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Warner Home Video presents
"Pro Player Stadium is filled with energy, as the hundreds of potential rookies try to impress Dorie and her staff."
DVD ReviewIn an effort to fill out their television lineup with something other than replays of old football games, the burgeoning NFL Network has sort of hit on a brainstorm with the ogle-ready reality series Cheerleaders: Making The Squad. Pick an NFL team, take three one-hour episodes to cover the whole process from auditions to final selections, throw in plenty of attractive young women dancing and strutting in tiny little outfits, and don't forget the reality show requirements of drama and histrionics.
This installment looks at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders (other titles in the series cover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Diego Chargers), and follows along as preparations are made to find the elite 2005 squad. And in charge of making the final selections for the Dolphins organization are Dorie Grogan—a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader—and Heather Philips, who sort of becomes the good cop to Grogan's bad cop. While both women have to make those frequent "you're cut from the squad" decisions on camera, there is just something brutally cold, yet fascinating, about the way Grogan goes about making the necessary drops. I know, I get the whole "there's only so many spots" deal, but the editing really makes her look like an ice queen to Philips, the comparatively kinder, gentler decision maker.
Episode One covers the task of whittling down hundreds of wannabes to a more manageable 70 or so, and watching the emphasis placed on issues like weight (and believe me, none of these girls are anywhere approaching "fat") just seems so weirdly superficial. But it's cheerleading, right? Grogan does get off a great sendoff to one girl, telling her "it's not that you're fat, you just have tummies to lose." Episode Two moves on to final auditions (done in a mall!), as the cuts continue down to the final 40 girls, though here we follow some as they get their hair and makeup done, and we are also given more up close and personal background info on Grogan. Then, naturally, in Episode Three the new 2005 squad prepares and rehearses for their inaugural Draft Day performance and, of course, the Bimini swimsuit calendar shoot, which features all sorts of bikini modeling.
I think I know what audience the NFL Network made this for, and I guess I'm one of them. Pretty women dancing in short shorts and t-shirts isn't the worst way to kill a few hours, even though I'm not particularly invested in who made the squad or who got cut. There is probably some unintentional laughability here, too, because all of the tears and dramatics ultimately seem like much ado about nothing, but watching Grogan and Philips wield their power is kind of exciting.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-
Image Transfer Review: There are generally warm colors and natural fleshtones on these 1.33:1 fullframe transfers, though certainly as a doc/reality show it tends to not look as vibrant as a feature film. The title sequence, with its juiced up, over-processed color palette, looks the strongest, though it should be noted that episode three's swimsuit shoot looks quite good, too.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in 2.0 Dolby Digital surround, and aside from the well-mixed female narrator and the horn-heavy theme music used at the open and during the commercial bumpers, most of the presentation is a combination of on-location recording and talking-head interviews. It's all neatly done, with voice quality sounding properly clear, and is comparable to any reality show where microphones try to capture the unfolding drama.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Extras Review: I'm kind of surprised there aren't any cheerleader bios in the extras section, or even some additional calendar shoot footage. Seems like that would be a no-brainer. Instead there's a trio of dramatic, Dolphin-centric NFL Films shorts: Dolphins "No Name" Defense (05m:42s), Dolphins Spoil Bears Perfect Season (04m:02s), and Shula's Greatest Season (06m:05s), which just happens to be the undefeated 1972 season. There are also a couple of promos for the NFL Network.
Each of the episodes is cut into seven chapters, with optional English subtitles.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsThis series was either made for women to investigate the rigors of making a pro football cheerleading squad, or simply for men eager to ogle attractive, well-toned female bodies in various tiny, tight workout outfits while they dance, gyrate, stretch, and pose for a swimsuit calendar.
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