Cheer on Netflix is everything I look for in a show: emotional, compelling, addicting, and so well-made. The six-episode documentary series (from the team behind another favorite, Last Chance U) takes you inside the world of competitive cheerleading at Navarro College, a small junior college in Corsicana, Texas.
Perhaps you're telling yourself that cheerleading isn't interesting—and I'm here to tell you that you're mistaken. Even if you've never tumbled, done a herky, or stood atop a pyramid, this show is utterly fascinating. First off, these young people are incredible athletes of the highest order, and getting to see what they put their bodies through for the sake of their sport is awe-inspiring. (Once you see a single practice, you'll never question whether it's a sport again.)
The Navarro squad is preparing for the national championships, and the school has a storied history of winning under tough but kind coach Monica Aldama, who I kind of wish I could hire to make all my important life decisions.
You get to see lots of the whole squad, but the story focuses on a few main members (and Monica). And let me just say they will find a way into your heart almost immediately—like, you will want to drive down to Texas and give them hugs. I devoured the show in a day over the weekend, and I already miss Jerry, La'Darius, Morgan, Lexie, Gabi, and even Sherbs so much. A number of them come from tough backgrounds, and Navarro has offered them a home and a safe space to be themselves, live their truth, and be a part of a family.
Take La'Darius, a young gay black man, who was never accepted in his own neighborhood and suffered from intense bullying and abuse. And Jerry, my sweet Jerry, who lost his mom to cancer at a young age and has always found refuge in cheerleading. He is one of the most positive souls I've ever seen on my TV screen, and we should all be so lucky to have a Jerry in our lives. By the end of the first episode, you will be screaming, "JERRY BETTER MAKE IT ON THE MAT!" at your screen. (Not every member of the squad will actually perform at nationals, i.e., "be on the mat." The rest are alternates.) Also, Jerry and La'Darius's friendship is one for the ages.
Morgan lived alone in a trailer for a while after being abandoned by her dad and will evoke the most maternal of feelings inside of you. And Lexie is trying to find her way back to making good decisions after getting into a lot of trouble in her teens. Then there's Gabi, who's basically one of the biggest influencers in the cheer world and has parents who've turned her into a literal business.
I won't give anything away about how it turns out for the crew at Navarro, but I will say that I cried multiple times—both in happiness and despair. It's really amazing how close you feel to this group after a mere six episodes. If you haven't watched it yet, just stop what you're doing right now, and if you have, you know what I'm talking about. I've seen all your tweets!
So what are you waiting for? Watch Cheer on Netflix now.
Originally Appeared on Glamour