Anyone who’s even passingly familiar with the story around Netflix’s Emmy-winning series Cheer won’t be surprised at why the just-released Season 2 doesn’t have the same vibe this time around.
In fact, a Google search box pretty succinctly explains why, or partly why. Start typing “Cheer,” and almost right away the search engine will autocomplete it to read “Cheer Jerry Harris.” That’s a reference, of course, to the disgraced former Navarro College cheerleader and breakout star of the series’ first season. He was arrested in late 2020 on a federal child pornography charge, with additional charges against him tacked on later. Needless to say, it was a stunning turn of events. Moreover, it also ensured that the show’s sophomore season — which is already the #1 show on Netflix at the moment — would be released under something of a cloud.
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Harris was the cheer team’s hype man, known for his enthusiastic pep talks. His star rose prominently enough that President Biden had an online video conversation with him during the 2020 campaign. To say nothing of Harris’ red carpet appearances and other celebrity encounters. Cameo even added Harris to its platform, as another way of tapping into fan interest.
But it’s not just the Harris scandal that gives Cheer’s second season much more interesting texture and narrative cross-currents this time around….