Why is the new series of 'Skins' so horrifically awful?!
For the past few years we’ve loved the exploits of the rogue teens in ‘Skins,’ but now they’re not living up to expectations.
‘Skins’ was once credited as being a huge success, dealing with heavy issues whilst maintaining an innovative and edgy look. Premiering in 2007, the programme was hailed as genius, the cast of relatively unknown actors were interesting, the plotlines deep and often moving and the parties, well, let’s just say they’d put Jester’s to shame.
The initial series, featuring characters such as Tony, Sid, Cassie, Michelle and Maxxie, (Come on, don’t pretend you don’t remember) received much praise from both critics and audiences alike and appealed to a broad range of people, with not only teenagers, but their mums, engrossed in the show. Back then, the series focussed on issues such as anorexia, parental abandonment, sexual orientation and attempted suicide.
However, the brilliance of the vintage years of ‘Skins’ was to ensure the presence of comedy which often relieved the audience from the frequently difficult viewing, or heightened the poignancy of certain scenes. In this way the public felt connected to this group of young and loveable, if not slightly mad, group of teenagers. This is reflected in the numerous awards the show has been given or nominated for, particularly in its early stages.
Even with the so called ‘second generation’ cast, after an entire upheaval seeing all but one original cast member leave the show, ‘Skins’ maintained its appeal. Again the scenario was the same, a group of teenagers beginning their time at college, in Bristol, and showcasing the dramas that occurred in their lives.
With this fresh crop of new, unpolished talent, including characters such as Freddie, Cook, Effie, Pandora and JJ, the series became ever darker, dealing with complex psychological issues and even featuring the murder of one of its main stars. All of this was helped with a healthy side order of drugs and alcohol of course – although to be honest the sheer volume of drugs available was becoming a little too much to believe.
Therefore, as a result of this over-reliance on recreational drugs, raucous party scenes and disturbingly dark plotlines, the producers vowed to breathe some more fun back into the show in its 5th cycle, promising notions of ‘retro-Skins’ from the days of yore (Well…2007). Alas this was not to be the case. Whilst it is undeniable that so far this series there has been a distinct lack of drug use, and by ‘Skins’ standards, only a marginal amount of reckless alcoholism, the semblance of fun and humour has seen the series become almost child-like in its plot lines.
So far we have been introduced to a cast who don’t appear to have real names, (How many of us can count a Liv or Alo amongst our friends?) who have been written to be so much the polar opposites of each other than we can barely fathom them existing in the same world as one another, let alone in the same group of friends, and whose troubles seem to be nothing more than tedious in comparison to their previous counterparts. Yes, bullying is an important issue, and yes, losing your virginity is equally as terrifying for many. Establishing your own identity, whether it be as a ‘metal head’ or ballet dancer is also important at a young age. However, these issues no longer seem to reflect the hard hitting drama that ‘Skins’ once encapsulated, and to put it bluntly, all seem to be a little too ‘playground’ to have any real emotional effect on viewers.
Perhaps I am just being too cynical, perhaps this series of ‘Skins’ is pushing boundaries that nobody could ever have expected…ok it’s obviously not. But it is fair to say that perhaps we, as a generation, are outgrowing the ‘Skins’ franchise. As we worry about dissertations and whether we have enough money for our next double vodka lemonade, let alone rent, are we beginning to see the issues brought forth by this series as insignificant and juvenile?
I look back fondly on the days when ‘Skins’ meant a group of normal teenagers, believable and relatable as a group of friends, could be found lounging back in the sun in the middle of a field, smoking a joint and having a laugh. So long as we’re subjected to petty charity fashion shows and an awkwardly derived cast, those days look set to remain as distant memories.