As the gentrification of America’s big cities reaches endgame status, one small, Eastside L.A. neighborhood has emerged as a symbol of continued resistance to the inexorable march of bike shops and bourgeois bistros. Over the last year or so, Boyle Heights has been the subject of documentaries, investigative reports, and now a web series executive produced by America Ferrera. Entitled Gente-Fied, the bilingual series makes reference of Boyle Heights’ own unique take on gentrification which seeks to empower local residents to reinvest in their own neighborhoods.
But rather than a pamphleteering celebration of Latino power, Gente-Fied is a comedic take on the area’s unique brew of upwardly mobile Latino professionals, mom and pop shops, and the handful of güeros who have dared cross the expressway. Directed by Mexican-Guatemalan-American helmer Marvin Lemus — who had previously only directed a handful of short films — Gente-Fied is one of the first web native plays from the new entertainment venture Macro, a company focused on telling diverse stories.
In addition to Ferrera, the series features more than a few familiar faces, with Alicia Sixtos (East Los High), Art Bonilla, Edsson Morales, Victoria Ortiz, and a slew of supporting actors throwing their weight behind the project. Promoted as “a web series about Latinxs dealing with change,” each episode will take the point of view of a different character as it weaves its comedic tapestry of life in a 21st-century L.A. barrio, and judging from the trailer it might actually be pretty damn funny.
Visually, Gente-Fied showcases a sophisticated directing style that could hold its own against anything on the television right now, while the performances range from somewhat stiffly executed jokes to The Office-quality awkward banter. This is all to say that Gente-Fied already looks better than 99% of the web series we’ve seen to date. To boot, as the trailer so proudly proclaims, Gente-Fied doesn’t feature cartels, guns or drug smuggling… although we may see a little weed smoking. God bless the internet, amirite?