Alexa & Katie is a Netflix original sitcom series about the bonds of friendship and family, and the struggles they face when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer.
Alexa is a fourteen year old girl who is in maintenance after undergoing treatment for leukemia. Luckily she has her best friend Katie by her side no matter what.
The series debuted on Netflix on March 23, 2018, and ran for three seasons, concluding on June 13, 2020.
"I've got tropes":
- Alpha Bitch: Gwenny starts off as this, mainly towards Alexa. She gets better.
- Actor Allusion:
- In "Sweet Sixteen," a party planner asks Lori if she's an event planner. Tiffani Thiessen played event planner Elizabeth Burke on White Collar.
- The first time Dylan tutors Alexa and she isn't paying attention, one of his Not Listening to Me, Are You? he said he's secretly a superhero. Jack Griffo was previously on The Thundermans where he's the oldest son of the titular family of superheroes.
- In "The Play, Part 2," Lori said her first kiss was with a guy named Zack M.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Ungroundable," Alexa realizes that Lori doesn't want to punish her because of her illness, so she starts planning ways to take advantage of this.Alexa: I can drive a car. I can steal a car. And drive 100 miles an hour while swearing.Katie: (shaking her finger at Alexa) Don't swear.
- Better as Friends: Katie and Ryan. Despite initially hitting it off in their very own awkward way, they both realize they are no longer interested in each other romantically.
- Blatant Lies: Alexa is constantly trying to lie her way out of trouble with varying success.Alexa: I came straight home, took a nap. Here I am.
Lori: You came straight home?
Alexa: Mom, we had an agreement. How can you even ask?
Lori: Is that your mocha?
Alexa: Yeah, from yesterday.
Lori: And yet it's still warm.
Alexa: Climate change.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Alexa. It's implied that most of her bad behavior is her acting out because of the cancer and being treated like a sick girl.
- Butt-Monkey: Dave Mendoza, Alexa's father, is often this. He is frequently mocked and ridiculed, without malice, by his own family.
- Calvin Ball: In "The Play, Part 1," Lucas and Jack are running around the house shooting Nerf guns at each other and seemingly making up random rules as they go:Lucas: Skrulls forever!Jack: My force fields were up!Lucas: Force fields only work on the second floor!Jack: There's a secret basement, we're on the second floor!
- Character Development: Many of the characters go through this. A key part is that the series tracks the high school lives of Alexa and Katie and shows how they change and gain more confidence. Lucas also changes, going from a slacker to wanting to be a doctor. Even Gwenny, the resident Alpha Bitch, changes and develops a friendship with Alexa to her (Alexa's) chagrin.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hannah has shades of this, often saying or doing loopy things, such as trying to eat fake fruit used for a play after being told numerous times it is fake. She does have Hidden Depths as she revealed she is in charge of a park wide cleanup group. This greatly surprises her friends.
- Comically Small Tip: After the pizza guy is obnoxious when Jennifer's credit card is declined, Lori gives him a five cent tip and tells him where he can stick it.
- Cool Big Sis: Alexa fills this role for Jack despite not actually being his sister—they seem to have a really good relationship, and she is more consistently supportive and tolerant of him than Katie is.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme song is sung by Paris Berelc who plays Alexa.
- Enter Stage Window: Alexa and Katie's bedrooms are connected by a tall tree midway between their two houses, so it's common for them to use each other's windows to visit each other.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Lori, Dave, and Jennifer all attended the same high school, which is the same one their teenage children go to during the course of the series.
- Express Lane Limit:
Jennifer: It's hard, putting myself out there again and again. It's like when I get in the "ten items or less" line with 30 items. I know it's not gonna work out but I just keep doing it anyway.
- One episode reveals that people violating the limit is a Berserk Button for Lori.
- Discussed when Jennifer talks to Dave about her struggles with dating.
- Freudian Slip: In "Wigs," Dave, who's become really awkward around Alexa after she shaves her head, drops one of these:Alexa: Oh, Dad, can you drop us off instead?Dave: Yeah. Yeah, that sounds like bald. Fun!
- Friendly Enemy: After starting junior year, Gwenny has this approach for Alexa. Gwenny decides to move on from being petty enemies and starts moving into Alexa and Katie's circle of friends. She still has her Rich Bitch attitude though.
- Gag Haircut: In "Last First Day," Jennifer gives Jack a haircut before school. A "scissors mishap" leaves him with extremely lopsided bangs. Covering his head isn't an option because Jack's school has a rule against wearing hats in class. Fortunately, Lucas has a large stash of hair products and tools due to an obsession with his own hair, and he ends up fixing Jack's botched hair for him.
- Handy Man:
- Dave, who often has projects building or fixing things. In Season 3 he builds a gazebo mostly by himself. He is also very much into model trains.
- In the final season, Jennifer hires professional handy man Joe Perry to fix her stuck sliding door and they end up in a serious relationship. When Jennifer sells her coffee table to give Katie some money for college, Joe surprises her by building her a new table.
- He's All Grown Up: Dylan comes back from Stanford tanned, slightly more buff, and dressing and talking in a more fashionable way. He is still part of a math frat though, so his personality never changed.
- How We Got Here: The first episode begins with Alexa's narration of how she beat cancer and got through high school. The series covers how she got to that point. During the series itself, Alexa's cancer is in remission.
- Important Haircut: In the Pilot, Alexa's hair had started failing out due to chemotherapy, as a show of support Katie shaves her hair as well so that Alexa won't be the only bald person at school.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Alexa regarding her cancer. She wants to be seen more than just a cancer victim.
- I Resemble That Remark!: In the first episode, Katie starts pacing around the room during Alexa's chemo treatment. Alexa says, "Can you sit down, please? Because you're making me nervous around my IV." Katie starts to protest that she's being very careful. Then she bumps into Alexa's chair and falls down.
- Ill Girl: Alexa. A driving force of many of her plot lines is her desire to not be seen as the sick girl.
- Ill Boy: Spencer, Alexa's new love interest has cancer and is going through many of the same treatments she did.
- Important Haircut: After Alexa's hair starts falling out, both of she and Katie shave their heads.
- Innocently Insensitive: Jack, a child, asks Spencer what his cancer is like and if it hurts. While his mom admonishes him, Spencer agrees to answer. Knowing Jack, he probably is curious because Alexa already went through something similar and his questions are less insensitive and he genuinely does care.
- Interclass Friendship: To a degree—the Mendozas are definitely better off than the Coopers.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: In "Secret Sleepover," Lucas tells his parents that seeing the doctors help Alexa has made him want to become an oncologist. A semester into college, he realizes that he is going to have a hard time getting grades good enough for medical school and ultimately decides that pre-med's not for him.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the start of Season 3, Hannah comments on events that happened off screen during the summer and how the school year seemed to end after Katie's trip to London, which coincided with the Season 2 finale.
- Local Hangout: The coffee shop Wired. Katie even gets a job there.
- Mean Boss: Barry, the manager at Wired, is fairly quick to anger and is easy to piss off. He is not a Bad Boss, however; he is shown to be tough but fair regarding Katie's employment.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Hilariously inverted—Lucas doesn't care that Dylan is dating his little sister Alexa but is mad at Alexa for stealing his best friend.
- Nervous Wreck: Katie is this, most often Played for Laughs. Played extremely straight in the Season 3 finale when she has a full on panic attack right before the SATs and can barely breathe. She gets better thankfully.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: For a long time this was Lucas' defining character trait. While he has progressed, he still takes a lot of care of his hair.
- No Respect Guy: Dave is this. He is a loving and caring father and is good around the house, but he is often mocked or ignored by the others.
- Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In "Writer-Director-Nervous Wreck," Gwenny shows up late to a practice for Alexa and Katie's play.Alexa: Where have you been? We set aside the first hour to work on the set.Gwenny: That's why I came now.
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Jennifer tries to talk to Jack about a camping trip while he's preoccupied with a game on his phone:Jennifer: There's an asteroid headed for Earth and we're all gonna die.Jack: Sounds good, Mom.
- Parents as People:
- Alexa's parents Lori and Dave are shown to be struggling with their daughter's cancer diagnosis.
- Katie's mother Jennifer is a single mother trying to make ends meet.
- Passionate Sports Girl: Alexa loves playing basketball. After making the team, the exertion weakens her a little. Thankfully she bounces back and is now trying to become team captain.
- Prank Injuries: In "#GWENCAS," Gwenny walks out of cooking class with strawberry jam on her shirt and tells Alexa and Katie, "Every day, Lucas pretends to cut his thumb off, then sprays something red across the room. Not some days. Not once in a while. Every. Day!"
- Precocious Crush: Katie had one on Lucas. She gets over it eventually.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Dylan. He's a mathlete and math tutor. And part of a math fraternity at Stanford.
- Radish Cure: After his mom tries to limit his sugar intake, Jack goes on a candy bender and ends up developing a distaste for chocolate.
- Rage-Breaking Point: The SATs are one for Katie. She takes out her aggression by demolishing a mini-golf windmill obstacle.
- Rich Bitch: Gwenny. She admits her dad is rich but still prefers getting discounts whenever possible.
- Running Gag:
- Jack hanging around the house in his underwear and complaining when his mom or his sister tells him to put on pants.
- Jennifer mooching food from the Mendozas and loading up on free stuff at events.
- The Shrink: Dr. Corts, a therapist for both Alexa and Katie.
- The Slacker: Lucas is one. It is pointed out he is not stupid, just lazy.
- Soup Is Medicine: In "Sweet Sixteen," Jennifer and Jack are Playing Sick to avoid returning to work and school after Christmas break. Lori is fully aware that they're not really sick, but she brings them a pot of homemade chicken soup anyway.Dave: Why are you playing into this?Lori: I can't help myself. Even when people are faking sick, I have to take care of them.
- Sticky Situation: In "Picture Day," Alexa tries to start a prank war with Gwenny and one of her pranks is replacing Gwenny's hand sanitizer with superglue. Gwenny ends up with her water bottle stuck to one hand and her lunch tray stuck to the other.
- Straight Woman: Reagan. Compared to her three friends, she is portrayed as more reasonable and less prone to craziness. However, she is also portrayed as slightly selfish.
- Struggling Single Mother: Jennifer is a downplayed example—though money is clearly an issue, particularly when it comes to "extras," she has a full-time gig in HR and is able to provide for Katie and Jack reasonably well.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:Nurse Lynda: (brandishing her purple-stained hands) Who put dye in the soap dispenser?Alexa: I don't know who did it, but the bottle says it comes off with vinegar.
- Technologically Blind Elders: In "The Ghost Of Cancer Past," Alexa FaceTimes Megan, who answers with, "Alexa, I'm so glad it's you. My grandma got an iPhone and has been butt-dialing me all day."
- Those Two Guys: Cameron and Steve, who joined Lucas' boy band in Season 2 and are always seen together.
- Toilet Paper Prank: Alexa, Katie, and Jack set out to TP Gwenny's house in "Bad Hair Day" but end up doing Principal Trugly's instead. It turns out this was no mistake. When her hair started falling out, Alexa decided to target it in hopes that she and Katie would be expelled and she wouldn't have to go to school with no hair.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Gwenny to Alexa after learning Alexa has cancer. She is still selfish overall though.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The Netflix trailer not only reveals that Alexa ends up dating Spencer, but also that he has cancer.
- Unaffected by Spice: Discussed. In "Tryouts and Latte Doubts," Alexa chats with a young cancer patient named Sasha, who has a bag of candy in her pocket.Alexa: Sour gummies, huh? Is the chemo messing with your taste buds?Sasha: Totally. The only things I can really taste right now are spicy and sour.Alexa: But if you have a brother, you can challenge him to a jalapeno-eating contest. You'll get a little flavor, and he'll cry so hard.Sasha: (laughing) I am definitely doing that!
- We Used to Be Friends: Alexa and Gwenny.