On My Block

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
On My Block TV Poster Image
South Central teens come of age in delicate, moving series.
 Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Friendship, tangible support that people who love each other can offer are at the center of this series, in which authority figures, even close family members can't always be relied on. Scenes of gang violence are not glamorized; instead, downsides of gang affiliation shown. Diverse cast sends strong message of inclusion. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Monse is a smart, dedicated, complicated girl with talent, willing to work hard to escape a grim future. Jamal is tender and goofy -- he lies to his father because he so desperately craves his dad's acceptance. Caesar is troubled by a gang's intrusion into his life, and fearful that he'll be forced into their league. Ruby is scrappy and sweet; he cares deeply about his friends and their reputation in the neighborhood.  

Violence

Violence intermittent and often gang-related: several scenes of men being beaten and kicked to be "jumped in" to a gang; gunfire erupts regularly (the friends make a game of trying to guess the caliber of the gun from the sound); a man chokes a teen for perceived disrespect (but lets him go once he finds out his connection to a gang). 

 

Sex

Teens kiss, sometimes passionately, and refer to offscreen sex as hitting it or hooking up. Men catcall a young girl and refer to her "boobs" and "cha cha bingos," while she crosses her arms and looks uncomfortable. Two teens are having a secret physical affair. Friends speculate on whether a woman is secretly trans; they say she has a "dangler." A boy tells a girl if she wants to "sit on" his face, she has to stop talking first. A teen masturbates with a sock, is interrupted by his grandmother. 

Language

Cursing includes "hell," "damn," "goddammit"; a man calls a woman a "bitch" after she breaks up with him, a woman calls her male friends "bitches" when she's annoyed with them. Other language: "pissed," "mofo," "d--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens smoke pot from joints, bongs, and pipes, and drink alcohol at parties. Middle schoolers drink beer. Two teens drink something from bags on a porch, trying to appear as if they're drinking beers. When asked, they admit it's Gatorade. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that On My Block is a series about four friends growing up in South Central Los Angeles. The friends are loving and sweetly supportive of one another and their foibles, but their surroundings are challenging: Several scenes show men being "jumped in" to gangs by being beaten and kicked as teens walk by; gunfire is so frequent that friends make a game of guessing the gun's caliber; and a man chokes a teen for "disrespect" until he learns that his friend is connected to a gang member. Teens fear having to join gangs. Sex is referred to as "hitting it" and "hooking up." Two teens are having a sexual affair; we see them kissing passionately before a girl starts taking off the boy's shirt and the camera cuts away. A boy talks about a girl wanting to "sit on" his face. Men catcall a young girl and talk about her breasts; she crosses her arms and looks uncomfortable. Teens frequently smoke pot and drink, from red Solo cups and from beer cans; two friends drink something from brown bags to pretend they're having beer (it's really Gatorade). Cursing includes "hell," "damn," "goddammit," and the word "bitch" used both affectionately and as an insult. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHelen M. March 24, 2018

Coming of Age might be a little too "adult" for some

Almost darkly humorous look at urban life, and the culture [including gangs, drugs, and drive-bys] that are often associated with such a setting. Main character... Continue reading
Adult Written byRileigh M. March 24, 2018

One of the best shows I have watched

The show did have a lot of talk about sex, and there was a lot of launguage, but overall, I enjoyed it, the show is about a group of teens just trying to surviv... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLeona Rogers March 20, 2018

THE BEST

this show was amazing but had a lot of makeouts and not-shown hookups and at the end two characters get shot, (blood is shown.) Great theme of nationality and d... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJkris0317 April 10, 2018

The Best Show I've Ever Seen!

While this show does contain some mature themes that may go over many kids heads, it also contains some very important messages about diversity and culture. The... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in gritty South Central Los Angeles, ON MY BLOCK follows the lives of four loyal friends: Monse (Sierra Capri), Jamal (Brett Gray), Ruby (Jason Genao), and Caesar (Diego Tinoco). Since childhood, they've been able to rely on each other. But as high school looms, they fear both for their own adult future and the survival of the friendship. Raised in a neighborhood where chaos reigns and few escape a life of poverty and/or crime, big dreams have a way of fizzling out. But if the four of them are going to survive and thrive, they're going to have to find a way to get through it -- hopefully together.  

Is it any good?

Delicate, deeply felt, and painfully realistic, this look at a group of four friends from a rough Los Angeles neighborhood is a bittersweet delight. Ruby, Caesar, Monse, and Jamal don't exactly have it easy in On My Block. Gunfire is so common in their South Central stomping grounds that the friends have made a game out of trying to figure out the caliber of the gun just from the sound. On the way home from school, they pass drug dealers and gangs "jumping in" new members by beating them. Still, together the four friends have found tenderness between them, and they've relied on each other and their foursome since childhood. 

But now things are changing, and each of the four has big problems. Caesar's gangbanger brother Oscar (Julio Macias) is out of jail, and he's pressuring his baby brother to join in the gang. Jamal doesn't want to play football like his sports-legend father expects. Ruby's grandmother's apartment gets flooded, and she has to share Ruby's bedroom. Monse's writing talent might not be enough to help her get to college and make some kind of future for herself. Maybe even tougher: The friends are starting high school, where, Ruby's big brother Mario (Danny Ramirez) tells them, they have to stick together to survive. That's not easy, either. But in the world they live in, a friend who stands by you when times are tough may be the only thing these lovable, street-smart teens can rely on. 

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