By Polo Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher,
“Gentefied,” the iconic new Netflix show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, has become a water cooler conversation in many spaces where TV shows are not a political statement, but a respite from daily life. This show presents stories where all people recognize themselves; their struggles, their pains and they are acknowledged for their work ethic and given a place to find strength and inspiration.
The talent is well cast, the stories are engaging and triumphant. All of the characters are recognizable; they are strong, engaging and inspiring… and really funny. The show is a binge beauty but only to make sure you watch it when you have the “down time” that none of the characters seem to have, which is kind of the situation that most of those depicted here do not have. Once binged, so you can be part of the conversation, it deserves a second viewing so that you can enjoy the complexity of the stories and where you can see those around your connecting character and how they interact. It is a community that we all want to be part of because the spirit of the area unites them. Boyle Heights has become a safe space and now that spirit is a target for those who can afford the price of invasion.
The Directors include Aurora Guerrero, America Ferrera who is an Executive Producer of the show, and show co-creator Marvin Lemus. The stories are not only compelling, they are authentic and in a space where stories are demarcated by the violence portrayed in order to bring sympathy, none of these stories are apologetic, they are honest and complex and fierece. Viewers are seeing themselves and how they are connected to the others. The world of this community becomes real, diverse and exciting.
The pilot helps us establish the stories the same way other long running shows have done, deliberately and in a pace that helped us see a family in their environment, and although some felt that it was not exciting enough, it establishes the brilliance of this show. It allows us, all of us, to see and discover ourselves without being distracted by action pacing that would create forgettable moments. This is not an action show, this is a family show in all its glory. It shows us what many have been talking about when it comes about the diversity in the Latino community, it is not claiming to speak to everyone and for everyone, it speaks to the experiences of the creators and they have connected us through their craft and their delicate delivery of emotional scenes and crisis we see in our families.
The cast is made up of veterans who have been developing their craft through years and decades of working in a world that does not valued them as much as they deserve. These are the “blue collar” professionals that support and deliver superior performances and represent a community that has been attacked and is being targeted for victimization daily in this administration.
“Gentefied” should be renewed for 5 seasons with an option of 5 after. I want to see who Nayeli becomes, where does she go to school and who she terrorizes on her way. I want to see what happens with Papa Casimiro. His dignity preserved as he works his way through the torturous road that ICE has created for him, and how Yessika maneuvers through the complicated gauntlent of trying to save a community who has been targeted for starvation by those that have commodified what others have created as a home and how she can save her relationship with the love of her life, I am rooting for them. I want to see the struggle between artists who are in need of financial support and those that sell them so that they can live a better life by destroying the life of others. There is so much I want to see and these creators can deliver it. I can see a story line where Lidia’s biggest challenge in Stanford is her husband, Stanford student Erick, how do you keep your cultural grounding when you become “the man?” Netflix executives, you have gold, seal the deal, 20 seasons is not enough.