Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Bella and the Bulldogs

Bella and the Bulldogs

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV G

Meet Bella. She's a cheerleader for her school team, The Bulldogs. But Bella's also got a killer arm. She can throw a football.

When the coach of the school's struggling football team happens to see her launch a long pass, Bella gets recruited to be quarterback. Football also happens to have been her lifelong dream, one she shared as a little girl with her late father.

With that concept - a girl quarterbacking a school team (which isn't exactly new but is nevertheless a method for illustrating gender stereotypes) - comes all sorts of challenges.

The boys are not exactly on board. "No girl can play football," says one. Even Bella's cheerleading friends, Pepper and Sophie, have a hard time being supportive of the idea when Bella misses a big cheer competition because of football.

But what's really important in the end is how much Bella's friends care about her and about each other. She's breaking a glass ceiling and they're helping her push through it. She learns to overcome fears and pursue new hobbies and abilities, all while building self-confidence.

It's a win-win - for Bella and for viewers.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture topics. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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