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Secrets from the 'Hellcats' Set: Is Marti Hot for Teacher? Will Dan and Savannah Go the Distance?

by Laura Prudom, posted Oct 6th 2010 11:50AM
Aly Michalka and Robbie JonesIf 'Bring it On' is one of your favorite guilty pleasures, you get 'Fired Up' at the sight of pom-poms, or a cheerleading uniform is your default Halloween costume of choice, chances are you're already hooked on the CW's peppy freshman drama 'Hellcats,' a spirited (or should we say "spirit-fingered"?) look at the world of competitive college cheerleading.

If you're not already hooked, perhaps we can entice you to join the team with this perky preview. Two weeks ago, TV Squad was among a group of journalists invited to visit the set of the Vancouver-based show, and we returned with all sorts of intel on what's in store for our ridiculously attractive squad.

Join us after the jump to hear what we can expect in upcoming episodes from stars Aly Michalka, Ashley Tisdale, Matt Barr and Gale Harold.

Tonight's new episode (airing at 9PM ET on the CW) will see Savannah (Tisdale) and Dan's (Barr) burgeoning relationship put to the test when our fearless cheer captain talks her boyfriend into directing the Hellcats' bid video -- their one and only shot of winning a free ride to nationals after their funding is cut (no, this isn't 'Glee'). Needless to say, the rest of the team isn't quite as enthusiastic as Savannah at the prospect of hiring an inexperienced director to help them reach the finals.

"He feels the judgment of all the Hellcats; he knows that he's not wanted," Matt Barr admitted during our roundtable interview. "I wonder if Savannah brought him into it not just because she believes in his talent -- which I think she does -- but also to get him integrated into that world, because he's always been an outsider. [It happens] very quickly -- he just jumps right in with the sharks."

Our money is on integration, since Tisdale doesn't seem too sold on Dan's artistic vision.

"It's not great for the team," she laughed. "His ideas are kind of ... Well, it gets a little bit crazy!" And that craziness might have a detrimental effect on Savannah's captaincy, especially if troublemaking Alice (Heather Hemmens) gets her way. "It definitely has the question [of Savannah losing her title] there, because stuff happens along the way," Tisdale confirmed. "But she thinks it's the right thing to do -- he wants to be a director, so she's like, 'Hey, you can do this.'"

Check out a preview of tonight's episode below:

Last week, we saw the pair struggling to define their relationship, considering that Dan isn't exactly a fan of monogamy, while Savannah (a strict Christian) has never dated such a player before. According to Barr and Tisdale, that tentative boundary-testing isn't going to go away any time soon.

"Savannah is getting a lot of ridicule for being a goody-two-shoes, and Dan's kind of caught in the middle of wanting to support her, but he's a guy, he's 21, and I think he wants to bunk up too," Barr told us, hinting that his history with Marti (Michalka) is liable to put further strain on his relationship with Savannah. "As Marti starts to drift more toward Lewis (Robbie Jones), Dan's threatened a bit. Marti's personality is so liberal and free-spirited that she and Lewis jump right in bed, and Savannah's still taking baby steps toward living in the moment."

Ashley TisdaleTisdale agreed, clearly relishing the chance to play a character who's still developing an independent identity outside of her conservative family. "With her and Dan and this new relationship, it gets kind of serious, and she has choices to make -- it's really dramatic and fun at the same time," she said. "She's a virgin, so it's all new to her, and there are questions, and there's going to be things that surprise all of you."

Since 'Hellcats' is all about the love triangles and squares, we figured it was only fair to let the show's star, Aly Michalka, weigh in on how her character, Marti, feels about her best friend hooking up with her roommate.

"It becomes ... awkward in the next couple episodes because Dan and Savannah start heavily dating and there's certain subject matter that comes up that's iffy," she teased, demonstrating excellent immunity to our pleas for spoilers. "There are certain secrets that've been hidden and certain lies that are told, but it's all because Marti wants to protect Savannah and doesn't want her to know about the past that she's had with Dan and the fact that there are feelings there."

Because she's so busy with the squad whilst also embarking on a relationship with her base, Lewis (the guy who has the unenviable task of catching her when she performs stunts), it seems as though Marti is unaware of her own feelings for Dan.

Matt Barr "It kind of comes out of left field for her when she's like 'oh, wait a minute, Dan's my best friend, we've kind of gone there before, and now what should I do about this situation where he's dating my best friend?'" Michalka explained. "It starts to get a little bit messy. There's an odd slumber party sleepover between the four of them that's pretty funny."

Marti's a busy bee; not only does she have cheerleading and the attentions of two gorgeous guys to deal with, she also has to handle her pre-law classes, taught by dreamy professor Julian Parish (Gale Harold).

"We pick up on Marti kind of realizing what she's gotten herself into, how hard it is to juggle the two different lifestyles of being a cheerleader and being a law student," Michalka said, revealing that Marti will become heavily involved in a case that Harold's character is handling. "She becomes really immersed in it and it becomes a personal thing for her rather than just wanting to prove that she's a good lawyer -- she's a good person and she actually cares about people."

One of Michalka's favorite aspects of the relationship between her character and Julian is the way he "pushes Marti to be a better student and to step it up when it comes to her commitment to her classes," she said.

Although Harold wasn't on set when we visited, we did catch up with him at the CW's PaleyFest Fall TV Preview Party, held recently in Los Angeles. There, we were able to grab a little scoop from the charming actor. Hear what he had to say about Julian's relationship with Marti below:

Although he was sadly kidding about his new "consultant" role for the Hellcats, Harold was certainly serious about how determined Julian is to motivate Marti.

"He calls her out immediately: 'Are you serious? Are you committed? Because if you're not, don't waste my time, don't waste your time, don't waste the class' time. Someone else will take your seat,'" he told us, explaining that his character will be very concerned with upholding justice and freedom, since the case that Julian and Marti collaborate on will focus on the controversial Three Strikes Law, which hands out increasingly serious sentences to repeat offenders, even for crimes as minor as shoplifting.

"The things that affect him are when citizens of the United States are treated at somewhat less than their value, since everyone is supposedly valued equal, right?" he pointed out. "Yes, if you break the law, you break the law. But there are different ways of paying the price, and some of those ways are cruel and unusual."

As for a potential relationship for Julian, either with Marti or another lucky lady, Harold was tight-lipped. "I've heard something about [romantic plotlines], but I don't know if it's true," he coyly remarked.

Aly MichalkaMichalka is none the wiser, either. "I actually really don't know if it's a romantic relationship or not," she promised. "Right now, it's strictly teacher and student." Just as well, since Marti seems to have her hands full juggling the two guys she's already got -- not to mention all of those grueling cheerleading routines.

"It takes so much time," Michalka laughed. "I don't think people know how much time goes into it when it comes to learning the routines, and then how little time we have to spend just working on it by ourselves -- it's literally days. It can get kind of overwhelming at times, but that's when I'll talk with the choreographer and do something on the weekend; I'm all about putting in the extra time if necessary."

Tisdale agreed, "It's all worth it when you actually watch an episode; you see it, and you're like 'Oh my gosh! That's so awesome!' We can actually pick up dances in an hour and a half now, which is really great -- I think it shows our growth, and it shows what we've accomplished."

The whole cast is clearly passionate about conveying the level of athleticism and skill that cheerleaders must possess in order to compete in the sport, even Barr -- who mostly just seemed relieved that he doesn't have to take part in it.

"I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am," he laughed, grinning roguishly. "They hate me; they shoot during the day and rehearse at night and on the weekends. To be honest with you, we've become such a family up here in Vancouver, I feel like we all went to war together. I need to be in the trenches with them -- I'll do it just for fun!"
Now that's a sight we'd all cheer to see.

'Hellcats' airs Wednesdays at 9PM EST on the CW -- tune in tonight for an all new episode, which marks the return of Gale Harold's Julian.

[Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA.]

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Gale Harold is indeed a draw, but if we're only going to see him onscreen for a few seconds per episode (as we did tonight), people are going to become angry with the show. His credit is "Guest Starring." They need to stop using him like a bit player.

October 06 2010 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you for such a significant article about this show that is developing into a nice surprising watch.
Love Gale Harold as Julian. Glad to see lots more of him. Can't wait to hear "The Letter" tonight sung by Aly - big Alex Chilton fan.

October 06 2010 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Gale Harold. I can't wait to see him in this episode!

October 06 2010 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow! fantastic, I love Gale Harold and I love Julian.
Will be watching tonight for sure.

October 06 2010 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm delighted to see coverage of Gale Harold. I'm not in the usual age group, but I'm enjoying the show. I think it's a fresh approach to show Marti being forced by circumstances to do something outside her comfort zone. It's interesting to see her try to keep her original goal (the law) in mind while being immersed in the new world of cheerleading.

October 06 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved the article and the Gale Harold video was great. Really looking forward to seeing him on tonights show. He's a terrific actor and sexy as they come.

October 06 2010 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great article and loved the video with Gale Harold! Looking forward to Julian's return to Hellcats tonight, it looks like a great episode.

October 06 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Thanks for such a nice big article! There's a lot going on tonight; can't wait to see the show! Love the Gale video; he is a charmer, isn't he?

October 06 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wonderful article, thank you so much! I especially love the Gale Harold interview :) Looking forward to seeing him as Julian Parish again tonight on Hellcats!

October 06 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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