Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feeling Skinned

Here is the thing. You probably were disappointed by last night’s premiere of US “Skins.” It seemed incredibly familiar. Because, well, it was incredibly familiar. It was an almost word-for-word, shot-for-shot recreation of the first UK “Skins” episode. Same story, different accents. I know, what fuckery is this? But hold on, kiddies, things get really different really fast. And that difference is Tea. She is the new characters, the replacement for Maxxie. And besides being a girl instead of a boy, she is a lesbian. Yeah, now you’re interested.

Tea gets the spotlight in the second episode next week, which is good because you’ll want to see a lot more of her. No, not like that. Actress Sofia Black D’Elia is, um, I don’t know how old she is but it sure feels illegal. Still, I know you’re an impatient lot. So, do you want to meet Tea now?

This is Tea.
This is Tea’s tattoo.
These are Tea’s shoes.
This is what Tea likes to do with girls.
Any questions? But just not those questions. As Tea says: “You want to know what we do, right? What goes where? Who licks what? So tedious. I screw girls. So what?”

The way the US “Skins” has been marketed is as a non-stop party of pills and whipped cream. Girls drenched in alcohol. Girls drenched in boys. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. This is MTV, people. It has been, quite, frankly, an enormous turn off. But people tuning in for non-stop boning are going to be disappointed – at least by the subsequent three episodes I’ve seen. In fact, it’s a classic case of “Skins” bait ‘n’ switch. Lure them in with the salaciousness, then hit them over the head with sagaciousness.

Certainly the show can seem unsophisticated at times, a symptom of its continual grand experiment of using actual adolescent writers and letting them find their own voices onscreen. The edges aren’t polished, sometimes the seams show. But it’s early. In fact, I’d say the US kiddies have actually worked hard to make the show less sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll than its British origins. Some of that of course is a concession to the censors, those unwelcome pilgrims perched on all of our shoulders. But I’d even go on a limb and say the episodes I’ve seen have been a little, well, slow. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This isn’t CW-like plot progression where people are kidnapped, fall into a coma and turn into vampires and back all in 42-minutes.

My only question is, will those lured in by the promise of easy sex and free drugs stay to explore the sometimes messy, sometimes absurd, sometimes poignant inner lives of the American teenager? OK, I have one more question, if a bunch of teenagers can write a really good lesbian TV character, why can’t more adults follow suit?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

leave it to mtv to misquote ee cummings

sonja said...

I had no intention of watching that show. Now I do.

tlsintx said...

I like Tea.
And Snarker, you write like I don't know what.. By that I mean really well. Just. Don't. Stop.

cocoro said...

um...well,

actually, I mean I'm not
that curious what people do
with their partners.

cus it's obvious.

and think that teens are very
different, wherever.

I'm over 30, kind of, in old group
now, half of 60, ah~~
time goes so fast which is great.

but like to know if they don't mind
to tell people. just don't go too wild,
I'm afraid to hear that.

peeling skinned?

sorry, I'm kidding,
yesterday I saw a movie, it's kind
of action movie, and very not likable
violences, you know action movie.

they did good job, just thought that
why they build more and more
violences on movie, is the only way
they can make it?

I know it's difficult to make it like that,
just, don't want be a person who thinks
like how to chop more visually effective?

thanks~ nice posting!

TheWeyrd1 said...

I watched Skins on BBC America before I realized anyone was talking about it on AE (random channel surfing). But then somehow the 4 season (series) was missed and I had to chase it down in secret corners of the interwebs. I'm still catching up.

That said, I watched the US version with interest, I kind of liked seeing how the first episode would be replayed. I wasn't really disappointed like some diehard fans. It is what it is. Like HS theatre troupes doing Rent... It's just not going to be quite the same as when it was on Broadway. But a good HS theatre troupe can still put on a pretty good show. I'm looking forward to the new chapters with Tea...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have *no* problem with TV making way for more lesbian characters, what with the little that's out there, but replacing Maxxie with a lesbian and calling it even-steven just doesn't cut it for me. This screams, "American" more than anything else in the show. Let's face it - they changed Maxxie's character because the U.S. is more than okay with showing hot girls kissing on screen, but when boys kiss? Oh no, no, no, no, no. People are much more prone to turn on the "gay alert!" signal when they see male lovers together in comparison to when they see female lovers. And considering the series already has a wonderful lesbian couple in season 4, I don't see why they had to take out the only gay male character to replace him with another lesbian. Yes, Tea is sexy, and yes, her attitude is sexy too, but I'm having trouble jumping on board with this, "Yay new lesbian character on T.V.!" when the message behind it is clear:

Gay boys, ew!!! Gay girls, sexy!!!

Coming from a not-so-straight lady, I'd much prefer seeing the U.S. version of Maxxie than this more than blatant disregard of a good part of the LGBT community.

M. said...

Well, if you're referring to the first line of his poem, Anon...then you are right. But those ARE the last two lines of Poem 92, rephrased from the beginning.