At first, I had little interest in watching Cheer, Netflix’s smash docuseries about competitive junior college cheering, in its second season. It’s not due to a lack of quality. The first season was a mesmerising mix of drama, athleticism, and victory, replete with real-life cheerleaders — a brilliant troublemaker, a gem in the rough, a charming second-stringer, a dedicated rookie, a superstar — and a cold, relentless coach who looked tailor-made for television.
It was fantastic.
But I also observed as characters from my favourite docuseries rose to fame in real life. It’s what a lot of reality TV stars go through. As soon as they appear on television, the fans begin to flock around them. The program’s popularity grows, sponsorship agreements pour in, and instead of their lives becoming the show, the show becomes their life.
It becomes much worse in Cheer’s situation. Jerry Harris, the first season’s star, was arrested by the FBI in September 2020 for allegedly soliciting child pornography. Harris was charged on further allegations in December of that year, saying that he solicited youngsters to give him sexually explicit films and images of themselves.
Nonetheless, a buddy encouraged me to watch, and I quickly became fascinated. The programme had morphed into something completely different. Cheer’s second season is laser-focused on how celebrity has damaged America’s cheering sweethearts, rather than demonstrating skill. It turns out that even a modest dose of notoriety can transform heroes into villains, friends into foes, and winning seems like losing.
Navarro becomes too famous too soon
The most daring decision taken by creator Greg Whiteley in the second season was not to downplay the show’s influence. Its popularity didn’t come by accident, and the initial episodes demonstrate how well-liked coach Monica Aldama and the youngsters were. Kendall Jenner and JJ Watt of the Arizona Cardinals football team were among others they met. They received a ,000 grant from Ellen to expand their gym, as well as a hug from Oprah.
They’ve established large Instagram followings, and some are making money on Cameo. On the 29th season of Dancing With the Stars, Aldama competed.
It’s easy to understand why so many youngsters choose to come back for a second chance by reading between the lines.
A lot of the work is done through their scripted comments to media sources, on social media, and on the series about Navarro College being “a great place.” They’re back in Navarro because it’s a surefire way to make money, and any young person would be foolish not to take advantage of the prospective sponsorships, notoriety, and riches that a successful second season would bring.
Coach Monica and Navarro College were first promoted as a feel-good narrative akin to The Blind Side. Her programme, which leads the two-team junior college division, was portrayed as a lifeline for some troublesome teenagers, perhaps assisting them in escaping shattered families and tough streets and enrolling in college. While there are valid concerns about putting young, vulnerable individuals in physically painful settings, the show’s premise focused on the emotional and physical toll it takes to attain greatness.
Fame, on the other hand, alters the equation.
It transforms the Navarro storey into something altogether different. When you understand that the kids didn’t return because they needed a life lesson or Coach Monica’s punishment, it doesn’t seem as pure or as nice. Perhaps they just needed to cash in on another season before their celebrity faded. When team members who weren’t included in the first season are interviewed this time, the acidic animosity is practically palpable. It doesn’t take many episodes for some of the team members’ personal tales to be directed at the camera.
In the season one conclusion, it seemed that a second season was in jeopardy since Varsity Spirit, the company in charge of major cheering competition coverage, did not seem to like Navarro being recorded for the first season. Varsity did not give Netflix’s crew entrance to the National Championship, but spectators took film of Navarro’s performance.
Another significant concern was whether the programme will be renewed in light of the severe child abuse allegations levelled against actor Jerry Harris. Without examining Harris’ inquiry and having team members and Aldama speak out about it, the second season of Cheer would be untruthful and probably wouldn’t happen. While the programme deals with it directly, the characters on it sometimes falter.
The show is therefore no longer about the cheerleading squad, but rather about how difficult it is to wield celebrity.
It’s tough to relate with Coach Monica when she complains about her life and the hate she receives on social media because of her tremendous popularity and good wealth.
As is customary, her sudden celebrity has come with it, newfound detractors. She comes off as someone who is unaware of the kind of renown, status, and goodwill she has amassed in such a short period of time. It’s always a challenging, even alienating experience to see someone obtain what they — and many other people — desire and struggle with it.
Coach Monica’s acceptance of a Dancing With the Stars invitation is the series’ make-or-break moment. She keeps her colleagues in the dark in order to keep her involvement a secret, which is reasonable. Sure. However, according to a few interviews with her crew, she was unavailable throughout the shooting, which destroyed their faith in her. In her absence, Kailee Peppers, a new assistant coach, establishes her authority. Aldama opted for the show and the associated status over coaching her squad. The promise of “coming to cheer for Coach Monica” was all but shattered at that point.
Monica claims she couldn’t adequately cope with the upsetting and frustrating child porn charges against Jerry Harris due to her Dancing with the Stars weariness and limelight. The fifth episode of the second season gives voice to the twin boys who claim Jerry sexually attacked and forced them, as well as interviews with their mother.
Monica, we’re informed from the beginning of the series, is concerned about each of her children and trains them to be decent people. Jerry’s claimed actions throws into doubt her connection with him. Monica’s answer, in the face of accumulating evidence against Jerry and additional indictments, is to gripe about how she’s being bullied on social media, rather than expressing genuine worry about the serious allegations Jerry is facing and the safety of the children who were allegedly involved.
The caring coach seemed to be dismissing the event with an “I don’t know.”
Season two of Cheer is an unvarnished look at how that payoff can bring its own set of problems. If season one was about to sacrifice — physical injury, pared-down social lives, moving to a nowhere town in Texas, relentless practises — season two is an unvarnished look at how that payoff can bring its own set of problems.
Enter: Trinity Valley
In Trinity Valley Community College, Navarro’s biggest adversaries, the second season of Cheer benefits from having underdogs to cheer for. They’re virtually presented as villains in the first chapter, the only squad that stands in the way of Navarro’s destiny. They’re back now, reloaded with a solid rookie class, but without Navarro’s flash, glamour, or Ellen DeGeneres’ $20,000 facility renovation.
It’s easy to cheer for Jada Wooten, a TVCC veteran who wants to knock down Navarro’s Instagram-famous Goliath in her last year. This time, it’s a make-or-break situation for Jada. She takes it upon herself to motivate her comrades, deliver pep speeches, and convert TVCC into a family.
She’s coach Vontae Johnson’s right-hand lady, and she seems to be a sharp contrast to Monica. He is credited by Jada and her colleagues for assisting them in becoming better athletes. Vontae points out that Navarro has his choice of polished athletes who are ready to compete (a television programme may assist with that), while he looks for individuals with the greatest potential.
That includes teaching Jada how to break through her mental barrier and training the “Weenies,” a gang of super-talented young men who defy gravity, to perform. The Weenies’ main issue is that, despite their incredible tumbling, they’re obsessed with seeming manly and refuse to grin or sass as cheerleaders are meant to.
The remaining part of the season revolves upon whether Vontae and his sidekick coach Khris Franklin can mould this squad into a national champion and overcome their more well-known competitors.
At times, it appears as if the Trinity Valley squad was designed in a laboratory to be the ideal foils and underdogs to the Navarro juggernaut. Trinity Valley unfurls its raggedy carpets before every session, whereas Navarro has a fresh stage. Gabi Butler, Navarro’s starlet, is well-known on Instagram, but Jada is less well-known. Navarro’s senior bunch understands how to win, while Trinity Valley is counting on newcomers like Angel Rice. It’s thrilling television, and because the programme has given Navarro enough leeway to turn them into villains, it’s difficult not to cheer for Trinity Valley in their national championship matchup.
What’s odd about this is that the whole series emphasises that everything is too wonderful to be true. Fame is cyclical; it deflated Navarro, and Trinity Valley is next in line to become a superstar.
The spotlight has an eerie way of exposing secrets and putting characters to the test in ways that Trinity Valley has yet to experience. Celebrity ruined Navarro’s feel-good tale, and there’s no reason to believe TVCC won’t suffer the same fate.