“Cheer” season 2 has no competition


Photo via IMDb

After a two-year hiatus, the second season of Netflix’s “Cheer” was released on Jan. 12. The docuseries, made up of nine almost hour-long episodes, perfectly displays the ups and downs of cheerleading and handles the scandals in the cheer world with sensitivity.

“Cheer” follows the story of the cheerleading team at Navarro College in Corsicana, TX while they prepare for the largest cheer competition in the nation: the NCA national championship in Daytona, FL.

While season one focused solely on the preparations and team dynamics of the squad, season two focuses more on the effects of Navarro’s rise to fame, the effects of COVID-19 and their competitors at Trinity Valley Community College.

The effects of airing season one of “Cheer” was the biggest change between season one and two. In season one of the show, Navarro cheer was portrayed more as a small-town cheer squad and focused much more on the team dynamics and actual cheerleading. After their rise to fame though, the show shifted away from cheerleading a little and more toward the drama and stress that fame brought, like head coach Monica Aldama leaving abruptly for a TV show.

Since season two spans two years, the timeline was confusing at times. The first few episodes were filmed throughout 2019 and the beginning of 2020, but after COVID-19 shut everything down, the timeline jumps from March 2020 to the start of the next school year. This jump was a little hard to follow, especially after the majority of the team from the first part of season two was replaced by brand-new members.

Although the skip in the timeline was difficult to follow, it was interesting to see the original effects of COVID-19 from a different perspective. Not only was I able to see the effect on the college and the students, but also on the cheer world in general. In the episodes preparing for the 2021 competition, the cheerleaders talk about how COVID-19 affected them, their family lives and their team as a whole.

One of the largest scandals that happened in the “Cheer” community was the federal child pornography sex charges that Navarro cheerleader Jerry Harris faced. I heard about this news back in September 2020, right after watching season one of the show. When I first started watching season two, I was nervous that the producers and team may try to cover up the scandal, especially when the first few episodes still featured Harris. Instead, the producers dedicated a whole episode to address the situation where they interviewed people who were friends with Jerry along with the victims and their mother. I think that by including quotes from all sides of the story, the producers stayed unbiased in the telling of the story, which I appreciated.

My favorite aspect of the whole show was the focus on Navarro Cheer’s competitors, Trinity Valley Cheer in Athens, Texas. Another thing that made me reluctant to watch this show was my fear that this season would be far too similar to the first. By adding in TVCC’s perspective, I was able to form connections with both teams, which made it that much harder when one of them lost.

Although this season may seem a little intimidating because of its length, it didn’t feel like it because of how thorough and dramatic the show is. I would recommend “Cheer” to anyone who enjoys docuseries and who has some time to waste.