SKINS Season One DVD Review

     February 10, 2009

Written by Eli

Skins is a British television show that follows the outrageous and inappropriate adventures of a group of teenagers as they smoke, drink, and screw their way through life. Think Gossip Girl with swearing and nudity. It’s obnoxious, stupid, poorly plotted and written, overacted, and completely implausible from start to finish.

And I could not stop watching it. It took me two days to watch the whole first season. The only reason it took two is because my wife came home from work and MADE ME turn it off. (For some reason, she was upset by her 29 year old husband sitting alone for nine hours and watching 17 year old British girls cavort in their underwear.) Sadly the damage was already done. From a recent check I did online, there are already two more seasons floating around out there. I will hunt them down. I will watch them. And I will be stupider when I’m done.

Okay, to be fair, Skins could be a lot worse. Maybe I’m just getting old, and feel the need to demonize something that shows teenagers having fun. There are times that the show reaches beyond its soap operatic formula and tries to be something greater. It deals with teen anorexia, abandonment, divorce, drug abuse, homophobia, and a slew of other issues that actually affect kids everyday. No doubt being a teenager is as confusing as it always was, and a show like this can’t be completely true to life without being amazingly boring in places. Therefore the action and drama must be ratcheted up to an unbelievable degree.

Another aspect that sets Skins slightly above the rest of the soap opera trash out there is the episode format for the first season. While continuing to move the general storyline forward, each episode focuses on a different character, showing the audience their point of view. This keeps the show fresh as revelations about the characters personal lives flesh them out and make them more empathetic.

The adults on the show, with few exceptions (the young hot teacher that everyone wants to shag) are treated as strange dinosaurs that can’t help but continue to screw up their children. I think Skins could have done a little better job making the adults seem more like people, and there could have been a few good parents in the bunch. One of the only times any of the parents are shown in a favorable light occurs when for some reason their roles are reversed and their children end up parenting or taking care of them. In my mind that is a dramatic development with serious legs, but it is for the most part dealt with very quickly, as the show moves on to someone else having sex.

The acting and direction, as mentioned before, is not great. Thankfully the director is at least smart enough to keep the action moving at a dizzy Train Spotting type speed, so the actors are given little time to emote and drag the focus away from the shows chief strength, which is drug and sex fueled antics.

I could dissect each character (Sid being my favorite) and discuss each cliché that is rolled out throughout the course of the first season, but why? You can already tell if this is your sort of thing. Skins isn’t art. But it is delicious brain candy that will make you completely forget war, imploding economies, your girlfriend leaving you, and global warming.

Plus the extras are tasty. With video diaries from the characters and whole ancillary storylines that didn’t make it into the final cut of the episodes, there is more than enough to keep your thirst slaked while you try to find the second and third season on Hulu.


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