Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

“Gentefied” reflects real struggles of East LA

Break out your weighted blanket and your favorite binging snacks because Netflix has blessed its viewers with another series that is a must watch from start to finish. “Gentefied” is a beautifully crafted Spanglish series about three cousins who prioritize family while pursuing their dreams in a neighborhood facing gentrification.

The show’s main characters reflect the real people who live in  East Los Angeles today: hard-working immigrants and their children who are torn between holding on to tradition and embracing what large companies call “beautification,” which is code for opening trendy hipster restaurants and shops driving up the cost of rent and goods.

It’s happening all over the United States, and it leaves low income families displaced. While there are pros to this process, it’s impossible to ignore the consequences for the ones who lived there before “beautification.”

This show is set in Boyle Heights, which is a real neighborhood in Los Angeles, and the story is based on hundreds of true stories of Mexican-American young adult experiences across the United States.

In “Gentefied,”  the series specifically explores the idea of “gentefication,” the gentrification of poor Latinx neighborhoods by Latinx people who are trying to save their businesses by making them more hipster friendly and raising prices.

The main characters of this series are Ana, a queer artist who is living at home while trying to become the next Banksy; her cousin Chris, an aspiring chef with a business degree and the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s; Erik, a man in the midst of turning his life around for his future child.

Together, the trio of cousins teams up to save their grandfather’s legacy. They each are going through their own storyline of struggles, with each character having a goal they are trying to achieve.

At some points, it seems, in order to make a bit of progress in the changing neighborhood, they have to sacrifice a piece of who they are. Their parents and grandparents are all rooted in their Mexican traditions and are trying to welcome change without throwing away all the progress they have made to keep tradition alive.

The strained relationship between parents and children is something we can all relate to. Yet, the unique experience of the relationship between immigrant parents and their children is something that definitely needed its own show.

“Gentefied” is like a mix of “On My Block” and “Jane the Virgin.” It’s aimed toward a young adult crowd, as well as an older one. The topics discussed are serious, but the writers were sure to provide lots of comedic relief. Moreover, the soundtrack is incredible; it doesn’t distract from the story, and it’s available on Spotify.

All of the actors pull their weight on the show, and no one outshines the others. The name you will recognize in the credits is America Ferrera. She is a producer on the show and makes a small cameo in an early episode.

In a time where audiences are hungry for new bingable content, this series is a much-desired new flavor. There is a lack of Latinx representation in today’s media, but we are on the slow uphill climb of seeing more diversity on television.

The last episode leaves audiences with multiple intense cliff hangers. It’s no surprise that the series has been renewed for season two. This half-hour dramedy is breaking boundaries with an untold story that we need to hear.

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“Gentefied” reflects real struggles of East LA