"The boldest move that creator Greg Whiteley made in the second season is not shying away from the impact of the show," says Alex-Abad Santos. "Its success didn’t happen in a vacuum, and the first episodes really show you how popular coach Monica Aldama and the kids became. They met Kendall Jenner and Arizona Cardinals football player JJ Watt. They were given $20,000 on Ellen to upgrade their gym and got to hug Oprah. They’ve amassed massive followings on Instagram and some are raking in dollars on Cameo. Aldama was a contestant on the 29th season of Dancing With the Stars. It’s not hard to read in between the lines and see why so many kids decided to come back for another go. Some of their rehearsed responses to media outlets, on social media, and recorded on the series about Navarro College being 'a special place' do a lot of the work. They’re back in Navarro because it’s a meal ticket, and any young person would be an idiot not to take advantage of the possible endorsements, celebrity, and windfall that would come with a successful second season. Initially, Coach Monica and Navarro College were portrayed as a Blind Side-like feel-good story. Her program, which dominates the two-team junior college division, was depicted as a lifeline for some troubled teens, possibly helping them to get away from broken homes and rough streets, and into college. While there are legitimate questions about what it means to take young, vulnerable people and put them in physically punishing situations, the show’s story was one of the mental and physical sacrifice it takes to achieve greatness. Fame empirically changes that equation. It turns the Navarro narrative into something else entirely. It doesn’t feel as pure or as good when you realize that maybe the kids didn’t come back because they needed a life lesson or Coach Monica’s discipline. Maybe they just needed to cash in on another season before fame runs out. You can almost taste the acidic resentment from team members who weren’t featured on the first season when they’re interviewed this time around. It doesn’t take that many episodes for some of those team members to pivot their personal stories toward the camera." ALSO: Trinity Valley Community College coaches are satisfied with their squad's portrayal in Cheer Season 2.
TOPICS: Cheer, Netflix, Reality TV