Skins Series Premiere Review: Total Bollocks!

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Skins is adapted from the UK series of the same name. With its critical acclaim across the pond, the show’s creator sought the opportunity to bring his authentic take on the teenage world of angst, sex, and drugs to the states. The UK series, now in its fifth season, is a pretty good show.

Ultimately, the series premiere of MTV’s versions was basically a duplicate of the UK pilot. Storyline, characters, and even dialogue were the exact same, with a few minor changes here and there.

Tony on Skins

That said, I’m not going to go through and complain how one version is better than the other or simply list the differences and similarities. This series is its own take on American teenage life.

It’s nice to see actors that actually fall in the range of their characters (I'm looking at you, Gossip Girl and 90210...). Unfortunately, many of these stars came across as overzealous in their acting. It could be that many of them are in their first roles, which does invite the opportunity for authentic moments. However, it often sounds like they are rushing through lines. Even the adult actors are over the top.

Which makes me feel as if the dialogue is really the problem. It’s not a depiction of actual teenage conversation, almost too quippy and cleverly arranged. What might have worked in representing the look and feel of UK culture comes across as awkward. Words like “spliffed” and “skins” are specific to England and aren’t normally uttered by anyone here.

When it came time for the party and Stanley’s chance to lose his virginity, everything felt staged. I didn’t feel like I was watching real American teenagers. Plus, just because certain teens are rich doesn’t mean they all wear Polo and pastels. The attempt to create a divide between the world of the main characters and the prep school kids came across as stereotypical rather than an intimate look at the ways in which they are different.

Can someone fill me in on why Stanley and Tony were naked together in bed? It seemed like a weird ending to the episode.

I appreciate the ability to try something fresh and new and Skins certainly makes that attempt. I understand that there are advising groups of real teenagers that help the show runners on authenticity, but I still felt like I was watching a group of actors reading lines.

I even admire the concept of taking various sides and depicting situations in which real teenagers can be placed.  Not every high school is bubbly, pristine, and perfect. Yet as provocative as this show might be in its attempts to feel real, it doesn’t feel authentic for American teenagers. It’s as if British characters were suddenly dubbed with American accents.

Maybe the pilot was simply an homage to the original series, but some more work needs to be done to create an authentic American version in the upcoming episodes. I’m prepared for this to become a guilty pleasure of awesome trashy fun, but for this episode I was simply waiting for it to be all over.

Review

Editor Rating: 1.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.3 / 5.0 (51 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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in jack whitehall's words, "jack whitehall people in america said skins was unrealistic because all the children were having sex and getting drunk, sorry our stupid British writers coming up up with ridiculously far fetched scenarios where teenagers get drunk and have sex with each other rather than shooting their classmates, whilst being FAT.

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On the typical preppy rich kids thing - Skins UK too had a lot of this sort of thing, where the portrayal of the private-school kids was hackneyed and stereotypical. It got away with it on account of the series having a touch of the absurd. Skins UK pushed everything to extremes - the drama in the teenagers' lives; the wildness of their behaviour; the differences between social groups. There was often an edge of surreality (like the cast singing Cat Steven's 'Wild World' out of the blue) that allowed for the more over-the-top, absurd moments. It's not a quality that the US version seems to have so far so things like the parodied rich kids seem out of place.

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skins is a fucking awesome show and im 18yrs old n i think so far its very accurate describing the "real" lives of teenagers these days

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Just being honest....the person who wrote this review article is wayyy off base on a handful different things. For example, saying that the words "spliffed" & "skins" are words you won't really hear kids use in the U.S. Wrong my friend! I have a cousin who's 21 and lives a life much the same as what is portrayed by the kids in Skins. He & his friends commonly use the word "spliffed" as commonly as they say "blunted", as a way to describe how they'll get really high on marijuana. Also commonly used is the word "skins" to describe the rolling papers to put they're marijuana into. I'm 28, and these words were used all the time by kids even when I was in high school. Although, I do agree that portraying the spoiled kids from wealthy families as the polo & khaki wearing type, is inacurrate.

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@natasha , you are absolutely right , the same guy behind the UK version is the driving force behind the us version , the pilot was suppose to ,mimic the Uk version but from what i heard , after the pilot the show goes into a different direction because the creator hired young American Writers to take us Skins into another Direction , i have faith in this show , i know i am one of few who does but i think if they can get new fresh story lines for the characters and portray American teens , then it will be a hit.

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I odnt understand, just air the UK version on MTV it would be better and save a lot of moeny and time lo , and I really hope they dont "adapt" Misfits to american version, it only works becuase its british humor

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i dont know if any of you realize this but this but the guy guy who created Skins in the UK is the SAME guy who created the MTV version!!! Like i totally agree that the actors have a alot of work to do and that having the same exact dialogue is probably not the best idea but the many of the people making the US version of Skins are the ones who created the UK version. I think that it will prove to be better as the season goes on

Westcoastgg

I really don't get the point of doing a remake of the British Skins. It's already a fantastic show, so why not just show that version on MTV? Not only is it a better version, but I can 100% guarantee higher viewership simply based on the fact that the original has an entire cast of people with British accents. Well, I can at least say that for the female population - accents are pretty irresistible. So instead of watching the rest of this sub-rate version, I'm just going to re-watch the original Season One :)

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i thought id give this show a shot and just see if maybe, just maybe, it would prove itself to have a twist and be interesting even though they copied it. mtv skins failed the test. miserably. the actors are horrible, the situations dont feel real, just as you said.the only changes they've made are changing the names, making maxxie a girl and putting different sheets on tony's bed. insert lame, girly sheets. oh and i doubt they were naked in bed. ever heard of guys sleeping in boxers?!

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You put it exactly how I feel, especially this line: Yet as provocative as this show might be in its attempts to feel real, it doesn’t feel authentic for American teenagers. It’s as if British characters were suddenly dubbed with American accents. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what felt awkward. Anyway, watch the original, you'll see how it's supposed to be.

Skins Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Tony: Hi, Nips.
Michelle: Stop calling me Nips, Tony.
Tony: It's a funny name. I've seen a few nips, Nips, and yours are hilarious.

Stanley: Tonight Mr. Happy, the furry city.
Stanley: So you're a doctor.
Le Dong: Who said?
Stanley: PhD?
Le Dong: Pretty. Huge. Dick.

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