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geny and ruben sr. in freeridge
geny and ruben sr. in freeridge
Photo by Kevin Estrada for Netflix
Culture > Entertainment

Here’s How You Know These ‘Freeridge’ Characters From ‘On My Block’

Recently, I’ve been experiencing an overwhelming sense of nostalgia in the television world. With shows like That ’90s Show, a reboot of the classic That ’70s Show, and Freeridge, a spin-off series of On My Block, becoming part of my binge-watching list, I feel a wave of déjà vu and familiarity when old characters from the shows before appear within these new releases.

I can’t get enough of Freeridge; I was so immersed in it that I finished the entire first season in the blink of an eye. The season provided depth for new characters and allowed me to emotionally connect with them — but I must admit that I do miss the cast of On My Block and whatever shenanigans they may be up to in this television universe. Fortunately for me, though, I was able to see quite a few familiar faces from the On My Block world, including some who were only mentioned in passing during the events of the series.  Spoiler warning: Spoilers for Season 1 of Freeridge follow. If you’re having déjà vu and can’t remember where you’ve seen a certain Freeridge character, don’t worry bestie — you’re not alone. I’ve got you covered on all the important cameos from the OMB cast.

Jamal & Ruby’s parents

Gloria has a yard sale right next door to another family’s yard sale in the first episode of Freeridge, and we later learn that the other family is Ruby’s parents, Geny and Ruben Martinez Sr. The two have an old box for sale that Cameron buys in an attempt to break up with Andre, but that box has more to it than meets the eye, and we discover later in the season that it actually belonged to Marisol Martinez, aka Abuelita (Ruby’s grandmother). The appearance of Ruby’s parents set the stage for the season’s tumultuous events involving that box — but they were not the only parents from the core four to make a cameo.

After learning that Jamal has created a memorial website to honor Marisol, Demi and Gloria, as well as Ruby’s parents, go to Dwayne’s Joint BBQ to question Jamal’s father, Dwayne Turner. Dwayne informs them that after Jamal, Ruby, Monse, and Cesar discovered the roller world money, Marisol reburied it and created an embroidered map so they could find it again. They ask Dwayne if there is any way they could communicate with Jamal, and Dwayne brings them a cube to connect with him through because he now works for Noel Aroma, the tech company that offers him a job opportunity near the end of Season 4 of On My Block.

Mariluna

Mariluna is introduced in an unusual way: Her face is not revealed throughout the first episode and the only thing that stands out about her is her signature red bob hair. It’s not until the end of the episode that the core four ask Ruby’s parents who the photo of the girl in the box was, and learn that it’s an old photo of Marisol/Abuelita from On My Block. Marisol and Mariluna (both played by Peggy Blow) bear a striking resemblance, leading the gang to believe that Mariluna is actually Abuelita until Jamal confirms they’re twins in Episode 4.

Juanita

In Episode 7, Demi and Ines go to a local bruja to see if Ines will die from a curse, as Gloria predicted. The bruja mentions that she has been creating gnomes based on dead people, and there’s one who looks eerily similar to her that appears on the stand. Demi asks if she’s dead like the other gnomes she’s made, to which the bruja responds that she’s only dead on the inside and that she made a gnome for her ex, Chivo, to help him get over their breakup. Wait… Chivo? Gnomes? That local bruja isn’t just anyone — it’s Juanita!

If you’ve seen the On My Block series, you’ll know that the character Chivo has an infatuation for gnomes, always referring to them as his friends or the “gnomies” who appear out of thin air on occasion, but there’s one specific gnome who appeared in multiple episodes of the show’s run. Chivo was madly in love with Juanita’s gnomie version, and as the series progressed, so was Jamal; the two even bickered and competed for Juanita’s affection. Not only does her human version answer the long-standing question of whether she was a real person, but her appearance also helps to explain why Chivo has such a strong attachment to these gnomies in the first place: It’s a way for him to cope with the loss of real-life friends and family.

Here’s to more old faves returning in the future, as well as more hilarious and wacky character interactions.

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.