This Netflix Docuseries Will Fill The Cheer-Sized Hole In Your Life

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
What’s Good? Deaf U on Netflix
Who It’s Good For: Remember Cheer? Were we ever so young? Now that Coach Monica has moved on to Dancing With The Stars and Jerry’s legal troubles have taught us, once again, to never have heroes, we need a new docuseries starring young adults at college to obsess over. Enter Deaf U. It follows the students at Gallaudet, a private Deaf university in Washington, D.C., as they navigate dating, identity, and social hierarchy. So yeah, it’s extremely my shit. Sure, Deaf U will educate you on the realities of being young and Deaf or hard of hearing, but it’s more about hookups, flirting, and gossip. It’s not an after-school special. If you love bingeing messy reality TV drama and following the happenings of horny hot people, this series is for you.
How Good Is It? My friend Duana sold me on Deaf U with a six-word text: “ALL THESE PEOPLE DO IS FUCK.” She knows the way to my heart. For her review of the series on LaineyGossip, Duana was a little more descriptive: “Deaf U goes fast and hard and to be quite frank, it f-cks.” That it does. But it’s not just the fact that people are thinking about, talking about, and having sex on this show, it’s that their hookups, while juicy, aren’t even the most fascinating thing about their interpersonal dynamics. Like all good drama, the sex just complicates already complex situations. 
The most intriguing dynamic is between “The Elite” and the rest of the students at Gallaudet. The Elites are upper middle class kids who come from generations of non-hearing families. They grew up in Deaf schools and American Sign Language (ASL) is their first language. The Regina George of the Elites is Tessa. The opposing queen bee is Cheyenna, a controversial YouTuber who struggles with the “right way” to be Deaf. She’s criticized for not using ASL and, as one of my colleagues noted about the show, “this disagreement sets the tone for the rest of the season as students like Cheyenna wonder who is ‘Deaf enough’ to fit in at Gallaudet, and who gets left behind?”
This question is at the crux of the tension of Deaf U. As much as this is a serious contemplation about the misconceptions surrounding the disability community, Deaf U is also just really FUN. Most of that joyfulness comes from DQ (short for Daequan), a self-described “asshole” who does not “give a fuck how you feel.” He says that in the first episode. From there, he is even more hilarious and also more vulnerable. We’re with him as he processes grief and family pressures. He and his friend Rodney talk through their frustrations as two of the only Black men on campus (while still relentlessly pursuing white girls — the show’s biggest flaw is its glaring lack of Black women). There’s also my fave, bisexual queen Renate, Elite hottie Alexa (who my friend Sarah calls a “fuckboy”), and beer-chugging Dalton. With 20-minute episodes, Deaf U goes by quickly, but the lives of this group will stay with you long after you mainline the entire first season in one sitting.
Things that are also good:
• Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso — I know, I’m just as shocked as you are, but this goofy-ass white man full of dad jokes and Southern charm really got me
• Shameless plugs — I’m on this episode of CBC’s new podcast Pop Chat. We talk Emily In Paris and celebrity voting PSAs
• Canadians who have been dying to get into Pen15 don’t have to feel FOMO anymore; the series is finally streaming on CBC Gem
• Season 3 of Unbothered’s Go Off, Sis podcast, and I’m not just saying that because your girl pops in a few episodes (remember, shameless self-promotion is good) 
• The last season of CBC’s anthology documentary series Exhibitionists starring Amanda Parris premiered last week — CBC Gem is rolling out its final six episodes

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