TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Cheer TV Poster Image
Tough love mixes with competition and positive messages.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

A mixed bag. Viewers see a group of teens pushing themselves to the limit to reach a common goal, and there's some value to the character-building process of competition. Team dynamics are explored, and individuals wrestle with the balance between personal achievement and the good of the team. The coach encourages competition among the girls to inspire good performances, and she draws attention to individuals' failures in front of the group. On the other hand, she takes a genuine interest in their emotional well-being and makes sure they understand the reason behind her "tough love."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patty Ann doesn't sugar-coat criticism of the girls' performance or effort, and her harshness takes some getting used to. However, there are occasions in which she acts on her professed affection for her team members and shows that their emotional well-being is a priority for her. She demands a lot from them, but is still able at times to identify silver linings in subpar performances. As for the girls, as a group they exemplify determination, self-motivation, and, for the most part, cohesiveness.


Competitive cheerleading is a grueling sport, and occasionally the girls suffer bloody split lips, bruises, and other injuries in pursuit of their dreams.


Spandex costumes are form-fitting. Cheerleaders spend hours applying make-up and doing their hair for competitions, and it's a given that their physical appearances can affect the judges' scores.


"Ass," "damn," and "frickin'." Patty Ann also has some harsh catch phrases for her athletes, like "Put up or shut up."


The Central Jersey All-Stars gym gets plenty of publicity from the show. Brand names on drinks, snacks, and billboards are blurred.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults joke among themselves about drinking and taking Prozac to cope with Patty Ann's strict rules.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cheer is a reality series focused on the relationship between a strict professional coach and a cheerleading team as they work through a season's worth of competitions. As with Dance Moms, much of the show highlights the often-tense interactions between the demanding coach and her athletes, so there are many instances of the teens being brought to tears by her words. It's not all bad news, though, as Patty Ann also shows a softer side both to the camera and with her team, and it's clear that she's earned their respect because of how she balances her personal and professional relationships with them. Expect some language ("damn," "ass," "frickin'") and hot tempers among the teens, but overall this show leaves viewers with a positive impression of team dynamics, the value of competition, and the rewards earned by hard work and determination.

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What's the story?

CHEER gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of competitive cheerleading as it plays out in the gym of renowned coach Patty Ann Romero. Under her direction, the Central Jersey All-Stars have their sights set on national fame, but getting there will take hours of blood, sweat, and tears on the practice floor. As if a demanding coach isn't enough, these 20 elite athletes battle injuries, self-doubt, and even each other on their way to perfecting their craft and performing it in the sport's biggest arenas. But when the curtain falls and the competition's over, there's a surprising sense of family that exists among these team members and their tough-as-nails coach.

Is it any good?

On the surface, this reality series bears strong resemblance to the explosive Lifetime show Dance Moms, and Cheer's similar format and outspoken, scene-stealing coach seem destined to follow suit. Fortunately, though, Patty Ann is like Abby Lee-light, and she manages to show a fair amount of heart even while she's doling out the criticism to her athletes. Yes, there are plenty of pressure moments when she calls out an athlete for a poor performance or loses her temper over the team's lack of fight, but there are also a lot of instances in which she shows a softer side that clearly endears her to her team.

Cheer is a good compromise for families who like reality TV, but don't appreciate the consistently negative messages some of this genre's offerings resort to for high drama. There are good lessons in the show's presentation of competition, reminding viewers that both winning and losing are part of the process and that there's something to be learned from each experience. What's more, the teens are a mostly likable bunch, and the show focuses more on what makes them a strong team and less on the minor tiffs that arise among them. The bottom line? This is still a voyeuristic reality show that replays human drama for entertainment, but compared to most, it's a gentler version that's better suited to families of tweens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sport of cheerleading. Does this show change your impression of athletes in this sport? Does this show make competitive cheerleading seem like an appealing endeavor?

  • Tweens: What do you look for in a role model? What do you expect from a coach or mentor? How do you use disappointment to inspire you? 

  • Why are reality series like this one so popular among viewers? Does this show seem very realistic to you? Why is human drama so enticing? What, if anything, can be learned from watching shows like this?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality shows

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