We Need to Talk About Sam & Grizz in Netflix’s The Society
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
If you’re within a few miles of the internet, you may have seen it blowing up with memes about the world’s collective love for Grizz in The Society. But let me tell you: Sam & Grizz are more than a meme—their relationship is a stereotype breaking, unique and beautiful game-changer, and everyone should be paying attention.
The Society is pretty much Degrassi: Next Class meets Lord of the Flies. Netflix struck it out of the park with this show in so many ways, and one of those ways is with its LGBTQ+ representation. You may be able to tell this already if you follow me, but one of my biggest complaints with LGBTQ+ content, specifically with gay YA content, is the repetitiveness of it.
It goes like this:
· There’s a shy, quiet gay boy. Probably likes books or something sappy like that.
· There’s a closeted jock—or otherwise more masculine figure.
· They meet and fall in love.
· The jock does some dumb stuff and hurts the other guy.
· They end up getting back together.
While Sam & Grizz in The Society seem to almost fall into this tried-and-beaten-down formula for LGBTQ+ representation, it takes a couple turns. What this show does in all its aspects is say, “Oh, you’re expecting this to be cliché? Well, f*ck off, we’re going to be amazing instead.” The show has such subtlety in its narratives and explores the complex political and emotional relationships that form when people are forming society and tasked with survival. But let’s get back on topic, this is about the gays of the show and how unique they are.
First, and the most obvious, Sam is deaf. So, while being gay in a town with no other out gay people around is a part of his character, there is an entirely other added element. And, let’s not forget that both of these are simply supplementary to his character, since his main role is being the adoptive father to his best friend’s baby—which is a big strain to his and Grizz’s relationship.
Grizz may be a jock, but he breaks so many jock stereotypes from the beginning. He’s strong-willed but leads with a soft heart and kind disposition. He’s that dork who wears funky looking glasses to prom. He’s the only person ever who can pull off a man bun. He’s not your brooding, manly jock or perfect person. He’s just a boy you root for. And, he’s adorable when he begins to learn sign language to communicate with Sam. He’s even more adorable when he’s visibly nervous to ask Sam to kiss him.
The moment that really breaks the mold for me is when Grizz discovers the pregnancy of Sam’s best friend, Becca. Sam is the adoptive father, but him and Becca have decided to tell people that he is the real father (even though he’s already out as gay). The same night after Sam and Grizz share a, um, special few hours with each other, Grizz discovers Becca is pregnant. And Sam holds strong that he is the father. Understandably devastated that Sam didn’t say anything to him, Grizz unsuccessfully holds back tears while congratulating them, then walks away.
MY. HEART. BROKE.
Because, here is a unique situation of a role-reversal. The not-so-anymore-closeted jock wanted to be happy and to be with Sam, but Sam just can’t figure out how to keep his secrets and be happily in love. It’s a unique dynamic put into place by the writers, and not some canned drama every queer kid has seen, read and heard before.
In short, the characters are unique as individual characters. And, they’re relationship has a unique dynamic which has only begun as of the conclusion of season 1. Care was put into this LGBTQ+ representation, and we should all be applauding the entire team who made it happen. Also, The Society is an amazing show besides just Sam and Grizz, so totally check it out.
Then, join the fun of begging Netflix for a season 2.