Sue Sylvester: TV's deranged cheerleading/dancing/sometime singing coach with a wardrobe full of shiny tracksuits and a barbed comments for everyone who crosses her crazed, tracksuited path. Hell-bent on total world domination, this woman will stop at nothing to win, bullies kids as a daily routine, has an array of dirty tricks that would make the most-arch villain envious. And she has a penchant for high ponytails, Croydon-facelift style. Something here seems a bit familiar.
Yep, Sue may a figment of Hollywood imagination but the whiff of fake tan hanging around her troupe of cheerleaders could actually be that of the pre-teen stars of Dance Moms – and their intrepid leader and choreographer Abby Lee Miller. Just add some jazz hands, "booty shorts" and extreme eyelashes.
Let's weigh up the evidence
In an early episode of Glee Sue Sylvester revealed: 'I can't stand the sight of kids getting emotional – unless it's from physical exhaustion.' As avid viewers of Dance Moms will know our Abby isn't big on crying either ("save it for your pillow," kids) although apparently she used to be a 'lot meaner' 20 years back (she's mellowed, apparently) (I know, right?). This ban on feelings can be tricky when dealing with star-struck youngsters and their pushy parents. At the Pittsburgh-based dance company the mums (Moms) throw hissy fits toddlers would be proud of and the dancers will do anything to get to the top of Abby's dance pyramid (it's a strop-fest – they make for good telly). Although, y'know, we do worry (a bit). Some of these women make Natalie Portman in Black Swan look well-balanced.
Sue Sylvester demands complete loyalty from her 'Cheerios' and has regularly stooped to intimidation, blackmail and threats of violence to secure her (almost) annual prize, the National Cheerleading Championship. As she says: 'Children need to be terrified, it's like mother's milk to them.' Calm down, Sue. Stop pulling that face. Meanwhile, Abby is the consummate perfectionist who makes her kids learn a completely new routine for weekly competitions on the National Dance circuit (as anyone who had a dance mum will tell you: that is HARD). Plus she's also been known to use risqué moves and skimpy costumes to help them stand out. Is that cheating? That might be cheating.
That said, we've seen no evidence of violence from our Abby (although the mums get pretty fighty backstage and do sabotage to the odd costume here and there, unstitching sequins and such). Instead, her 'pyramid system' pits the students against each other so they'll fight to be the best and reach the top of the triangle. As Abby explains: 'You need to stand next to the best girl and kick your leg higher, there's nothing better than a little rivalry.'
And what about name-calling? Sue's got Sue's favours 'gay Clark Kent' and 'Tweedle fake boobs' while Abby throws the odd 'ding dong' at the kids on camera. And favourites? Sue has highly strung Becky but it used to be Quinn – before she got knocked up. Abby's an unashamed advocate of pint-sized star Maddie who has scarily high buns and ponytails and gets given most of the solos (cue "the face" from the mums who are not Maddie's mum).
Sue used to have a slot on the local news, 'That's How Sue 'C's' It', has apparently posed for Penthouse and also auditioned for Baywatch. Abby Lee is a regular on shows such as The View and Good Morning America. Not quite the same but stick with us here, the evidence is completely mounting, honest.
CONCLUSION: the evidence weighs up. And not only do we reckon Sue Sylvester would approve of Abby's collision course with the other stars of the show (the mums), we reckon Abby would approve of the William McKinley High School cheerleading squad. We should ask her about that. Although, frankly, we're a little bit scared to.