Long gone are the simple days of “Dawson’s Creek” — over the last decade, the teen genre has taken a sharp turn. With an emphasis on race, sexuality and mental health, teen soaps bear little resemblance to their predecessors. In the dark and gritty world of teen melodramas, the Netflix show “Grand Army” offers an interesting take.
When a bomb goes off near Grand Army High School, students grapple with life-after-lockdown. The story revolves around the lives of five teenagers, each completely different and unique.
Beginning with Grand Army’s insta-feminist icon, Joey Del Marco (Odessa A’zion) wrestles with the trauma of sexual assault committed by her best friends. Jayson Jackson (Maliq Johnson), having stolen a friend’s wallet during the lockdown as a joke, faces heightened charges because of his race. Dominique Pierre (Odley Jean), whose wallet was lost, struggles to make ends meet in her large and bustling family. Student athlete Sid Pakman (Amir Bageria) experiences the pressure to act normal, especially as a closeted Indian-American after a mass bombing. A freshman he mistakenly befriends, Leila Kwan (Amalia Woo), is adamant on using his lapse of judgement to shed her insecurities as a Jewish-Asian and become popular.
With so many characters and stories, there’s evidently a lot to digest in the nine episodes. Although I generally avoid teen dramas, I found “Grand Army” to be refreshing. Often compared to shows like “Euphoria” and “Dare Me,” “Grand Army” is a more solidified attempt at capturing the darkness of adolescence.
What I enjoy about the show is that it stays within the realm of reality, unlike other shows of the same genre. The dialogue is quick, witty,and actually sounds like teenagers, unlike other shows in the genre (we’re looking at you “Ginny and Georgia”).
Although the variety of perspectives is somewhat chaotic, “Grand Army” has built the foundation for a decent second season. Definitely on the vulgar side — so no, I don’t recommend this to everyone. With that being said, if teen dramas are your vice, I highly suggest taking up “Grand Army”.