“Grand Army” breaks boundaries

New Netflix show makes strides with its diverse cast and storylines

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Image Couresy of Netflix

The poster for “Grand Army” featuring the five main characters: Siddarth, Jayson, Joey, Dominique, and Leila, from left to right.

Rhea Premanand, Staff Writer

Disclaimer: This show is rated TV-MA and contains scenes of abuse.

Following five students from diverse backgrounds trying to find their way at a competitive high school in Brooklyn, the new Netflix show “Grand Army” depicts the high school experience in a compelling and provocative manner. 

The main storyline focuses around Joey Del Marco, a junior at Grand Army High School who is sexually assaulted by her close friends. As she is initially very popular at school, viewers are able to see how her experience leads to her social life deteriorating. Though she was the main character of the show, there are also other smaller stories that are equally—if not more—compelling.

Dominique Pierre is also a junior at Grand Army. She is a hard-working, well-rounded student who is struggling financially and must work a number of jobs on the side to keep her family afloat. From her point of view as a Haitian-American woman, viewers are able to see her inner turmoil between following her dreams and staying loyal to her family.

Jayson Jackson is an aspiring musician who, along with his best friend Owen, is very passionate about playing the saxophone. After taking a joke too far, resulting in Owen’s unfair suspension, Jayson must fight for his friend’s freedom while struggling with guilt for not receiving equally severe punishment. 

Siddarth Pakam is a senior and part of the Grand Army swim team. In the process of applying to his dream college, Harvard, he is struggling to find his true identity. As it is very rare to see the portrayal of Indian-Americans as main characters on television, the show has definitely made a breakthrough in this aspect.

Leila Kwan Zimmer is a Chinese-American girl adopted into a Jewish family. A freshman at Grand Army, she feels like an outcast due to her atypical background. Among all of the characters, Leila seemed to have experienced the most growth and development throughout the show and I hope that this will be continued in season two.

Overall, the outstanding array of characters, their developments, and strong female leads in the show were very refreshing to see. I personally enjoyed this show a lot because of how unfiltered and raw the characters and subject material were. Many viewers including myself are eagerly waiting for season two and are hopeful that “Grand Army” has paved the way for a new generation of diversity on television.