There are no spoilers in this post.
Netflix’s original series, On My Block, tells the story of four friends—Monse, Jamal, Ruby, and Cesar—from the fictional inner-city, gang-heavy Los Angeles neighborhood of Freeridge. They’re about to start high school and the summer has created rifts and issues amongst them, though they somehow manage to stay tight despite it all.
Monse is the the only girl in the group and the de facto leader. Jamal is the goofy kid who is afraid of disappointing his parents because he hates playing football and who is also obsessed with a mythic Freeridge treasure, ala Benjamin Gates in National Treasure. Cesar is the cool kid of the group and the little brother of an infamous gang leader and a gang member himself, though he’s extremely smart with no desire to live the gang life. And Ruby is the heart of the crew; he’s the short, extremely intelligent, hilariously quick-witted love struck Romeo with the ideas and the spirit. Together they’re a basket of kittens.
It’s high school so they’re going through high school shit. Monse left for the summer to attend a writing workshop and came back “blossomed,” which creates a storyline in itself, though her friends don’t make it a thing; she’s just Monse. She and Cesar have a thing going on that causes an early rift and weaves its way throughout the entire season. Ruby’s grandmother is a real O.G., it turns out, and she gives Jamal all of the insight and inspiration he needs to keep searching for that treasure he believes is real.
It’s a show definitely worth checking out. Their friendship is believable and their connection and chemistry doesn’t feel contrived. I actually want them to make it as a crew through all four years of high school. And the shenanigans are hilarious. The comedy they dredge up often comes out of nowhere but lands hilariously. The writing is good, the story is solid, and they give everybody a chance to be human. You get a chance to care about the storyline and each character.
In April, the news dropped that the show had been renewed for a second season. I just watched it this past weekend so the renewal news was important for me because holy fucking shit cakes, Batman, the way the first season ended literally had me speechless. I immediately went to the internets to read up about it and there were no support groups or discussion forums that I could find. I called people but nobody watched the show.
I hugged myself. I literally just...sat on the bed in my hotel room and rocked back and forth and wondered how to contain the emotions I felt. What this show did as well as any show I’ve seen is, is make you care about each character, but not so much that you get overly invested in any one. They created storylines that are all interconnected and while Monse is the clear focal point of the show, nobody feels left out at all. At the same time, they’re kids navigating life, so you enjoy the innocence even if these are some of the least innocent kids of all time because of where they live and what they’ve seen. So they kept me just disconnected enough to not really consider anything monumental happening and then straight mollywhopping me to the point where I actively had to make sure that I’d know what happened next.
That’s good television. After binging Everything Sucks and realizing it wasn’t granted a second season, I feel better about life knowing that I’ll get some closure on something that affected me deeply enough for a day that I had to have a drink in honor of the writing on the show and messing with my emotions they way they did.
Now, if they don’t get a third season and they haven’t wrapped up their storylines, I’m going to be one unhappy camper. But for now, I’ll camp out on their block and wait for the closure on the first season that I’m still not quite over, for which I still might need a hug.