Yes kids it’s that time again. That is time for you to see just how wrong you were, when you thought your teenage years were crazy and wild.
I am of course talking about the über-cool, gratuitously explicit mess that is Skins - well I say über-cool - as the show seems to be self consciously oozing that kind of feel. It deals with issues of teenage life like, alcoholism, sex, death (?), parties, A-Levels, addiction and mental illness. Fair enough, some of these were issues I had to deal with in my teenage years and I’m sure many of you reading have too, but the fact that this is all shoved down your throat by a load of brightly clothed (seriously is that how teenagers dress?) wide-eyed, quirky, nu rave fashion-school/performing arts wannabes makes it a little hard to swallow.
The characters in the show are detestable and the one saving grace about this new series is that the original (annoying) cast has all but been traded in for another batch of fresh-faced young pill-poppers. I don’t know what we can expect from these new faces, but I do anticipate it will be more of the teenage caricatures we hate and loath. Pretentious jack-the-lad, know-it-all’s who go to crazy parties which seldom actually happen in the real world (and when they have they tend to make national news). The parties these kids go to are very similar to the illegal raves of the early 90s, but somehow they manage to concentrate this mayhem into an average Bristolian Victorian semi and without anyone calling the cops. I was never aware this kind of teenage life existed during my own teens (I think the police in my area were too effective), and I wonder if it’s all just been cooked up by the writers to glamorize the awkward and often unpleasant developmental years we all are faced with between the ages of 13 - 19.
Another problem is that the show doesn’t know what exactly it is as it flits between pretentious artsy pictography, an issue-based soap opera, a sitcom/drama, all out surrealism and then overt pornography. I have to say this edgy and at times annoying mix of everything works in the occasional episode but, it quickly gets irritating and you feel like the lives these kids are living are on one hand too idyllic, whilst on the other they are too shambolic. This all just adds to the growing problem of the show that it is not AT ALL representative of how life is as a teenager. All you get is a glimpse of what you missed.
If you want a real look at what life is like as a teenager watch the Inbetweeners instead, where you aren’t bombarded with lots of topical teenage issues (I wonder what the chances are that the new series of Skins deal with knife crime, hey we can all dream) and lots of annoying alpha-teenagers presenting their world as the representative reality. Also the Inbetweeners is genuinely funny whilst Skins isn’t!