We’re excited about Gentefied, a half-hour dramedy set in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, which comes to Netflix this Friday, February 21st. Adapted from a digital series that debuted at Sundance in 2017, it was created by two first-generation Chicano writers, Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chavez.
This bilingual story is about a Mexican-American family struggling in a rapidly changing world that is threatening to take their community and their business away from them. In particular, a generation of LatinX professionals are gentrifying the neighborhood, known as “Gentefication.”
To get you ready for your weekend viewing, here are the key characters you’ll meet on Gentefied.
Casimiro Morales a.k.a. “Pop” (Joaquín Cosio)
Pop is the owner of Mama Fina’s Tacos, a shop in Boyle Heights named for his wife who has since passed away. Despite dedicating his life to his business, he is struggling to keep it afloat in a time of soaring rents and gentrification. He believes in his grandkids and supports the pursuit of their dreams even if it sets him back.
Erik (JJ Soria)
Erik is deeper than most people give him credit for. He’s an avid reader who loves books and is trying to better himself. He is still in love with his ex, Lidia, and is trying to prove that he’s capable of building a future with her. He was pretty much raised by his grandparents and works with Pop at Mama Fina’s.
Chris (Carlos Santos)
Chris is an aspiring chef who works at a fancy restaurant in the Arts District and plans to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He reconnects with his family and roots in Boyle Heights after living in Idaho for several years, and believes that change and innovation will help Pop keep the family shop. His cousins, Ana and Erik, accuse him of being a “coconut” (brown on the outside and white on the inside).
Ana (Karrie Martin) & Yessika (Julissa Calderon)
Ana is a talented artist seeking her big break. Her Pop wants her to keep working toward her goals, but her mother thinks she needs a “real job” and that art is just a game. Ana’s longing for fame and fortune is also a point of conflict with her long-time girlfriend, Yessika, an activist.
An activist trying to stop the takeover of her neighborhood and community, Yessika is also Ana’s girlfriend. They don’t always see eye to eye, especially because Ana puts her family first.
Lidia (Annie Gonzalez)
Lidia, Erik’s ex-girlfriend, is a career-minded academic who also helps out at her father’s Boyle Heights bar. She is not certain if there’s a future with Erik despite his efforts to show her he’s worthy of her.
Rob (Wilmer Valderrama)
Rob is a real estate agent who is buying up Boyle Heights and selling out the neighborhood, even though he grew up there. Mama Fina’s is in a building he owns and he’s constantly threatening the Morales family with eviction.
In addition to these characters, there’s also a cameo from America Ferrera, who also happens to be an executive producer on the series as well as director of two episodes in the first season.
If you’re a fan of Netflix’s On My Block or Starz’s Vida, Gentefied is a must-watch. All of us at Wiretap will be watching this weekend, so join us. Just add Wiretap to Chrome to see comments from friends and fans around the world, or add your own comments as you watch.
Images and Video Courtesy of Netflix