Review: ‘The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia’ has audiences cringing

Netflix original makes viewers root for quirky characters


Courtesy of Netflix.

The Netflix original “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” was released on Monday, Feb. 17. The series follows the main character Ashley Garcia (Paulina Chavez) who is a certified genius, going to college at the young age of 9 and working for NASA at 15. She goes to live with her uncle Victor Garcia (Jencarlos Canela) and navigates her way through her teenage years with her friends Brooke Bishop (Bella Podaras) and Stick Goldstein (Reed Horstmann).

The sitcom’s plot line, although interesting, was cliche, seen in shows such as Young Sheldon and Mr. Young. The dialogue was corny in various scenes and repeatedly used the same jokes such as Tad Cameron (Conor Husting) being idiotic or Stick and Ashley’s lack of social skills. The exaggerated personality traits make the characters unrelatable and nearly difficult to watch. This is partly the fault of the actor’s stiff movements and words, but the script itself had its share of regrettable jokes that failed to make audience members laugh.

Although the show’s characters and jokes were frequently unfunny, they still remained charismatic. Viewers wanted Ashley to succeed and rooted for the characters despite their lack of realism. The characters were consistent throughout the plot, which was best displayed in their background stories. This added depth to the show while also explaining the habits and tendencies they’d formed. Ashley, who was sheltered her whole life, wanted to experience everything she could. She craved to be normal while still remaining cautious, a stranger to new possibilities. Tad kept undermining himself, blaming his successes on other people which was caused by his father’s tough love.

As the show went on, viewers could see development amongst the characters, such as Uncle Victor, who was established as an irresponsible bachelor from the first episode. However, as the series continued, he grew increasingly protective of Ashley and learned how to parent with boundaries and rules. At the end of the series, he even wanted to commit to a single person to match his new, steady lifestyle.

“The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” had its humorous moments, mixed in with scenes that were unamusing and forced. Although the characters were unrealistic at times they still had backgrounds and depth, making it possible to still be loved by viewers. Overall, the series had its ups and downs that earned itself a rating of 2 stars out of 5.