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What Gentefied Director America Ferrera Loves Most About The Netflix Dramedy

It’s hard to believe it’s been well over a year since Gentefied fans last checked in with the Morales family. But thankfully, the second season is just around the corner and, with it, comes some major developments. Co-creators and executive producers Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez are primed to give fans more of what they enjoyed in the first season of the Netflix dramedy while also adding new elements. Luckily, they have a great cast and a number of capable creatives behind the scenes, including director and EP America Ferrera. And the TV and film veteran recently explained why she loves working on the underrated series

The star originally served as an EP on the original 2017 digital series on which the show was adapted. But luckily, for the full-length series, she gets to sit in the director’s chair and bring even more of her creative sensibilities to the show. She even put her Emmy-winning acting chops to use for a guest spot in Season 1.

There’s a lot to love about Gentefied, and this is greatly due to the immense love and care that its creators put into it. I recently had a conversation with America Ferrera, Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, during which I asked Ferrera about balancing comedy and drama as a director. From there, she discussed her love of the show’s approach to both elements and its authenticity as well: 

I feel like it's just something that you feel, right? And I feel like when I first read the scripts that Linda and Marvin wrote for the digital series back in the day, it just spoke to me on that level of like, ‘This is what I've always felt like!’ Like yes, something very serious and real is happening, and someone cracks a really stupid inappropriate joke. Like, that's my family. Parents are mean to you, they don't say they're sorry… What I've always loved so much about this show is that it feels so true to my life, it feels so true to the depths and the stakes that are present at the same time that the joy and the humor and the possibility for anything is always there. And so I don't know if that's a real answer to your question, but it feels like something you feel, you know what I mean? Like, does this feel true that this and this can exist at the same moment? And I feel like Marvin and Linda do such a beautiful job of interweaving those things.

The show beautifully portrays the ups and downs of life. Surely, there are plenty of emotionally heavy moments, but the series also manages to cut through the tension with humor when necessary. Ultimately, thanks to the sensibilities of those behind the camera, everything meshes seamlessly. America Ferrera, who has starred in and directed a number of dramedies in her time, has proven she has a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t. During our conversation, Linda Yvette Chávez lauded Ferrera for her work, especially when it came to a tough episode in Season 2: 

Having been on set with America during episode six, I do feel like there was so much to your craft around like, looking at these moments that in my head were like slapsticky or laugh out loud were you in a minute you were like, ‘No, this should be grounded in this way or should be done like that.’ And then to see it play out and be hilarious and that grounded, character-motivated way it was so beautiful. So I do feel like she really worked to help us craft so much of the interaction between the characters and what needed to live in these quiet moments or what needed to be, you know, a little bit louder. But it was really beautiful to watch her do that work on that particular episode because it was such a hard episode and so complicated.

And “complicated” is probably one of the best words that could be used to describe the new season. Each of the Morales kids will be faced with major changes. Chris is experiencing the joys (and misadventures) that come with fatherhood, while Ana explores a new career opportunity. Erik, on the other hand, finds himself at a crossroads, as he still seeks to become a chef. And of course, there’s Pop, whose struggle to avoid deportation and remain with his family is the focal point of the new season. There’s a lot to unpack but, with directors and producers like America Ferrera at the helm, the show seems to be in good hands. 

You can check out Gentefied when it returns to Netflix for its second season on Wednesday, November 10. Also, be sure to check out CinemaBlend’s fall 2021 TV schedule for more on the shows that are premiering are returning near the end of this year. 

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.