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Though it is a series, each sequel acts more as a reboot than a real sequel. There are few recurring elements besides cheerleading competitions where hilarity usually ensues throughout the attitude-filled drama. No two movies contain the same characters or locations.
A major theme in the series is ethnicity and race. The writers/producers view race as very important, whereas the characters are nonchalant about it (except maybe the villain used as an outlet for the writers to express latent racism).
More mildly the casting of cheerleaders as the heroes is itself oddly subversive (and refreshing) given the nearly universal negative depiction of cheerleading in other High School Movies. The films are not beyond a little ribbing at the sport but are clearly sympathetic.
Brief synopses for each movie in the series:
Bring It On
The upper-class Toros cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass, a token Asian, and a killer routine that's sure to land them the national championship trophy for the sixth year in a row. But for newly-elected team captain Torrance, the Toros' road to total cheer glory takes a shady turn when she discovers that the Toros' former cheer captain had STOLEN the perfectly-choreographed routines from the ghetto-fabulous Clovers, a hip-hop squad from East Compton, who are black. While the Toros scramble to come up with a new routine, the Clovers, led by squad captain Isis, have their own problems - coming up with enough money to cover their travel expenses to the championships. With time running out and the pressure mounting, both captains drive their squads to the point of exhaustion: Torrance, hell-bent on saving the Toros' reputation, and Isis, more determined than ever to see that the Clovers finally get the recognition that they deserve! Who will survive and what will be left of them? This installment is commonly thought to be the best for its refusal to name one squad as evil, and for an ending where the primary character Torrance's squad loses the championship, and Isis' squad wins, yet Torrance knows she's a winner for doing such a great job when the decks were stacked against her, essential elements neglected by future sequels. As a theatrical production, it also had a higher budget than the others. It's currently considered a bit of a teen girls' classic chick flick and is standard sleepover/girls' night fare. Starred Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union and a pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Clare Kramer.
Jan: "Hey, ladies, wanna see my spirit stick?"
Bring It On Again
Torrance is played by another actress, so she changes her name to another town in SoCal called Whittier. Whittier tries out for and joins her new college cheerleading squad to relive her high school glory days as head cheerleader. But when she and her best friend Isis -- I mean Monica -- are unable to stand being around the tyrannical and snobbish squad captain who's known as The Bomb Diggity. Whittier and Monica quit and vow to form their own cheerleading squad made up of college campus misfits and social outcasts for a competition to see which squad will represent the college for the national cheerleader championship and become the new Bomb Diggity! Best known for being a blatant rip-off of the book Sweet Valley High #113: The Pom Pom Wars. This is also notable as the only film of the series to star nobody anyone's actually heard of (with all due respect to Bethany Joy Galeotti...).
Whittier: "Don't be all up in my Kool-Aid!"
Bring It On: All or Nothing
Britney Allen (Hayden Panettiere, playing a cheerleader for the first but not the last time) is living the white cheerleader's dream. At the elite (meaning that there is only one non-white student, and that student knows martial arts because she's Asian) seaside campus of Pacific Vista High School, Britney is captain of the cheerleading squad and the envy of everyone at school -- especially one overly-ambitious teammate. When Britney hears about a forthcoming audition for a top cheer squad to appear in Rihanna's upcoming television special, she is determined that her Pirates cheer squad will capture the coveted spot. But Britney's life turns from cheer-phoria to cheer-tastrophe when her father's job takes her family to Crenshaw Heights, a darkly ethnic working-class neighborhood east of Los Angeles. At her new school, Britney is viewed with suspicion by most of the dark-skinned students, especially by Camille, the overly confident and acerbic black leader of the ethnic Crenshaw Heights Warriors cheerleading squad. No one is more surprised than Camille, however, when "white girl" Britney proves herself and secures a spot on the ethnic Warriors' ethnic cheer squad. The two other non-black students being a heterosexual cheerleader Latino beefcake love interest, as well as a Latina who speaks half of her dialogue in Spanish. Britney and her new teammates work feverishly to prepare the audition for Rihanna, incorporating some edgy new moves into their performance. Now the pressure is on, as the Warriors find themselves locked in a high-stakes cheer-off with Pacific Vista, Britney's old school! During the no-holds-barred fight to the finish, friendships, loyalties and talents are tested -- but only one team can come out on top! This installment is renowned for being the most similar to Mean Girls. This entry is also notable for having two former Lizzie Spauldings in the cast (Hayden Panettiere and Marcy Rylan).
Jesse: "Dude, I could kick the dude outta you!"
Bring It On: In It to Win It
Southern California high school senior Mighty Whitey Carson (Ashley Benson) arrives at the all-important "Cheer Camp Nationals" determined to lead her multi-ethnic squad, the West High Sharks, to victory. But chic New Yorker Mighty Whitey Brooke and her multi-ethnic team, the East High Jets, are equally steadfast in their pursuit of the competition's coveted "Spirit Stick". As tension mounts between the two rival squads, Carson falls for fellow vaguely-non-white, heterosexual cheerleader Penn, not realizing he's a Jet. When Brooke discovers the budding romance, she raises the stakes by challenging Carson to a one-on-one cheer-off. A spectacular, West Side Story-type "cheer fighting" sequence turns uglier than expected and cheerleaders on both sides are wounded and unable to compete! Without enough members on either squad, both squads are disqualified and sent home. The end.  Basically, Romeo and Juliet with cheercrips and cheerbloods! This installment is known for incorporating more portmanteau cheerwords than any of the previous Bring It On movies (and that includes Not Another Teen Movie).
Sarah: This is a cheer-saster!
Ruben: A cheer-tastrophe!
Chelsea: A total cheer-clipse of the sun!
Sarah: Not bad.
Ruben: Good one.
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
Same-old, same-old, except for once the primary character isn't white. B-List star Christina Milian stars in D-List sequel as sassy Cuban-American cheer captain Lina Cruz, whose world is turned upside-down when her family moves from the urban streets of East Los Angeles to the sunny suburban beach town of Malibu. At her new school, Latina Lina clashes with bitchy Avery, the ultra-competitive all-star cheer captain. And though Avery may appear Latina due to her deep tan and dark brunette hair, she is in fact racist against Lina, but not as much as Avery's black best friend, Kayla, who can't open her mouth without pooping out racial slurs. Avery takes a special dislikin' to Lina for being a potentially dethroning cheerleader as well as race-mixing with Avery's super-cute brother Evan, who has an affinity for quirky hats. Lina's always been able to rise to the challenge, but can she create an all-star squad, beat Avery at the Spirit Championships and still keep her romance with Evan? Of course. Duh.
Avery: They're illegal cheer-migrants.
This film series provides examples of the following tropes, usually repeated in each movie:
- An Aesop: The first movie, in particular, "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game."
- All Cheering All the Time: A deleted scene from the original movie showed one character revising for the SATs by converting the answers into cheers to make them easier for her to memorise.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Most notably Cliff from the first movie, but a lot of men across the franchise. This is the reasoning behind the bikini car wash as a fundraising effort in the first movie.
- Alpha Bitch: There's one on every cheer team.
- Amazon Brigade, some of the cheerleading teams
- Angry Dance: Angry cheering, but same principle: the showdown at the football game in the first movie.
- Angst: Torrance, about the stolen cheer routines, in the first movie and Whittier, about the politics of the cheer squad, in the second.
- Badass Boast
- Bare Your Midriff: The uniforms in the first three movies, and the cheerleaders also do so out of uniform often in at least the first two.
- Betty and Veronica: Some of the brunette / blonde pairings.
- Between My Legs: During the roll call in part 3.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Black Best Friend: The second movie.
- The Brainless Beauty: The villain.
- Bring It: It's spoken at some point.
- Buffy-Speak: Literally in the case of the first movie (with Eliza Dushku, yet).
- California University: The second movie.
- Camp: Some of the situations.
- Captain Ethnic: Some of the cheer captains.
- Cat Fight: Happens in every movie.
- Chew Bubblegum: Sometimes they're all out of bubble gum.
- Chew Toy: Especially in the second movie.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: the outfits and the hair color and the skin color.
- Cringe Comedy
- Cute but Cacophonic: Pretty much all the cheerleaders
- Dance of Romance: Especially the third movie
- Dawson Casting: Rampant, especially with Christina Milian and Gabrielle Union. Averted in the third and fourth movies (starring Hayden Panettiere and Ashley Benson respectively).
- Deadpan Snarker: Missy and Cliff are the chiefs of this.
- The Ditz
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Any time they train, especially in the first movie.
- Fallen Princess: Torrance
- Fan Service: Plenty of it.
- Femme Fatale: Eliza Dushku
- Five-Man Band: These are usually the main cheerleaders from each time.
- Five-Token Band: Isis and her team.
- Follow the Leader: Every movie.
- Friendship Moment: At the beginning and end of every movie.
- Girl Posse: Each cheerleading squad.
- Groin Attack
- Heel Face Turn: In All or Nothing.
- High School: In every movie but the second one.
- Hopeless Auditionees: The first movie's audition sequence.
- Hollywood Pudgy: One of the cheerleaders from the first movie, is repeatedly criticised for having a rather large backside. She's not that much more heavy than any of the other girls on the squad.
- In with the In Crowd: The third movie.
- Incoming Ham: Sparky Polastri's introduction.
- Jiggle Show: Every movie features lots of this.
- Jive Turkey: The black cheerleaders in part 3.
- Lean and Mean: the teams after training.
- Les Yay: Torrance and Missy in the first movie.
- Makeover Montage: Missy in the first film, the new squad in the second.
- Make Way for the Princess
- Must Have Caffeine:
Kirresha: What's the matter with her?
Leti: I think it's caffeine withdrawal. Coffee's like crack to white people.
- The Neidermeyer
- Nightmare Sequence: At the beginning of each movie.
- Panty Shot: Bloomer shots, actually but guaranteed. In Again, Whittier strips down to sports bra and panties.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Every single movie.
- Power Walk: When the teams strut forth toward the cheer contests.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "Bring It On!"
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Any time a black person compliments a white person, especially Britney.
- Rule of Drama
- Sassy Black Woman: All of them, but subverted in part 4.
- Second Place Is for Losers: Subverted in at least the first movie.
- Sergeant Rock
- Shallow Love Interest: All of the beefcake.
- Show Some Leg
- Shout-Out: Missy is sporting Faith's tattoo, which she promptly rubs off when told ink is strictly forbidden.
- And again, when the Clovers confront Missy and Torrance, one of them asks, "Can we just beat these Buffys down?"
- Slapstick: Many of the falls.
- The Spartan Way: Many of the training sequences.
- Sudden Musical Ending: The first film ends with "Mickey", the second, with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".
- Surfer Dude: The love interest in part 4.
- Theme Tune Roll Call: Only Theme Cheer Roll Call in part 2.
- Token Minority: Subverted both racially and sexually.
- Too Much Information: In the first movie, the following exchange occurs when Missy intercepts her brother Cliff as he's visiting the cheer squad's car wash fundraiser and sticks her breasts in his face:
- Took a Level In Badass: Part 2's alternate cheer team.
- Totally Radical
- Training From Hell: In the leadup to Nationals in the first movie, Torrance requires that her squad practices constantly.
- Uncle Tomfoolery
- Valley Girl: Exemplified by the cheer that Torrance encourages Missy to perform: "Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out, I mean, right on! The Toros sure are number one!"
- And immediately snarked right back by Missy in the same sing-songy voice that Torrance gave her: "I moved here from Los Angeles! Your school has no gymnastics team! This is a last resort!"
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Bomb Diggity from part 2.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: Some of the more racist compliments delivered throughout the series.
- You Are the New Trend
- ↑ Just kidding.