This is my review of the episode that started it all. The episode that lead the foundation for the series that I have come to obsess over. Thought I would tell you I was obsessed in case I was being too subtle.
There are two episodes that I look at with a different frame of mind. The first and last episodes of a Series. The last episode must be judged by how they conclude the story lines introduced and not judged by the content of the story lines. You cannot change what already exists. The other episode is the first episode. The first episode needs to be judged by how well it lays the foundation for the rest of the Series. This episode is one of the best first episodes of any Series based on how well it lays down the foundation and introduces the characters.
This episode is entitled “Tony” however it focuses on the group mostly. Many of the episodes are like this compared to Generation 2 and Generation 3. The main reason being that this is a group of friends who have known each other for a long time. Meaning they are all intertwined in one another’s lives more so than the rest of the generations.
When we first see Tony we see that he’s a cheeky guy with a mischievousness look about him constantly prodding at his father’s sanity and helping his sister live a double life. We also see that he takes good care of his body and has a rigid morning routine. It sets up Tony as someone who is methodical, intelligent, organized, controlling, and powerful. I got all of this in the first few minutes of this episode. By how his room is set up and how he interacts with his family.
I think this is honestly one of the most creative and innovative ways I have ever seen a television show introduce characters. By having Tony use his cell phone with call waiting. It was absolutely brilliant. Within the seconds we see each of the characters we immediately know a few things about them. We know that Tony is friends with Sid and that Sid is a virgin. We know that Jal is a no nonsense person who plays the clarinet. We know Chris is a party animal, that Maxxie is gay and a dancer, that Anwar is a muslim who contradicts his faith, and that Michelle is dating Tony. All of this is learned in this clever use of technology to introduce Generation 1 to us.
Another thing that this episode does so well is that it builds the foundation for the rest of the series fantastically. In this episode we not only get a glimpse of all the character personalities but we also get the foundation of most of the plot this series. We know that Tony and Sid are best friends; however, there is an imbalance in their relationship. Especially since Sid was talked into doing something stupid and ends up getting into massive trouble for it. Which is a theme of Sid’s. We learn that Sid despite being friends with Tony is enamored with Michelle. We also see that Cassie has an eating disorder and that she has a developing crush on Sid. We learn that Chris has a crush on his teacher Angie. All of this is laid out perfectly in this one episode.
There is also a theme of class warfare in this episode that I find refreshing. We are introduced to Abigail a rich gal from a distinguish institution invites Tony to a party at her house. She is rich and all her friends are also rich yuppies. They are portrayed as stuffy, pretentious, and lame people who cannot throw a proper party. This is shown in contrast with our gang who all show up at the party. They are messy, disorganized, fun, and absolutely crazy. It’s a fun contrast to watch and to see.
Another amazing thing about this episode is that it ends with an iconic image of our Generation 1. Drenched and walking back home from the accidental car wreck in the water after losing the weed they needed to sell to pay back the drug debt to save Sid’s balls. They walk back together wet, tired, and recovering from an epic party night. This image is the first thing in mind that pops in my head when I think about Generation 1 (besides “Wild World”)
Also I want to talk about Nicholas Hoult as Tony for a second. Part of the reason that Tony seems so untouchable and scary at times is because of Nicholas Hoult. His face is both appealing but also out of this world. It gives a quality to Tony that unnerves you. At least for me. Nicholas Hoult brings this character to life and brings this character to life with absolutely no limits. With a calm, articulate, and calculating presence that makes you wonder what he is really thinking. Perfect Tony.
This was a solid first episode that laid down the foundation for a television series that changed my life in many ways. This episode gets you excited and begging for more.