Find the best for your family

See what's streaming, limit strong violence or language, and find picks your kids will love with Common Sense Media Plus.

Join now

Cheer

TV review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
Cheer TV Poster Image
Engrossing docuseries follows cheer team champions.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Never give up on your dreams. Mentors can change and save lives; find one and go as far as you can under their guidance. Let love and kindness open you up to new relationships and experiences. Mistakes can have serious consequences; but they don't define your worth as a person.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stern Coach Monica expects excellence and loves her "kids" fiercely. Passionate Jerry is infectiously enthusiastic. Shy and inexperienced cheerleader Morgan blossoms under Monica's mentorship. La'Darius is extremely talented, but abrasive; he grows into a kinder, more compassionate person. Lexi struggles to escape her past circumstances and thrives as a cheerleader. Characters diverse in terms of race and class. Intense pressure to conform to idealized body shapes, types, but overall focus is on exercise, athleticism; no disordered eating habits shown. Male cheerleaders have more freedom to be different weights/shapes than the women. Several cheerleaders portrayed are gay.

Violence

The risk of minor and major injuries is always present; concussions, strained muscles, broken bones, serious bruising, etc. cause cheerleaders great pain and distress; this may be stressful for some viewers. Sexual abuse and suicide are addressed in later episodes. 

Sex

Occasional shirtless, toned men and very thin, strong women in tight short shorts and sports bras, but it's not sexualized; always in context of cheerleading practice. Nudity referred to when a cheerleader's nude photos get posted online; police are involved, no photos shown.

Language

Rare use of "bitch" and "f--k."

Consumerism

Cheer-related businesses (Rebel, NCA, Varsity, etc.) are featured several times as a part of exploring different cheerleader's lives and the how cheerleading has evolved into an industry.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cheerleader is released from the team for assumed "illegal drug" possession or use; details are not given.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cheer is a Netflix docuseries about Navarro Community College's award-winning cheerleading team. Directed by Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U), the six-episode series focuses on the cheer team's rigorous preparation for their 2019 performance at Nationals. The coach, Monica, and a handful of team members get full backstories: Jerry, Morgan, La'Darius, Gabi, and Lexi come from different race, class, and sexual-identity backgrounds and are very different people, which makes them relatable and accessible as role models. Themes include perseverance, teamwork, personal growth, and the value of family and friendship. Scary falls/drops during practices result in concussions, sprains, broken bones, etc. A few moments of anger between cheerleaders are resolved appropriately, and parents will be pleased that the stereotypical meanness of cheerleaders is refreshingly lacking here. The cheerleaders don't wear much at practice -- bare midriffs and legs and muscular, sometimes shirtless men are common, but they're not sexualized. Language is rare but does include the use of "f--k" and "bitch." The show does address some darker themes as well, including drug use, suicide, and sexual abuse. 

Wondering if Cheer is OK for your kid?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomoftheyearr February 7, 2020
Adult Written byMarkNLa January 26, 2020

Pushes the Envelope on Physical Abuse

I believe the opportunity that some of these kids have been given is great and they all great in their own way. Where it crosses the line for me is it’s almost... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymangelax January 26, 2020
Teen, 17 years old Written bybrunsash000 January 18, 2020

What's the story?

CHEER opens at the start of the 2019 spring semester, as the Navarro Community College cheer team is gearing up for Nationals, where they will be the defending champions. Navarro, located in tiny Corsicana, Texas, attracts top cheerleaders from all over the country who want to train under Coach Monica Aldama, who has thirteen national championships under her belt. Episodes consist of scenes from cheer practices as the team learns their Nationals routine alternated with interviews and backstories of Coach Monica and five of the team members. There's likable Jerry, whose family tragedy inspires him to be his best, Morgan, who finds the "family" she's never had at Navarro. Gabi, a cheerleader of social media fame, La'Darius who survived abuse and bullying to become one of the best cheerleaders anywhere, and Lexi, a high school dropout struggling to do the right thing. The final episode at Nationals in Daytona Beach reveals whether or not all of their hard work and sacrifices pay off.

Is it any good?

This surprisingly captivating docuseries about a team at the top of its game will delight cheer-loving viewers and convert the cheer-averse. The alternating scenes of cheer practices and performances and the life stories of compelling personalities in Cheer invest the viewer from the very first episode. It's also very balanced. Coach Monica's strong persona doesn’t dominate the show. The young people really do shine here, and viewers will find themselves invested in their (and the teams') success. Stakes are established early: risk of major injury and the fact that only twenty of the forty cheerleaders will be selected to be "on mat" at Nationals makes the show pleasingly suspenseful.

A missed opportunity: going deeper into the important issues of LGBTQ discrimination and financial barriers to cheering, which are raised, but not given the deep attention they deserve. Other than that, the story is structured so well that as the competition nears, the tension and anxiety swells to near-panic levels for the cheerleaders and viewers of the show. The result of Nationals is as emotional as it gets in documentaries, but by the time the viewer gets to the end, many tears may have already been shed -- this show pulls at the heart all the way through and may even convert new fans to the sport.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Kids can talk about the different backgrounds the cheerleaders in Cheer are from. Which stories did you find most moving or relatable? How do these young adults change over the course of the series? Why do you think they make these changes?

  • Talk about the character strengths the cheerleaders show, like teamwork and perseverance. What are some that you have had to develop in order to succeed or overcome an obstacle?

  • There's a big risk of injuries that are involved in cheerleading. Why do you think it's worth the risk for the cheerleaders on the show? 

TV details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love sports

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate