Paris, 2022-01-14 15:07:02. ‘Cheer’ returns on Netflix after the team’s major highs and lows
NEW YORK – When we last saw the Navarro Community College cheerleaders on Netflix, it was on the last episode of the documentary series “Cheer. They just won an NCA National Championship in the College Prep division and celebrate a tradition where champions run in the ocean.
Then came fame. The main cast, including trainer Monica Aldama, became overnight celebs outside of the glamor community, some of which were already well known. They appeared on talk shows including ‘Ellen’ Taken for Photoshoot and Aldama was a contestant on ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
Gabe Butler, an occasional student from Navarro who returns to compete with the team, was already a star in the cheer world, but was still amazed at the show’s success.
“No one expected the show to be so big, and I think that kind of surprised everyone. It was like, oh, wow. We thought only fans would watch this.”
The star stand out was Jerry Harris, a messy, geeky, and enthusiastic member of the team known as “mat talk,” shouting for his teammates’ encouragement. His mother died of cancer when he was a teenager and his mother is a group of cheerful mothers in suburban Illinois, where he is. A dear member of the team, Harris wasn’t good enough to compete in the championship. In a surprising development, Harris was called to the carpet after another teammate was injured. In Film Gold, he helped lead the team to their victory.
It was cut short to September 2020 and Harris was indicted on federal charges relating to pedophilia in pornography. He is accused of soliciting sex from minors in cheerleading contests and persuading teenage boys to send themselves sexually explicit photos and videos. Harris remains in prison awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts.
We didn’t know at the time, but the cameras had been rolling on Nabarro’s cheer squad since shortly after the first season was released. They captured the sudden explosion of fame, much to the chagrin of their teammates who were basically only visible as background players.
The second season of “Cheer” is now showing on Netflix as we see what happened next, including a season abruptly cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, weeks before the tournament. The cameras are back for the next 2020-2021 school year to pick up where they left off.
Surprisingly, in season two, the show follows not only Navarro but their main rival – the cheerleading squad at Trinity Valley Community College, less than an hour away.
Cheer creator director Greg Whiteley said, “We were fortunate that two of the greatest college cheer squads in cheer history live only 30 miles from each other. It was just kind of a no-brainer, I guess, to go and spend some The time with Trinity Valley is in addition to the time we were already spending with Navarro.”
Each school had a designated filming crew, and Whiteley bounced between them. He hopes that viewers will be invested in both schools.
“I felt the storytelling would get better…whereas you were not bullied for rooting against one over the other or for one over the other, but instead, when you arrived at that moment in Daytona, when the judgment was to be served, I felt torn apart.”
At this time, Trinity Valley’s head coach was Fontay Johnson, a former Trinity Valley cheerleader. His assistant coach was Chris Franklin, who was previously Johnson’s coach. (They have since become co-trainers.) The two are yin and yang and the best in their outlook towards Navarro. Where Johnson does not back down from his stinging criticism of Navarro, especially coach Aldama, Franklin is more pragmatic. He loves Aldama and says that they exchange pleasantries when they see each other at competitions.
Whiteley hopes viewers will try not to do an internet search for what happens when the school competes head-to-head in Daytona.
“It’s much better if you go to that eighth and ninth episode, not knowing what happened.”
Johnson says Trinity Valley was approached for filming prior to season one but they weren’t interested because they worried it would be a distraction to the team. After “Cheer” debuted on Netflix, they revisited the second season. “We thought it would be a good opportunity because the way they portrayed athletes in season one, they captured sports and all the great things about our sport.”
Franklin adds, “Because this opportunity was given to me by a college in the street, I think it was really great that we could give our children the same opportunity.”
Although there is an episode in season two dedicated to the allegations against Harris, one thing viewers don’t see is the Navarro team’s reaction as a whole to the news. This wasn’t a creative decision, Whiteley says, but COVID-19 protocols at the time didn’t allow them to be filmed.
“I hate that we weren’t there to shoot,” Whiteley said. “We got their accounts later where they tell us what happened and how Monica broke that news and how those meetings took place and how difficult it was for these kids. But we couldn’t see it because we were simply not allowed to film for obvious reasons.”
In an email, Aldama adds that any pain the team felt in reaction to Harris’ arrest pales in comparison to what his victims went through and my heart still goes out to them. I was proud of the team because they did their best in training every day and did what we needed to do physically because It was emotionally difficult.”
Overall, says Aldama, viewers will see how the Navarro team managed to stay focused in the gym despite all the challenges they faced.
“We filmed during a time that was very difficult for everyone – definitely one of the toughest years of my career – so there are moments in the series that are rough and rough because you see them in real time. But we learn through the hard times in life, and in the series you also see the strong and resilient character of our athletes.” As a coach and leader, I’m not always perfect, but I believe it’s important to stay positive and take every challenge as an opportunity to grow.
Johnson is apprehensive about the idea of you becoming famous because of the show, and he wants to bring attention back to the team.
“I don’t want it to be about me,” Johnson said. “I want it to be about the team. I was going to do my job regardless.”
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