Making its debut this past May, Grosse Misconduct is a six-episode queer-themed web series that offers its viewers a fast-paced peek into the life of an eccentric human resources team as they navigate the workplace.
Grosse Misconduct exemplifies intelligent representation for the queer and trans community, dealing with common, relatable themes – employment discrimination, gawking, and harassment. It also shows an allegorical power struggle between the two main characters, Alicia (played by transgender actress Pooya Mohseni) and Mitch (portrayed by openly gay actor Colby Ryan).
Alicia is quickly introduced as someone vulnerable yet tough; a multi-dimensional character with room to grow. She’s clearly dealing with transmisogynistic trauma from her last job. And late in the season, she shouts at another employee she doesn’t want to deal with: “I’m too much woman for you!”
“I hope this character shows members of my community that our representation can be as varied as we are," Mohseni tells INTO. "I hope it inspires [trans women] to reach for the stars and know that they can be whatever they set their mind on, because they are capable, worthy and their time is now.”
Unlike in most instances of trans representation, Alicia is by far the strongest character of the show, which Mohseni says she was hoping for.
“I want our community to be represented as the human beings we are, not freaks to pity or be scared of,” she says.
Seeing a trans woman of color with a stable job that isn’t part of a transition narrative is relatively unheard of. While some of the language is questionable (Mitch tells Brian that Alicia was “born male” and isn’t corrected), any time Alicia is disrespected, she stands up for herself and shows agency in her decisions.
“My favorite thing about the series is that it's not the same ideas done again and again. It's a fresh face on old archetypes,” Mohseni says. “The gay character isn't the friend, but he's the boss. The trans character isn't sad or victimized, but she's powerful, eloquent and real. All characters are a little nutty but there is something real and fresh about them. I love that!”
Most of the acting is unconvincing – but it’s the camp that really ties the show together. Mitch is constantly on his phone making personal calls or looking at his computer while shopping for sex toys. He’s the “gross misconduct” that he was hired to prevent. It’s quickly revealed that he’s only on the team because his boss promised his father he would have the job.
Mitch is the true anti-hero of the series. He’s openly racist, self-absorbed, and indifferent. His well-paying job (care of nepotism) makes him the living embodiment of the “cis white gay” archetype. (“We were together for six months. That’s like 25 years in the breeder community!” Mitch laments after breaking up with his boyfriend.)
“Universe allowing, Grosse Misconduct will get to grow with its audience and allow the characters to unfold and evolve through episodes, and seasons," Mohseni says. "I hope to see the main characters find themselves in challenging circumstances and come through with flying colors, because I do love the characters and what each brings to story.”
Grosse Misconduct is a fun short series for anyone who likes comedy, queer media, or trans representation. The show is available for free on their website.