Justice Smith, star of the new HBO Max series, made this abundantly clear during an exclusive chat with E! News. Per Smith, Generation is "similar to Euphoria in that there are teenagers on the show." Outside of that, the 25-year-old actor said the dramedy, which premiered today, March 11, is "its own beast."
"It's this crazy double standard that we do as a society where we view all content that has high schoolers or teenagers in it as being a part of the same monolith," he noted of the comparisons between Generation and Euphoria. "But then, we don't do that with any other generation. We don't say that shows about people in their 30s are all alike, you know, but for some reason when it's high schoolers these are all the same. And they're not."
As HBO Max described it, the Lena Dunham-produced series "follows a group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality (devices and all) tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community."
"When you're showcasing shows about modern times it's like, everyone exists within the same cultural zeitgeist," he expressed. "So, of course, there's gonna be like, cell phones are gonna be a thing or TikTok is gonna be a thing or makeup is gonna be a thing 'cause this is just what kids are doing nowadays."
Smith further highlighted that "there's kind of a darkness that Euphoria focuses on and explores." This is a notable difference from Generation, which presented a much lighter tone in its first trailer.
In fact, in the first episode, Smith, as openly-gay star athlete and fashion fan Chester, informs his guidance counselor Sam (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), "I'm like, a lot."
"Well, one, the show's gay as f--k and so, we're trying to highlight queerness and how predominate it is in generation Z," Smith explained. "We're also highlighting…a more raw exploration of sexuality."
On his leading role in Generation, Smith shared that he's "honored" to play Chester. He concluded, "This is such an interesting character to play, 'cause it's unlike anything I've ever done before and it's so dynamic."
Genera+ion is available now on HBO Max.