Brad Pitt, “Cheer”, And When We All Got So Serious
I was born to watch “Cheer”.
No, don’t argue with me. This show is my destiny. A docuseries mash-up of “Friday Night Lights” and “Bring It On” that follows a championship-title-chasing cheerleading team at Navarro College, in Corsicana, Texas, with a team of underdog teenagers, many of whom have never had a parental figure believe in them, and a tough as shit female coach whom I would gladly let run me over with a truck? Perfection.
I could say the same about Brad Pitt’s online content of late. His acceptance speech at the Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actor in “Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood” in which he adoringly refers to Leonardo DiCaprio as “LDC”? Perfection. His offensively charming interview with W Magazine (shot in black and white just to send us to an early grave) in which he discusses first crushes, early acting jobs, and why he “sees more dancing in his future”? So perfect there’s a warrant out for his arrest.
I feel like we don’t get to fully enjoy this kind of content anymore. The moments where we get to lie in bed and watch something that exists in a vacuum are few and far between. And it’s because as a generation we’ve decided it’s our moral obligation to be in a permanent state of concern for all the ways in which our world is suffering. It’s the reason we’re so quick to tell our Instagram followers we’ve seen “When They See Us” or “Cowspiracy”, to post a swipe-up to Geta Thunberg’s speech at the U.N. or an interview with Malala, but rarely post screenshots of “The Great British Bake Off” or “Friends” re-runs or “Love Island”. I’m not dismissing the obvious benefits of us becoming more outwardly empathetic, but what does it say about our collective state of our mind when we’re always biting down on the inside of our cheeks waiting for the other shoe to drop?
I only realised how serious I’d become in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve when I did what the rest of Instagram seemed to be doing: taking a trip down memory lane. It was, after all, the end of a decade and our generation is nothing if not a magpie for good content. I scrolled all the way back to some of my earliest posts on The Twenties Club, captions I’d written on TTC’s Instagram page in 2015 and 2016, and they were…funny. Like, laugh-out-loud funny. Not all of them, obviously, but there was a lightness to how I spoke. A silliness that I loved. And I felt this wave of melancholy because I realised how f*cking serious I am now. Between the looming war in Iran, the flash floods in Indonesiaa and wildfires in Australia, the victims still recovering from White Island, the property ladder most of us will never get on, and the increasing number of cities threatened by terrorism, there just aren’t that many pockets of space in the day to make a lewd comment about how sexy the priest in Fleabag is, you know?
Somewhere along the way we’ve allowed ourselves to be hardened by the state of the world and what we see on television. Which is exactly why “Cheer” and “The Great British Bake Off” and an interview with Brad Pitt are so perfect. They allow us to smile, despite ourselves. I don’t always want to write a thought-piece about what it means to see a gay black man on a cheerleading squad in Texas, or the importance of parental figures for foster children in America, or whether or not Gabi Butler’s parents are exploiting her. I just want to be in the vacuum!! I want to care about Lexi landing her back-hand-spring-back-tuck. I want to care that is Jerry screaming, “YOU’RE GORGEOUS!! NINETY-EIGHT POUNDS!!” to Morgan on the mat. I want to worry about who will win “star baker” next week and if Lucy’s cake will rise. I want to care about which couple gets booted from the mansion and if anyone can ever recapture the magic of Jack and Dani.
I want to be in the vacuum. It’s nice there. It’s quiet.