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 11+
Based on 8 reviews

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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.


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. 


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.


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


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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomoftheyearr February 7, 2020
Adult Written byMartinmom January 19, 2020

Language warning

Love this series, but the language is def not limited to “rare use of bitch”. Lots of f bombs.
Teen, 13 years old Written byBluCheer22 November 23, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written byNunavut July 11, 2021

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Themes & Topics

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