My Favorite Skins

Posted: February 3, 2009 in TV

skins_complete_first_series_dvdAfter watching Project Runway Season 5, I proceeded to watch Skins, a British TV series that Nino encouraged me to buy. I was able to get the first season only because the shop didn’t have the 2nd season yet. This proved to be very unnerving in the long run for as it turned out, I am rearing to watch the 2nd and 3rd seasons.

Move over Goodbye Gossip Girl, OC, and all the other teen shows churned by Hollywood. With the exception of  My So Called Life and Felicity, Skins is by far my favorite teen drama series. If you enjoyed Trainspotting and Dazed and Confused, this series is for you. All the attempts of the other American teen series to be risque, naughty, and mean pale in comparison. The British do know how to tell stories with provocative controversial themes. You don’t catch yourself asking:”are people really that devious?” The way a friend asked while watching Gossip Girl. Don’t get me wrong, I think that show is still entertaining.

Unlike the American shows that usually have a sleeker look that always  reminds you that everything is unfolding through a camera’s eye, Skins follows the tradition of realism, breaking the fourth wall so that you forget that you are looking at the world of troubled teenage Britons through a camera. Despite the realist feel, the series is still experimental in its subject matter and storytelling. The characters are not trite even though in most teen series they can usually be on the verge of being stereotypes. For example, the anorexic girl Casey who is obviously “looney” in most aspects. You root for Casey, at the same time, you also don’t want to be her. You want her to be well, to be better, but you also don’t want her to be “perfect” and “normal” because you don’t really know what’s “normal” anyway. Aside from the script’s and the director’s portrayal of Casey, what made the character round was apparently the actress’s layered approach to the the role, providing depth and veering away from most caricaturish portrayals of troubled anorexic, drug-dependent girls. I would say all of the teen actors and actresses in the series are very good and far from being self-conscious.

The series didn’t fail to shock me. I’ve seen so many shocking scenes in my lifetime, but that one scene in Skins still makes my skin crawl.

Chris, a pill popping seventeen year old, visited his estranged father after his mother left him for good. His father already has another family–a new wife and a baby. When during the visit the baby started to cry, Chris got up and scooped him from the crib. While he was trying to shush the baby in his arms, the mother approached him and told him that the baby just wanted to suck something. “Give him your finger,” she said. He did, and the baby sucked his pinkie. He looked at the peaceful face of the baby, all of a sudden, just dropped it on the floor in a mixture of shock and helplessness. Just like that! I literally yelped!

The season ended with a bang really. As I have mentioned the storytelling is different. And well, the creators had to end the story differently, something that I have never seen in an American teen series. Skins’ first season ended with a music video! The characters suddenly started singing: “oooh baby baby it’s a wild world… it’s hard to get by just upon a smile…” This after Tony got hit by a bus. This after Effy cried out. Imagine that?!

Enough said. You must watch this. That is,  if you’re not weak at heart. 🙂

And yeah, there is outright nudity. Just like the British do it, no big deal.

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