By Lizzi Belmont
Heavy drinking, an abundance of pills, pre-marital sex and all the “spliff” a soul could desire — what more could a TV show need? British Channel E4’s teenage drama “Skins” provides all the substance abuse and emotional trauma that any Beloiter could possibly desire. From the slightly sociopathic Tony and his “fuckable” girlfriend Michelle, to the pill-popping, drug dealing Chris, the show’s characters offer a view into the “rave scene” of Bristol, South West England.
The characters of “Skins” are the central appeal of the show. The teens can at some times appear unrealistic — one might wonder what clarinet prodigy Jal is doing hanging out with the sketchier kids at her school. But the constant passionate tug of war between each character’s desires and obligations provides a feast for whatever part of us loves a guilty pleasure. The acting ranges from excellent to sub-par, and the dialogue could use some work. Some situations and decisions made by characters should sometimes be called into light, but all in all the addicting story line does to the viewer what pills and alcohol do for the kids of “Skins.”
The show also features semi-well known UK adult actors, who, especially in the second season, aid to pull out the more raw believability present inside the teenage cast. Storylines like “loser” Sid’s, anorexic Cassie’s, and gay dancer Maxxie’s pull at your heartstrings, while Anwar and his desperation to find someone to have sex with him offers a lighter side to the show. Although the story may seem self-absorbed and improbable, and I’m a little ashamed to admit how much I like the show, I find it really worth checking out.
The show found great popularity in the UK, and after a surge of US viewers, MTV put their own version in to production. I’ve only seen a few minutes of an episode, but from what I can tell, MTV stayed true to all the wrong things. The dialogue was stale, the acting was edging closer and closer to a soap opera and the “controversial” bits seem like unicorns and rainbows to UK “Skins” fans. So be sure to check out the original (it’s on Netflix!!) before trusting something from the network that gave us Snookie.