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The Hollywood Insider Cheer Season 2 Review

Photo: Cheer Season 2

‘Cheer’ season 2 is doing what many other shows cannot, evolving without completely reinventing. Perhaps this is thanks to the competitive nature and premise of the show, a drama series about competitive cheerleading, and the amount of surprising skill and dedication that goes into perfecting the sport. And yes, the characters and creators classify the bone-tiring, technique-dependent, and highly competitive actions of the protagonist cheerleaders as a sport. Especially with new prestigious spots opening up on the team, the fighting for said coveted spot gets fiercer as the season progresses. The production team has to not only consider this but also find an accurate and realistic way to capture the past two years of the careers and lives of the different rosters. 

The new roster includes Jerry Harris, Lexi Brumback, Gabi Butler, Monica Aldama and Morgan Simianer who are all various athletes competing on the show. 

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Cheer Season 2: Gracefully Handles Harris Allegations

The show was not intended to become a hit or fan-favorite but it became a Netflix sensation that held high demand to create drama, emotion, and action in every episode. Unfortunately, it could follow in the same path as season 1, tracking the Texas Navarro College athletes when one of the team’s breakout stars faced serious allegations for misconduct. Thankfully, the show took an entirely new and equally exciting turn that yes, stepped away from the original gameplan, but introduced one that fans would be unable to resist. 

The show doesn’t completely neglect this however, it addresses the importance and relevancy of such issues while also segueing to the future of cheer, primarily the April 2021 NCAA College Nationals in Florida. They speak of the arrest of member Jerry Harris and then build backward from that timeline.

 In fact, an entire episode is dedicated to Harris, with interviews and accounts of his allegations and specific occurrences. It allowed the story to be truthfully told and more than that it gave those that were affected by his actions a platform to feel what they feel, get the redemption they deserve. Those affected were not victims, instead ‘Cheer’ made this an example of a very real systemic issue in the cheerleading and collegiate sports world, inviting a discussion that often gets overheard. 

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Introduction of Rivals and Emotional Conflict Between Cheer Teams

The show was not intended to become a hit or fan-favorite but it became a Netflix sensation that held high demand to create drama, emotion, and action in every episode. But with the allegations amongst other problems, the show took an entirely new and equally exciting turn that yes, stepped away from the original gameplan, but introduced one that fans would be unable to resist. 

Most primarily, the second season is focused on the crosstown rivals of Navarro. Because they’ve constantly been the “other team” in every stage and competition, from what we’ve seen in the archives and season one’s finale, this angle is not only appreciated but much expected. The newfound focus on rivals, Trinity Valley Community College, means we get to see the characters not just for who they are in uniform, but outside of it too. Season 2 is about the people behind cheer, the emotions, and stories, something that rang more true and impactful than a season ago. The production team did a great job of stylistically foiling the two schools, their makeup, and design furthering the idea that they are rivals, archenemies in the cheer world forever. 

The strength of this season of ‘Cheer’ lies in its zooming in on the commonalities and similarities between the different teams and members on each team. It is less about a diametric opposition of rivals, friends, and dedicated cheer members, instead, it is about the common goals, fears, and struggles each team experiences. Especially with the terminology and rhythmic lessons that audience members were familiarized with last season, season 2 is not just more enjoyable, but also easier to digest and understand. 

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Concerns of an Athlete on a Show Like ‘Cheer’

‘Cheer’ does a great job of tackling the nuances of such a broadcasted sports show that comes with lots of expectations. There is a great self-awareness of the lack of visibility or popularity that the athletes get on this show, and ‘Cheer’ does not pretend to be something it is not. However, they make sure to honor every athlete, every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears that is put into the production and actual routines and performances. Many of the returning team members and coaches are renewing their careers for the second or third time in the Corsicana gym and we get to honor their prowess and dedication to the sport. 

Emotional Strength of Season 2 of ‘Cheer’

Directors Greg Whitley and Chelsea Yarnell worked on many seasons of ‘Last Change U’ and hence were familiar with the dynamic a show like ‘Cheer’ required. Their awareness of the reality of having returning athletes on their show helps address the visibility issue mentioned above, and they dealt with the surrounding pressures accordingly. This thankfully just added to the interpersonal relationships between cast and crew, especially with the gap in filming caused by the pandemic there was lots of time to develop relationships and strengthen the emotional chords of the show. 

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‘Cheer:’ Hit or Miss?

This season took a major leap, incorporating a handful of new elements and plotlines, but it all came to fruition when it became a major success. Strengths included their ability to create an entirely new season with new content but one that was still rooted in the foundation of cheer. Also, direct footage from Daytona was used, instead of putting together footage from iPhone quality angles and cameras, something that increased the quality of production. 

They also had a two-part finale to the season, just like the first season, and it culminated episodes of stress, anxiety, and toil into a bittersweet and moving conclusion about the unique experience cheer offers. It was chock full of memorable performances, attention to empathy and emotion, and important stories that command to be listened to. 

By Mireille Karadanaian

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “The Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard.

Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

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Author

  • Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story. 

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