Netflix just released the six-episode documentary series Cheer and it has really opened people's eyes about cheerleading. Anyone who tuned in expecting reality TV-style drama or high school clichés got another thing coming. Director Greg Whiteley’s Netflix docuseries goes deep with several team members in Navarro's cheer program in Corsicana, Texas.
So how do those new Netflix stars feel about the cheerleading show? Most of them have posted to social media promoting the documentary series, either looking back fondly on their Navarro cheer team and Daytona experiences or still actively cheering at Navarro.
Led by coach Monica Aldama, the team's featured standouts including Gabi Butler -- who was already a "cheer-lebrity" before Netflix's Cheer -- but also Morgan Simianer, Lexi Brumback, Jeremiah Harris, and more.
Gabi Butler is seen as a leader in Netflix's Cheer, and on Instagram she shared an emotional reaction to walking down memory lane. Cheer showed her leaving for other opportunities but her two years there gave her such joy, as you can see and read:
Gabi Butler gave a shout-out to Monica Aldama and also Netflix for making "this amazing series" to highlight their sport.
However, not everything on Cheer was interpreted in a positive light. Gabi Butler asked fans to "stop with the negativity" toward her parents, who were also featured on the Netflix series:
Gabi Butler also gave personal shoutouts to several Navarro cheerleaders featured in Netflix's Cheer, including Morgan Simianer:
Netflix's Cheer showed Morgan's dark past. She said social media can lead people to think her life is perfect, but she had a tough upbringing. Before her grandparents got custody of Morgan and her brother, the kids were left on their own in a trailer. Her biological mother disappeared right off the bat, Morgan's grandfather explained. Morgan's dad got remarried and had three kids with his new wife.
As Morgan put it, her stepmom didn't seem to want Morgan or her brother around. So her Dad got Morgan and brother a trailer, when she was around sophomore year of high school, and they lived alone. Morgan felt like she wasn't important enough. Her grandparents didn't realize how bad it was, but when they stepped in, they got Morgan back into cheer and helped her turn her life around.
Morgan thanked fans of Netflix's Cheer for all of the positive messages after watching the series:
Netflix's Cheer showed how Monica became like a mother to Morgan, and the rest of the team. Monica is proud of how the series turned out and was promoting it right before the release:
Jerry Harris became a fan favorite on Netflix's Cheer. Episode 6, the final episode, showed Jerry earning a scholarship to University of Louisville thanks to his high grades. Jerry also promoted the Netflix series on social:
You know who replied to that? Snooki. Yes, that Snooki from Jersey Shore. She wrote "Loving you on this show!"
One of my favorites to watch on Netflix's Cheer was laid-back Lexi Brumback, who "tumbles like the boys." Gabi Butler shared a clip from Netflix's Cheer to illustrate how she'd always have Lexi's back:
Lexi's story didn't end on a great note on Netflix's Cheer. She got in trouble and was pulled over with friends. Lexi ended up taking the blame for what was in their car, leading her to not be able to cheer at Navarro again. But based on social media, it looks like Lexi is back in the tumbling zone?
In another Instagram photo, for her 20th birthday, a fan asked Lexi where she's cheering now. She replied "you’ll see within the next week." Another fan asked why Netflix's Cheer showed her vaping so much in the show. She replied, "I wish I knew I did not expect them to make me look like I’m heavily addicted to vaping because I’m really not haha."
Director Greg Whitely talked to Salon about why he and Last Chance U producer Chelsea Yarnell decided to make this Cheer docuseries for Netflix:
We were filming on the sidelines in Scooba, Mississippi, during the first two seasons we were making of Last Chance U. In an attempt to really make Season 2 different than Season 1, we wanted to explore elements of the campus that we didn’t get to explore before. I said, ‘You know, we should go check out a cheerleading practice.’ I was just so stunned by the intensity of the practice, and also how aggressive and impressive the stunts were in practice. We would watch them during the games and I never — either I was missing it or they weren't doing that. So I brought this up to them, and they said, ‘Oh no, we don't do these at the football game. We save these for our routine for Daytona.’ When they explained that to Chelsea and I, we immediately thought that sounds like it would be an interesting series. There were all kinds of things that continue to surprise me, but I would just say chief among them was they are the toughest athletes I’ve ever filmed, and I don’t think that was something I would have thought would be true before I started exploring this world.
Cheer does show cheerleaders as tough athletes and not stereotypes, so good on them for that. Cheer is now streaming six episodes here on Netflix.