Earlier this July, HBO Max came out with its new show Genera+ion. It positioned itself as Gen Z’s modern take on relationships, sexuality, and coming-of-age in an era when older generations don’t understand that identities are ever-changing.
The story follows a cast of about seven different characters, which shouldn’t have been too hard to follow, but as the connections between the characters became blurred amid a serious lack of chemistry, I became lost immediately.
A show that had the true potential of being great instead ended in tragic mediocrity. Due to a mix of poor editing, writing, and filming choices, alongside some less-than-average acting, I can say with full certainty this show is not worth your watch.
At the beginning of each character jump, a title typically popped up to help with transitions, but the inconsistency of this editing choice was really annoying.
Most of the time, it displayed the names of characters, but during Episode 14, it displayed a countdown of hours.
Unless there had been a more defined formulaic choice when character titles were displayed, then this could’ve been a good option stylistically, but having it so random made it feel like an offhand choice.
A continuous shot is a bold choice used to provide a deeper analysis of the scene or create a more dramatic effect. But Genera+ion seemed to use it randomly throughout the show. Sometimes when a pair of characters were speaking, the camera would pan back and forth rather than clean-cut between each character, and more often than not, I found it distracting and dizzying.
My only thought is that they perhaps chose this to create a more realistic and loose feel rather than super cinematic. However, this show could’ve benefited from some beautiful cinematography and editing.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t recognize the shots that were beautifully produced, but poorly thought-out shots overshadowed those scenes.
Poor Character Development:
While most of the characters were horribly written, Ariana was the worst-developed character by far. Her problematic statements about the LGBTQ+ community, excused by the fact that she has gay dads, were not funny.
There are occasional times when homophobic jokes can be made lightly and in good taste. But every time Ariana made a rash comment, it was more embarrassing than humorous.
The best TV shows offer a decent backstory that helps shed light on the psyche of their characters. Genera+ion’s attempts fall flat.
There was nothing in Ariana’s history that suggested why she was problematic and dramatic, so there’s no opportunity to feel sympathetic for her.
Chester and Sam?
The entire first half of the season attempted to hint at sexual tension between Chester and Sam. Certainly not the first series to fall into the teacher-student trope, albeit Sam and Chester’s supposed connection felt super inappropriate and icky.
Chester’s obsession with his guidance counselor was over the top and then it wasn’t. After the big fire alarm blow up, Chester immediately found a boyfriend and there was no resolution to Chester and Sam.
The cliffhanger of the season hinted at a reunion between the two, but if the writers have any hope of increasing their Rotten Tomatoes score, they better not follow through on a relationship.
Chester’s the only half-decent character, so his characterization better not be harmed.
Greta, Luz, and Riley
The budding crush between Riley and Greta was genuinely adorable, but Luz was thrown in haphazardly to increase conflict. There was no chemistry between Luz and Greta, or Luz and Riley, so it was a total waste of a storyline to try and bring in a third character to wedge a gap.
We all know Greta and Riley are endgame, so why try and complicate that?
Overall, the show gave a deconstructed Euphoria vibe. It attempted elements that Euphoria excelled at, including the boy’s locker room scene. Euphoria made waves when it showed an unfiltered scene of naked boys, but Genera+ion’s explicit locker room scene simply felt forced and frivolous.
Unfortunately, HBO Max’s content is a hit or miss, and this show was a downright miss. So warning, watch at your own risk! As for now, the future of Genera+ion is left unknown, but I would be surprised if there was a Season 2.
The Cleaning Lady Review – The Ask (209)
The Cleaning Lady is determined to make my blood pressure skyrocket.
In the latest episode, Thony gets in much deeper with Kamdar instead of finding solutions to free herself from this violent and dangerous lifestyle.
When Fiona asked her flat-out how she was going to get out of this mess, Thony herself acknowledged that she had no idea while emphasizing that the only thing that truly mattered was that Kamdar was helping her save Luca.
The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 9 circled back to the very crux of the story: the great lengths Thony will go to as a mother. Her desire and need to save Luca was the reason she got embroiled in this mess in the first place, so it’s fitting that, as we get ready to close out this season in just a few episodes, she’s once again being backed into a corner and forced to trust a dangerous man to save her son.
This time, Kamdar is the new lifeline for her boy instead of Arman, which is unfortunate because Kamdar is a straight-up terrible man with no soul. He’s not as kind or gentle as Arman, nor does he actually care what happens to Thony’s son. The only reason he’s even interested in helping is to get what he wants from Thony in return—an established pipeline to sell the drugs that she managed to smuggle in through the Phillippines.
The storyline is, admittedly, a bit of a stretch, but I love that it connects back to Thony’s roots and her home country because she feels the impacts of it that much more. I hate that she was forced to burn a bridge with two close friends who admired her and thought highly of her, but, at the same time, it goes to show you that Thony will stop at nothing to help her son.
However, it also begs the question—how far is too far? Is there a line she won’t be willing to cross? She knew that the price for anyone in the Phillippines who helped smuggle drugs into the US was death, and yet, she still went through with it. She keeps excusing her behavior by saying that she had no choice and saying that she’s helping Luca, but I also don’t fully believe it. At some point, she’s just convincing herself. A part of me thinks that she’s addicted to the rush of all of it because it gives her purpose. Not to mention, she’s good at it.
I’m sure that if she wanted to, Thony would be able to leverage her connection and relationship with Garrett to get hold of the meds Luca needs. But then again, she was in the same boat as Arman: kill or be killed. Thony wasn’t directly killing anyone, but she was putting a target on her friends because if she didn’t, Kamdar would have no problem taking her out of the equation.
However, being back in the Phillippines and seeing old friends and family was a bit of a wake-up call. It forced Thony to confront the reality of how much her life has changed from what it once was. She has taken a very dark path, but up until now, she’s had a bit of tunnel vision because she’s been so focused on helping Luca and freeing herself and Arman from Kamdar’s grasp. But surrounded by all the familiar places and people, she’s seeing her life for what it really is. It’s forcing her to take a hard look at the mess that she’s created, which will hopefully force her to make some necessary changes, even if they are dire. Thony is resourceful, but her skills come at a price to the people she loves, including her two friends in the Phillippines.
After Arman and Thony were burned by the cartel, they were put in a near-death situation which led to the death of Arman’s friend and dealer Bosco. The whole situation was honestly too close for comfort, and I still have no idea how they managed to get away without any injuries. But once they lost the drugs and their shipping route, they were of no use to Kamdar.
Thony realized she could leverage Kamdar’s connections for herself while buying them some time, but the truth is, it was her Hail Mary, which meant that Kamdar did not want Arman to go on the quick trip to the Phillippines. This was her deal—and Arman was no longer part of the equation.
This is the first time we’ve seen Arman and Thony’s paths diverge in some time, and I’m not entirely sure I like it, especially because it brought Arman back into Nadia’s orbit.
The moment Arman realized that he was as good as dead since Kamdar no longer needed him, he concocted a master plan that hinges very heavily on an assist from Nadia. And this means Nadia and Arman are now the A-team, leaving Thony in the dust as her allegiance is with Kamdar until she can secure those meds for Luca. The shake-up is not something I’m comfortable with, particularly because I’ve been hoping that Thony and Arman would get closer in the aftermath of their shared trauma.
Then again, it all makes sense. Nadia is still Kamdar’s wife, so if they were to successfully get away with killing him, she would theoretically inherit his empire. Of course, I don’t know what judge would sign off on giving her everything, plus, Kamdar likely has a contingency plan in place for his death, though there’s no denying that Nadia is his weak spot. If there’s anyone who could get close enough and gain his trust, it’s her.
Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Nadia may be interested in helping Arman because she still loves him and understands just how unhinged Kamdar is, but I also think there’s also a part of her that loves how much Kamdar worships and values her. There’s also her jealousy over Arman whenever he’s with Thony which could blind Nadia and force her to do something to sabotage him.
And what if she suddenly changes her mind when she gets back into her old life with Kamdar? I mean, in order to convince him, she’s going to have to pretend that her relationship with Arman is over and that she wants to be with her former husband. It’s a risky game to play, especially as she seemed smitten with Kamdar’s decision to buy La Habana for her. With Kamdar, she’s getting the life that she always wanted with Arman, so why would she give any of that up or eliminate her meal ticket?
The sad truth is that I think Arman has too much faith and trust in his wife… who likely isn’t even legally his wife anymore. I don’t know how that works, but if she’s still married to Kamdar, I imagine it voids her whole marriage to Arman.
My fear is that Arman will be so determined to kill Kamdar that he’ll keep Thony in the dark in the same way he kept Nadia in the dark about his and Thony’s deal with the FBI. And again, this just isn’t the path I envisioned for Arman and Thony to take in the final few episodes.
Regardless, you can’t deny that the creative forces behind The Cleaning Lady know how to complicate everything, and I’m excited to see this pan out. I don’t trust Kamdar or Nadia, but I trust that the writers know what they are doing to give us the best and most realistic storyline that’s grounded yet also provides the level of entertainment value we expect from the series and stays true to the brilliant characters they’ve created.
The whole storyline involving Luca’s declining health gave me PTSD as I felt the same fear and anxiety that I did back in season one. The plot just hits different when Luca’s life is on the line because that’s when you know there’s nothing Thony isn’t willing to do, which ups the danger factor significantly. She’s gone through so much as a mother, staring down the real possibility that her boy will die every single day, and she still has so much strength to remain calm and composed in the face of a man who basically tells her that he’s willing to let her boy die.
I feel like Thony bonded with Kamdar’s right-hand man, who is also Filipino, and I’m kind of hoping he’ll want to help Thony and Arman out of this predicament. At the end of the day, I would hope that she’d be able to trust her own people. He has to hate Kamdar as much as the rest of us.
Garrett and Russo are heating up, but we all saw this coming, right? There has been so much hinting at the inevitable hook-up: they’ve been “friends” for quite some time, their whole lives revolve around the FBI, and they are both down on their luck lately. It’s a recipe for bringing together people who otherwise shouldn’t be involved.
Garret’s fire will be reignited, however, after finding the gun that was used to kill Maya and matching a partial print from it back to Arman. He’s always wanted to nail Arman, so this is his opportunity, though, after everything they’ve been through together, I hope that he finds it in his heart to actually hear him out.
As Russo said many times before, Kamdar will never be the one to pull the trigger. Garrett has worked with Arman to bring down Kamdar, so he knows what he’s capable of, and he knows that Arman’s whole mission has been to get out of this lifestyle. I hope he’ll realize that Arman never wanted to pull the trigger, nor did he have a choice.
The worst part is that the revelation might fracture the working relationship, especially if Garrett finds out that Thony knew this whole time and lied to his face about it. If he does find it in his heart to understand, it might still break his trust, and he might not forgive them.
- Fi has been thrown into this mess without much of a choice, but in the last episode, JD painted her loyalty to Thony in a new light. Will she remove herself from the situation by the time the season is up? Or will she stick by Thony’s side no matter what?
- I don’t know why this thought came to me, but if Luca needs medical help down the line that Thony won’t be able to get him since she’s a TNT, she might have to give Luca over to Nadia and Arman, who are citizens. What if, in the end, they “adopt” Luca in order to save his life and give him a shot at survival? It would surely complicate the love triangle even more. Thony can also marry Arman (since I believe his marriage is void now that Nadia is still married to Kamdar) and find a way to citizenship that way—she’s broken the law in worse ways, this we know.
- Garrett and Russo need to focus less on making out and more on decoding Kamdar’s ledger.
Everything is hitting too close to home for Thony, and I hope her prayers are soon answered and an “exit” sign appears so that she can finally catch a break.
What did you think of the episode? How do you think the rest of the season will pan out? Share your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, Cravers!
You can also catch up on our interview with Martha Millan (Fiona De La Rosa) and see what she had to say about the rest of the season—it’s juicy.
The Santa Clauses Review – Into the Wobbly Woods (103)
The Santa Clauses Season 1 Episode 3 was a bit wobbly, at times proving that the limited series may have been better off as a TV film after all.
While I’m enjoying getting lost in the magic of the North Pole—and being reminded about how unmagical the real world is all of its hand dryers in the bathroom, bills, and C Zone boarding groups—at times, the episode included too much filler material that wasn’t exactly necessary to move the storyline along.
The whole scene with Sandra and Grace wandering off into the woods to chat with the Christmas Witch (La Befana in Italian folklore) was strange and felt out of place, even if the outcome was an important father-daughter lesson that normalized feeling afraid of the unknown. They could have reached the same conclusion without all the extra La Befana scenes.
That being said, the episode also set the stage for Simon Choksi’s Santa Claus takeover, which, inevitably, sent Scott Calvin and his family packing to the Chicago suburbs, far far far away from the North Pole.
Ideally, the best course of action is for the Calvin family to find the magic in the real world, which I’m confident at least Cal will be able to do, but losing Scott as Santa may come at the price of the North Pole and Christmas entirely. Also, how long before they get bored of the mundane and miss all the whimsical gadgets of the NP?
Simon doesn’t seem like a bad candidate on the surface. Yes, he’s a budding tech entrepreneur who is very determined to drive sales, and selfishly, getting an inside look at the mechanics of Santa’s delivery system could be of use to him, but he’s also a father, first and foremost. While his interview as a potential Santa candidate didn’t go very well, Scott saw Simon’s true heart out in the woods as he opened up about his late wife’s passing and how he would do anything for his daughter, Grace. In fact, his decision to accept the role as the new Santa was mostly motivated by his desire to make Grace happy.
As Scott told Sandra, he didn’t feel like he was the right man for the job when it fell into his lap (or rather, when Santa fell off his roof), but when he changed his perspective—and look at it through Charlie’s eyes—the gig was always in him.
And so, Scott hopes the same will be true for Simon; He sees himself in Simon, which is why he decided to offer him the job.
But the truth is Santa’s boots are big boots to fill, and we don’t always get the hiring process right. A job as critical as Santa should have required Scott to stick around a bit to “test out” if Simon truly is a good fit. Simon didn’t even have any time to think it through, or fully understand the impact it would have on his life.
He can no longer prioritize his company, EverythingNow, because his sole purpose in life is to be Santa. Can he let go of the “mortal” world? Or will his ambitions ruin everything?
One clear sign that Simon might not be the right candidate? Santa’s coat resufing to accept the change of hands! The coat literally ran away from Simon—why did no one call that out as a serious red flag?
Even though he did completely change from the man we met in the initial first two episodes when he accepted that he was at the North Pole—his joy upon seeing an elf and finding out he will get a one-on-one with Santa was so pure and heartwarming—his heart may not be in it for the right reasons.
The truth is, the North Pole is likely good in small doses, but it has the potential to erase every single part of your individual identity. Just ask Mrs. Claus, who was all too eager to go back to her old jean-wearing life. She didn’t even care what identity she would assume as long as she had one. I do think she’s been in this role for too long and has stopped seeing it for the magical opportunity that it is. The scene where the elves hugged her goodbye proved that her presence as a nurturer and caregiver was oftentimes more crucial and important than Santa himself. Though, I’m happy for her to get back to what makes her feel truly alive, even if it’s a short-lived break from her norm.
Once you assume the role of Santa, you are stripped of the person you once were and thrust fully into this new responsibility. It’s a huge commitment, and one I just don’t think Simon understood when he agreed to take it on for Grace. There are also plenty of unmentioned changes including his weight and appearance (Scott didn’t look like Santa before!) and the Mrs. Claus aspect of things. Santa has to have one, but Scott conveniently left that part out when selling Simon the gig. Who will his right-hand lady be?
As the energy crackles and surges in the North Pole, Scott and Carol might be back at the workshop sooner than they expected to undo the mess that Simon may inevitably create. There’s nothing like a holiday movie about saving Christmas after all—it’s what Santa does best.
It was nice to see Tim Allen without the creepy Santa prosthetics (including those eyebrows!) for a bit, and seeing the horror on his children’s faces when they saw his transformation into a normal middle-aged male was quite hilarious, as was their joy over the above-freezing temps. As someone who has lived in Chicago her entire life, I can attest to the fact that we really do consider 8 degrees to feel like summer in the thick of winter sometimes.
Other Must-See Moments
- Santa’s “sit on my lap and tell me what you want” shirt definitely won’t work in the real world, but honestly, the adult humor is welcome as it proves the series doesn’t take itself too seriosuly.
- The fact that Simon’s first thought is that he’ll get charged for eating the cookies at the “hotel” is peak millennial. Don’t touch anything.
- Simon telling Cal that he has a cool name is hilarious once you realize the actor that plays Simon is Kal Penn.
- Santa loves NFTs—Nutty Fudge Tea Cakes. I thought that’s what NFTs stood for this whole time. Could’ve fooled me.
What did you think of the episode? How will it end? Will Scott and fam regret their choice to leave this world behind? Will Simon bow out? Or will there be two Santas—double the magic, double the fun!
You can read our review of the first two episodes of The Santa Clauses right here!
5 Biggest Moments From Season 3 of ‘Dead to Me’
Life is a beautiful chaotic mess–just take it from Jen Harding (Christina Applegate) and Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini).
The third and final season of Dead to Me was a wild adventure that brought Jen and Judy’s love story to a fitting end. And yes, I said Jen and Judy’s because let’s be real, the show may have been a lot of things, but at its core, it was always about friendship.
There were some pretty jaw-dropping twists throughout the ten episodes before bringing it all home. A lot of F-bombs later, who would have thought that in the end, Jen and Judy would manage to get away with it all?
Here are the biggest moments from Dead to Me Season 3:
Charlie Learns the Truth… Sort of
One of the lingering plot lines from the second season was Charlie reading the letter that Jen wrote and thinking that he figured it all out. However, his mom didn’t want him to know the truth, so she fed him something that was a little less intense. Instead of allowing him to believe that she killed Steve and that Judy killed Ted, she simply informed him that Judy slept with her husband. Charlie was furious thinking that Jen was a home wrecker, so just imagine what he would actually do with the truth. In the end, he came around and was supportive of his mother, Judy, and Ben.
Ben’s Hit and Run Drama
Ben was so drunk after learning about Steve’s death that he didn’t have any memory of the hit-and-run until he ran into Judy at the hospital and realized that he was responsible for T-boning his late brother’s wife and the woman he loved. Initially, Ben kept it a secret from the two women because he was scared of the repercussions, but when his connection with Jen continued to evolve, he couldn’t keep lying and told her the truth. Jen’s reaction was a little shocking as she decided to sleep with Ben immediately after. Despite Jen’s close relationship with police detective Perez, who was working on her case, they still arrested Ben after they realized he was behind the wheel. Plus, because of the bird figuring, officer Nick thought Ben/Jen and Judy had something to do with Steve’s death as he identified the piece found in Steve’s skull as the tail of the bird.
Ben ended up serving his time in prison for the hit-and-run, even though Jen never pressed charges, and you could say the jail stint was part of his process of making amends to his loved ones following rehab.
Of course, Jen and Judy were fairly forgiving about the whole hit-and-run ordeal considering the former killed Ben’s twin brother, Steve. It seems like everyone’s guilty of something in Laguna.
The Greek Mafia Actually Helped Judy and Jen
Steve’s connection to the Greek mafia, er, syndicate, was a lingering thread weaved in throughout the season. They were always able to place blame on Steve’s shady dealings with the Greeks to buy them some time and explain his suspicious death. The Greeks were also responsible for killing the main FBI agent on the case, Moranis, which allowed Perez to remove any and all files about Steve Wood so that it looked as though they were also responsible for his death, which ultimately absolved Jen and Judy completely. Having Perez on speed dial was a huge help, even if she had to down a bottle of Tums because of all the stress Jen put her through. Even Nick, who regarded himself as a good, fair, and honest, cop, couldn’t find it in him to turn in Judy after she “confessed” to Steve’s murder.
The Greeks also ambushed Jen and Judy during their road trip to Mexico, but Judy was a total badass and saved them by faking sick, grabbing a gun, and forcing them to surrender as the two besties drove off into the sunset. Those two were a modern-day Thelma and Louise… and I say were because, at the conclusion of the series, Judy passed away.
Judy Has Cancer
Judy’s cancer was definitely a curveball for the season, but it made sense when you looked at the larger picture. With her days numbered, she could always take one for the team and guarantee Jen’s freedom. And she tried, but Jen was too good of a friend, and she didn’t want Judy to spend her remaining days in a prison cell. Instead, she bought her some time and they took a road trip to Mexico, where they stayed at Steve’s vacation home. This was also Judy’s final resting place.
The reality of Judy’s cancer storyline was that it was the most realistic one—and gut-wrenching at that. At the end of the series, both Judy and Jen were absolved of any wrongdoing, so they could’ve gone on and lived a life of bliss together, but life is unexpected, and it wasn’t in the cards.
They say people come into your life for a reason, and for Jen, that’s absolutely true. Jen and Judy were soulmates who lifted each other up during some very dark moments.
While Judy didn’t want to know about her cancer diagnosis, Jen pushed her to be proactive, and she didn’t stop fighting for her until the very end. And the only reason Judy even found out about the cancer was because of the CT scans following the hit-and-run, so, in a way, it was a blessing.
It was heartbreaking to see Jen without Judy in the final moments of the series—they never showed her death as it’s assumed she took the boat out that morning and simply passed away in bliss—but the good news is that Judy will always be there in spirit. She left her mark.
Jen is Pregnant
Jen’s pregnancy storyline was the second unexpected twist of the series, even to her. I’m actually still laughing at the “I’m a thousand years old” comment. But the truth is, the baby with Ben was also a blessing in disguise. It reframed her life, it forced her to admit her feelings for Ben—even if they were extremely complicated since his brother killed her husband while she killed his brother—and it gave her some much-needed hope after Judy died. Most importantly, it gave her back the family dynamic that she lost when Ted was killed.
It was a long road for Jen to admit her feelings for Ben and allow him to be a crucial part of her life, but she got a lot of help from Judy along the way. Judy knew that she needed to give Jen the push to be vulnerable and honest about her feelings, and she continuously reminded her that honesty is the best policy. Jen remembered the lesson, which is why she decided to finally tell Ben the truth about everything in the end, including that she was responsible for his brother’s death. The admission might cost them their happiness, but it’s necessary. Unfortunately, we won’t see the outcome of that conversation because the credits rolled right as she told him that they needed to talk. We’ll simply have to find comfort in knowing that Judy’s presence and lessons will continue to influence Jen’s life.
To sum it all up: Judy died in her happy place, Mexico, on a boat, from terminal cervical cancer, but before she left, she gave Jen all the tools she needed to succeed. Jen gave birth to her baby girl, Joey, with Ben, who was now part of her family.
What did you think of the final season? Are you sad to say goodbye to Judy and Jen? Did you like the ending?
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