After a successful premiere in early 2020, Netflix’s hit docuseries “Cheer” is officially back for its second season, which was released on Jan. 12.
Based in Corsicana, Texas, “Cheer” follows Navarro College cheerleading head coach Monica Aldama and her competitive team’s journey toward winning the Daytona Beach Championship.
In the first four episodes, audience members are brought into the cheerleaders’ worlds following their championship win in season one.
From Ellen DeGeneres appearances and $20,000 checks to interviewing high-profile celebrities on the red carpet and being a contestant on “Dancing With The Stars,” Navarro Cheer members were on the ride of their life.
They would soon find out fame came with a lot of expectations from the outside world.
Aldama, cheerleading queen Gabi Butler, mat-talk king Jerry Harris, sassy La’Darius Marshall and social media superstar Morgan Simianer were at the forefront of this unexpected fame.
Viewers are immersed in the trials and tribulations of Navarro Cheer, as they navigate through the pressures of repeating their victory all while keeping up with the amazing opportunities being presented to them.
One almost feels bad for Navarro as they are left in a position of, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
As the series aims to highlight the blood, sweat and tears that go into competing for a national championship, it also adds one more ingredient to the boiling pot: Trinity Valley Cheer.
Located in Athens, Texas, not far from Navarro, Trinity Valley, run by head coach Vontae Johnson, trained hard — if not harder than Navarro to once and for all attempt to remove their title of underdogs and snatch the championship title.
With Trinity Valley and Navarro being the only two colleges in their division, their rivalry is at an all-time high.
In each episode, the cameras switch back and forth between Navarro’s gym and Trinity Valley’s gym, which allows audience members to see the different elements each team brings to the mat, including training styles, choreography and, of course, different personalities.
One aspect that essentially brings the show together is the personal stories of the cheerleaders. From constantly moving to different houses to dealing with childhood abandonment, sexual abuse, homelessness and incarcerated parents, viewers can see that cheerleading is what keeps these teams going — and for some members, it is all they have.
As training continues, midway through the season the teams are hit with the news that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will cancel their entire season. This leaves both teams in utter shock and disappointment and feeling like their rigorous training and sleepless nights were in vain.
With the months passing by, Navarro and Trinity Valley prepare to return to training for the 2020-2021 season, but if Navarro thought COVID-19 was their worst nightmare, they thought wrong.
Just as they stepped back into the groove, breakout star Harris was arrested for child pornography in September 2020.
The series dedicated the fifth episode to Harris and the accusations filed against him. It is quite commendable that the producers of the series chose to include these aspects when they could have very easily stayed silent on the issue.
The episode invokes a gut-wrenching feeling from viewers as they hear Harris’ victims speak out. They can also sense the awkwardness and devastation Navarro members feel as they are stuck in the position of being a friend to Harris and not condoning his behavior. It almost feels like a funeral.
With this devastating yet uncomfortable news, Navarro had to push forward and stick to their goal of becoming a National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) national champion for the 15th time.
As the pandemic persisted, the cheerleaders battled through the strict guidelines of multiple COVID-19 tests and wore masks due to the high probability of team members testing positive. These aforementioned issues can resonate with viewers, especially athletes.
While the question remains as to whether or not Navarro will be able to continue their winning streak, there’s one thing that can be said about this series: “Cheer” is captivating and dives deep into competitive cheerleading, a sport that is widely overlooked and deserves more recognition.