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Series / On My Block

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On My Block is a 2018 Teen Drama that follows a quartet of bright, street-savvy friends who are navigating their way through high school, including all of the triumph, pain and newness they experience along the way. Lifelong friendships are tested as Monsé Finnie, Ruby Martinez, Jamal Turner, and Cesar Diaz confront the challenges of adolescence and life in their predominantly Hispanic and Black neighborhood, Freeridge, in South Central Los Angeles.

Created by Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, and Lauren Iungerich, the show premiered on Netflix on March 16, 2018. It was renewed for a second season on April 13, 2018, which premiered on March 29, 2019. A month later, it was renewed for a third season, which premiered March 11, 2020. A fourth and final season premiered on October 4, 2021.

A week before the final season premiered, Netflix ordered a spin-off series, Freeridge, which will focus on a new quartet of friends, this time made up of three girls and a boy. As the title suggests, it will still be set in Freeridge. The new characters cameo in the Grand Finale.

Tropes present in this series

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ruby's classmate Jasmine is infatuated with him, but he wants nothing to do with her. They eventually become friends in season 2.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In one scene, the gang are playing "Smash, Marry, Kill" where the Running Gag is that everyone picks Jasmine as "Kill" while the neighborhood is on lockdown. The adult Oscar says he'd smash both Monse and Olivia, to their disgust, kill Jamal and Rudy, and then Jasmine pushes her breasts up with her hands and he says he'd might as well smash her before killing her.
  • Bait-and-Switch: One scene begins with Cesar in the back of a police car, insisting that he's telling the truth. Turns he's not being arrested, he's venting about his relationships problems. The cop was incredulous about how Cesar got himself into such a mess.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: A variation, where it was an equally-elabortate Quinceañera dress that was splattered when Latrelle shot Ruby and Olivia during her quinceañera party.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Ruby does this to Jasmine in Season 3 because he thinks he developed feelings for her and also because he fears the whole gang is in danger from Cuchillos, and wants to spare her from getting further involved.
  • But Not Too Black: Monse suspects that her mother left because she couldn't handle having a biracial child. This is hinted by the fact that the first thing Julia does when Monse comes to stay with her is to straighten Monse's hair.
  • Call-Back: A tragic one, in season 1. The start of the season begins with a shooting outside of a party and ends with a shooting at Olivia's quinceañera, where Ruby and Olivia are shot.
  • Children Forced to Kill: A big part of Cesar's dilemma in Season One, his refusal to kill Latrelle indirectly led to Ruby getting shot and Olivia dying. In Season 3, the gang figures out how much of a threat Cuchillos is to them and their families, so they were about to kill her, until finding out that Oscar did the job.
  • Chocolate Baby: Ruby's older brother Mario comes home from college with a pregnant girlfriend, but as soon as the baby's born, it's clear to everyone that Mario isn't the father.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Jamal's fixation with finding the legendary RollerWorld, a stash of money supposedly buried somewhere in the neighborhood, qualifies him for this. Even his father considers him weird.
    • Chivo, the owner of the nursery connected to RollerWorld, takes this a step further. He has a huge collection of miniature garden gnomes that he believes are alive and can talk to him. When Jamal smashes one, he has a stroke. He also sets up a wild goose chase for anyone trying to find RollerWorld- not to throw them off the trail, but because he thought they'd have fun solving the puzzle.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 1 ends with Latrelle shooting and wounding both Olivia and Ruby at the former's quinceañera, leaving their fates in the balance while season 2 ends with the gang getting kidnapped. Season 3 ends with the crew spitting up and going their separate ways, with a two year time skip to follow.
  • Coming of Age Story: The series revolves around a group of kids growing up in rough neighborhood and all the complications that come with it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Ruby's grandmother smokes marijuana, eagerly helps Jamal search for RollerWorld, and helps the kids in their various misadventures. After Olivia dies she helps Ruby get high so he can let off a little steam.
  • Daddy's Girl: Jasmine is revealed to be very close to her severely disabled father, entertaining him and even taking care of his needs. It's implied that he was either in an accident or had a condition that impaired most of his faculties and it had affected her.
  • Determinator: Not at first, by toward the end of the first season Jamal becomes so determinate to find RollerWorld that it starts messing with him mentally. He briefly gives up when it appears he failed to get it in time to stop Cesar from having to kill someone, but has a breakthrough and realizes that it's under the football field. His shovel breaks during the search and he ends up digging for it with his bare hands.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cesar's father isn't in his life.
  • Double Standard: When Cesar asks why Monse wants to keep their relationship a secret, she points out that while sleeping with her will give him street cred, sleeping with him will get her labeled a whore.
  • The Dreaded: Oscar "Spooky" Diaz, a high-ranking member of the powerful street-gang Los Santos.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Ruby tries to get people to call him by his full name, Ruben, because Ruby sounds like a girl's name. It doesn't stick.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Jasmine, a loud, extroverted, and at times crude classmate of the main characters. They only hang out with her when they can't get rid of her.
  • Forced from Their Home: In the second season, Cesar is kicked out of his home by his older brother Oscar because in the previous season, Cesar started a gang war between Oscar's gang, the Santos, and a rival gang called the Prophets. Cesar spends most of the season either couch surfing or sleeping in the streets until he and Oscar come up with a plan to get rid of the Prophets.
  • Foreshadowing: Monse believes she was wrong about Julia being her absentee mother, but she may have been right after all. Likewise, Jamal comes to believe RollerWorld might not be real, but he later discovers that it is.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: When Monse mentions that she and Olivia have "girl stuff" to do after school, Cesar joking asks if he can watch. Later, when kids are playing "Marry, Make Love, Kill" and Olivia says she'd make love to Monse, Ruby is unabashedly aroused.
  • Grass Is Greener: Free Ridge is filled with gang violence, poverty, police can stop kids, and ICE comes in so when Monse is invited to stay with her Mother in Brentwood over Spring Break, her friends urge her to move because of the supposed safety there and go trick or treating because of the access to candy without having to put up with a lockdown. But Brentwood has vacuous teenagers who can be racially insensitive (as Olivia, Caesar, and Ruby knew) and Valley Girls who vape and take marijuana gummies, something Monse references when she said that she knew to really avoid drugs in Free Ridge.
  • Hidden Depths: Oscar, Cesar's terrifying gangster brother, used to be a straight-A student and spelling bee champion who was adored by all his teachers. Instead of continuing his education, he stayed behind take care of Cesar.
    • Jasmine, the loudest and most annoying of the group, is revealed to have a severely disabled father that she takes very good care of. She said that she chose to be happy because of how messed up things can be.
  • Important Haircut: Oscar shaves off Cesar's hair after he supposedly kills Latrelle, marking him as an official Santo.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Ruby complains about his mom's My Beloved Smother tendencies, Oscar rips into him for not appreciating the fact that he has two loving parents who always look out for him and work to sent him to college. Oscar's mother was neglectful and he was forced to give up his education to raise his younger brother.
  • Irony: Jamal spends the first half of season one desperately trying to avoid the football field. Guess where the RollerWorld money is buried?
  • I Was Quite a Looker: When asked how she knows about "Pimp Lane", an alley where people go to make out or have sex, Ruby's grandmother cheekily reminds the kids that she wasn't always old.
  • Killed Off for Real: Olivia.
  • Loose Lips: Jamal is terrible at keeping secrets, but not from lack of effort.
  • Love Triangle: Monse is in love with Cesar, but reluctant to publicly date him, so he ends up dating Olivia instead. Unfortunately, Ruby is in love with Olivia. It's resolved in the season 1 finale after Olivia breaks up with Cesar. She kisses Ruby, while Cesar finally gets Monse to agree to be seen with him.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Ruby falls in love at first sight with Olivia, but Olivia starts dating Cesar - who's in love with Monse (who reciprocates his feelings, but is afraid to publicly date him. Briefly resolved in the first season finale, when Cesar and Olivia break up and they pair off into Ruby/Olivia and Monse/Cesar... then Ruby and Olivia both got shot.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In season 2, Jamal and Abuelita become convinced that the Roller World money is cursed because the three robbers involved in the burglary died mysteriously soon after and the night Jamal found the money in the football field, Ruby was shot and Olivia was killed. However, Monse isn't convinced and believes that those events were just coincidences.
  • Missing Mom: Monse's mother left her when she was very young. On Halloween she comes across Julia, a woman who she thinks might be her mother, and babysits for her under a false name. When Julia mentions being in another country the year she was born, Monse is crushed. However, Julia's reaction to seeing a picture of Monse's father suggests she actually is Monse's mother. In season 2, this is confirmed to be the case. Additionally, Cesar's mom was the neglectful type and he was raised by his brother.
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: ICE Agents setting up in the neighbourhood is presented as one of the many issues the residents of Free Ridge have to put up with, presented in the same leagues of severity as the gang violence, poverty, and overbearing police presence. The agency itself is presented as ruthless, callous, and cruel, with them forcing the church clear out its sanctuary of undocumented immigrants.
  • Pink Is Feminine: Olivia's Quince dress is this with embroidered blossoms.
  • Playing Sick: Jamal pretends to have various injuries to avoid telling his parents he quit the football team.
  • The Perfectionist: Ruby becomes one during the preparation for Olivia's quinceañera. He drives everyone insane while trying to make the night as special as possible for her.
  • Promotion to Parent: Cesar was raised by his older brother Oscar because their mother was neglectful, possibly due to drug abuse or a mental illness. When Cesar says he never noticed that she had problems, Oscar replies, "Then I did my job."
  • Purple Is Powerful: The 19th Street Santos wear this color and are the 2nd biggest threat to Free Ridge after Cuchillos.
  • Red Herring: The clues to RollerWorld that Jamal finds at Chivo's place turn out to be a meaningless wild goose chase. Monse, believing they can't save Cesar for a life crime now, rips into Jamal for giving them false hope. However, one of the clues turns out to be meaningful in an unexpected way, and Jamal deduces the true key to finding RollerWorld.
  • She's All Grown Up: In the first episode, much is made about the fact that Monse's breasts grew over the summer.
  • Sixth Ranger: Olivia, a girl who comes to live with Ruby's family after her parents are deported, gradually becomes the fifth member of the group. She dies between the end of season 1 and season 2 from a gunshot wound, and the crew spends the first half of season 2 mourning her. Jasmine occasionally plays this role with the group and even lampshades this trope at one point.
  • Time Skip: At the end of Season 3 we see where the main characters are after Monse left for boarding school. Monse has acclimated into her new boarding school very well and is closer to her half-siblings but distant from the group back home, Jamal is on the football team and hanging with the team, Ruby and Jasmine are still dating and Ruby even has a goth look while Jasmine looks more modest, Ruby and Jasmine clearly miss Jamal as he does them, Oscar has grown hair and facial hair and become a Happily Married father-to-be, while Cesar became leader of the Santos and has clearly grown more bitter.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: When a member of a rival gang, Latrelle, pulls a gun on Cesar, he has to kill him or be killed. Cesar doesn't want to do it and the others rush to find RollerWorld so Cesar can have enough money to get out of town and start over. Unfortunately they misread all the signs and don't find it. Cesar manages to Take the Third Option: Latrelle offers to fake his death and leave town so Cesar can keep his street cred and his conscience. This blows up in Cesar's face later, when Latrelle shows up at Olivia's party and tries to kill him, wounding Olivia and Ruby in the process.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Monse has hardly any feminine influence in her life, to the point that she went to a school dance in a hoodie and jeans. Olivia, on the other hand, is always very femininely styled. Despite this, the two of them get along remarkably well.
    • Monse has this dynamic with Jasmine, the latter critiques Monse for not playing up her femininity; played with in that Jasmine is very loud and extroverted to the point of vulgarity while Monse is more quiet and thoughtful.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Season 2 discusses the history of the local gangs, the Prophets and the Santos. It was noted that the Santos, started in the 1980s, as a way to secure the neighborhood from Prophet violence and they were about non-violence until the founder Ricky was killed and then "the wrong element took over". Monse's father, who was raised by Prophets and had a father who was a member, noted that when the Prophets (who looked out for the community) replaced the s with a dollar sign, it was corrupted.
  • Urban Legends: In-universe, RollerWorld. There's a local legend that in the 1980s two members of Los Santos stole thousands of dollars from RollerWorld, a money laundering scheme by a rival gang, and buried it somewhere in the neighborhood before going to jail, taking the secret of its location to the grave. Few people believe the money exists or can be found, but Jamal spends the entire first season trying to locate it. In the first season finale he finally puts the mystery together and unearths the money buried from under the high school football field.
  • Will They or Won't They?: In Season 3, Ruby and Jasmine.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The season 1 finale ends on a terrible cliffhanger: Ruby and Olivia are shot and critically injured. Jamal rides by their ambulances with the RollerWorld money, unaware of what just happened.
    • Season 3 also ends on a massive cliffhanger: Monse moves away and the friends disband. They do not talk for two years as seen in a montage at the end of the episode.