Skins Rewind: Oh. Wow. It’s Cassie

I’m rewatching Series 1 through 4 of Skins. Again. (You know how I love my Skins.) Next up, Series 1, Episode 2 – Cassie.

As of today, there have been 45 episodes of the UK series Skins. Of these episodes, the first season episode “Cassie” remains one of the best the series has ever broadcast. If the premiere episode introduced us to how edgy this  new teen series strives to be, it is this second episode that showed us its heart and soul. Here we are introduced to Cassie Ainsworth (Hannah Murray), recently released from a rehab facility and still dealing with her eating disorder. There are brief interruptions of what the other Skins crew is up to (that crazy drug dealer Mad Twatter is still after Sid; Chris is still flirting with Angie). But Cassie’s touching episode arc, complete with her somewhat distant parents, adorable baby brother, and love of the word “Wow” is probably what kept you watching Skins in its first season.

Smiles and wows can be misleading.

Let’s get into it.
Continue reading “Skins Rewind: Oh. Wow. It’s Cassie”

Skins Rewind: Season 1, Episode 1 – The Gang’s All Here

I’m bored. What a perfect excuse for me to rewatch Series 1 through 4 of Skins. Again. (You know how I love my Skins.) First up, Series 1, Episode 1 – Tony.

In the very first episode of the series (the episode the US version would do a severe disservice to), we got our first glimpse at the original Skins gang  – Tony, Sid, Michelle, Cassie, Chris, Jal, Maxxie and Anwar.

The First Generation - Look how pretty they all are! (Ick, Sketch!)

Let’s get into it.

Continue reading “Skins Rewind: Season 1, Episode 1 – The Gang’s All Here”

Skins Never Stood a Chance (And That’s a Shame)

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

Let’s be honest for a second: the North American adaptation of Skins, a controversial but frank look at the lives of nine teenagers, never stood a chance for a second season renewal. I am not at all surprised that MTV canceled its grand experiment.

MTV released this statement yesterday:

“Skins is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a US audience as much as we had hoped. We admire the work that the series’ creator Bryan Elsley did in adapting the show for MTV, and appreciate the core audience that embraced it.”

With this statement, MTV is essentially just covering its ass. The network greatly misjudged the kind of program its target demographic wanted to see (for starters, use slang they understand) and how to handle the show’s critics (grow a pair and stand up for yourselves).

Above all, MTV’s Skins never clicked with audiences. It never realized how this version of Skins needed to be Americanized. Instead it was often an awkward, clunky program with marred by poor casting and some terrible acting. One review rightly pointed out that because the show was set in a nameless North American city, the audience never got the sense of where the characters problems came from other than their broken homes. MTV’s Skins lacked authenticity.

I may be one of the few people who is sad this see Skins ride off into the sunset. There were times when the adaptation worked brilliantly. The episodes the centered on Tea and Cadie were two wonderful examples of this show’s potential. By the final episodes, when we saw less of the intended protagonist Tony and more of the quirky secondary characters (ChrisAbbud! Daisy!), the show found its groove. There was even some lovely character development for Michelle and Stanley (though I still hate the idea of them as a couple). Had some of the actors been replaced or maybe just given acting lessons, a second season could have capitalized on this fleeting instances of life we saw in that last episode.

Most people spent too much time comparing Skins to the original UK version. Yes, in comparison, the US version was utter crap. But how could you possibly fairly judge a television program if you are only thinking about how it doesn’t meet your expectations? I made a point when I recapped every episode to judge Skins on what it did do and not how it didn’t match up. On its own merit,  MTV’s Skins was an earnest teen drama. In a world of teen media dominated by the Serena van der Woodsens, the Pretty Little Liars, and those dumb kids on Secret Life who can’t seem to use a condom, Skins had something decent to offer.

Should Skins have ever made in this first the place? Probably not. But it is unfair that Skins was essentially bullied off the air by groups like the Parents Television Council and was never given a real shot.

What are your thoughts on Skins cancellation? Am I being too forgiving of this show’s many flaws? Do you wish Skins could come back to the US is some other incarnation? Sound off below.

Skins (US) Finale Recap: Shout, Shout, Let it All Out

Well folks we made it. Last Monday the first season – and potentially only season – finale of MTV’s Skins aired. After all the often unnecessary hype this show has generated, did you ever think it would happen?

“Eura/Everyone” focused mostly on when Tony’s silent sister Eura goes missing and Tony enlists his former friends to help him find his dear little sis. The episode was filled with tender and funny moments, a few hijincks, and it wrapped up everyone else’s storyline as cleanly (and somewhat boring) as you can imagine. There were no big surprises; no one was hit by a bus. But the result was a solid conclusion with enough open-endings that if by some chance Skins does get a second season, there is enough room for more development.

Continue reading “Skins (US) Finale Recap: Shout, Shout, Let it All Out”

Skins (US) Recap: Teachers Aren’t Grown Ups

Ah, penultimate episode of Skins, I never thought you would arrive. Seriously. After the major hype the American adaptation of Skins received, I fully expected this show to have been given a firm boot or be severely reedited. Am I glad? Yes, because after tonight I don’t have to care about what happen during this season for quite some time. I’m looking forward to most story lines being wrapped up and very ready for Tony Snyder to never grace my television screen again.

But first things first, the penultimate episode, all about teacher Tina, did something Skins has never done before: let the episode take place from the perspective of an adult. Or in the case of Tina, a 23-year-old woman who is sleeping with a 17-year-old boy and someone who hardly considers herself a grown-up. Was it a success? Well, let’s get into it and find out.

"If I just sit here and pretend to grade these papers, no one will know that I just slept with my student in a tree house."

Continue reading “Skins (US) Recap: Teachers Aren’t Grown Ups”