Between learning algebra and navigating puberty, being a teenager is tough. But when gang violence and racism is in the mix, well, that’s a whole different story. Thankfully, it’s something show creators Lauren Iungerich (Awkward), Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft (All Eyez On Me) know how to tell.
The Netflix series hit ‘On My Block’ is the coming of age ‘dramedy’ for all generations. It follows the journey of four friends as they learn how to deal with the ups and downs of love, heartbreak, high school, death and everything else that comes with being a freshman, as well as a teenager in a rough inner-city neighbourhood. The cast includes Jason Genao (Ruby), Sierra Capri (Monse Finnie), Jessica Marie Garcia (Jasmine), Brett Gray (Jamal), Diego Tinoco (Cesar) and Ronni Hawk (Olivia).
Where did season one leave us?
The final few moments of season one left viewers dangling on the edge of a deadly cliff-hanger, which saw some of the main characters’ lives up in the air. Did Ruby and his crush Olivia survive after being shot by Cesar’s older brother, Oscar, at her Quinceanera? What’s going to happen to Cesar (Diego Tinoco) and the rest of the guys when he reluctantly joins Oscar’s gang? Is Jamal’s exciting discovery bittersweet?
Why you should watch On My Block
Since first airing in 2018, viewers have been quick to welcome the show for its compelling storylines and authenticity as a coming of age series. Critics have also praised the series for bringing diversity to screen, showcasing the talents of people of colour and the often overlooked experiences of many minorities.
Think awkward sexual teen relationships, drug use, love triangles and crime aren’t on the cards for teens? Don’t believe racist rich kids aren’t a problem in everyday life? Gonzalez, one of the show’s writers, thinks otherwise. He says On My Block is partly inspired by his experiences growing up in Los Angeles.
“The stakes to our kids’ mistakes are that much greater,” he said in an interview with Thrillist. “If you’re growing up in a John Hughes neighbourhood and you piss off somebody, they may slash your bike tires. That doesn’t happen in these neighbourhoods.”
Cast member Brett Gray, who plays Jamal, similarly told Bustle it felt natural for the show to have a mixture of comedy, violence, drama and gangs because it’s what happens in real life.
He said: “If you’ve grown up in an inner city or underprivileged neighbourhood, you know the blocks you don’t walk down, you know the neighbourhoods you don’t go to without friends, you know the bus routes that you’re not supposed to be on.”
Don’t miss out on all the action and watch On My Block on Netflix Australia. It premieres 29 March.
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