You know how actors are always talking about how they want to ''stretch''? Family Ties' Tina Yothers has taken this thespian cliche very literally:
In Laker Girls, playing a small-town innocent hoping to become a Lakers cheerleader, Yothers leaps, jumps, does cartwheels, and elps lines like ''When I was in high school cheerleading camp, I was voted Best Splits!'' Now that's stretching.
Laker Girls is essentially a rewrite of the landmark 1979 TV movie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Attractive young women try out for cheerleading positions, and in between leering close-ups of their training and performances, there are trite subplots about their mostly unhappy personal lives.
Judging from Laker Girls, there is apparently no artist more influential in modern American culture than Paula Abdul. As every schoolchild knows, the enormously popular singer-dancer-choreographer-cute-person started out as a Laker Girl before going on to superstardom. In Laker Girls, everyone does Abdul-style dancing, and she's invoked by name as an example of what Laker Girls and, indeed, all women are meant to aspire to.
At one point, someone asks a pouting Yothers, ''Hey, what's wrong?'' ''Oh, nothing,'' she says, ''if you call terminal stupidity 'nothing.'''
No, Tina. I call it Laker Girls. D-