From Netflix: “The Morales cousins scramble to save their grandfather’s taco shop — and pursue their own dreams — as gentrification shakes up their LA neighborhood.”
What I liked:
- It really dissects gentrification and how it affects minorities in their respective communities. Displacement of long-time residents and business owners are the most prominent victims, but the show also displays how it can emotionally affect the working-class and artists too. It also shows how gentrification is a form of institutionalized racism, as it mostly affects marginalized people of color. Gentefied also uses gentrification as the base of the sky-rocketing costs of living in California, resulting in the explosion of the homeless.
- Gentefied is brave enough to not provide an answer to any of it, as change is also a common thread throughout the ten episodes, presenting gentrification as a form of personal and financial growth that comes with heavy decisions and heavier consequences.
- All the characters on the show are cast perfectly. The progressive group perfectly encapsulates what a true predominantly Hispanic/Latin/Latinx neighborhood of Los Angeles looks like, especially Boyle Heights (where the show takes place). Not since Gabriel Luna’s Ghost Rider episodes of Agents of Shield have I so often shouted “I know where that is!” at my tv.
- Just because the show is about people of color that does not mean the themes within the show aren’t relatable to anyone else. Following dreams, running family businesses, deeply widening generation gaps and even first loves are all explored wonderfully throughout the season. Speaking of deeply widening generation gaps, that seems to be happening more and more in today’s society. “Grown-ups” are becoming more and more disconnected from today’s youth and youth culture, causing a major rift.
- Grown-ups and growing up also plays a role in the show, including with how difficult it is for people of color to retire and still have a financially stable life.
- Some of the episodes start with flashback sequences and THANKFULLY, those sequences were shot with filming techniques that were popular within whatever time frame the segments flashback to. Long time readers (and personal connections) should know that I LOOOOOOOVE when media pieces truly reflect a previous era.
- The show’s soundtrack is THE PERFECT depiction of the many genres of music Hispanic-Americans grow up listening to.
- Each episode runs around a half-hour, which is an impeccable run-time. It keeps the pacing tight and never feels like story lines are over-extended just to fill time commitments.
- A minor jab at Chipotle! Sweet!
What I didn’t like:
- That even though you select “Off”, Netflix still won’t turn off the dang subtitles when characters speak Spanish. I’m assuming this is because the show frequently changes between English and Spanish, which is a completely accurate depiction of what life in a bilingual household is like. But still, no chinguen.
A trailblazing show not only for people of Hispanic/Latino descent, but a show with themes universal enough to reach other cultures. Told through heart, humor, distress and food, Gentefied proposes very real issues through very real characters and communities that affect all of us. Stream it on Netflix.
Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production and has been published both online and in print for Los Angeles City College’s award-winning Collegian newspaper. He is also a news writer at DC Comics News. Jose is on Twitter and Instagram, and is also currently writing his first short novel.