Welcome to my new blog. On here I’ll be attempting to dissect the current shambolic nature of television, music, film, and the internets; as well as other current events which merit a cynical dressing down. So without further ado; let’s talk Skins...
|Dripping with something every week: SKINS|
Skins, E4’s vivid stumble through the nether regions of the lives of several teenage Bristolians has been on our boxes now since 2007, coincidentally, the same time the ‘Nu-Rave’ revolution hit our eyes, ears and taste receptors. Initially it was notable for being vaguely similar to Grange Hill, except pumped full of Jaegermeister, Pro Plus and Ketamine; and with considerably fewer corpses in the school pool. It also starred the ‘Boy’, from ‘About A Boy’; which provided TV critics with an easy angle from which to cover the show. The escapades were rather, well, imaginative, but then it didn’t promise to be an account of a life anyone on this earth could realistically experience. And so, rather like the rash of bands that were promoted under the ‘Nu-Rave’ banner, the series was initially rather popular and well received all round.
However, the march of time continued its inexorable lurching; and ‘Nu-Rave’ disappeared down the plughole of obscurity. Topman swapped neon coloured t-shirts for Mickey Mouse in ironic situations. The Klaxons, considered the Kings of ‘Nu-Rave’ themselves publically denounced ‘Nu-Rave’. But yet, 5 years on, Skins has still survived. As the sixth season began a few weeks ago, it had to be seen whether it still held the little relevancy it had when it began. Oh dear.
|One of the quieter moments of life in Bristol.|
The first episode featured ‘the gang’ on a summer holiday to Morocco. Now, this itself was a stumbling block. Morocco. Morocco. Not Magaluf. Not Ayia Napa. Not Cromer. Morocco. Now, I understand that tourism is the second largest industry in Morocco (behind Phosphates); and maybe it just demonstrates the limited horizons of myself (and everyone I know); but Morocco doesn’t scream out “A-LEVEL SUMMER HOLIDAY DESTINATION”. Their accommodation, it transpires, is a dilapidated concrete shack in the middle of an arid landscape, with no water (proof as always that those glossy travel brochures can make anywhere look appealing). At first, I thought they were staying in the charred remains of Uncle Owen’s Moisture Farm on Tatooine; but in the Skins universe, a lack of basic amenities wouldn’t stop them having a ‘sick’ time.
They found themselves a beach rave (luckily they chose to stay in the same semi-arid spot that every other middle-class A-Level student was), where they ran into a very nice boy, who had, whilst on his lads holiday, been able to establish a significant drug smuggling operation. I must say, after two-weeks on holiday, I’ve usually just about managed to find the closest ‘Supermercado’ and worked out that I want my Agua 'sin' gas; so this guy must be very quick at adapting to new locations. To cut to the chase; a car is loaded up with drugs; one of the group is blackmailed to drive the car, but ends up flipping it, putting ‘Grace’ into a coma. Then the second episode happens. I must admit, despite playing witness to the entire episode, there were only certain parts that I feel merit mentioning.
‘Rich’, who is going out with ‘Grace’, is distraught to find his girlfriend in a coma (Morrissey got there first guys). He attempts to see his girlfriend through engaging with some harmless grief-driven stalking. He decides to squat in Chris Addison’s house (which I must say, is just how I imagined it), and eloquently demonstrated his delicate love for his girlfriend by inviting his friends round to trash the place (the phrase 'Free Drugs' being daubed on the wall in white paint was a highlight). Let’s hope Chris Addison knows a good insurance company! But, in all seriousness, I was hoping for a scene where 'Rich' had to explain to the police his actions; before receiving some large court-ordered fine. In a twist so predictable I’m sure it was in the Radio Times listings, Grace is dead, despite Rich seeing her, it turns out he was just hallucinating. Which leads to an uncomfortable question, as when ‘Rich’ and ‘Grace’ have sex in the hospital, is he just being very imaginative; or is something much more grim occurring (think ‘Buck’ in Kill Bill).
Skins has never been a fountain of realism, and the ludicrous events could be argued by some to be simply a vessel for the exploration of ‘feelings’ and ‘emotion’. But I don’t see any emotion, just some materialistic, hedonistic kids doing rather inexplicable things in some grand ‘Tour de Farce’. Watching it provides the same eternal questioning of 'What IS going on' throughout, and every time sanity threatens to rear it's comforting face; it is beaten out by some ludicrous plot line. Only someone completely out of touch with several realities can believe the events in Skins even get close to portraying your average 'angsty teenage' life. It is enjoyable, but not in the way anyone associated with the program would have wanted it to be.
Skins is to sixth form what Emmerdale is to the farming industry.