What do Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie Tingz,” and Fiona Apple’s “Shameika” all have in common? They’ve each helped cast members of Genera+ion find their characters, whether they allow them to get vulnerable or—in the case of Chloe East’s rambunctious Naomi—let them cut loose: “Any song that her mom would disapprove of, she would probably put on blast and just twerk to it.” That eclectic run of songs also speaks to the dynamic and diverse group of teens who populate the new HBO Max dramedy, which aims to give an honest and often hilarious look at the life of a modern teenager. Ahead of the series’ premiere, The A.V. Club spoke to the bulk of the young cast about finding their characters, and making them feel as authentic as possible. Stars Justice Smith, Haley Sanchez, Nathanya Alexander, Lukita Maxwell, Uly Schlesinger, and the aforementioned East were more than happy to shed some light on their roles, and each revealed which songs best help get them in the zone.
Generation premieres on HBO Max March 11.