New York City, NY — by Lucy McHugh
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
Content warning: This article contains references to sexual misconduct.
Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for “Cheer,” seasons one and two.
After two years, Netflix is finally back with another season of the popular docuseries “Cheer,” but it’s not the same feel-good story as season one. Season two has a much darker tone, highlighting the negative impacts that fame has had on the Navarro College Cheer Team.
Season two is defined by the complicating factors of fame, crime, and COVID-19, which clash with the light-heartedness of season one. However, the heaviness of the second season makes the show intriguing in a new way, showing how the simple, cheer-dominated environment at Navarro is ruptured by the darkness of reality.
The second season of “Cheer” is jam-packed with drama, making it just as binge-worthy as the first. It picks up in January 2020, showing how the lives of Navarro cheerleaders and their coach, Monica Aldama, have been transformed. The team appears on major television shows such as “The Today Show” and “Ellen,” interacts with celebrities at the Academy Awards and is constantly bombarded by crowds of fans. The popularity of the first season has clearly given the cheer teams an exciting taste of fame, but as the season unfolds, it is revealed that their success has also left them with a new set of problems to confront.
The high status of returning cheerleaders from season one creates a tense dynamic on the team as new cheerleaders try to fill in the gaps. Unlike in season one, there is a strong sense of pressure on the team to live up to the reputation they built in the previous season and to satisfy their expectant fans. The high stakes result in several outbursts during practice and dramatic altercations between team members.
The drama only gets more intense when the team steps off the mat. The breaking news regarding Jerry Harris’ arrest on federal child pornography and sexual misconduct charges sent shock waves through the Navarro cheer community, with its impact being amplified by head coach Monica’s absence. It is truly heartbreaking to watch the team struggle while Monica takes time off from coaching to film “Dancing With The Stars.” New and returning cheerleaders on the team feel abandoned by Monica, further fracturing an already broken team culture.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.