cruel or bitchy themselves.
  • An episode of Joan of Arcadia has God ask Joan to try out for the cheerleading squad. This irritates Grace until Joan, disgusted by their treatment of one of the former captains after her Teen Pregnancy drama, shows up to the last tryout and delivers a cheer mocking the cheerleaders' shallowness.
  • Miu of Kamen Rider Fourze was the leader of the cheerleader squad, the Alpha Bitch and girlfriend to Jerk Jock Shun. She was pretty much the queen of the school. However, after she's nearly killed before the prom and having to be saved by Gentarou, Miu ends up having a Heel Realization, quits the cheerleader squad, breaks up with Shun and joins the Kamen Rider Club. As president, of course. Old habits die hard.
  • The Villain of the Week in one Leverage episode is a former cheerleader; however, their client is the coach of a cheerleading squad who is very concerned about the welfare of her team, all of whom appear to be normal kids doing something they love.
  • Kate from Lizzie McGuire was the captain of the cheerleading squad and led a group of nasty bitches, including her Girl Posse of stupid girls. She victimized Lizzie as much as possible, singing a "U-G-L-Y, You ain't got no alibi, you ugly" cheer to her in front of the whole school.
  • In the "Lois Strikes Back" episode of Malcolm in the Middle, four cheerleaders pull an evil prank on Reese by pretending that he has a secret admirer and then drop off a pig at his front door, sending Reese into a depression. Lois... well, she strikes back HARD.
  • In an early episode of Married... with Children Kelly very reluctantly joins the Polk High cheerleading squad to get closer to a boy she is into. Very unusually cheerleading is portrayed as extremely uncool and Kelly outright refers to her fellow cheerleaders as geeks (though this could be seen as part of the 'cheerleaders are conformist zombies' section of the trope).
  • The cheerleaders on The Middle play this trope straight being pretty but shallow and being stupid mean girls by being so self-centered.
  • Kimberly from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is mostly an aversion. (Maybe ditzy at times, but not always.) She "retired" from it previous to the start of the series, but younger girls trying out tend to look up to her.
  • Earl and Randy go to a cheering camp to take care of a list item in My Name Is Earl. The coach was a former high school cheerleader back in her glory days, and now she is stuck teaching very Hollywood Homely cheerleaders. (One fat, one pregnant with her second child, and one with Braces of Orthodontic Overkill.) Earl decides to help them win the championship.
  • A mild example from The Office (US): in "Booze Cruise" Katy is revealed to be a former cheerleader to Jim's dismay. He doesn't actually say anything about cheerleading as such but with his reaction (and Pam's, who teases him over it) the episode does seem to link 'cheerleader' with 'ditzy'.
  • Libby and her minions in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a series in which cheerleaders are treated as Always Chaotic Evil until proven otherwise. An entire episode was based around Sabrina freaking out over her best friend looking to join the squad (she gets over it but from her reaction you'd think Valerie had joined a cult).
  • In an episode of Scrubs when Elliott is being ostracised by the nursing staff, JD has an Imagine Spot of her as a band member, Carla as the Alpha Bitch head cheerleader and the nurses as her Girl Posse.
  • 7th Heaven has an episode where Lucy wants to join but her sister Mary thinks it's stupid.
  • Lana Lang was a cheerleader in Smallville but quit to 'find her own identity'. Although the cheerleaders were not depicted as malicious or dangerous until much later, and then only in the single episode "Devoted." Lana's desire to leave the cheerleading squad had nothing to do with the squad's malevolence, and was instead related to her stopping in her attempt to follow her mother's footsteps (which was the reason she joined the squad). Though of course this itself is an example of the trope in that apparently no protagonist should want to be a cheerleader.
  • An episode of Two of a Kind has Ashley wanting to join the cheerleading squad because "Being a cheerleader would make me really really popular" (check). They're rather disgusted at her sister Mary-Kate hanging out with a Goth, so they make her spray paint said Goth's backpack (check). She does the deed, but feeling sorry for how Goth feels about her treatment, tells the Alpha Bitch: "I wanted to be a cheerleader, but not this bad" before offering to buy Goth a new backpack. In black, of course.
  • Jackie from That 70s Show is a cheerleader. While she is selfish and dumb, she's not evil or slutty (in fact, she does have two stable boyfriends, and the conflict between Hyde and Kelso happens when she can't really decide between them). She's eventually kicked off the squad in season 6; when she realizes that she doesn't want to be taken back, it's shown as a part of her personal growth.
  • Subverted in Unnatural History, the 'dumb cheerleader' turned out to be incredibly smart, and was dosing the team with the 'fountain of youth' in secret. The reason she pretended to be dumb was so boys would like her.
  • Played in The Vampire Diaries as Elena, Bonnie and Caroline all start the show as cheerleaders and all quit for various reasons.
  • Subverted in Wizards of Waverly Place by Harper, who is nice, fairly smart and not a slut. Alex who joins the squad can be a bitch and is Book Dumb but doesn't get around. Alex also never wanted to be a cheerleader.

  • Toni Basil has had to deny that her Signature Song "Mickey" - one of the first music videos featuring cheerleading - has any obscene context:
    "NO! That's ridiculous. People read shit into everything. It's not about anything dirty. You change the name from boy to girl" — i.e., from "Mickey" to "Kitty" — "and they read anything they want into it! When it's a guy singing about a girl, it's a sweet line. But when a girl sings it, it must mean butt-fucking! This is how the wrong foot gets cut off when the doc wheels you into the E.R. Then it's Micky Dolenz and butt-fucking."
  • The Cheer Up, Charlie Daniels song "Pig Tails" is about a guy realizing that his girlfriend's like this (she's already a cheerleader, but as far as personality goes). He notes that she 'used to be sweeter', indicating that she may have been nicer before. It's surprisingly sad.
  • In the music video for Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" the metalhead girl is bullied and ostracized by a cheerleading squad... before Lordi shows up and kills them. And then raises them as zombie thralls, which the metalhead girl then leads against the rest of the high school. It's pretty much every high school goth kid's fantasy.
  • Taylor Swift's You belong with me has the girlfriend of the boy that the narrator likes as a cheerleader and a nasty, selfish bitch... who of course is rebuffed and dumped and humiliated by the main girl and the guy.
    • Taylor herself is part of a cheerleading squad in her 2014 "Shake It Off" video.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Discussed by Jason in FoxTrot where he claims Paige has a better chance of making the squad because she's (from his perspective) stupid. Granted, he was just saying that to get under her skin; Paige herself actually doesn't fit this trope.
  • Tiffany from Luann played the trope completely straight during the high school years. Bitchy, stupid, shallow, and slutty (as much as permitted in a G-rated comic.) Also the most popular girl in school (supposedly.) She was the strip's resident Hate Sink until after she was kicked off the squad, and only then did she start receiving some Character Development.

  • In the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town, Stacy Quartermain is the head cheerleader. She's slightly nicer than fellow cheerleader Katie, but she'll happily throw insults at people she doesn't like.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Cheerleader Melissa debuted in the role of a valet and was a straight example, as far as "cheerleaders are mean" goes. She remained mean but later let up on attempting to lead cheers.
  • During the brief return of WCW's The Varsity Club in 2000, they were given a cheerleader named Leia Meow (ECW's Kimona Wanalaya). Her signature move was following Kevin Sullivan's tree of woe shoulder charge with an elbow to the groin of the still-treed opponent.
  • GLOW girls Debbie Debutante, Susie Spirit and Vickie Vivacious. In a bit of a subversion their main concern was firing up the fans and promoting good sportswomenship. The main reason they had antagonistic relationships with anyone was because Aunt Kitty was manipulating things.
  • HBIC was an evil cheerleader in Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Victoria was the entitled cheerleader of the evil commissioner Steve Bradley and all athletes affiliated with him in Memphis Championship Wrestling.
  • NWA Wildside had Bryce Benjamin, the Cheerleader to the "All-Stars" Chandler McClure, "The Waterboy" Mike Horning, and Cru Jones. However, they invoked the Free Bird rule to allow Benjamin to wrestle and the group later turned. Still, Benjamin was pretty dismissive of pretty much anyone not on the "team" until that face turn.
  • TNA had Cheerleader Valentina, who worked with a team called "Bitch Slap". The group's goal was to root out all the undesirable females from the company and beat men to prove the right women(themselves) should be treated as equals.
  • Miss December, cheer leading pig tail enthusiast and temper tantrum thrower, when she does not get her way at least. She's perhaps best known for antagonizing Juliette The Huntress, who changed her opinion on cheer leading after trying it herself but remained at odds with December otherwise.
  • WWE had a lovely example in the 2006 Spirit Squad, five cheerleaders invoking the Free Bird Rule (and not even having the grace to acknowledge it). The gimmick seems to have stunted the careers of all involved not named Dykstra or Dolph Ziggler. However, Kenny, Mikey and Johnny decided to embrace their association with the gimmick in 2014 and even managed to defeat representatives from The Flood at Chikara's King Of Trios.

  • Legally Blonde (The Musical) loves this trope and plays with it in a really confusing way: Serena is a cheerleader and a sorority member, but sorority girls are supposed to be the good ones here. Yet she's slutty, but not the sluttiest Delta-Nu. And she knows how to use her sex-appeal, but is also willing to teach other non-cheerleader women to gain confidence by doing the same.

    Video Games 
  • Bully plays this straight. Not only is Mandy Wiles, the team captain and Alpha Bitch, a jerk, but the other three girls (Pinky, Christy and Angie) on the squad are much nastier while in uniform than when they're not.
  • Sandy in Maniac Mansion seems to fall under the "dumb and pretty" version of the trope — her major purpose in the game is to be the helpless victim kidnapped by the mad scientist and his family, thus motivating her cool boyfriend and his highly-varied friends to ride to the rescue.
  • In Psychonauts, the romance story of the Black Velvetopia stage is eventually revealed to be an overly romanticized version of Edgar's memories of his former cheerleader girlfriend who dumped him for the head male cheerleader. At the end of the stage, Edgar realizes that Lana and Dean were stupid and shallow individuals who aren't worth obsessing over and thus banishes them to the deepest pits of his memories.
  • The Big Good of Project X Zone, Mii Koryuji, is one. She's quite feisty though unlike many examples, she's actually The Heroine of the story.
  • Cheerleaders are an enemy type in River City Girls. They're annoyingly agile and prone to dodging your attacks and retaliating with a Diving Kick.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Stacey, Tracey and Lacey in the second season of American Dragon: Jake Long.
  • Sissi from Code Lyoko. Partially subverted in that while she can act dumb and be mean on occasion, she also gets some Character Development as a Lovable Alpha Bitch and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Also, she doesn't Really Gets Around that much, since she only has eyes for Ulrich, who couldn't be less interested.
  • The cheerleaders of Danny Phantom as Paulina.
  • Brittany in Daria, who is blonde, busty and totally dense. But not nasty. Thoughtless and over-candid, especially to Daria, but not nasty.
  • In the Made-for-TV animated film, Groove Squad, it's both averted and played straight —
    • It's averted with Chrissy, Ping, and Mac (the eponymous "Groove Squad"), who, while cheerleaders, are very kind and friendly.
    • Star Nightingale, the Groove Squad's main rival at their high school (more so to Chrissy than Ping or Mac), seems to be the only true mean-spirited cheerleader on their squad—her dad's the main villain in the movie, and Star's arguably just as evil as he is (though Star's more "high school evil" than "regular evil").
    • In the case of Stacy and Roxanne, Star's best friends/sidekicks, they really don't seem all that evil—while they're certainly very eager-to-please Star and are always in on her plans to take Chrissy's place as their high school cheerleading captain, they actually seem like genuinely nice girls. They seem more "easily manipulated" than straight-up "evil."
  • Kick Buttowski gives us true demonic cheerleaders. In one episode Brad is tricked into thinking he's in a real relationship with the beautiful Kelly, only for the viewers (and Kick) to find out that it's a part of the initiation ceremony of becoming a cheerleader - to date a loser. Even when we think Kelly is going to show sympathy, she shows her true evil cheerleader colours with the rest of them.
  • Kim Possible: The Title Character is a cheerleader, and while she does have her faults, Kim ultimately averts pretty much every stereotype you can think of—in fact, Kim's rival, Bonnie Rockwaller, appears to be the only true mean-spirited cheerleader on the squad, as the rest of the cheerleaders are typically portrayed as being fairly nice (though Kim and Bonnie's mutual friend, Tara, is implied to be a Brainless Beauty).
  • In the King of the Hill episode, "Lupe's Revenge", a female police officer claims to have been a cheerleader back in high school. While it's never shown what she was like back then, the fact that she's shown badly abusing her power in the present doesn't exactly defy the stereotype, now does it.
  • Beth, in the pre-cutant animated Polly Pocket movies, is a cheerleader. She's Polly's main High School rival.
  • Subverted with the Ashleys on Recess, as they're not shown as cheerleaders in the show, but they end up going to cheerleading camp in Recess: School's Out - and they do end up helping the gang at this point. In the same movie, T.J.'s older sister Becky is one of these, as pom-poms can be seen in her room at one point.
  • In The Simpsons 'Spin-Off Showcase' episode Lisa refused to participate in a cheesey family variety show so was recast by a pretty blonde cheerleader who, while nice enough, is decidedly less intelligent.
    Fake Lisa: "I'm Lisa, peppy, blonde and stunning. Sophomore prom queen five years running. Go Lisa!"
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, the High School that the heroes attend includes a troupe of mean cheerleaders. The "dumb" variant is actually deconstructed in one episode as Kimmy is faced with being kicked off the squad due to failing a math test, given the chance to retake the test and recruiting Octus to help her. She spends the whole tutoring session trying to get Octus to take the test for her, only to break and admit she's afraid to try because she doesn't know how to be anything other than the stereotypes everyone expects her to live up to. She ends up getting over this with encouragement from Octus.
  • Total Drama. Four different characters over the course of the show with two representing the evil cheerleader role and one the Brainless Beauty side of the stereotype:
    • According to her bio, Heather's a cheerleader back home (specifically the head cheerleader).
    • Amy of Pahkitew Island is a cheerleader as is her good twin sister.
    • Lindsay mentions that she's a cheerleader in Total Drama Action.
  • On Family Guy, Lois was a cheerleader in her high school days and was every bit as bitchy, mean and cruel as this trope often is. In the present day, she's often a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. The present day also has Connie D'Amico, who constantly bullies Meg and serves as a Hate Sink, though she's also suffered Laser-Guided Karma from not only Meg but almost all of the Griffins.

Alternative Title(s): Cheerleaders Are Evil, Evil Cheerleader


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: