‘Cheer’ is back and better than ever // The Observer
It may be difficult, but if you can think back to January 2020 – a long time ago before the pandemic took over our lives, you might remember a little Netflix show called “Cheer”. Following a Texas community college cheer squad on its journey to the national championship in Daytona Beach, the docuseries catapulted its stars into the public eye and introduced the nation to the world of collegial encouragement. After two tumultuous years in which Navarro’s cheer squad struggled with their newfound fame and faced the news of disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct against one of the team’s most beloved members, “Cheer” is back with Season 2.
Upon first viewing, it’s obvious that “Cheer” is just a fun show to watch. There are awesome drops, high energy cheers and, honestly, a great soundtrack. Even if you don’t know anything about cheerleading (like me), by episode three you’ll feel like you’ve been part of an all-star team since you were born. The first season dealt with the basics of collegiate joy and intertwined Navarro’s journey to victory with moving and moving interviews about the lives of some of the team’s most notable members. Behind all the rhinestones and hair spray is an uphill struggle and a lot of pain, but the show maintained an optimistic tone – the message seemed to be that things would always get better.
In its first episodes, it seems that season 2 will go in the same direction. We see coach Monica Aldama (you might recognize her from her appearance on “Dancing With The Stars”) and her team practicing as usual, perhaps a little overwhelmed by their newfound stardom. When you have a hit show, it’s easy to try to follow the same formula with each subsequent season.
However, “Cheer” strays from the formula that made it famous, focusing slightly on Navarro’s rival school, Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC). It’s a bit risky, but it pays off. In Season 1, TVCC was little more than our Abby Lee Miller Dance Company’s rival college, the Candy Apple Dance Center (for all the “Dance Moms” fans out there). In season 2, however, TVCC is a full-fledged character in the series, and a good one at that. TVCC is the season’s underdog and despite playing the bad guy last time out, I often found myself torn, rooting for them more than the now rich and famous Navarro College. It’s a classic David and Goliath story, if only you already knew Goliath. There’s a noticeable contrast between Navarro’s stardom and the gritty, punchy TVCC, which brings us to one of Season 2’s most interesting themes.
“Cheer” season 2 is as much a show about cheerleading as it is about fame. In early episodes, the show places a close eye on Monica and the crew members lucky enough to make it into Season 1. Perfectly normal people find themselves greeted by hordes of screaming fans, thousands of dollars in contracts sponsorship and all television appearances. could dream. In one scene, we see a cheerleader doing Cameo videos for $50 apiece. A friend watches without a word, and the camera seems to ask: why her? There is nothing special about this girl. So why are people going to pay her for personalized videos? Just because they think they know his story? The question is unresolved, but the idea of modern fame is an ever-present theme in this season, asking exactly what it means to be a celebrity in today’s world.
Season 2 is basically two seasons unto itself. Pre-pandemic, the show retains its classic, upbeat yet emotional tone. But when we return after a year off, the episodes get noticeably grittier. Additionally, Episode 4, which deals with allegations of sexual misconduct against former teammate Jerry Harris, is a difficult but important watch, especially as it takes a closer look at the pervasive nature of such abuse in this sport.
That being said, “Cheer” Season 2 is a fantastic show. There are deep, heartwarming moments and heartbreaking setbacks. Watching the last episode, I held my breath, cried, and once cheered — “Cheer” has all the elements of a great sports story and proves that it’s definitely not just cheerleading.
With : Monica Aldama, Vontae Johnson, Gabi Butler, La’Darius Marshall
Favorite episodes: “Hell Week”, “Daytona Pt 1: Don’t Be That Guy”
If you liked: “Last Chance U”, “Sunderland Till I Die”
Where to watch: netflix
Clovers: 4 out of 5 clovers