“On My Block” is a zany, compelling series with messages of friendship, growing up, and loyalty. Set in the fictional neighborhood of Freeridge in Los Angeles, this Netflix original shows four 15-year-old best friends dealing with family drama, neighborhood gangs, and a mystery. The teens follow the neighborhood legend of RollerWorld, which is that there may be money buried in the neighborhood from a robbery years ago. As they attempt to find the money to help their friend Cesar, the friend group becomes closer as each of them learn more about their world and themselves.
The main group of characters consists of Monse, Cesar, Jamal, and Ruby. Monse, the only girl in the friend group, is independent, hardworking, and selfless. Throughout the show we watch her struggle to try to keep her friend group together and get to know more about her mom, who left when Monse was three. Cesar is intelligent, loyal, and cares deeply about his friends. After being forced into his older brother’s gang, he tries his best to avoid conflict as his friends attempt to get him out of the gang. Jamal is quirky, sensitive, and hilarious. He is the one that believes in the mystery of RollerWorld the most, and he works hard to find the money so that he can help get Cesar out of the gang. He also deals with trying to convince his parents that he’s on the football team at his school, when he is actually terrified of sports. Ruby is emotional and caring. He is very persuasive and is often used by the others to convince people of things, such as when he tries to get the school’s football coach to pretend Jamal is on the team. Throughout the later seasons we get to know more about his personality and fears, and he has a lot of interesting character development during the series.
The show did a really great job of positive race representation, and it depicts what many consider a realistic portrayal of what it’s like living in Los Angeles. I think that all the actors, especially those playing the main characters, did an amazing job with the emotional scenes as well as the less serious ones. They all had authentic-feeling emotion as well as great comedic timing. The actors made it very easy to get attached to the characters, and the bonds between them felt very genuine. I also think the writing was very compelling. The dialogue was realistic for teenagers, the story was captivating, and the characters were hilarious and unique.
There were also some things I didn’t enjoy about the show. Although the storylines were usually very interesting, they could sometimes get predictable, especially the ones about relationships between the characters. They could also get a little over exaggerated or unrealistic, especially in the later seasons. There were so many jokes that it could sometimes be difficult to take the emotional scenes seriously. Although the bonds between characters usually felt very genuine, there were times when it felt a little artificial during the scenes that focused on humor rather than emotion.
Overall, I think “On My Block” is a wonderful show. It’s a series that takes a realistic and witty approach to growing up, with an interesting mystery to keep the plot moving. The characters are lovable and quirky, and the actors bring a lot of genuine-feeling emotion and humor. I definitely recommend this show if you enjoy shows with close friend groups or light-hearted mysteries such as Outer Banks or Stranger Things.