Skins: What$!%?

by on Mar.12, 2010, under television

Brief spoilery rant:

Remember when Friday Night Lights went nuts and had Landry murder a dude? Skins just went that route only worse, having one of its main characters bludgeoned to death for no reason just before the final credits. This is a show I absolutely loved in its first two series, still thought was okay in its third year, and that now has definitively gone off the rails. Gone are all deeply funny and weird moments (like Osama! the Musical) that balanced out the human-scale tragedies that the show never shied from. Now every character has a pathology in place of a personality and there’s barely any meaningful interaction among them. How is it possible to run out of ideas so quickly when you only have to make eight to ten episodes a year?

And they’re making another two seasons, no less. Help us.

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5 Comments for this entry

  • Josh K-sky

    I’m just through with Series One, but keep in mind it did end on a Michael O’Donoghue sort of note, i.e. “Suddenly everyone was run over by a truck.”

  • Joshua Malbin

    I think the creators were drawing on that same objection–hey, we did this once before!–because they kept referring to Tony getting hit by a bus in the most recent episode I’m talking about. There are a number of important differences, though. First, Tony getting hit by a bus was truly random. Here instead a minor character was introduced, became obsessed with one main character, and murdered another all within the space of a single episode. People getting hit by buses is within the scope of normal weirdness. Outside of the movies, this week’s Skins just doesn’t happen.

    Second, they treated the events completely differently. Tony gets hit by a bus and then everybody, including Tony, prostrate and broken, sings Cat Stevens, and the last shot is of Sid and Cassie holding hands. I’d never seen anything quite like it before. This week’s ending is a straight ripoff of Hitchcock. There’s nothing wrong with ripping off Hitchcock, but you can hardly call it original thought.

    But the last, biggest difference is cumulative: I might have rolled with this murder in an earlier season, but this one hasn’t earned it. None of the plot lines seem to advance this year except through crisis. There’s nothing like the episode when Angie draws closer to Chris, agreeing to show up to his party, only to find him sporting a Viagra boner–and then later has to rescue him when he’s kicked out of his own, destroyed house, abandoned by his mother. Or the completely off-the-wall one in Russia. It’s all downers, and all really conventional downers, and mostly it’s replacing smart character development with music and sex scenes. You’ll see when you get there. It’s fallen off a cliff.

  • Joshua Malbin

    To extend this yet a bit further: I liked and was invested in most of the Original Recipe Skins characters. Even Tony, if not likable, was fascinating, and I still find it moving to watch even just that Cat Stevens finale. Of the reboot characters, the only ones I like even a little bit are Pandora and JJ, who are marginal and ever more ignored, and Effy—at least Effy from Series Three, before they made her ridiculous. Freddie is a cipher, Thomas is flat, Cook’s a stereotype, Naomi does nothing but cry and whine, Emily is wildly inconsistent, and Katie used to be good but has disappeared.

  • Josh K-sky

    Well, at least I have something to look forward to.

    Tony is really a sociopath — I’ve been watching The Sopranos (just finished last night) and there are some Tony commonalities.

  • Joshua Malbin

    I think it’s interestingly ambiguous whether Tony is a full-fledged sociopath, or only experimenting with sociopathy because, like many teenagers, he hasn’t really figured out empathy yet.

    You definitely have Series Two to look forward to. Still the same first bunch and all awesome.

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