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freeridge.jpeg

Netflix' 'On My Block: Freeridge' Exists Somewhere Between Kid Show And Teen Drama

By Jen Maravegias | TV | February 8, 2023 |

By Jen Maravegias | TV | February 8, 2023 |


freeridge.jpeg

Freeridge is a spin-off of On My Block, a Netflix series I know nothing about even though there are four seasons available. The characters are different, but both shows take place in the fictional Los Angeles neighborhood of Freeridge. This show follows Gloria and Ines, two high school-aged sisters who are constantly at odds with each other, and Gloria’s besties, Demi and Cameron. Throw in a couple of love interests and mostly absent authority figures and you’ve got a time-tested recipe for hijinks. Honestly, if you gave them a dog, Freeridge would make a much better Scooby Doo show than Velma.

Season One of Freeridge is about a box with a curse on it. Or at least that’s what Gloria and her friends think is happening. The idea of there being a cursed object in their possession leads to a series of no good, very bad things happening that have nothing to do with the box itself. Initially, I was frustrated and turned off by these characters. They’re self-involved. Gloria, played by Keyla Monterroso Mejia (Abbott Elementary), has taken it upon herself to be the boss of everything and everybody after the death of her mother. She’s exhausting when we first meet her as she tries to assert control over the household, her sister, and her friend group while complaining about how hard it is to be in charge of everything. Her younger sister Ines (Bryana Salaz) is equally exhausting in all of her efforts to sabotage her sister and make a nuisance of herself. Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson) and Cameron (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) are both needy. They all seem trapped in this cycle of lying to each other, hiding truths, and getting into avoidable trouble.

This is exactly what high school is all about. Even though the buzzy, self-aware dialogue often made me feel like the characters were wiser than their years, their actions screamed, “We have no idea what we’re doing because we’re still kids!” Once I realized that, I began to enjoy the show. There are messy love triangles, fights at school, illicit house parties, and dabbling in the occult. That all tracks with my high school experience. There’s also an actual mystery to solve and a cliffhanger ending that left me hoping Freeridge gets renewed.

The show exists in the space somewhere between Teen Nick shows like iCarly and VicTORIous and CW teen dramas. While visually it seems like a show you can watch with your kids, there’s a lot of cursing and frank sex talk going on. In that regard, it’s adult, so the level of appropriateness may vary. I say give it a shot. It was way more fun than I thought it was going to be and I enjoyed some of the performances, specifically Bryana Salaz’s Ines. She shows a lot of emotional range and excellent comic timing.

All episodes of On My Block: Freeridge are available on Netflix.