ENTERTAINMENT

New Netflix Comedy ‘Gentefied’ Tackles Gentrification And The American Dream

The series, produced by America Ferrera, follows a Mexican American family battling racism and rising rents in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

Greedy gringos are taking over the Latinx neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. The new Netflix series, “Gentefied,” gives viewers a look into the lives of a Mexican American family that’s fighting to survive in a community slowly becoming more and more foreign to them. 

The highly anticipated comedic drama is based on the Sundance hit web series of the same name. The new, bilingual show — executive produced by America Ferrera — continues to explore the themes of the original, diving into the ongoing clash between the standards of an old-school generation and a more modern, millennial lifestyle. 

Co-writers and first-generation Americans Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez were also behind the original series.

“Let’s break and bust every single stereotype that we can and look at our community with all the love and say, ‘We see you,’” Lemus told HuffPost. “That’s why people are connecting to it in such a deep and special way.”

Rising rent (and prices in general) threaten the family restaurant, Mama Fina’s Tacos. While they each struggle financially to stay afloat, the millennial protagonists battle against traditional Latinx family expectations, along with the racism and discrimination that comes with gentrification.

“When we’re reading articles and statistics, it’s hard to understand and to fully empathize with how this is affecting our neighbors,” Lemus said. “We wanted to turn those statistics into our neighbors, our family, the faces of the people you know.”

Despite the title name, it’s about more than just the politics of gentrification. The show is also “about family, community, brown love, and the displacement that disrupts it all, three Mexican-American cousins struggle to chase the American Dream,” a statement from Netflix reads.

It turns out, however, that the American Dream is more complicated than it seems. If the characters try to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and support themselves financially in a changing community, does that mean they’re contributing to the gentrification? Chávez and Lemus don’t have an answer for you. But that’s the point.

“Not everyone is wrong and not everyone is right. It’s such a gray area, so we brought that into the show,” Linda Yvette Chávez told HuffPost. “By the end of this, if you’re asking, ‘I don’t know who to root for,’ that’s exactly how we feel.”

Karrie Martin, who plays Ana, and Carlos Santos, who plays Chris, in "Gentefied" 
Karrie Martin, who plays Ana, and Carlos Santos, who plays Chris, in "Gentefied" 

The show is also a celebration of Latinidad — the triumphs, complications and all. You may even notice some familiar stars from the online world, including Julissa Calderon from Buzzfeed’s “Pero Like” series, as well as Annie Gonzalez from “Vida” and “Shameless.” There will also be some fresh new faces in Hollywood, who give memorable, energetic performances — like Karrie Martin, who plays Ana, and Carlos Santos, who plays Chris.

The new series gives us Latinx representation in all of its forms — LGBTQ, Afro-Latinx, first-generation and more. The diverse, intergenerational portrayal of the Chicano, LA-based community is one that the co-writers said was born out of their personal experiences.

“We just tried to show our families and our communities and the way we experienced them growing up,” Chávez said. “It just happened naturally.”

The co-creators of the show told HuffPost that the connection to their childhood and real-life experiences is what makes the series so relatable for those both in and outside of the community. Chávez even said one fan, a cholo, told her, “I’m a grown-ass man and I can’t stop crying about ‘Gentefied.’”

Now, Chávez and Lemus are crossing their fingers for a second season renewal so viewers can find out what happened to the characters after the dramatic finale.

Watch the trailer for “Gentefied” above. 

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