The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia





Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Ashley Garcia is a genius. Literally.

Graduating from college at the age of 9, Ashley went on to become the youngest person to ever graduate with a Ph.D. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, at 15, she’s just received a job offer to build robots for NASA in Pasadena, California.

It’s her ultimate dream come true, and her overprotective mom has given her the green light to move out to Cali. But if she isn’t careful, that light could turn to red at any moment.

Ashley’s mom doesn’t really trust her. And Mom definitely doesn’t trust her own younger brother, Victor, with whom Ashley will be staying. A notorious playboy, Victor is the baby of the family who has made a career out of playing football, coaching high school football and wooing women. And although he’s not the first choice for a parent figure, he’s the only one available on the West Coast.

But that’s not an issue for Ashley. She’s been dying to escape her mom’s clutches and finally experience what it’s like to be an average teenager. She may have read nearly every book in the known universe, but she’s never learned how to do the normal stuff, like experimenting with makeup, ordering pizza or kissing a guy.

And while the transition might not be easy for Ashley, Uncle Victor or her mom, they all need to learn to trust one another. And in the end, it’s not just Ashley’s universe that might expand.  

A Teens Sitcom?

Upon first glance, you’d think that Netflix’s The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia is just a cute show about an awkward young girl trying to find her place in the world.

And it kind of is, but not really. The lead role here loves herself and is actually proud of her “nerd status,” which is something you don’t always see on TV. And it’s clear that as time goes on, Ashley, her uncle and her friends are all going to become better people in small ways.

But there’s some content here that I wasn’t expecting. Victor, Ashley’s uncle, is responsible for most of the sexual innuendo and inappropriate sexual content seen. He has numerous female visitors throughout the week, all of whom seem very eager to spend the night with him. His fridge is stocked with enough alcohol to supply any party. And he’s not the best parental figure. And Ashley herself, though sweet, is learning to push the boundaries her mother set for her with a bit of attitude. This show wants to be about a young, intelligent girl navigating her new life, but it falls short. And there’s not much about this one that makes it stand out from Netflix’s massive library.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 17, 2020: “Breath Mint”

Ashley moves to California to live with her irresponsible uncle and begin her new job for NASA, but she soon finds that she’ll need more than her doctorate to learn how to become an average teenager.

Ashley tries to kiss a crush, but he backs away. Ashley and a close friend talk about the dynamics of kissing. Ashley suggests that she might wear a bikini to go swimming. Ashley’s uncle, Victor, drinks red wine with a love interest. Victor is a known playboy and brings home multiple women, hinting that he’d like to have sex with each of them. One of his female guests comes downstairs in nothing but an oversized jersey. Victor tells a few teen boys to “turn around” when they see Ashley sleeping underneath covers (Victor assumes Ashley is naked underneath the blankets, though she isn’t).

Ashley makes some rude comments toward her overprotective mother and begins using social media against her mom’s wishes.

Victor’s fridge is full of alcoholic beverages, such as wine coolers and beer. Ashley tries to drink a wine cooler, but Victor tells her she can’t. God’s name is misused five times.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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