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What Wine Country gets so right about the difference between Generation X and Millennials.

Wine Country is dividing grown-up women into two distinct camps.

Camp 1: “This is me and all my friends!”

Camp 2: “Who the hell are this bunch of tragic lushes?”

I am so in camp 1 that I’ve pitched my comfortable tent there, rolled out the faux Moroccan rug and popped the prosecco.

I am so in camp 1 that just a few months ago, my fellow basic friends and I went to our very own wine country, dealt with a lot of emotional shit and drank quite a bit of “white wine”.

I am so in camp 1 that I was in danger of thinking Netflix’s new comedy movie was actually a documentary.

And etcetera.

Watch the full trailer for Netflix’s Wine Country below. Post continues after video…

Grown-up women (bear with me, it’s a descriptor I use instead of “middle-aged”, and so should you) in camp one are so grateful for this show they are practically snorting the screen. In an ocean of streaming-content made specifically for the young and hot, seeing ourselves reflected in the shapes of Amy Poehler (who also directed and produced), Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Anna Gasteyer, Paula Pell and yes, Tina Fey, feels almost revolutionary. Women who look their age. Who aren’t tugging at themselves and complaining about their wrinkles/waistlines/butt size. Who are playing women with rich lives filled with jobs, partners, sex, kids (in another transgressive act, only one of the characters talks about her children) and friendships that go back decades. With those kind of credentials, Wine Country would have had to smuggle a ‘Vote Trump 2020’ message into its title sequence to seriously piss off its demographic.

But yes, there are some cheap shots. And one of them came in the inevitable face-off with the natural enemy of Generation X – the Millennials. Aka: Younger women.

Over in my comfy camp (there are beanbags here), millennials are not the enemy. I spend the majority of my time surrounded by 20-something women at work and I bloody love it. They’re brimming with passion and energy and have integrity and humour to spare. They are so far from the apathetic commitment-phobes they’re so often portrayed as that I actually understand why they’re offended most of the time (yes, cheap shot, I know).

In Wine Country, the generational confrontation comes when Val (Paula Pell) drags the girlfriends along to an art show that’s being held in Napa by Jade (Maya Erskine), a waitress Val has a major crush on. Jade is exhibiting an entire collection of art inspired by Fran Fine, who – every Gen X-er will know – was TV’s The Nanny. It’s unclear why and it really doesn’t matter but the jokes write themselves – younger generation commandeers older generation’s icons with an ironic twist, they stand around in a circle affirming each other’s earnest, complex interpretations of what are, essentially, just a load of pictures of Fran Drescher. Millennials, why they so serious?

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But there was one moment in that scene that made me gasp with recognition. Really, it was just a word.

“The confidence,” hisses Jenny (Emily Spivey). “The confidence of these women.”

Wine Country Netflix
"There was one moment in Wine Country that made me gasp with recognition." Image: Netflix.

Jenny then goes into a rant about how she has lived most of her life thinking she's a piece of shit, and here are these young women (subtext: Who know nothing) speaking as if they deserve to be listened to. Treating themselves with self-worth. Living their truth. Standing their ground. It's outrageous.

This is a particularly Generation X rant. We are, after all, sandwiched between two squeaky wheels – the Boomers and the Millennials. Neither of them think they're shit. Gen X, on the other hand. Well, we're Kurt Cobain and Winona Ryder. We definitely know we're shit.

"It's true," I hissed at my partner, who was sitting through Wine Country under duress and a complicated payback system that means one day soon I'll have to watch an episode of The Walking Dead. "They're all so confident."

Screeds have been written on this. Despite high levels of anxiety and the instability of their very futures, Millennials (anyone born in the 1980s and 90s) are well known for having a healthy sense of their worth in the world. Apparently, millennials' self-confidence has been formed by indulgent early-X and Boomer parents, who have told them they were special their whole lives. They've been encouraged to strive, and to think things could be better than they are (imagine!), and that they will achieve greatness. They're sensible, but they have great expectations.

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Millennials document almost every move they make with their phones, seeing themselves as the stars of their own lives. They don't have to wait for anything, from a taxi to take-away Thai to sex. If something makes them uncomfortable, they ghost. If someone irritates them, they cancel them. They are a generation who are genuinely used to having things their own way, when and how they want.

X-ers (born 1965-1979), on the other hand, well we're still not sure what we want. We grew up with all the fun stuff – raves, MTV, backpacking gap years, the Spice Girls, for God's sake – but also all the fear – AIDS, divorced parents, heroin chic. We remember a world before the internet and iPhones. We remember how shit (and a little bit glorious) that was.

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In Wine Country, the generational confrontation comes when Val drags the girlfriends along to an art show. Image: Netflix.

Our parents weren't helicoptering, we were the first generation of "latchkey kids", we figured a lot of stuff out for ourselves, and we're independent and a bit cynical and understated. We generally think our music was better, and we had the wisdom of adulthood under our belts before we had to put up with pouting influencers telling us our lives weren't shiny enough. But man... we envy the confidence.

"Maybe it's just youth?" I said to my partner, who was barely awake at this point, as one of the millennial characters onscreen discussed how she'd never seen The Nanny, but she wasn't going to let that get in the way of her understanding 'the art'. "Maybe all young people think they're right?"

"No," he muttered. "We definitely weren't right."

No. We definitely weren't. Generation X is shades of grey (considering our grunge past, that's appropriate) while these Millennial young women are all sharply crisp, monochrome contrast.

But look, we do know how to have a good time at a vineyard with our girlfriends.

Did you see yourself (or, eek, your mum) in Wine Country? Let us know in the comments.

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