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The Army is filled with troops on heroic missions, and then there's us. We take care of things at home. We are the Rear Detachment. Yes, we're soldiers.
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Meet Staff Sergeant Pete Hill. Badass insurgent-fighting machine of the United States Army. While doing his usual One-Man Army routine in Afghanistan, Pete gets just a little annoyed that his unit is denied backup in a firefight...because the computer is down.

Annoyed to the point that he hauls off and punches the Colonel who denied it. Well, the consequences soon fall. Pete is being shipped to Rear D, the glorified grass cutters and tank washers of the Army. But he's not getting shipped to just any Rear Detachment.

He's headed to Fort McGee in sunny Florida. The same base his two younger brothers, sarcastic and uninterested Corporal Derrick, and overeager and incompetent Private Randy are stationed. And if that wasn't enough, Super-Soldier Pete is now assigned to the Motor Pool.

Stuck in the sticks, Pete has to do his level best to not lose his mind and whip this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into shape.

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Despite a strong fan following, it was axed after its first season.


Tropes:

  • The Ace: Pete sees himself as this and considering his chestful of qualification badges and decorations, it's justified. Command Sergeant Major Cody takes it upon himself to knock Pete down a couple of notches to get the man's ego under control.
    • Cody has the exact same qualifications as Pete and an even larger collection of medals, and is still on active duty despite having lost a leg. On top of that, he knows how to adjust his command style to fit his troops' needs, something Pete is just starting to understand.
    • Randy is one, in his own way. He understands that as a soldier in Rear D, and as someone who lost a father in combat, how important it is to make sure the families at home are taken care of and that the soldiers deployed get the best care packages as possible. He's shown to be a whiz at dealing with worried spouses and knows where to find even the most obscure treats for soldiers. He even knows how to distinguish various types of jerky through smell alone.
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  • Adult Child: Randy.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: The Hill brothers show affection by putting their hands on each other's heads, a gesture which was adopted by the platoon as a whole.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Gumble.
  • Animals Hate Him: Dobkiss has been attacked by animals several times over his childhood.
  • Archetypal Character: Anyone who has been in the military for long enough will get to know someone like Pete, or Derrick, or Schneeberger, or Jill, or...
  • Armed Farces: Let's just say that there are plenty of good reasons why everyone in Pete's Motor Pool is staying behind in Rear D, instead of being deployed.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sgt. Major Cody gives one to Pete when he's getting a little too full of himself:
    Cody: When you were in Afghanistan, what was most important? Was it the glory?
    Pete: No, it was the people serving beside me. That was my priority.
    Cody: You think that's changed, just because you're back here, instead of over there?
  • Artistic License – Military: Averted as much as played straight.
    • The pilot was so bad in terms of military details that the writers decided to make a contest out of it — point out enough wrongdoings and a viewer could get an official Enlisted challenge coin. From Episode 2 onwards, it got much better.
      • The biggest one would have to be Pete punching out a Colonel at a time of war while in a warzone. The loss of one rank and a transfer wouldn't even be considered a slap on the wrist. In real life this would amount to prison time and a dishonourable discharge. He would have considered himself lucky if he lost all rank and was sent back to the front lines as a Private. Hell, according to UCMJ, he could be summarily shot for that.
    • In episode 2 pretty much everything about the Marksmanship Test is wrong. This one though can be chalked up to classified information since everything else is right from the gear one uses to the Range Safety.
    • It's difficult to believe that any of Pete's platoon, particularly Derrick and Randy, would be allowed to remain in the army for any length of time, even in a non-combat post.
    • The US Military has done everything possible to prevent siblings from serving in the same unit since WWII, when all five of the Sullivan brothers were killed in action aboard the USS Juneau. This can be excused for Rule of Funny, though.
  • Badass Creed: "We Are Brothers!"
  • Big Brother Instinct: Derrick cheated for Randy on his marksmanship test because he knew how much it meant to his brother.
  • Big Brother Worship: Randy to Pete.
  • The Big Guy: The aptly named Chubbowski.
  • Blood Knight: Randy is a subversion, he believes he is a cold eyed, remorseless badass and desperately wants to go to war like his big brother, but his naturally sweet-hearted nature and general incompetence mean that he will almost certainly never see combat in his career.
  • Brainless Beauty: Randy.
  • Broken Ace: Pete, for all his bluster, was truly affected by his experiences in combat and is in therapy for PTSD.
  • Brown Note: One of the experimental weapons Schneeberger tested on the platoon was a "poo ray" which worked by firing beams of sound at this note.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Command Sergeant Major Cody isn't too far removed from the absurdity of life at Fort McGee, is more than happy to mess with his troops' heads, and is offensively clueless about his daughter's 'women's issues', but when his troops (particularly the Hill brothers) get too far out of line, he shows why he's reached the pinnacle of an enlisted soldier's career.
    • To wit: Cody forces Derrick to take photos of him in increasingly absurd artsy ways (including nude in a milk bath) to get Derrick to give a damn about something beyond undermining everyone around him and was showing the younger man that there are ways to embrace one's artistic/creative side even in the army. Then Cody reveals that he's actually ridiculously photogenic and the only reason why Derrick was taking bad photos was because Cody was intentionally messing them up.
  • Call-Back: In the pilot, Park elbows the others during a run, screaming that she's going through a divorce. In episode 7, it's revealed that Derrick planted the seed for the divorce by making Park suspicious of her husband, and in the finale they reconcile.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Lori Loughlin appears for a few seconds at the end of the final episode.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A number of characters in the pilot disappeared by episode 2.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In-Universe example: when Randy disappoints Pete, he does jumping jacks while sobbing until he passes out, which Derrick describes as being initially funny, then sad, and then funny again.
  • Cultured Warrior: Chubbowski.
  • Cute and Psycho: Park.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: PVT Park was born in a North Korean labour camp and was separated from her mother.
    • Perez as well.
    "My dad was in jail, my mom wasn't home, my uncle Rico was beaten to death with a sock full of oranges. Or was it doorknobs? No it was oranges. His corpse was sticky..."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Derrick practically breathes sarcasm.
  • The Ditz: Randy.
  • Father to His Men: Sgt. Major Cody to everyone, but especially the Hill brothers (he helped look after them after their dad was killed in combat).
  • Foil: A trio of elderly veterans who visited Fort McGee during soldier appreciation day were a foil to the Hill brothers. Pete and Derrick learned from the mistakes of their counterparts to make positive changes in their lives. Randy decided to buy a hat.
    • In the pilot, the platoon returns a lost dog to the three sons of a deployed soldier, also a parallel to the Hills, which was lampshaded beautifully.
    Randy: You see, those kids are like us.
    Pete: We get it Randy.
    Derrick: The image is very clear.
  • Freudian Trio: The Hill brothers. Randy (Id), Derrick (Superego), Pete (Ego).
    • Also, the female characters. Park (Id), Perez (Superego), Robinson (Ego).
  • Fun with Acronyms: In "Vets," Derrick distracts/taunts some Marines by stating that "Marine" is an acronym for Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Expected.
    • This one is commonly used in real life. The Marines' reply is that "Army" stands for Ain't Ready to be Marines Yet.
  • The Gadfly: Derrick is a self-proclaimed pot stirrer.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Pvt. Randy Hill is literally a good-looking Private. The other Hill brothers are no slobs either. The rest of the platoon looks more like we mere mortals but even they clean up well for their unit formal.
  • Handicapped Badass: The qualifications Cody displays on his uniform shows that the man is as highly trained as they come. The only way he'd have more qualifications was if he'd joined the special forces. The only reason why he's not out on the front lines is because he lost a foot in combat.
    • Pete invokes this because of his PTSD.
  • Hidden Depths: The platoon may be incompetent as soldiers and idiots in general, but each of them is adept at one particular Rear D skill, which is probably all that keeps them from an involuntary discharge.
  • Hope Crusher: Derrick has spent his life systematically crushing first Randy's, and then the rest of the platoon's dreams. For example, Chubbowski used to be in great shape before Derrick got him hooked on fast food.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Subverted, when Randy tricks Chubbowski into eating toothpaste Oreos, he simply takes the plate.
  • Incest Subtext: Courtesy of Randy.
    Randy: Couldn't have done it without Derick. He drilled me hard!
    Derrick: There's a better way to say that.
    Randy: No, there isn't. You drilled me harder than I've ever been drilled before!
    Derrick: There's also a worse way to say that.
    • He is also completely comfortable with being naked around Pete and sharing a shower (Pete...isn't).
  • Inter Service Rivalry: A recurring theme is the rivalry between the soldiers of Fort McGee and the Marine detachment in town.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad: Pete's trailer at the "depressing single guy trailer park near the dump".
  • Metaphorgotten: It started with a football play and ended with sandwiches.
    Robinson: Yeah, but you just said two things and a sandwich is at least three things. Unless it's a poor people sandwich where you fold the bread over some mayonnaise and crab because your grandma is doing the best that she can...
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Derrick has it. His part in the family dynamic is to undermine Pete as a superior and to put down Randy's ambitions. This extends to the rest of the unit because, as a corporal, Derrick is between Pete and everybody else in Alpha Company and is the cause of most of the dissent in its ranks.
    • We see that Pete and Randy have had a series of silly contests that Pete's won since they were children. Derrick merely stayed in the background and commented on their stupidity whenever Randy broke down crying after yet another loss.
  • Narcissist: Pete sees himself as the ultimate soldier and has a poster of himself hung in the motor pool to serve as an inspiration for his subordinates. While Derrick rolls his eyes at this, Randy happily worships his big brother, to the point of being proud at being the one allowed to hang the previously mentioned poster.
    • Pete is, at first, a little uncomfortable with how Randy is making a fuss over celebrating the anniversary of Pete having survived a RPG attack. Then Randy presents him with a shirt that has a photo of him, along with a terrible pun on their surname, on the front and he's totally on board.
  • The Neidermeyer: 2LT Schneeberger. As a new officer, he should have relied on Pete and Jill for support and advice and, if he had half a brain, afford Cody as much, if not more, respect as he would give any of his superiors. Instead, he goes out of his way to be as obnoxious as possible to everyone lower ranking than him and throws his weight around a Command Sergeant Major (who may be lower rank but is meant to be viewed as a mentor by junior officers). Also has a tendency to steal the credit for anything that goes well, regardless of how much influence he had over it.
  • Nerd Glasses: Gumble.
  • Nice Guy: Randy barely has a mean bone in his body.
  • Noodle Incident: When Cody gives the platoon a safety briefing for a three day weekend he spends thirty-eight minutes reading from a list of bizarre warnings, for instance: "Do not do anything fire tells you to do... do not taunt the marsh birds... do not get married on a bet", all of which Pete's soldiers have apparently done in the past.
    • Any veteran will tell you that such bizarre safety briefings are absolutely Truth in Television.
      • RangerUp.com ran this thread on their Rhino Den blog page, challenging veterans to post the most bizarre/memorable safety briefings they ever got. Among the more colorful examples was a company commander who brought his girlfriend, pointed out that she's hot, explained his weekend plans with her, and threatened that if any of his Soldiers did anything that caused him to miss a single second with her, "I will ass-fuck your LIFE!!!"
  • Oh, Crap!: Pete's reaction when he figures out where he's being sent.
    "Rear D. Those guys aren't even real soldiers, all they do is mow lawns and wash tanks, my brothers are in Rear D. (beat) Wait a second, Florida? Oh heeeell no"
  • Only in Florida: Lampshaded multiple times. Usually by Sgt. Major Cody. Pete even says "Florida; what can you do?" at the end of "Parade Duty" while he and Perez thousand-yard-stare into the camera.
  • Out of Order: The show suffered terribly from this via Executive Meddling. FOX wanted a football episode to air the weekend before the Super Bowl so it moved "Homecoming" from episode 10 to episode 4. The problem is that this episode also reunited Derrick's girlfriend with her estranged husband. Derrick and his girlfriend had not yet met at this point.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Fort McGee. Proud runner up for best Irish named Army detachment in South Florida.
  • Pyro Maniac: Dobkiss is heavily implied to be this.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Pete's unit is this and then some.
  • Reality Ensues: Jealous that Perez's platoon gets to march in the parade while his are stuck on cleanup detail, Pete decides to drill his soldiers all night before the parade to get them to a standard where they can march too. When he shows Cody the results, the platoon just stumble around and drop their guns, just like they did before. You can't drill people to maximum efficiency in a few hours, and Pete only succeeded in exhausting his already sub-par soldiers.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: How Pete winds up at Ft. McGee.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: While trying to prove which is the best soldier, Jill and Pete devise a series of contests, the first of which is a high-stress firing contest, which involves running an obstacle course and leapfrogging a private. The Range Safety Officer immediately throws them out.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Robinson.
  • Shirtless Scene: Many. Usually involving Randy.
  • Slasher Smile: Derrick when he tries to force a smile.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: While it's clear that Perez is a solid soldier and has the drive to push herself to achieve her ambitions, she also has an ego that rivals Pete's and Cody does nothing to deflate it like he does with Pete. But, unlike Pete (who's probably happiest in the dirt with the troops), Perez is clearly career-driven and takes every opportunity to suck up to her superiors. When Cody gives her the opportunity to look good in front of a visiting general, Perez's reaction is to imagine the rank insignia on her chest gaining stripes and rockers that stretch from her tunic's collar to the hem.
    • Pete, with his obsession with being the best and winning awards, also qualifies. But Cody is taking pains to knock him down and build him back up into someone much more humble.
  • Soldiers at the Rear
  • Southern-Fried Private: Dobkiss.
  • Spider Tank: In the episode "Paint Cart 5000 vs. the Mondo Spider".
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: A vehicle mocked up to resemble an M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle is constantly referred to as a tank in the pilot by everyone. In all fairness, there are days when even Bradley crews forget they're not really a tank.
  • Training from Hell: The pre-Ranger training that Pete, Randy and Perez go through on a three day weekend.
  • Truth in Television: The reason Enlisted exists is because life in the US military is frequently sitcom-like without any need for exaggeration.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Perez, Park, Robinson, Cody.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Shaping up between Pete and Jill.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Who was in charge of the platoon before Pete got booted stateside?
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