Follow TV Tropes


Series / Gentefied

Go To

Gentefied is a Netflix original series created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez and executive produced by America Ferrera. It is based on the digital web series Gente-fied.

The series takes place in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, where three Mexican-American cousins - Erik (J.J. Soria), Ana (Karrie Martin), and Chris (Carlos Santos) - try to keep the family's taco shop, Mama Fina's, owned and operated by their beloved immigrant grandfather Casimiro "Pop" Morales (Joaquín Cosío), from going under in their rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood. All three cousins also struggle with their own problems and dreams — Erik must mature rapidly as his ambitious on-off girlfriend Lidia (Annie Gonzalez) is pregnant with their child; Ana tries to make her way in the world as an artist alongside her longtime girlfriend, activist Yessika (Julissa Calderon); while Chris wants to make it as a professional chef, but struggles with not fitting in his family and community. The series boasts an all-Latino cast and explores three generations of a Mexican-American family, their struggles, and Latin American culture in the context of displacement and gentrification.

The first season premiered on February 21, 2020, and the second on November 10, 2021. Netflix did not renew the show for a third season.

Gentefied contains examples of:

  • The '90s: In "Bail Money", the opening scene has a younger Pops and a child Erik in a waiting room, while a speech by Bill Clinton is playing in the television.
  • The Ace: Ana's late father. According to Refinery 29, Kerrie Martin confirmed that Ana's father died and that he was Pop's golden child, in contrast to Erik's jailbird father and Chris's self-hating Latino father (also his own sons).
  • Act of True Love: In the episode "Brown Love", Erik tells Lydia she should take a job offer in Stanford University, almost six hours away from East L.A., instead of proposing to her with Mama Fina's ring, because he knew it was the best choice for Lydia and their baby.
  • The Alleged Car: Pop's rusty, noisy but beloved troca, Salma.
  • "Angry Black Man" Stereotype: Female example. Yessika points this out in "Protest Tacos", saying that most of the Morales' treatment of her protest at Mama Fina's earlier that day make it somewhat clear that they see her as an angry black girl.
  • Angry Chef: Chris's boss and the executive chef at the posh restaurant Mangia, Chef Austin, is an irate, bad-tempered man who frequently yells at his employees for the most minor of infractions. He's also a racist.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Pops and Erik are initially averse to modernizing Mama Fina's and introducing new menu items because they have always run the shop the same way.
  • Big Eater: The slim Ana is almost always eating, and is alright with being paid in leftovers. Her shapely girlfriend Yessika also can be won over with Valentines themed tacos.
  • Boomerang Bigot:
    • Erik calls Roberto (their landlord) a "coconut" and a "potato" when he comes into the shop reminding Pops that he's behind on his rent. When he's entering the taqueria he's seen with his two wealthy white and Asian investors discussing the possibility of changing Boyle Heights' landscape.
    • Implied with the bank employee who racially profiles Erik and Ana, accusing them of stealing the debit card that Chris lent them earlier. His name is Mateo, implying Hispanic heritage.
    • Chris' father who moved his family to the mostly white Idaho and forbade them from speaking Spanish to keep them "away from the ghetto".
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • In "The Mural": Ana is uncompromising about her mural, mostly because her art is finally being paid for. But the shopkeeper whose business the wall covers, even if she doesn't have a problem with the theme or having a mural painted there, was never given an option or say.
    • In "Protest Tacos". Yessika and local activists are right that selling out to wealthy, mostly white gentrifiers will end in their community being displaced. The Morales' need to save Mama Fina's, though, as it's their livelihood.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Erik, who is a voracious reader (even reading high literary classics like The Count of Monte Cristo), but has been described as Chris to neglect hygiene, Pops finds him to be irresponsible and prideful, and Lidia is concerned that he wouldn't be a competent parent or supportive partner for her and their baby.
  • Butch Lesbian: Norma, one of the cooks in Pop's restaurant, has a pretty masculine appearance and manner (especially compared to how most Latinas are socialized to act). She also alludes to a weekend fling with a woman in Bakersfield and a Sandinista past.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ana to her mother Beatriz, pointing out that her mother left Mexico so her children wouldn't have to work so hard like she did since childhood but she gives Ana a hard time for having her own life and dreams.
    • Chris has this slightly in the finale when he mutters to his father on the phone that he's a jerk after his father asked if he wants to be a nobody like Erik or Erik's father.
  • Category Traitor: The Latino Chris is seen like this by Yessika and Erik, due to acting "white" and being (at least initially) somewhat disconnected from the reality of Mama Fina's tradition and survival. This is probably because his father moved his family to the more Caucasian-populated Idaho and kept the household English speaking to keep them "away from the ghetto".
  • Creator Cameo: America Ferrera, the show's executive producer, appears in "The Mural" as a pro-bono lawyer.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "The Grapevine" focuses on mariachi singer Javier and his son, Danny.
    • "Woman's Work" focuses on Ana's mother Beatriz.
  • Dead Guy Junior: When Erik's and Lidia's child is born, they name her Delfina after Erik's late grandmother.
  • December–December Romance: The elderly Pops starts a budding romance with Lupe, another local shopkeeper.
  • Disappeared Dad: Chris's father, El Cucuy disapproves from Idaho and is never seen, while Erik's and Ana's fathers are not in the picture.
  • Doting Grandparent: "Pop" clearly loves and helps out his very much adult grandchildren in whatever way he can.
  • Family Business: Mama Fina's, the Morales family's taco shop. It is owned and operated by The Patriarch Casimiro, and his three adult grandchildren help out. He hopes that one of his descendants will eventually take over.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Chris's unseen father and Ana's mother, Beatriz, strongly disapprove of their respective children's chosen careers. Chris's father refused to pay for Chris' culinary school fees and later looks down on him for working in Mama Fina's restaurant; while Beatriz makes no secret that she thinks of Ana's low-paying but budding art career as nothing more than a hobby that doesn't pay their bills.
  • Haute Cuisine Is Weird: Chris's more outlandish fusion ideas that prove to be popular with the rich hipster crowd are called out as weird by his more tradition-inclined family. Watermelon radish tacos, anyone?
  • Heritage Disconnect: The episode "Bad Hombres" explores the running theme of Chris not being considered "Mexican enough" by his family and co-workers in depth.
  • High-School Sweethearts: The close and twenty-something Ana and Yessika have been together since high school.
  • Immigrant Parents:
    • A variation, with the cousins' grandfather Pops being a Mexican immigrant. He once waxes poetic about how he came to America to make a better life for his family.
    • Ana's mother Beatriz is a Mexican immigrant as well. Ana interprets this as a reason for her Fantasy-Forbidding Mother tendencies; Beatriz has been working hard since she was young and holds Ana to the same standard. At her art show, Ana thanks her mother for being a provider and an inspiration.
  • Insult of Endearment: Chris lists his father as "El Cucuy" in his phone contacts.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Ana and Yessika are very feminine and out lesbians.
  • Macho Latino: Ana calls out Erik and Chris's "toxic masculinity" as getting in the way of their proper reconciliation. For his part, Erik is seen trying to work on his pride and opening up his feelings.
    • Played with in the case of Chris and Pop as they are outwardly masculine but also take pride in cooking.
  • Masked Luchador:
    • While "proving" that he is Mexican, Chris has to identify luchador masks.
    • The object of Ana's mural in the eponymously titled episode.
  • Maternity Crisis: Lidia gives birth at a time that proves to be inconvenient — it's an entire month before her due date, Chris's dad offers to send him to culinary school, Ana finds out Rob has sold the shop, and Pops gets caught by ICE.
  • Missing Mom: Erik's mother is in Mexico while Chris's mom is in Idaho.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Pancho Solis has this with Lidia, trying to understand that she's a strong woman with her own values and she can support a child as a single mother but doesn't understand why she can't just marry Erik.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: A variation. Erik gives dating advice to elementary school-aged Danny, but retracts it quickly upon realizing that Danny means to ask out his also elementary school-aged cousin Nayeli.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Chris taking down Chef Austin for his Jerkass and racist behavior has earned him praise from a chef at restaurant he was interviewing for but then the Chef lets him know that he was blacklisted for what happened and "even heroes go unemployed".
  • Open Minded Grandparent: Pops has been shown to be supportive and accepting of Ana's relationship with Yessika even when they were teenagers, recognizing that they just kissed.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: One of Pop's sons (who's Ana's father) is dead.
  • The Patriarch: Casimiro is the stern (but loving) father figure to his grandchildren, whose fathers are not in the story.
  • Potty Emergency: "Woman's Work" where Ana's mother Beatriz is so overworked and not even allowed bathroom breaks, to the point where this becomes precarious for her health.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Gentefied" plays on the word "gentrified" (as the conflict is about Villainous Gentrification" with the word "gente", Spanish for people — fitting, since it's about the people who are affected by gentrification.
  • Puppy Love: Ana's elementary school-aged sister Nayeli starts off a childish, long-distance flirtation with Danny, Javier's son.
  • Shout-Out: In the finale Erik refers (lovingly) to Chris as "this Ricky Ricardo looking fool", not only because of Chris's hair in that scene but also a great reference to a Latin American pioneer in entertainment.
  • Soapbox Sadie: In "Protest Tacos", Yessika's activism comes off like this to Ana's family. Protesting Mama Fina's for participating in a food tour that would help their financial situation might have something to do with it.
  • Starving Artist: Ana is not a literal example (as she is often paid in food), but her mother makes it clear she views Ana's art as a "hobby" as it doesn't help pay the rent.
  • Take That!: Many take-thats against white hipsters who are responsible for gentrifying locales. This is largely embodied in Tim, the eccentric, insensitive white property owner who commissions Ana's art, but other potshots are taken as well, such as in "The Grapevine" where the mariachi singers complain that drunk hipsters don't tip and they have to cater their music to their tastes to earn.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: In the ending of "Bad Hombres" after Chef Austin bullies one of the Latino cooks and threatens to call ICE, Chris pleads with him to let it go (it was over too-warm plates), and then after Chef Austin makes several more racist comments, Chris fights him and is seen kicked out of the restaurant and starts yelling in Spanish and announces he quits.
    • The finale where Ana quits after finding out Tim is just another privileged white person who is benefiting from her work but is contributing to the gentrifying of the neighborhood. She is also turning down a lot of money for her work in the future.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Alluded to in the title and premise of "Woman's Work", where women of color (both Latina and East Asian) make up Ethnic Menial Labor in a white-operated clothing factory.
  • Token Minority: Yessika is the only black Dominican-American character in a predominantly brown Mexican-American cast.
  • Villainous Gentrification: Gentrification is raising the rent in the neighborhood, so the family has to find the money to keep their taco shop afloat. They ultimately decide to play to the gentrifiers to make the most of it. Chris and Erik embellish the shop to attract hipsters on their food tour, while Ana makes money being commissioned to paint murals by a rich white landowner. This is what causes her breakup with Yessika, who views it as a betrayal of the community.
  • White Guilt: Exploited by Erik, who decides that the best way to attract customers (the gentrifiers) is to advertise the food tour by appealing to their white guilt. That is, by making them believe that by spending their money at the taco shop, it will make them look more "cultured" and noble for helping a poor, underprivileged brown family.
  • White Man's Burden: Deconstructed with the poor, queer, Latina Ana's relationship with the white, wealthy Tim. Although Tim financially supports Ana's art and gives her exposure, this is treated as part of the neighborhood's Villainous Gentrification, he is shown to not care about what the residents want or see as culturally appropriate (as evidenced by his treatment of the shopkeeper who is affected by Ana's first mural), and Yessika claims that Tim only sees Ana as a token that he'll soon tire of once he finds his next 'project'. At Ana's art show, she is dispirited by how Tim constantly emphasizes her lack of privilege to his rich art friends (one of whom bought the building Mama Fina's is in), implying Yessika was right.