I was a bit reluctant to start Season Two of Netflix‘s CHEER, not because I didn’t love the first season, but because I remember having a very hard time leaving it all behind. I fell in love so much with Coach Monica Aldama and the Navarro College Cheer Team so much that I felt sad with the Series ending on such a high note. Like millions of other fans who were drawn into Greg Whiteley‘s phenomenal Docu-Series, I followed all my favourites on Social Media and still am following them, eager to see where life has brought them since Season One brought them so much recognition. But alas, catching-up again with them was well worth it.
CHEER Season Two goes to some dark places in which the first season only began to scratch the surface. Many of these talented athletes come from a deep place of unhappiness in their life journeys and cheerleading has given them an all-or-nothing outlet and purpose. But after finding fame with the success of Season One and winning Daytona’s National Cheerleading Championship in 2019, some of Navarro‘s stars have gone on to do some lucrative things. Aldama for one competed on Dancing with the Stars and released a Memoir. Some of the athletes landed high-profile gigs in modelling and TV. But opportunity has created a strain on some of the deep familial bonds between Aldama and the team and Whiteley explores this. Add to this the 2020 National Cheerleading Championships being cancelled amidst the pandemic, meaning a full year of practice went in vain, plus former team member Jerry Harris set to go on trial for sexual assault and child pornography charges, life hasn’t been the happy ending we got last time.
Whiteley takes us right up to the 2021 National Cheerleading Championships and with that, we see some team members move on to new things in their lives and some new promising athletes enter the picture. But more than ever, we see Aldama and the team faced with some difficult challenges. For one, they no longer are the underdog. We meet Navarro Cheer’s toughest opponent in Trinity Valley Community College‘s Cheer Team, which now is under the guidance of Vontae Johnson, who is tough as nails and driven to win. We get some of the stories of this team, including the talented Jada Wooten who goes on a bit of a growth journey in her time with the team. She’s full of fire but her journey becomes about channeling it. And with this, the team and Aldama must overcome this bit of a rough patch, including some internal feuding and power struggles. The emotions run strong and we see Aldama and the team at their most vulnerable. Whiteley really does a phenomenal job seeing this through the bigger lens, asking the tough questions, and is there to confront them. There are tears, gray area and in that, authenticity.
This second season gets a bit more time over nine episodes to tell this phase in Navarro Cheer‘s story, capturing the bright, shiny veneer of this young adrenaline-packed sport, but also the complex feelings in these big personalities, keeping us invested. We genuinely feel for Aldama and her team and live to see them thrive once again. It would be cruel not to have a third season of this.
CHEER Season Two is streaming now on Netflix.
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