Review: ‘Cheer’ season two includes drama, tears, lots of tumbling

Photo courtesy of Netflix

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Before I begin this review, I would like to note that I have never done cheerleading a day in my life. However, two of my roommates are former cheerleaders and they kindly broke everything down for me in the most basic terms, which I believe truly helped me have a better appreciation for just how much goes into cheerleading.

If you have never heard of this show or know nothing about cheerleading, don’t stop reading yet. This review may still be of interest to you; I may even convince you to watch the show by the end.

“Cheer” is a Netflix docuseries that follows the Navarro College cheer team from Corsicana. This team is nationally ranked and has won 14 National Cheerleading Association national championships within its division. The first season followed this team and spoke briefly about its rivals, Trinity Valley Community College, but season two showed almost equal footage of the two teams.

As a fan of the first season, I didn’t really know what to expect going into the second season. So much has happened since season one aired in January 2020. The team has experienced COVID-19, fame, loss of teammates due to graduation and, most notably, the sexual abuse allegations against former team member Jerry Harris.

The first four episodes of season two are all shot pre-pandemic. This is something my roommates and I completely missed when watching the show at first. However, after we realized it, everything made so much more sense. I really enjoyed how in the first few episodes, we were introduced to new team members and really got to see how season one changed the team regarding their catapult to fame.

Getting to follow the lives of the team members feels personal and allowed me to connect with them more and appreciate how far they’ve come at the end of the season. In the end of episode four, the team is informed just 20 days before college nationals 2020 that the competition they have been training for since the previous year has been canceled. As a viewer, I felt bad for them. I can’t begin to grasp how difficult it was to be given such a major setback.

Emotionally, episode five was difficult to get through. I wasn’t surprised because I knew that it was coming, but it still left me shocked. In this episode titled “Jerry,” the Navarro team begins practicing again after a six-month hiatus due to COVID-19. Shortly after resuming their daily routine, they find out — along with the entire world — that their team member, Jerry Harris, has been sued by twin 14-year-old boys for sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and was arrested on charges involving child pornography. Shockingly, the boys, Charlie and Sam, appear on the episode and go into detail about their interactions with Harris.

Their retelling of events was gut-wrenching. They also discussed the aftermath of them coming forward and how their lives and place within the cheer community were impacted.

The concluding four episodes of the series focused on the team enduring setback after setback until they finally made it to the Rose Bowl of cheerleading, college nationals in Daytona. When they arrived, they received a lot of love from endearing fans and gave an amazing performance. Despite everything they faced, they still gave full effort and left it all on the mat. I was on the edge of my seat while watching their performance — I wanted them to win so badly.

In the last couple minutes, it was announced that a few members from the team would be returning for another year to try and take home the championship; a possible hint at season three? I think yes. I will definitely be tuning in.

Even if you think this show isn’t something that you would usually watch, still give it a try because you may surprise yourself. The cast members have their own unique backstories and upbringings, which makes it easier for everyone to find someone to relate to.