Group portrait of a disenchanted “Genera + ion”, on Canal +


Teenagers who go to bed, send pictures of their private parts, talk badly to their parents, listen to fat rap while gorging themselves on sugar … There are no longer many people to be offended to see on the screen young people live their young lives. And Generate + ion (the + instead of the “t” refers to the + attached to the end of LGBTQ +) does not add much water to the mill of the teen series of our time.

With its queer, fluid, hormone-driven and loudly politicized characters, Daniel and Zelda Barnz’s creation openly follows in the footsteps ofEuphoria, another harsh but darker teen series produced by HBO. Broadcast on HBO Max, the streaming platform of the American cable channel, Generate + ion seems to be aimed at a slightly younger audience, hence perhaps these scatological jokes that recall the era American Pie, these parts of action or truth ended with kisses in the form of betrayal. This does not explain, however, why such a serious event – a denial of pregnancy that ends in a childbirth in a mall’s bathroom – is treated so casually.

The weeks preceding this birth are told by multiple flashbacks, through the crossed lives of a handful of Californian teens who attend the same LGBTQ + club in their high school. The center of gravity of this small group that spends a lot of time staring at each other is a queer teenager played, as is often the case in this type of series with explicit content, by an adult.

Emerging talents

Justice Smith, 25 years old and one of the most interesting faces of the new wave of American actors, had auditioned to play the role of the guidance counselor (finally played, with crazy charm, by the Englishman Nathan Stewart- Jarrett). The actor was ultimately offered the role of Chester, a mixed race, non-binary teenager, whose motley crop tops and mania for exposing his torso have earned him regular penalties for breaching the dress code of the high school.

He is the revelation of the series, which is eye-loving and attracts tenderness. His partners struggle to exist in front of this dancer’s body and this solar smile, around which the camera turns like a moth around a light bulb.

Generate + ion does not have much more to offer than that, a showcase for emerging talent, and it is already not so bad. For the rest, the series films without a point of view the pangs of an adolescent sex reduced to practices and technique, and only moves during a few lyrical flights – a trip in a convertible on Sébastien Tellier – which seize, even fleetingly, the prettiness of that age.

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