On My Block, 2018
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Netflix has come out with yet another original series that they've quietly put out. On my Block proves my personal theory that the less Netflix hypes their original content, the more awesome they are. Oh, yes, has anybody watched American Vandal as yet? You should!
On my Block is a teen drama that wishes to further close the representation gap. This time by not putting brown people in proximity with white people, but rather sets focus on solely the lives of people of colour and their natal environment. The show follows four teens who are Black, Mexican and Afro Latina. We get to pry in on their day-to-day lives as they navigate a neighbourhood which is infested with gang violence and police harassment, as they aspire to a life beyond what was systematically afforded to them from birth, after high school.
It is a dramedy which brings its A-game on both ends. There's never a dull moment watching this show, you're either choking on your own spit with laughter or clutching onto your chest over one of the kids' constant dilemmas as they navigate growing into themselves.
Each of the kids has a compelling story arc to follow, which makes this show perhaps the most balanced recent team-up after Stranger Things (Season 2 anyway). It's always nice to have all the leading characters equally prioritised.
Monse, Ruby and Jamal are trying to save their friend Cesar from his inevitable fate as his brother's right hand man, after the brother gets out of jail. The brother is the leader of a gang, infact this gang is Cesar's family legacy. Cesar doesn't welcome their help as he believes that it's a useless attempt that will only end in the four of them badly injured or even dead. The events hilariously unfold when they the three teens insist on saving Cesar anyway, because that's what friends do, right?Click to view spoilerMonse is actually the one leading Mission Save Cesar while dragging the two boys by the ears. She has the hots for Cesar, and they have a "thing" that they're hiding from their squad and the world. Homegirl will obviously do anything to keep her lowkey high school romance alive, so risking danger to keep her boo alive so to keep the (overly sexual for kids, I must say) escapades well and kicking makes all the sense to her hyper adolescent mind.
This show steers clear of stereotypes and honestly depicts a neighborhood through the kids' eyes without trying to pander to white audiences. The characters are proudly and flamboyantly brown and they show it in every way. This will be great for those who've always been subjected to brown people stories through a white gaze, and even teens who love and follow young adult shows but have always been subjected to white leads in white neighbourhoods. Or the few Black kids squeezed in for representational purposes (13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things, Riverdale, I'm looking at you!) but live in white neighbourhoods, have white friends and ultimately act white.
On my Block gives a fair depiction of what it is like being a person of colour and having to grow up in an environment that isn't particularly great, but is still the reality of it all and you'll have to make it work regardless. It is a genuine hilarious and heartwarming watch. This show deserves the same cult following as the likes of Everybody Hates Chris and My Wife and Kids. It's even better that it is adapted for modern audiences so we don't have to try to pretend to love the nostalgia wave that's been doing the rounds (Stranger Things and the recent Neflix original, Everything Sucks- which sucks a whole lot).
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