A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gentified is a dramedy produced by America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, Superstore) that explores cultural identity and gentrification through the struggles and triumphs of a tight-knit Mexican-American family in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood. Race, economics, and sexuality are all common topics addressed on the show. There's frequent language including "s--t" and "bitch" to "motherf--ker," a few love scenes (no nudity), and there's little-to-no violence to speak of, either. A few scenes with adults drinking in a bar, pot is smoked a couple of times and two characters go to a rave and take psychedelics (a male character's bare bottom is briefly shown). Though the show is mainly in English, many characters slip in and out of speaking Spanish -- but there are subtitles. The political and social commentary should give parents and teens a lot to talk about, and the show can be quite funny to boot.
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What's the story?
GENTEFIED is a half-hour series that's part-comedy, part-drama, examining issues of cultural identity and gentrification through the struggles and triumphs of a tight-knit Mexican-American family in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood. Much of the action centers on Mama Fina's, the taco shop owned by widowed grandfather Casimiro (Joaquin Cosio, Quantum of Solace) -- aka Pops -- which is hanging by a thread in a time of rising rents and encroaching hipsters. Casimiro lives with his two grandsons, the sometimes hotheaded Erik (a fiercely-protective but flaky dad-to-be) and aspiring chef Chris (who grew up with money, and is often referred to as a "coconut": brown on the outside, white on the inside). Also in their orbit is cousin Ana, a young painter who is trying to figure out how to make it in the overwhelmingly bourgeois art world without betraying her roots -- an issue that's especially important to her outspoken activist girlfriend, Yessika.
Is it any good?
What does it mean to change when your community's being displaced...and is it even worth it? These are the issues faced by the Morales family, and examined with a skillful blend of humor and depth. The series does a terrific job giving its characters distinct and real-feeling personalities, especially considering the episodes are so short. It's also a remarkably refreshing change to see Latinx men depicted not merely as drug lords or gang members but as sensitive, multifaceted human beings -- there are no one-note macho stereotypes at play here. Gentefied excels at interweaving storylines that tackle big-picture cultural questions with the smaller challenges of daily life, and it'd be fairly difficult not to be hooked and begging for a second season by the time you get to the series' cliffhanger ending.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's title, Gentified, and what the play on words means. ("Gente" means "people" in Spanish.)
Why do some of the characters seem to have an issue with Chris, and the way he grew up? What is the show trying to say about the idea of someone being a "real" Mexican?
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