On My Block's Jason Genao on Season 2, Ruby and Jasmine, and That Epic Dance Routine
If you’ve already consumed all 10 episodes of On My Block season two, you know well enough that Ruby Martinez has been through a lot. Though the whole squad has their ups and downs throughout both seasons one and two, it’s fair to say Ruby is put through his paces. I got the chance to talk with Jason Genao about the new season of On My Block, and he definitely agrees.
“I just want solid peace for him. He’s gone through so much, and I think he’s so young,” the 22-year-old actor said. “I forget a lot of times that he’s only 14. I’m like, ‘Geez, he has so much more life to live.'”
Remembering just how young Ruby and the rest of the squad are puts their situation into perspective. The four friends — Ruby, Jamal (Brett Gray), Monse (Sierra Capri), and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) — live in Freeridge, a fictional rough neighborhood of South Central LA that seems fit to implode from the constant acts of gang violence. Season one ends with Ruby and Olivia’s lives hanging in the balance when they’re shot during Olivia’s quinceañera, subsequently starting a gang war. In season two, we learn that Olivia succumbs to her wound and Ruby is struggling to cope with his grief and PTSD. Genao revealed that online research aided in his preparation to tackle Ruby’s intense survival guilt, and a source closer to home helped him figure out how Ruby would react.
“I have a cousin who was shot, twice actually, so I asked him about it,” he said. “And it’s funny because I did the research online, and you see how everyone goes through these traumatic experiences so differently. You think something so big would affect everyone generally the same. But some people couldn’t leave their houses anymore, they would move states to find safety.”
Ruby’s answer to his trauma is to attempt to change his way of living, even going so far as to promise to be nicer to Jasmine (played to perfection by Jessica Marie Garcia). Though the promise eventually falls through, it also gives viewers a more nuanced look into Jasmine’s character and brings the duo closer. To Genao, it was an interesting undertaking to flip that aspect of Ruby’s relationship with Jasmine, to a point where he may believe “there’s a place for her.”
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