Photo from Wired.com
To the LGBTQ+ Generation Z, it was difficult to get through 2021’s Thursdays without switching tabs from Google Docs to HBO Max. Why? Then 19-year-old Zelda Barns.
Barnz wrote a series about the highs and lows that Generation Z experiences while a part of the LGBTQ+ community: the high school romance and school dances, but also the break-ups and complicated feelings. The importance of friendships, but the betrayals and misunderstandings that come with them. The mall trips with friends on rainy Saturdays, but the realization that a baby is growing inside of you in a Panda Express bathroom.
These recognizable, yet far-fetched episodes of teenage dramedy and basement talks are what had Genera+ion fans on the edge of their seats.
The popcorn was hard to resist when Californian high schooler Chester lacked a filter in all of the most significant ways. Whether it be his shirtless walks and vogues, or the helpless romanticism of his guidance counselor, he is known for his vulnerability in his true, gay self. He is proud and does not see such as what he should hide, or was not necessarily accepted.
On the other hand, high schooler Nathan could not relate. He was quieter about his bisexuality outside of his friend groups and hopes of a relationship with a guy, given his mother saw it as “confusion” and “complication.” His crush on Chester was what he hoped to fulfill, while Chester only pretended to romantically advance towards him in hopes to upset Nate’s mom.
Nathan’s sister, Naomi, was in her own dystopian life with her good friends Delilah and Ariana. The three remained infamous on TikTok during May 2021 for their tight night group, sharing hotel rooms, necklaces, and striking mall bathroom stories as they helped Delilah deliver her and boyfriend Cooper’s baby. True friendship came in the form of taking action, even with surprise. Eventually, Cooper, Delilah, and Naomi had a throuple and dumped Ariana out of their daily pictures. Throuples constient of three friends in a group that can be accepted while the lone, single friend feels left out. This is a possible relatable theme to teens across the laptop-buying globe.
Delilah, Naomi, and Ariana’s season finale break-apart over secrets had fans taking to Twitter to defend Delilah and Ariana against secret-sharer Naomi. When Twitter got involved, fans felt as if their voices were a part of agreeable conversations.
Riley and Greta were quite the iconic pairing as well, between giggles and mad silence, but for romantic reasons. They saw each other in a light that was a bit more than platonic, but certainly did not know if their friendship would blow up. The line was soon a triangle with Luz in the picture, another high schooler that both girls hooked up with at one point in their lives. The possible ability for queer girls to relate to this is what felt so rare and special about this show.
When Beau came into the picture, Chester had his boyfriend portrayed in the light of a beautiful LGBTQ+ relationship. This beauty came with a fallout, however, a normalized high school experience. Never sexualized. Never one side of the story. Simply a break-apart.
In historical LGBTQ+ portrayal, this is often not sought or written.
Riley and Greta’s sweet moments were sweet and angry, making the sentiment understandable for high school teenagers. This relatable nature is what inspired the infamous YouTube complications of the two’s best moments.
LGBTQ+ staff, quite open about both identity and support at the Anaheim high school, are present in almost every other episode. This series showcases them in a way that pats a viewer on the shoulder to remind them that they exist.
This LGBTQ+ representation, not shying away or exaggerating in terms of the community, is what earned the season an 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, Rotten Tomatoes and fans will never know a second season, or a world in which any of the relationship cliffhangers advance or decline. An HBO Max spokesperson claimed that the network “will not be moving forward with a second season of Genera+ion.”
As no information has come out as to why, or how, such an integral show with satisfactory ratings would be left at season one, we can only hope that its fans find other satisfactory representations of the LGBTQ+ community.
Genera+ion’s cancellation leaves a giant hole in a generation of LGBTQ+ medial-goers that love to be represented, and we can only hope more media fills it.