Jennifer Clasen/ HBO Max.
By Alex Gonzalez
Zelda Barnz has creativity in her blood. Maturing in Los Angeles with a moms and dad in the entertainment industry, she was constantly surrounded by a diverse, diverse cast of characters, and her curious nature implied she had a desire to discover each of them and share their stories. Today the 19- year-old film writer is doing just that with Genera ion, the queer coming-of-age dramedy she crafted while still in high school.
With all the stylistic edge of Euphoria and the biting relatability of Degrassi, Genera ion homes in on the darkness and charm of being a teen today. It follows a loosely connected crew of high schoolers as they browse everything from sexuality and gender identity, to compound usage and social networks, to all the hyped-up horniness you ‘d get out of the category. The very first episode introduces Chester (Justice Smith), a gay boy with a provocative style sense; Greta (Haley Sanchez), an introverted lesbian; and Nathan, a bisexual boy concerning terms with his sexuality.
While LGBTQ characters have typically been relegated to stereotypical partner roles, or limited to coming-out narratives, Zelda positions them at the leading edge; and while grappling with their queerness is certainly an essential struggle, it by no means specifies them. Nathan has a hard time with breaking away from his twin sibling Naomi (Chloe East) and producing an identity of his own.
” We really tried to focus on queer representation and making sure that when enjoying our show, queer kids felt truly seen,” Zelda says.
When we first fulfill Nathan, he wonders about Chester. He likewise struggles to keep his sexuality a secret from Naomi, which proves harder after he talks to her sweetheart at a celebration. Zelda was motivated to produce Nathan due to a lack of male bisexual characters in movie and television. “I think bi males are disregarded and typically informed, ‘It’s simply a stage. This is simply a stepping stone on the road to coming out as gay,’ which just isn’t real,” Zelda states. “Likewise bi ladies are often fetishized rather of represented just as bi women. I absolutely think it’s extremely important to have a bi, male character who is just bisexual. And that exists’s nothing else made complex with his sexuality.”
Zelda, herself, is bisexual. And they wrote back,” Zelda says. While Genera ion is set within a conservative community, Zelda says she never ever felt like an outsider.
” Growing up in Los Angeles, there are a great deal of kids who have gay parents,” Zelda adds. “That was actually intriguing conference kids who were embraced like me, or who had gay moms and dads like me. I feel so exceptionally lucky to mature in an area where I never ever felt like I was the only adopted kid in my class or the only kid with gay parents in my class.”
Other elements of the series are ripped straight from her life, as in the 2nd episode, when Nathan, Greta, and Chester visit their school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club. As a teenager, Zelda was associated with a group at her school called Rainbow Alliance, where she formed relationships with other LGBTQ students. Zelda would share stories about Rainbow Alliance conferences with her daddies, who motivated her to write them down. “These stories were actually funny and poignant,” Daniel Barnz states. “Sometimes it was sort of about this person’s struggle, but in some cases it was like, this person appeared at the club meeting, and they were simply looking for a date. And [these stories] made me laugh.”
Warrick Page/ HBO Max
Zelda originally planned to compose Genera ion as a novel or a series of short stories based upon those Rainbow Alliance conferences, though she dreamed that a person day they would be adjusted for the screen. But Daniel, who composed movies like Will Not Pull Back and Beastly, encouraged Zelda to compose it as a TELEVISION show from the start. He taught Zelda how to compose scripts, and the two bonded over creating the Genera ion universe.
” I will confess, there was a bit of craven, selfish desire [in creating a television show] because I believed if she was game to do it with me, what a remarkable opportunity to do something innovative with my daughter,” Daniel says. Daniel says Zelda periodically informs him “that’s not best” or “I do not believe that would really take place,” so he uses her a listening ear.
Zelda was 17 at the time she initially pitched Genera ion to HBO, and although she admits the preliminary meeting was rather complicated, she decided she was simply going to have fun and go in with an easy-going mindset. “I remember walking into this huge conference room with this huge, long table,” Zelda says.
When casting for the program, Zelda and Daniel wanted to find stars with a younger design. “We really desired to make sure that these kids looked young and felt young, and that they didn’t look like 30- year-old designs playing teenagers,” Zelda says.
Zelda’s stories and consciousness of modern problems have manifested into one of this year’s most fiercely anticipated programs.
” In some cases there can be a dismissiveness about kids, which is so unreasonable,” Daniel states. “And it’s something I have actually needed to think about myself as a parent. And I seem like if moms and dads can welcome that desire to take a look at their kids honestly and relatively, it would be incredible. I also think that, one of the reasons this program has been such a joy to deal with is due to the fact that Zelda and I have been able to interact and talk honestly.”
- Daniel Barnz