The opening scene of 'Freeridge' involves two sisters, Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) and Ines (Bryana Salaz), beating each other up in a fight where anything goes. From chokeholds to bare knuckles, the two siblings use everything to win against each other. It's an abrupt start to the series, but one that will make you laugh out loud, and you will later realize that this is a common occurrence for them.
But hidden underneath the anger towards her younger sister, Gloria has a heart of gold that is forever busy caring for Ines. That's why after the fight when Ines says that she wants green enchilada sauce for dinner, Gloria dutifully picks it up at the store. Also, she's not just Ines' big sister, she's the problem solver of the entire group comprised of Cam (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson).
The four of them hang out at their school and initially only deal with relationship issues (for Cam) while planning how to drop Ines from the group. But before Gloria can set Ines straight (not that she can upset her sister by telling her to leave her alone) something happens. When she and her neighbors hold yard sales, Cam decides to take a box monogrammed with the letters MM to give to his partner Andre (Zaire Adams) since he thinks this will finally make the latter break up with him.
But a mysterious woman shows up searching for the box after Cam leaves. She ends up offering up to a thousand dollars for it. The old lady in black also says that the box is cursed. Initially, the kids don't pay any attention to it. But after the girls' father Javier (Jean Paul San Pedro) gets diagnosed with cancer and there are some other spooky happenings, they start believing in the curse. So what's going on with the curse? And how can they get rid of it?
That begins a hilarious journey of contacting TikTok witches, using magical charms, and believing that Demi is on the intermediate level of mastering everything about ghosts, curses, and witches. The show keeps the laughs rolling with the hijinks of the kids as they try to get rid of the bad juju. Keyla Monterroso Mejia as Gloria is the star of the show because of her exaggerated expressions at everyone and the situations she finds herself in. But along with jokes, the show also grounds its characters in real-world issues.
Javier's cancer gets worse as the show progresses and the girls don't know how to deal with it. Cam, on the other hand, also doesn't know how to tell Demi about his feelings or how to break up with Andre. However, the show doesn't delve too deep into these issues. It keeps the plot and pace breezy with the mystery of the box and the effects of the curse. This is quite a departure from its parent series that dealt with gang violence, race, and class prominently. As a result, 'Freedridge' comes off as quite insular.
What makes the world of ‘Freeridge’ seem even smaller is the fact that none of the characters apart from the core four plus Rusty (Michael Solomon) are fleshed out properly. But that’s probably intentional. The world of the four teenagers is just limited to what is around them. So when they find themselves dealing with real-world adult issues that they don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend or deal with logically, they retreat into solving the mystery of the curse. It is a safe escape that only imagination can provide.
Overall, 'On My Block: Freeridge' is the perfect lazy afternoon watch. It deserves views for the escapism it provides, the silly laughs, and the mystery of the curse.
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by - Ishita Chatterjee
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Publisher at Midgard Times
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