To say the MACRO-produced digital series Gente-fied is about gentrification in Boyle Heights may be accurate, but it is also misleading. Despite each installment being under 10 minutes, the 7-episode project manages to tackle bicultural identity, artistic integrity, queer intimacy, social media virality, and still finds time to offer some of the best one-liners on television right now. In the first episode alone, there’s a perfect extended joke about what it means to be truly Mexican that involves a character needing to name three Thalía telenovelas. His laughable answer? “Uh, Marimar, Quinceañera… and Agujetas de color de rosa?”
Directed by Marvin Lemus, and co-written by Linda Yvette Chavez, Gente-fied is, in their words “High Maintenance meets Do The Right Thing.” Every episode focuses on a different character. Throughout, we follow a young second-generation Mexican-American who’s opened a taco place, a queer Xicana whose big heart makes her a bad fit to deal with legal housing woes, a mariachi trio who experiment with updating their old-school repertory of songs, a bar owner whose rent keeps going up, and several others. Together, they paint a picture of a neighborhood in transition.
After showing their first three episodes at Sundance in January, Gente-fied will be screening in its entirety at Sundance NEXT FEST in Los Angeles. And while the America Ferrera-produced series deserves to be seen in full, we wanted to whet your appetite for it with 5 of the most hilarious (and hilariously tone-deaf) lines its characters have to endure from clueless non-Latinx people around them. Cringe and enjoy below!
"You should fucking thank me for raising the property values!"
True to its name, Gente-fied is about gentrification. And ho boy does it perfectly capture the kind of graceless niceness of white people. That’s definitely true of the savvy white gay guy who scooped up some properties in Boyle Heights and is keen on attracting a, well, different crowd to the neighborhood.
"It's like my family got kidnapped by a cartel in Mexico. It's THAT authentic!"
I mean, there’s no better example of hipster foodie nonsense than this, yes? To add insult to injury Chris (Edsson Morales) gets mocked plenty by his primos for having set up a too fancy restaurant where he sells, in their words, “fake tacos”– what kind of crowd did he expect, anyway, when adding arugula to his menu and charging so much for such simple concoctions?
"Fuck Junot, Marry Cisneros, and Kill Márquez, I guess."
When Erik (Sal Velez Jr.) starts dating a güera, he finds himself conflicted about betraying his Mexican roots. Thankfully, he soon learns that she may not quite live up to the white girl stereotype he’d pegged her for, which leads them to a very funny, if brutal, game of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” with three iconic Latino writers. Needless to say, he feels quite bad for Márquez, though we really can’t quibble with Isis (yes, that’s her name!) and her choices here.
"Could we get some more of the red sauce?"
Lupe (Yareli Arizmendi) may think she’s connecting with the many hipsters that now flock to her revamped juice spot – where she sells both smoothies and licuados, despite, as her friend tells her, both mean the exact same thing. But it only takes running into one of her clients at a Mexican restaurant to see how easily they mistake her for a waitress there. (“Was that racist?” the guy asks his girlfriend afterwards, but we think he knows the answer.)
"I would love to be the mayonnaise in that carne asada torta."
When Ana (Alicia Sixtos) gets a commission to paint a mural in her neighborhood, she goes all out: she creates a gorgeous image of two luchadores kissing. And while it tickles the guy who paid her to adorn the blank wall (see: quote #1 above), the woman who runs the bodega next door isn’t too excited about that provocative image might do to her business.