On My Block | Teen Ink

On My Block

March 21, 2018
By ShiviChauhan GOLD, Wayne, New Jersey
ShiviChauhan GOLD, Wayne, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 3 comments

 “No matter how hard I try, I can’t escape who I am. Those kids in Brentwood, they don’t think we’re people. They think we’re costumes,” Cesar, one of the show’s central characters, states. On My Block revolves around the story of five Los Angeles inner-city kids, all of which have one goal: to leave their poverty and crime- stricken neighborhoods. Ruby, the smartest of the bunch, deals with his feelings for Olivia, a family friend who moves into his home subsequent to her parents being deported. Jamal, the geek of the group, struggles with his parent’s dream of him becoming a football star and filling his father’s shoes. Monse is the strongest of the group who consistently protests the double standard for females in the hood, and faces conflicting feelings for Cesar. Cesar, also harboring strong feelings for Monse, has to deal with his brother forcing him into the gang life after his brother is released from prison early.

   The overarching plot of the first season focuses on the group finding ways to let Cesar escape the Santos gang, despite the only obvious way out being death. The situation escalates as Latrelle, a former classmate of the bunch and rival gang member, threatens to kill Cesar the next time he sees him. Cesar is pressured by his brother and fellow gang members to kill Latrelle, while Monse, Ruby, and Jamal find a way out for him by trying to find money to get Cesar out of town and harm’s way. Throughout the season, all of the characters struggle with their personal relationships, and many love triangles emerge, leading to drama which threatens the group’s lifelong friendship.

   Don’t be fooled: On My Block isn’t just your typical, coming-of-age show. Despite its obvious, typical “finding yourself” theme that is prevalent in all teen shows and movies, On My Block subtly gives you a view of life on the other side. A life where the main characters joke and guess the caliber of the bullet every time a gun is shot, a life where the LAPD has lockdowns on the regular, a life where cat-calling and gang violence is prevalent. But the show dismantles inner-city stereotypes and shows white LAPD officers who are kind to the characters, smart gang members headed to elite universities who get sucked back in due to pressure from their families, and main characters with a myriad of academic and creative potential who know how to handle themselves in tough situations. The show introduces political issues, as Olivia’s parents are deported, social issues, such as women being seen as whores when they have sex, but men perceiving it as a badge of honor, and economic issues and the socio-economic barrier, as the characters go to Brentwood for Halloween (because “nothing bad ever happens in Brentwood” according to Ruby, to which Cesar responds, “What about OJ? No offense Jamal,” “None taken. We don’t claim him,” Jamal retorts,) and the main characters crash a party, in which they are perceived more as caricatures and stereotypes, rather than actual people with their own individuality.

Netflix managed to create a must-see show that is unique with touches of familiarity that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the gut-wrenching finale. This new, fresh approach to the teen dramedy will fulfill your binge-watching desires and make you laugh and cry  within a span of a few seconds.

Similar Articles


This article has 3 comments.

Warrioraxe said...
on Aug. 12 2018 at 11:53 pm
Warrioraxe, Louisville, Kentucky
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
What does the ojob we don't claim him mean?

on Apr. 2 2018 at 10:14 pm
ShiviChauhan GOLD, Wayne, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Thank you! It's honestly such a great show, I'm in love with it!

on Mar. 24 2018 at 9:33 pm
kkatherinekatt PLATINUM, Daytona Beach, Florida
21 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

I love this review! I'm on episode eight right now and was really hoping somebody would write a review for this show. I love it. Haven't loved a Netflix Original since Stranger Things.