A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show clearly comes down in favor of authenticity, honesty, emotional connections, and kindness, though we often see emotional pain that results from missteps.
Positive Role Models
The show is extensively diverse in terms of gender and sexual identity, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Adults are present and responsible, even if the show depicts them as being sometimes clueless (Nathan and Naomi’s mom is particularly an emblem of adult haplessness). Teens make mistakes and have flaws that range from forgivable to nasty; they also connect with each other in genuine ways and grow over time.
Violence & Scariness
There are many references to self-harm, including moments when characters joke that if something happens they’ll "blow my brains out." A character likes to "rooftop," i.e. climb up on dangerous rooftop structures (an adult fears he will jump or fall).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex is strong and frequent. One boy sends another a “dick pic,” we see his erect penis for a long moment on-screen. In another scene, two teen boys kiss, one gets to his knees to perform oral, we see his partner’s nude buttocks. In yet another scene, a character masturbates to porn he’s watching on a laptop; we see him nude (his private parts are covered by the laptop) with his hand moving rhythmically. Expect nudity, same- and opposite-sex kissing, sex, and dating, and characters having sex with suggestive movements and sounds.
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Language and cursing includes "f--k," "c--t," "titty," "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "dick," "p---y." There's also language connected with sexuality: "queeny," "fags."
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Products & Purchases
Some of these teens are rich, with big houses with pools and other trappings of luxury; others live modestly.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink heavily at a party; we see one character pouring vodka for a long moment into his drink, and then slurring his words and making a mistake he regrets later. A character experiencing agonizing pain is asked if she "wants the rest of the Oxy" and advised to snort it so it’ll take effect faster.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Generation is a series about a group of teens struggling to find happiness and make it through each day at a Southern California high school. Though the tone of the show favors emotional connections, kindness, and authenticity and characters are realistic and grow over time, the levels of mature content are strong. Sexual scenes are frequent and explicit; we see characters having sex with suggestive motions and movements, nudity (including a long look at a male full frontal "dick pic"), jokes about and references to sex. Drinking and drug use is also frequent: teens drink heavily at a party and then regret their decisions; a character in pain is advised to snort "Oxy" so it'll work faster. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and many words connected to sex and bodies: "titty," "dick," "p---y." Characters are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender and sexual identities, with most of the main characters falling somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Is It Any Good?
It's reminiscent of teen shows both recent (Euphoria comes to mind) and vintage (Freaks and Geeks), but a lean into both sincerity and comedy makes this effort stand out from the pack. One thing Generation gets right immediately -- though the sprawling cast of high schoolers we meet are diverse in terms of sexual and gender identity, race, ethnicity, and outlook, they share one thing in common: everything they feel is the Hugest Thing Ever. Chester, both a star athlete and a confidently queer kid, quietly calls out for emotional support under a facade of bluster; Nathan is willing to accept he's bisexual but hates himself for choosing his twin sisters erstwhile boyfriend for his sexual forays; painfully insecure Greta struggles both with her life-threatening crush on Riley and with her fraught family dynamics.
Generation does made its teens feel immediately specific and real, even if the drama that surrounds them is heightened. The odds are long for the show standing out: after all, as Generation itself tells us in one episode, there's hardly a shortage of shows about "this secret life of teenagers hoo-ha" (this choice bit of dialogue is placed in the mouth of Nathan and Naomi's mom, a priceless Martha Plimpton). But there's something that feels genuine about the writing and the acting; the teens are fumbling for relevance, ease, and cool, while plainly telegraphing anything but. At one point, Chester perches on a distraught Nathan's lap and assures him that it's all going to get better from this point forward. "Will you remind me tomorrow?" Nathan asks, distracted but interested. "It sounds like something I'll want to remember." Generation captures something real and painful about teenhood that viewers will remember too.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.