Cheer: Cheer (Netflix): Full Season
January 11, 2020 11:38 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

In the small town of Corsicana, Texas, hard-driving head coach Monica Adalma demands perfection from her squad of competitive college cheerleaders.

Can the college cheerleading team at Navarro College overcome injuries and team-members' baggage from childhood traumas to win their 14th national title? This Netflix series is a conventional sports documentary, recognizing competitive cheerleaders as extraordinary athletes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this the season where Rebecca starts dating Robin Colcord?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:55 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

I tried to watch this but after about 20 minutes, I just couldn't take another iteration of someone saying 'It's really important that everyone work together as a team.' Have you watched more episodes? Does it get less repetitive?
posted by jacquilynne at 12:25 PM on January 11

I watched the whole thing. I'm not sure why, but I found it pretty watchable, although I wasn't as into it in the first episode. There's still a bit of repetition of the team stuff, but I think it gets more interesting as it goes on, and you learn more about a few of the specific cheerleaders on the squad. It feels less generic at that point.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:45 PM on January 11

I liked it a lot and agree that it got less repetitious as the series went on. But I thought there was some unexamined stuff having to do with race and sexuality (and the intersections of the two), and I would really like to see some smart criticism of the series.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:48 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

This was compelling but agree with others that some better discussion of race, sex, sexual preference, and class was really needed.
posted by k8t at 8:59 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Yes, agreed that they could have done a better job of examining those other issues. I also wish it examined a little more critically the physical/emotional cost to these young people involved in the sport. I know sports always have risk of injury, but one of the things that particularly bothered me was when Monica had that one cheerleader who threw out his back keep practicing as punishment for disobeying her.

I would really like to see some smart criticism of the series.

Yeah, I tried to do some googling for some reviews/critiques of the show, but couldn't find much that was coming at it from a more analytical perspective, but if anyone does find some smart criticisms of the series, I'd be interested in reading them.

I did find this review/critique from NPR, which at least gets into this a bit, but it's not a very in depth analysis.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:09 AM on January 12

Yeah, that's the best thing I've seen so far. But I guess I also wondered about the racial politics, in this very conservative small town, of having black young men participate in this sport that involves so much close physical contact with mostly-white young women. And in some ways, I wonder if the presumed queerness of the black young men in some ways mitigates the issues that could raise. We're invited to see Monica as progressive, despite her self-identification as a conservative Christian, because she refuses to condemn her gay male athletes. But I also wonder if the fact that the black male athletes appear mostly to be queer is, in some ways, less scandalous than it would be if they weren't presumed to be gay.

Anyway, I thought there was a ton to unpack there, but I also thought they did a really good job finding athletes to feature who were complex but also really likable. Even Gabi Butler, whom one would expect to be kind of awful, came off as a nice, hard-working kid who is completely exploited by her terrible family.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:17 AM on January 12

I was blown away by the athletic skill and at the same time worried about the students physical and emotional well-being. These young people are truly being pushed to the limit.

The first episode showed a few instances where students fell/were injured and other students were either admonished to focus or even punished. There did not seem to be any debriefing after that, like how did she fall? What happened and how can this be prevented in the future? Instead, push-ups for everyone.

There was also the scene in class, where the professor boasted of being a gun enthusiast and served "the cheer and basketball people who might not be from Texas" several cliches about the South without any qualification or serious examination. This is college, right? How are unexamined cliches appropriate in a college setting?

I do not think I can power through another episode - it's just too nerve-wracking to wait for the routine to end without anyone breaking their neck. And I find myself really disliking Monica, the coach.
posted by M. at 7:50 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I know this is real life, but I desperately want Tammi Taylor to come in and protect these kids.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:28 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I knew about the monopoly! My 12-year-old left gymnastics last year, and tried on competitive cheerleading. He really enjoyed stunting (he's small, and once or twice he got to "fly" when men from the local university cheer team came to practices), but felt underused in the choreography his team got, so he quit. He's diving, and looking into Trampoline & Tumbling.

One thing that struck me was the attitudes of the coaches at both gyms we checked out. Cheer is a really expensive sport, even though boys generally are not charged coaching fees because it's hard to get boys into cheerleading, but they want boys on the teams because there is less competition in the co-ed categories and teams are therefore, theoretically, more likely to win at the big meets if they compete co-ed.

The attitude really was " we do what's best for the team." When we tried to talk to coaches about my son feeling bored at practices and under-utilized in the routine, the response was that he couldn't expect to be placed on a higher-level team based on his excellent tumbling when he was new to the cheer part, and that he should be hang in there in the hope of being placed on a higher-level team next year. Or the year after. He was personally alarmed by the girls he met who had been competing at the same, relatively low level, for years.

It was weird being sort of stonewalled and told he had to, basically, pay his dues, in a sport that is very expensive and totally optional, if you know what I mean. They were essentially asking me to pay thousands of dollars, and my son to be bored, for some unknown number of years until he got a chance to really use his skills.

The monopoly means that there are some real money-grubbing aspects to it. I was especially taken aback by "stay-to-play" rules, which require that all the cheerleaders stay in certain hotels in order to participate in a meet in a certain town. For the occasional gymnastics meet that required us to stay overnight somewhere, we often stayed in Air B&Bs or inexpensive hotels just out of town—instead of staying at the high-priced affiliated hotels in downtown Chicago for a meet on Navy Pier, for instance, we'd get a cheap place forty-five minutes south of Chicago. The prospect of having to stay at a hotel with a conference rate of $150/night did not sit well with me.

I haven't actually watched this show yet, but will be interested to see it. One of my son's gymnastics coaches suggested that if he wanted a college athletic scholarship, cheerleading was a good way to go.

I did not know that statistic about injuries, but I'm not surprised.
posted by Orlop at 2:04 PM on January 15

So I was very into this for about the first fifteen minutes, and the kids are great, but - I found it too tough to watch by the end of the first hour? The kids more or less being exploited into destroying their bodies to escape their situations or to escape themselves, and all for what? Not even a shot at a pro career after college, just nothing. Like I get that there's a joy in performance and competition but this just seemed to have taken that to a really bad place.

Like others up thread I'd be very keen to read some smart criticism on the show.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:36 PM on January 18

I think the show intentionally showed that, though. I think a lot of the strength of it, for me, was the juxtaposition of the cliches about teamwork, about family, about things like that with the absolutely brutal physical exploitation. The coach talks about one young woman being willing to please, and the young woman talks about how Monica (the coach) is her family. Monica essentially talks about her like she's a commodity, and her vulnerability makes her more useful. It's really stark.

Anyway, I don't think the filmmakers missed the exploitation; I think they showed it. When it comes to injuries, though, if you're squeamish, it really doesn't get better.

I also appreciated throughout the series how they seemed to work hard to give the athletes a lot of respect and privacy. It was really humane and humanizing towards them.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:20 PM on January 20

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