Sunday, 1 February 2009


The third series of Channel 4’s hit TV show Skins started last Thursday, as an almost completely new cast of characters descended upon our small screens. If you are unaware of the Skins phenomenon, it is a TV series that follows the trials and tribulations of the lives of kids in the seaside town of Bristol. With emphasis upon fighting, sex, drugs and crazy parties that mix the three, the show originally struck a cord amongst many rebellious teens that saw the similarities between themselves and the on screen characters. Following on from Mr Missing's earlier Skins related post on Ruby, I took the opportunity to question a few other cool critters about Channel 4's teen filled drama and here is what they had to say:

Sarah, 18, London
I think Skins is interesting and funny to watch but very stereotypical in creating characters with such meaningful personalities, combined with over exaggerated scenes, which are suppose to reflect teenage life. I think in some rural areas it can be compared to real life but only slightly - teenagers are nowhere near as bad as that, or as obscene. I think you can relate the events such as smoking, drugs, sex, sexual language, swearing and appearance to youths as these are common factors in teenage life, but the extremeness is too much to reflect reality...

Leonie, 19, Southampton
Skins, Skins, Skins... Where do I start... Real life? I don't think so, I think it’s more about what 'young people’ would like their life to be like. I suppose there are elements that everyone has in their lives but not all together having a fun filled mischievous day, everyday, if you no what I mean. I don’t know about a reflection of the youth - I think it’s a good reflection of how young people’s minds work definitely ‘cos I could find quite a few friends like in that [Skins] but I just wish my life was that exciting and that FREE!

Jodie, 18, Kent
I watched the first episode of the first series and turned it off after the first 10 minutess ‘cos it was so unrealistic. I have to say, I enjoyed the first episode of this new series, even though I hated the first two series so much. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I could relate to it more now I'm at university, if I'd had watched it and been the same age as the characters I would have found it unrealistic. I think Skins is a true reflection of youth aged 18/19 but not necessarily 16/17 from my experience. Although a lot of people that age are modelling their lives around Skins' storylines rather than Skins modelling their storylines around people that age.

Remi, 19, Essex
Watching skins last night I had a mixture of thoughts I was excited that that it was back on but I was disappointed mainly because the characters were a bit too stereotypical for my liking. For example Jack getting his private bits and bobs out in front of everyone, does seem a bit unrealistic, I just hope that there are a few good story lines and the characters don't overshadow it. Then again I do think this series will pick up, but they have big shoes to fill as they will be compared to the last cast. In some ways Skins is like today’s youth, like the way they want to party a lot and they are constantly thinking about the opposite sex...

Nathan, 18, London
Skins isn’t a reflection of my life, in fact, it is the exact opposite. But I know of people that share some of the characteristics of the characters, namely Cooks' moronic laugh and attitude toward women [which makes me want to break his jaw], Katie’s deluded thoughts that she is actually really good looking, and hilarious proclamation that she’s ‘never not had a boyfriend since she was seven’ [some girls actually think this is an achievement worthy of a Nobel Prize], Naomi’s slick sarcasm, JJ’s lack of social skills, Freddie’s general niceness, Pandora’s naivety, and Effy’s rebellious side. The mix of sex, partying, and drugs is a reflection of the life that some youths lead, but this is a small proportion of teens. For the rest of us, Skins is an exaggerated version of teenage life [though the over-emphasis on drugs in the show is leading me to wonder what kind of message it is promoting…], and it’s the fantasy excess of drinking and smoking and almost outlandish situations that makes the programme exciting. But if you take away all of that, you have the story of a set of intriguing characters that are growing up with their own problems and issues. And it’s that, not the boozing and raving, which makes the programme good.

I agree with many of the points above and, from watching the first episode myself, it is clear that the show has taken a much more aspirational outlook upon the lives of these new characters at the expense, or so it would seem, of reality, and relating to it’s audience. It has taken what we, as rebellious, impressionable teens, want and wish for, and turned these fancies, day dreams and make believe dramas into a script. Such events as taking your ‘nob’ [for want of a better word] out in front of your whole year whilst grinning moronically then proceeding to smoke a ‘zoot’, swig some vodka, play with some porn and then topping your day off by being mounted by the school’s ‘hottie’ is, unfortunately for teens and adults alike, absolute fiction [though I do know a few manic kids that would attempt to give Cooks a run for his money]. Skins has gone from something that was sacred amongst teens to something utterly common – I can still recall that first, ground breaking advert with such fondness and it still, to this day, reminds me of some of the crazy parties I attended in my more boisterously foolhardy days. As with all things, Skins must come to an end at some time and, unless it works out how to once again relate to kids, it should make this demise come sooner, rather than later.

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