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Series / Grand Army

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Grand Army is a 2020 American Netflix original drama series. It is loosely based on Katie Cappiello's 2013 Slut: The Play.

The series follows five students at the fictional Grand Army High School in Brooklyn: Joey Del Marco (Odessa A'zion), a junior who was the lead character in the original play; Dominique "Dom" Pierre (Odley Jean), also a junior; Siddhartha "Sid" Pakam (Amir Bageria) a senior; Jayson Jackson (Maliq Johnson), a sophomore; and Leila Kwan Zimmer (Amalia Yoo), a freshman.

The first and only season was released on October 16, 2020. It was cancelled in June 2021.

Grand Army provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Academic Athlete: Given Grand Army High School is based on large selective NYC public schools such as Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant, most of the students are probably pretty smart.
    • Dom is a hard working basketball player who aspires to be the first in her family to go to college.
    • Sid is a Harvard-bound swimmer.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Joey's friend, Tim was in the car when she was assaulted and did nothing (whether it be because he was intoxicated or simply didn't want to intervene is left ambiguous). One of the big tensions of her storyline is whether or not he will admit what happened to provide a witness for her case.
  • Adoption Angst: Seems to be the source of a lot of Leila's identity issues.
  • Alliterative Name: Jayson Jackson.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Leila in particular.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Joey's parents divorced when her dad cheated on her mom, causing Joey to resent him, often talking back and ignoring his calls. She admits later that her attitude towards him has softened because he has been more involved.
  • Arranged Marriage: Dom's family want her to marry Ronald, a fellow Haitian, because he can provide for the family and she can help him get a green card.
  • Artistic Title: The show's title sequences are highly stylized, and are usually reflective of whatever happens in the episode.
  • Ascended Extra: Dominique, Leila, and to a lesser extent Grace were in the original play and are expanded upon in the series.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: The first episode opens on a shot of this in the girls' locker room. It reads: "Ladies, what's better: a good fuck or a good shit? VOTE!" Good shit is the winner.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: In the first episode, when Joey attempts to pull a condom out of Grace's vagina and Grace loudly moans, Dom and her friends put their ears up to the stall door and audibly start gossiping about how the two are eating each other out, to which Joey responds by telling them to fuck off.
  • The Beard: Flora is unwittingly this to Sid.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sid has this with Meera, protecting her from being put on the "bomb pussy" list by suggesting Leila and confronting Bo after he leaks Meera's nudes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Well on one hand, Joey ends up having to change schools after being sexually assaulted, Dom is still living in Perpetual Poverty, Jay and Owen's friendship isn't totally mended, and Leila has been developing sociopathic characteristics all season, culminating by her calling in a bomb threat to the school just to get a play canceled. But on the other hand, Joey is slowly but surely pulling herself out of her depression after bonding with another rape victim, Jay finally finds the courage to stand up for Owen and his convictions publicly at a performance, Dom and John reach Official Couple status and her family is willing to bear down so she can enjoy her life, and Sid gets into Harvard and embraces his sexuality and his parents are starting to come around. And as horrible and demented as her behavior is, Leila is finally starting to become more confident in herself and figure out who she is.
  • Cathartic Scream: Joey and Tim ride on the outside of a subway car at the end of the first episode and let out that teen angst.
  • Compensating for Something: Sid promises to visit Flora at college every weekend after getting back with her, and even she is a little taken aback by it.
  • Couch Gag: The locker being slammed in the title sequence changes each episode, usually based on whoever the episode is focused on.
    • In order of episode: Leila, Joey, Sid, Dom, Jay, Sid, Jay, Leila, Dom.
  • Crowd Song: The show's first episode begins with most of the girls' locker room spontaneously breaking out into Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow". This example is a bit closer to Truth in Television than most, since it's a hit song that a decent amount of Gen Z-ers are familiar with and there's no complicated choreography involved.
  • Double Standard: The intention of Jay and Owen's storyline is to highlight how even school jurisdiction disproportionately targets black students.
  • Dress Code: Joey stages a "free the nipple" protest against the school's dress code in "See Me".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Wendi, Mei and Su pick on Leila, but they leave Joey alone when she gets triggered and passes out in the assembly. In follow-up scenes, they badmouth Leila for dating an alleged rapist, implying they believe Joey's story.
  • Extremely Short Intro Sequence: Only about 7 seconds long.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Bo outs Sid after an argument by going through his laptop and posting his personal statement online.
  • Freshman Fears: Leila.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Jay is put in Owen's place to perform a saxophone solo at the all-state concert after Owen gets suspended, though he risks putting his friendship with Owen in jeopardy by taking his place. Jay ultimately ends up choosing his friend, protesting Owen's inability to be there by putting black tape over his mouth and raising his fist in the air during what is supposed to be his solo, halting the whole performance.
  • Gaslighting: Joey confronts George, Luke, and Tim (as well as Anna) in the season 1 finale to get them to confess what they did and that they know it was wrong for closure. They tell her to her face that she's insane, and it's only after she leaves that Tim fesses up.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Grace throws pours a drink on Leila at a party for stumbling out of a bedroom with George.
    • Grace and Leila are unreasonably possessive of George.
  • Grew a Spine: Leila does end up standing up to the bullies in her Chinese class, but as a bigot by telling them to speak English.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: A group of Chinese girls in Leila's history class – Wendi, Mei, and Su – constantly bully Leila within earshot of her in Mandarin, a language which she can't speak, even going as far as to insult her to her face.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Could be said about nearly every main character, but Leila is probably the most obvious example.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Due to her love of The Walking Dead, Leila experiences a few of these over the course of the series.
  • Innocent Innuendo: The first scene from the first episode shows Joey in a bathroom stall putting her hand up Grace's skirt as Grace moans loudly. The scene sounds sexual enough that Dom and her friends believe the two are having oral sex with one another, but it's eventually revealed that Joey is helping Grace pull out a condom that got stuck in her vagina during sex with George.
  • Lack of Empathy: Leila is rarely, if ever, depicted as being able to look outside of her own perspective. Which is a good indication of her narcissism, given her actions in planning the bomb threat.
  • Lockdown: The school after the explosion in the first episode.
  • Mistaken Nationality:
    • George calls Leila a “geisha”, though she corrects him, reminding him that she is Chinese, not Japanese.
    • Sid, the son of Indian immigrants, fears that he will be racially profiled after a terrorist attack.
  • New Transfer Student: Joey transfers to Sacred Heart, an all girls private Catholic school, although she intends for it to be temporary.
  • Nice Guy: John is a sweet and caring young man who supports Jay and Owen when they are disproportionately punished at school.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Leila has increasingly disturbing fantasies and forges a bomb threat to the school. Omar happens upon these in her drawings.
  • Not Proven: The charges against George, Luke, and Tim are dropped due to a lack of evidence, much to Joey's understandable dismay.
  • Only One Name: Grace, Wendi, Mei, and Su are the only notable characters without surnames.
  • The Place: The title comes from the fictional Grand Army High School, which is in turned named after the real life Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Grace freaks out after Dom asks her if she took Plan B.
  • Senior Year Struggles: Sid spends a good chunk of the first season worrying about getting accepted into Harvard.
  • Slut-Shaming: Happens repeatedly throughout the show.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Joey is an outspoken feminist who seemingly has good intentions but sometimes tramples the very voices she purports to lift and fails to call out her own friends on their problematic behavior.
  • Stepford Smiler: Leila quite literally calls her smile "a disguise".
  • Title Montage: Changes to show the events of each episode.
  • Token Good Teammate: Sid becomes this by the finale - he initially reluctantly allows his teammates on the swim team to call him racist names and degrade the girls at Grand Army, but he eventually has a change of heart after he is forced out of the closet and they make disparaging jokes about his sexuality.
  • Trauma Button: A television PSA about sexual assault causes Joey to break down on her mother's lap and reveal what happened to her.
  • Troubled Teen:
    • Joey falls into this after her sexual assault, falling into a deep depression and paranoia that's made worse when her friends deny assaulting her. The season finale shows that she's starting to manage it and put the incident behind her.
    • Leila has been showing these signs in the POV scenes and episodes; she has very dark fantasies and thoughts, is highly narcissistic, and displays a troubling lack of empathy. She forges a bomb threat to the school from the perspective of a racist, privileged Asian teenager and seemingly has no remorse for her actions.
  • Wild Teen Party: Right in the first episode.
  • With Friends Like These...: Joey's friends promptly abandon her when she comes forward about her assault.
  • Working-Class Hero: Dom has to be a Workaholic due to her financial circumstances in a way her friends do not between school work, her job, her ambitions, and caring for her family. She has to feed her family on $8 per person per meal.
  • Working Out Their Emotions: Joey goes on runs. She also dances in the season 1 finale, and it's the first time in a while she appears to be having fun.
  • Yandere: Leila becomes obsessed with George after receiving attention from him, even when it's... less than complimentary.