On My Block is a new Netflix series released on March 16th, 2018. The series consists of 10 episodes each ranging from a little over half hour long. The series is created by Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft.
On My Block is trending all over social media for its use of Latinx/o, African American/Black, Mexican-American, and minority actors. The show remains entirely made of a minority acting cast, which is rare for a Netflix original show.
The Players Behind On My Block
The series is a coming of age show about a group of friends in a rough inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood. These four friends have their friendship tested as they begin high school together. The main cast is Monse Finnie (Sierra Capri), Ruby Martinez (Jason Genao), Jamal Turner (Brett Gray), Cesar Diaz (Diego Tinoco), Olivia (Ronni Hawk), and Jasmin (Jessica Marie Garcia).
Each episode in season one consists of the title name, ‘chapter.’ Respectively, ‘chapter one,’ ‘chapter two,’ chapter three,’ etc. On My Block is an insanely important show, not only for diversity but also for coming of age teenagers to see themselves in a television series. On My Block is an important show.
The First Episode: ‘Chapter One’
What I love about On The Block is that it builds character development so well. Even in the first episode titled, ‘Chapter One’ I knew who these characters were. I knew Jamal was the pushover, lost kid. Monse was the hardheaded, strong-willed character.
Ceasar is the bad boy (unwillingly) trying to be a good boy. And, Ruby is the… virgin, comedic relief, good boy who doesn’t want to do anything too bad or else he will get in trouble. Throughout the show, these personalities only get defined even more so. You start to see more of these characteristics come into play into their actions.
Which is hard to do in ten episodes let alone the first episode of the series. Most network television shows don’t even conquer that in one season. On My Block is a force to be reckoned with.
The Characters of On My Block
Monse, one of the main characters, is someone that I truly adore from this first episode. She is a powerhouse, kind of like myself and I see myself in her a lot. Chapter One sets up the tone for the rest of the series incredibly well. You understand Ruby’s ethnic background as a Latino/Mexican-American, the use of Spanish is a great touch to understand where he comes from.
Jamal is the pushover, the one that does not have a path yet. Jamal wants to impress his father, but even he knows that won’t work out in the end. Cesar is in trouble and I am intrigued to see more of his storyline; more of… the dangerous bad boy in a gang.
On My Block Is An 100% Score
Between these ten episodes, we get a relationship with Monse and Ceasar. Throughout the duration of the show, you see their relationship fumble and pick back up again, but they have great chemistry. You remember that high school relationship that was a rollercoaster?
Yeah, it’s a perfect depiction of that. Even among friends, you have this group that is like family. A group that no matter what — has your back and even in high school, you can remember that group of friends you had. Even if you guys aren’t friends anymore, it consists of nice memories to look back on. This show brings back those old high school memories, the fond ones; and, it resonates with the viewer.
Among the duration of the series, On My Block, you understand that they don’t let where they come from define them. They don’t let living in ‘the hood’ define who they are — it may define their path temporarily such as Ceasar’s case — but, never for long. That is important to show in a television series such as this.
Dealing With Emotions Is Not Easy
In high school, you remember when your emotions were all over the place? On The Block really captures when you had to deal with your emotions and didn’t know how to. Jamal with his football at the beginning of the series, Ruby with Oliva, Monse with Ceasar, and Oliva with Ceasar and Ruby.
There is a countless amount of needing to deal with emotions. Everyone has to and especially when they don’t want to is when they have to. That’s usually how emotions work, right?
The Culture In On My Block
Bringing culture into this show was the icing on the cake; the Lantinx/o and Mexican-American characters speaking Spanish and being able to bring in culture are super important. Especially in a show like this. Being able to be entwined with the culture is an important aspect.
Monse on her adventure to find her mother was a change I enjoyed. Most television shows only look at the absentee dad in African-American culture. It was shocking and great to see another side of it. Jamal having two great parents was another view that was enjoyable. To see a happy family just as much was a great culture aspect to depict.
It Ain’t Easy To Do The Right Thing…
Ceasar’s infiltration with his brother’s gang is what becomes an issue in the long run. He is sent to eliminate one of his enemies and Ceasar can’t bring himself to do it. So, instead, he pretends to do it and lets the person get away.
This backfires when Oliva is having her Quince and the person shoots up the Quince. Ceasar’s enemy actually shoots Oliva and Ruby, one of which is shot worse than the other and gasping for breath. Ruby is bleeding intensely while Oliva can still somewhat scream out for Ruby’s name.
Happiness Doesn’t Last Too Long In ‘The Hood’
Jamal was too busy finding the treasure he was seeking out and instead did not make it to the party. Ceasar and Monse were happy and dating, Ruby and Oliva kissed, things were okay. Until you get to the last seconds of Chapter Ten. Ceasar was trying to do the right thing, and now his brother is going to know he did not kill the person he said he did.
Which… won’t go over too well one can presume. So, where does this leave On My Block? They leave on a deadly note without a word of season two and it’s scary. It’s scary to watch that and know it’s how people live. I could barely even muster up the courage to write this without crying because that ending shook me, entirely too much.
It was real and it was scary. And, I hope we can continue to be inside of these creatively unique character’s lives. I hope Ruby lives and Olivia as well. Killing Ruby would cause Ceasar to then be in the gang and get revenge — what his name is destined to do anyway.
However, keeping him alive would do the same thing… wouldn’t it? Either way, Ceasar would get revenge. I have so many questions and so much praise.
So, What Can We Make Of On My Block?
This show is revolutionary. In so many ways. It will make you chuckle, make you cry, and somehow between all that make you smile. It is a lighthearted show, but also crazy in a high school emotional kind of way. If you have some time, please watch this show it’s glorious.
It is absolutely fantastic. The acting is by far some of the best acting I have seen on a Netflix series. The characters have so much depth and development over the course of ten episodes it’s notable. And, the character you’ll love the most meets an untimely demise.
I cried, I laughed, and I smiled. And, now I’m depressed but in a really good way. I’m so sad I binge watched this show I needed to take a breather because the come down is hard. Watch On My Block you will not regret it. Fall in love with Monse and Ceasar like I did. Damn, aren’t they just the cutest though?
Also, I need more Jamal and nothing is ever his fault.