Netflix’s Cheer Returns for Season Two

by John Downey '23 on January 29, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Netflix’s Cheer Returns for Season Two

The Hit Series’ Hopeful Message

Talia Rueda ’23

The new season of Netflix’s Cheer was released on Wednesday, Jan. 12 and quickly reached the top of the streaming platform’s “most watched in the US today” list. It offers a new view of the world of cheerleading as well as inspiring insights on the top two cheer teams in the United States: Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College. Due to their athletes’ intriguing lifestyles and determination, these teams are notorious in the world of cheer.

One notable difference between season one and season two of Cheer is the latter’s attention to Trinity Valley, who are the rivals of Navarro College and were not as represented in season one. The teams’ near-equal screen time emphasizes the similar ways in which they prepare to take on the competition in Daytona Beach, FL. This approach not only adds a new significance to the ways in which both squads devise techniques intended to help them take the top spot in the world of college cheerleading, but also sheds light on commonalities between the cheerleaders on the different teams, such as their similar lifestyles and struggles.

Many of the cheerleaders on both teams come from broken households and have faced everything from financial issues to the incarceration of family members. Although such conditions are certainly tragic in any circumstances, they pose a significant challenge to competitive cheerleaders: cheerleading is an expensive sport that often requires athletes to join multiple teams at once, participate in competitions, and travel extensively. Many of the Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College cheerleaders struggle to pay for these necessities in the sport.

Cheer explores these challenges, but also how athletes are able to overcome them. One cheerleader who undergoes such a journey is Maddy Brum, who joins the Navarro squad in season two. Throughout the season, several of Brum’s team members and coaches reiterate her talent, admiring how she can tumble, fly, and dance, a combination of skills that not everyone on her team possesses. Brum’s upbringing consisted of moving from house to house while her dad was incarcerated and dealing with worsening financial issues. 

These struggles, however, did not stop her from cheering: her home gym knew that she struggled with a difficult home life and could not afford to pay for a cheerleading career on her own, but her coaches, recognizing that her talent was undeniable, provided her with a safe and accessible experience.

Stories such as Brum’s are what make Cheer so important; they not only illustrate the ways in which cheerleaders use the sport as an outlet, but also how cheerleading gives them a sense of importance, community, and purpose. Indeed, the experiences of many of the cheerleaders featured in both seasons one and two of Cheer demonstrate that cheerleading has offered them the family dynamic that they were never given. Monica Aldama, who coaches the Navarro team strives to create a positive community for her team. Throughout the series, several of her cheerleaders reiterate that Aldama is like the mother they never had: not only does she give them the foundations and coaching necessary for them to have a future in cheerleading, but also those necessary for them to have stable lives.

In season one of the show, a cheer professional comments that “the cheer world is very insular,” meaning that famous cheer teams and cheerleaders are only known by other cheer teams rather than by the public at large. Cheer offers America a closer look at this world and, in exploring how the sport has given many athletes who face hardships stable and successful futures, which they might not otherwise have, offers an inspirational story of hope.

TV Preview: Euphoria

by The Cowl Editor on December 11, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

TV Preview: Euphoria

The Hit Show Will Soon Return for a Much-Anticipated Second Season

Nikki Idelson ’22

The Euphoria season two trailer is finally here and, from the looks of it, the new season of the hit show will be even more dramatic and action-filled than the first one. For those unfamiliar with Euphoria, it follows the lives of six high school-aged characters, Rue, Jules, Nate, Maddy, Cassie, and Kat, whose individual lives, especially their issues related to matters of violence and addiction, intertwine with one another. The main character of the show is Rue, played by Zendaya, who struggles with mental health and addiction throughout the series. 

Fans have been waiting quite some time for the show’s return. The first season aired back in the summer of 2019, with only a special episode released at the end of 2020 that, while offering fans some answers about the last episode of season one, left many questions unanswered. 

The upcoming season will hopefully address many of these questions, although the trailer does not give much away. It does suggest, however, that the new episodes will deal with issues such as violence, partying, and trauma, with a scene depicting what is seemingly a police raid indicating the severity of the situations the characters will find themselves in. 

Many of the characters from the first season will return alongside some new faces. These new characters are certain to become fan favorites, as many of the actors who portray them are already well-known in the entertainment industry. According to Elle, they include: “Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly, who will portray a drug-addicted housewife, along with Indie singer Dominic Fike and rapper Lil Meech.” 

Zendaya commented on the new season in a Teen Vogue article. She found that her character “represents a lot for so many people.” When pressed for details about the nature of the issues the Euphoria characters will grapple with overcoming this season, the actress remained vague, responding, “it’s gonna be hard and it’s gonna be devastating sometimes.” 

Such realistic depictions of struggle are one of the main reasons fans found themselves drawn to the first season of the show, since many felt that they were able to relate to at least one of the issues that one of the six main characters faced. Needless to say, these fans are excited to see them return to the screen.

The new season of Euphoria will premiere on HBO Max on Jan. 9, 2022.