It has been quite a while since I talked to you guys about a new show! Now, I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix. I love it, for obvious reasons, but I have to be honest and say that I’m still hurting over that Sense8 cancellation. Having said that though, some of my favourite shows (including Sense8!!!) are Netflix originals and today I’ve got a new one to share with you.
On My Block is a new Netflix original comedy-drama series that has 10, 30-minute episodes and is co-created by one of the creators of MTV’s Awkward (which I also loved BTW). This show is straight out of my representation loving dreams with a diverse cast and a realistic – and normalized – depiction of their lives. I actually had no idea that it was so highly rated (it has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes) until after I’d already binged the entire thing. The main cast is made up of four characters: Monse, who is headstrong and has a penchant for being a bit like a dog with a bone; Ruby, the whiz-kid who is awkward, desperate, and loveable all at once; Jamal, who spends his time coming up with wild schemes to avoid having to fulfil his fathers football legacy and also hunting down the mythical RollerWorld treasure; and Cesar, who goes from being gang-adjacent to being directly involved despite his wanting better things. There are a slew of other characters like Ruby’s abuelita, Cesar’s brother Oscar, the hilarious Jasmin who is desperate to be a part of the group, and new girl Olivia who all work to create a truly charming ensemble that make this show what it is.
I watched the entire first season yesterday and it was amazing. Going in to it I wasn’t sure how much I would like it because the show is about a group of kids living in South Central LA who are about to start their freshman year of high school. I think that my main concern was that it might be a bit too young for me to, I don’t know, I guess relate to? Find entertaining? Either way I was wrong. This show is equal parts hilarious (I’m not joking when I say that I actually laughed out loud – a lot!), relatable, and important. It’s especially poignant right now because of how the show depicts issues of violence and gun usage as being a part of the everyday lives of these fourteen-year-old kids.
Along with that, I think that the show does a great job of portraying really rounded characters which is a hard thing to find in television when looking for diversity. Each character is more than just one thing, whether that thing is race or gender or socio-economic-status, or their hobbies or whatever. The way that they wrote Oscar is a great example because most “gangster” characters are only that – gangsters. They’re either bad people or people who do bad things. I think what’s interesting about this show is that they focus less on why he does what he does and more on who he is by giving him a sense of humour and other characteristics that create a lot more depth than what we’re used to seeing.
The show also does a good job of creating drama through familiar scenarios while avoiding the same tired tropes. There were so many moments where I was on the verge of cringing but was pleasantly surprised with how things worked out without being sucked in to stereotypes and overly-used storylines. On My Block feels fresh and familiar all at the same time which is hard to achieve but it barrels on with confidence and many-a-quippy-jokes. Honestly, I could probably write all day about how much I love this show and why it’s so good but instead I’ll just say that you should give it a chance. I promise, it’s worth it.