[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Genera+ion, Season 1, Episode 8, “The Last Shall Be First.”]
HBO Max’s Genera+ion is tying up some loose ends and opening up doors in its Season 1A finale.
After framing its eight-episode run around people’s “chosen” families, as well as the particular challenges faced by teenagers Delilah (Lukita Maxwell) and J (Sydney Mae Diaz) — who, in the finale, drop off their newborn, the result of an unplanned pregnancy, at a nearby fire station — it’s interesting to note that Genera+ion‘s creative team is a true family affair. At the helm: Creators and father-daughter duo Daniel and Zelda Barnz, with husband, and father, Ben Barnz executive producing.
“I came out when I was 15 and my brother had come out a few months before me when he was 13,” Zelda, who at 19 was able to bring fresh insights into a coming-of-age story, tells TV Insider. “So, in our family, we just started having all these conversations about how society views queerness, and how my parents’ opinions and experiences were so different from ours.”
“It was pretty funny in the beginning, too,” says Daniel. “I mean, we were just sitting around the dinner table and Ben and I went from feeling like this cool, cutting-edge, gay couple to feeling like, ‘Oh god, we’re just dads and everything looks so different now for Zelda and kids her age.’”
“We really wanted to kind of explore this concept of fluidity,” Zelda adds. “I know a lot of people who don’t like labels but identify in the LGBTQ community, which I think is often very different from previous generations’ experiences.”
And community it is. No matter the struggle, whether it be that unplanned pregnancy to a cat-fishing scheme gone wrong, the teens in Genera+ion lean on each other for support. Viewers will see this play out even more in Season 1B.
“We’ll be focusing on how Delilah moves forward,” teases Zelda. “We’ll focus a lot on Delilah and how she’s coping and dealing with this crazy thing that happened that her family doesn’t know about. … Our kids are super bonded because of this experience. … In our finale, our group is experiencing a lot of romantic fracture, too.”
The fractures include Riley (Chase Sui Wonders) being upset over being shut out by Greta (Haley Sanchez), who is denying her true romantic feelings due to the impending return of her conservative mother. Then there’s Chester (Justice Smith), who cat-fished his school counselor, Sam (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) on a gay dating app.
In 1B, Chester heads down a new path related to the finale’s introduction of Bo (Marwan Salama), a fellow student with whom Chester connects with. Saddened over being cut-off from Sam, who distanced himself from Chester after the fiasco, could Bo be a new beginning?
“We wanted to give a feeling of hopeful possibility for Chester because he’s so crushed. And that’s something that we’re teeing up for the second block,” teases Daniel. “You’re sort of excited to see what happens with Chester when he’s given an opportunity to connect to another boy his own age. Chester does pursue dates with Bo, but I can tell you that their first date emphatically does not go as planned.”
While more complicated romances are surely ahead, there’s also going to be some tough parent-children challenges.
“Teen sexuality can often be hard for parents to embrace,” Daniel says, particularly for Nathan and Naomi’s (Chloe East) mom Megan, played by Martha Plimpton. “Megan really tries to deal with it more head on and looks for various forms of outreach,” he adds, but it’s also going to mean more restrictions at home.
“Megan definitely starts implementing some rules in the household,” Zelda adds.
Hopefully not too many, as we’re itching for more of their adventures. Stay tuned for Season 1B, which will arrive later this year on HBO Max.
Genera+ion, Streaming now, HBO Max