It's time for the Second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest! Details here
State of Grace was a show that aired on ABC Family (then Fox Family) from 2001-2002. It concerned the friendship of Grace McKee and Hannah Rayburn, two twelve-year-old girls coming of age in The Sixties
(1965-66, to be exact). Grace is a blonde, Southern Catholic girl. Hannah, who moved with her family from Chicago to Grace's fictitious town of Ashmore, North Carolina, is a brunette Jewish Yankee. The series centered on the comic and tragic moments of their friendship and family lives in a similar format to The Wonder Years.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Grace has a beloved horse.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Hannah has a crush on Grace's older half-brother, Walker, who's a known troublemaker.
- Alter Kocker: Hannah's maternal grandma, Grandma Ida, who lives with the family, is Russian Jewish. She has a typical Yiddish accent and uses Yiddish colloquialisms from time to time.
- Beehive Hairdo: Hannah's mom has a downplayed one. Grace wore the same 'do in one episode, and in Season One's "Love, Love Me Do," Hannah got a full-size beehive.
- Children Raise You: Grace is often the one who takes the brunt of her flighty mother Tattie's immature behavior. Grace's presence often gets Tattie to settle down and act like a mom.
- Cinderella Circumstances: Grace fears having to endure this when Tattie announces her intention to marry beau Tommy Austin in season two.
- Civil Rights Movement: A couple of episodes mention it. One has part of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in it, and another episode features Hannah and Grace observing, then deriding, a teenager's mistreatment of a colleague with an intellectually disability at a burger joint.
- Comfort Food: Grandma Ida makes a lot of this, and it is darn good. Honorable mention to her blintzes.
- Cool Aunt: Hannah's Aunt Sophie, who inspires her to become a writer.
- Cool Uncle: Hannah's Uncle Heschie (Herschel), her mom's younger brother, who according to Hannah is the one who always made time to play with her.
- Daddy Didn't Show: This happens to Hannah when her dad doesn't show up for a father-daughter pancake breakfast at school. To make it even worse, the first time she mentions it, he thinks the breakfast already happened and he forgot. When Hannah clarifies, Dad promises to come—only to get so wrapped up in furniture design that he falls asleep at his desk and misses the event. The irony is, he was working on a line of children's furniture named for Hannah.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: This became the epicenter of a controversy at Hannah and Grace's Catholic girls' school. Stern Nun Sister Winters, who according to Hannah was "obsessed with legs and her belief that no one should see them," did not want the girls to wear hemlines above their knees. This resulted in an order being handed down from Mother Superior that the girls wear uniforms. However, Hannah started a protest in order to get Grace, who had been suspended for her refusal to dress as Sister Winters wanted, back in school. At an assembly, Hannah signals for all the girls to raise the hemlines of their uniform skirts, and then explains to Mother Superior that having all the girls dress the same goes against the school's mission of nurturing "young ladies of distinction." The Mother Superior agrees, and though the girls still have to wear uniforms, she institutes Casual Friday.
- Deadpan Snarker: Adult Hannah has her moments.
- Disappeared Dad: Grace's dad died when she was six. Tattie has been through many temporary boyfriends since then.
- Discreet Dining Disposal: The ladies in a book club Hannah's mother attends do this with Grandma Ida's kishka, which is a dish of cow intestine, stuffed with herbs and spices.
- Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: One of the things Hannah and Grace learn while attending a cotillion class.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Possibly the reason, if you could call it that, for Grandma Kiki's dislike of Jews.
- Femme Fatale: Tattie, Tattie, Tattie... Somewhat downplayed, though.
- Freudian Excuse: A lot of characters are implied to have versions of these; they just weren't acknowledged as such during the time period.
- Freudian Slip: Hannah makes one when, distraught over her mother's frequent travel and her favorite teacher leaving the school, she breaks down and spills her guts to Dad. She says "Mom's my favorite teacher," rather than "Sister Celine," revealing she's more upset about Mom than the teacher.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Frances McDormand voices Adult Hannah.
- Hidden Depths: Grace's half-brother, Walker. When he gets expelled from prep school (again), everyone assumes it was because he snuck out of his dorm to meet a girl. However, when Tattie confronts him, she finds out that the reason he'd been sneaking out was to play piano at a local jazz club. She subsequently agrees to finance his tenure at a musically-oriented school, in exchange for his promise to behave like a model student. Also, Uncle Heschie, whose innocence and Man Child behavior sometimes hide a very perceptive man.
- I Ate What?: The book club ladies have a downplayed version of this reaction when Hannah's mother explains what kishka actually is. Hannah has a similar reaction when, on her first day at her new school, she's pressured into eating ham despite her family's keeping kosher, and vomits.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Played painfully straight with an unnamed intellectually disabled burger joint worker in one episode, the only character with a disability to appear on the show. Justified in that it's *The Sixties, but still.
- Jewish and Nerdy: Hannah, who is introverted, a good student, and keeps a journal.
- Jewish Mother: Hannah's mom and Grandma Ida both qualify.
- Mama Bear: Tattie. Do not EVER mess with Grace around her. Hannah sort of becomes this with Grace, when she's the only one there to sit with her friend after an emergency appendectomy, and the nurse tries to keep Hannah out of the hospital room. Grandma Ida can be this as well.
- Man Child: Uncle Heschie, who at twenty-nine still lives in the same house with his mother, and exhibits some childlike qualities. For example, when Mom forbids Hannah to see The Birds, on the grounds that she once became terrified at the Flying Monkeys scene of The Wizard of Oz, it's Heschie who shudders.
- Missing Mom: Her mother's constant travel in season two sometimes had Hannah feeling she possessed one of these. Grace has had periods of this because Tattie is somewhat fond of jetting off to Europe for extended periods.
- My Beloved Smother: Hannah's mother. On Hannah's first day at her new school, Mom sent her in with a bunch of notes explaining exactly what she wasn't allowed to do or eat. Hannah is pressured to ignore the notes; they end up floating in a pool.
- Nostalgic Narrator: All the episodes contain a voiceover by Adult Hannah.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Of the horrific variety. Hannah is forced to wear a fluffy pink dress, which she calls "the dress from hell" to a party she attends with her parents.
- Proper Lady: What Tattie attempts to turn Grace into, much to her consternation. It's also what Hannah seems to want to be, at least for the duration of the cotillion episode.
- Racist Grandma: Grace's Grandma Kiki, Tattie's mother, who openly expresses her prejudice against Jews and causes a rift in Grace and Hannah's friendship. Grace blows her top at Grandma and threatens to move in with Hannah and convert to Judaism, but Tattie helps fix things when she stands up to Kiki.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Grace gives one to Sister Winters over her insistence on ultra-conservative dress at school. In another episode, she hands one to Grandma Kiki, over her prejudice against Jewish people. Hannah indirectly hands one to her own dad. Having written an essay that idealizes him for the father-daughter pancake breakfast, she writes the truth after he doesn't show up. Dad reads it, and although he doesn't change overnight, he does eventually acknowledge that he didn't spend enough time with his daughter while she was growing up.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Grace is Red, Hannah is Blue.
- Southern Belle: Tattie.
- Standard '50s Father: David Rayburn, Hannah's dad, whose major way of showing love to his family seems to be providing for them. It's worth noting, though, that he doesn't fit all the characteristics. For example, he was never a veteran, but he was a Holocaust survivor.
- Stern Nun: Sister Winters, especially when it comes to how the girls at her school dress. Averted with Sister Celine, everyone's favorite French teacher, who leaves the order to move to Paris and marry a pastry chef.
- The Sixties: The entire show takes place in this decade.
- The Vietnam War: The episode "Fortunate Son" of season two featured it, when Grace's gardener Greer's son went off to fight.
- There Are No Therapists: Played straight when Hannah discusses some parts of the sixties, before modern theories of parenting existed. Subverted when Tattie goes to a psychiatrist because it's a fad, then decides she doesn't need him.
- Title Drop: Hannah does it in season one's episode "The Force of Fun."
- Wonder Child: Evelyn and Heschie's brother Larry, who is apparently perfect and makes Hannah's father bitterly jealous when Hannah's mother consults him, and not her husband, over a business decision.
- You Know I'm Black, Right?: After Grandma Kiki tells a racist story in front of Hannah, not knowing she's Jewish, Tattie pulls Grandma aside and reams her out for it.