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  • Jayden Pierce

Genera+ion


Warrick Page/HBO Max

An upcoming dramedy created by Co-writers Daniel and Zelda Barnz, A father-daughter duo, Generation (styled Genera+ion) features Generation Z high school students of color. The show deals with themes such as sexuality, intimate relationships, gender, and family.

The show claims to show a diverse cast of students. In reality, there are three black students and a majority group of white and racially ambiguous students. The creators try to give diversity and gender inclusivity without true diversity. When I see shows like this that talk about diverse experiences with gender and sexuality, I expect there to be creative leads of different backgrounds to bring representation and authenticity to the screen.

There has been a trope of shows using teenage angst, trauma, and inclusivity to propel views. Such as Thirteen Reasons Why, Euphoria, and We Are Who We Are. These shows are known to be, criticized for their portrayal of adults in high school roles experiencing sex, depression, and drugs.

The aim of these shows is usually to allow teens to relate and to see themselves on screen. The danger in that lies in the teens growing up watching these shows believing, it’s reality. There is also a push for diversity and inclusion that often feels forced, usually with a lighter-skinned black lead and a darker supporting cast.

A show written by white queer people, and produced by a white woman, cannot give representation with three black characters. The show is said to be based on Zelda’s personal experiences, making each of these characters a small part of her. Their inclusion and representation in the show comes from her experiences in life. Yet I wonder how diverse and inclusive a show with privileged creators and collaborators can be.

In an interview with indie wire, Daniel Barnz “cited his reference points for high school stories as John Hughes’ movies and was pleasantly surprised when HBO Max saw potential in the show, which features many people of color in lead roles. Barnz credits his daughter for writing race and ethnicity into the character descriptions, which ensured an inclusive cast from the start.” Genera+ion seems to fall in line with the countless shows that preach diversity and inclusion for views. From the trailer and knowledge of the producers of Genra+ion, I have low expectations for how the show will portray diverse characters with diverse gender and sexual identities. Resources:


Brody, Caitlin. “‘Euphoria’ Fans Will Love the New Lena Dunham–Produced Series ‘Genera+Ion’.” Glamour, Glamour, 27 Jan. 2021, www.glamour.com/story/generation-on-hbo-max-details. Dry, Jude. “‘Generation’: HBO Max Chases Its Own ‘Euphoria’ from Father/Daughter Writing Duo.” IndieWire, IndieWire, 11 Feb. 2021, www.indiewire.com/2021/02/generation-hbo-max-euphoria-lgbt-tv-show-1234616340/.



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