HomeTelevisionFreeridge Review: A Worthy Companion to On My Block

Freeridge Review: A Worthy Companion to On My Block

Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada © 2022

Written by Nynoshka Vazquez Suazo

On My Block was a well-known and beloved Netflix series, filled with love, drama, mystery, and comedy. In the last episode of its final season, we were given a sneak-peak at who would later become the core four in its sequel spin-off, Freeridge.

The eight-episode series is a fun and entertaining binge. The story follows four friends, Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson), Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia), Ines (Bryana Salaz), and Cameron (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) in a coming-of-age with a comedic twist. The viewers watch the group go through struggles in their personal, family, and love lives. They balance these issues with the mystery behind a wooden box they bought at a yard sale and its lingering “ghost.”

One tiny detail to point out centers over Cam. The actor who plays him is actually not the originally casted actor. When the core four castings were announced, Shiv Pai was originally set to play the role of Cam. He is also the actor that appears with the rest of the Freeridge cast in the final episode of On My Block. Despite what may have occurred, Tenzing Norgay Trainor stepped into the role with grace and gave a truly amazing performance. While the discussion of straight actors playing LGBTQ roles has been a long-going one, Trainor did a fantastic job and brought so much emotion to the screen. Bisexual representation is one that is seen less in Hollywood. Making Cam bi, and showing his vulnerability by bringing to light his struggle with his identity and with expressing himself was beautiful and I can definitely see him being a truly loved and relatable character.

Furthermore, the chemistry between Cam and Demi was so flipping cute. Their friendship is one to love and it highlights the idea of conflicting feelings, mutual breakups, and the idea that sometimes some relationships are meant to be strictly platonic. In addition, the triangle between them and Andre (Zaire Adams) is one to be admired. The friendship between him and Demi and the understanding that he reaches with Cam after their “complicated” breakup are both filled with genuine care and support.

The role of the older sister, especially in a Hispanic household, is one sometimes filled with intense responsibility. Showing Gloria’s frustration and automatic need to protect those she cares about and take charge of a possibly negative situation are one many of us can relate to. Her sense of relief when Rusty (Michael Solomon) acknowledges her stress and how overwhelmed she is is one of the most intimate and touchy moments. Her relationship with her younger sister Ines is realistic in the sense that it’s not always a Disney’s Frozen-like relationship, and it may hit rocky patches but it comes out of a place of love and responsibility.

Freeridge has been established as its own story, however, it does well to salute its origins. There are many easter eggs connecting the show to On My Block — the garden gnomes, Rollerworld, and Los Santos are just a few. It does a great job of linking the two as it even introduces characters that were discussed in the original series but never appeared, as well as hinting at some unanswered questions. The show also brings back some familiar faces: Mr. & Mrs. Martinez (Eric Neil Gutierrez and Paula Garces), Mr. & Mrs. Turner (Eme Ikwuakor and Raushanah Simmons), Joker (Joshua Armando Ticas), Sad Eyes (Steve Louis Villegas), and Peggy Blow returns to play her original character’s twin sister.

While I’m very relieved they tipped their hat to Jamal, one of my personal favorite characters from On My Block, I was taken aback by the implication that he and Abuelita (Peggy Blow) had an inappropriate relationship. Similarly, the lack of Spanish was surprising as it was used quite frequently in the original series. It’s hard to determine what role Los Santos and the other gangs will play in the spinoff as they did play a pivotal role in the original series. With the events that occurred in the show’s final episode, it may be safe to say Los Santos will play a more important role in the following season.

On My Block: Freeridge is now streaming on Netflix.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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