The Netflix Highlight: “Gentefied,” Season 1
What’s up: Netflix’s “Gentefied” is a social commentary comedy about a Mexican-American family and their friends living in contemporary East Los Angeles. The family wants to continue operating its decades-spanning restaurant, but rising rents and other forms of gentrification put the business at risk.
How it starts: The camera focuses on one of the main characters in slow-motion, as he rides his bike while wearing wraparound shades, a gold chain and a flat-brim hat. He pulls the bike to a stop in front of an older woman and says, “Hey!”
He swings a backpack off his shoulder, and the camera shows the older woman looking concerned about what he’s going to pull out. It ends up being books.
“You got a copy of ‘The Five Love Languages’ in yet?” The librarian takes the books from his hand and shakes her head. “Shit,” he responds. “Alright, I’ll be back.”
The main cast includes Joaquín Cosio, Annie Gonzalez, Joseph Julian Soria and Carlos Santos.
“Gentefied,” Season 1, runs 10 episodes of roughly 30 minutes each.
Sum-up: “Gentefied” gets its name from a pun on the Spanish word “gente,” which translates to “people” or “family,” and the struggle of participating in the cruel capitalist march of gentrification.
The show was created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, first-generation writers based in Chicago. Their scripts excel in many categories, especially character building and comedic dialogue. Within the first few minutes of the first episode, the characters already feel fully realized, with conversations often centering on loving pinprick insults the characters fling at each other. Many comedies let the insults land and have the victims respond with unrelated dialogue (think “Veep” or “Succession”), but here they push back in defense with equally funny jokes.
This style makes the show incredibly fun while it gnaws on important questions with no...