The media has certainly been buzzing over Skins.
The Parent Television Council demanded an investigation from the U.S. Senate into the show being child pornography. Multiple companies pulled their advertisements. Both these developments likely caused more people to check the show out. What did they see on "Tea?"
A drama that didn’t back down from its provocative take on teenage life, this time focusing on its lesbian character.
While there is an attempt to look at Tea’s struggles of her sexual identity, her storyline often feels disjointed. It wants to do too many things at once.
First, there's the edginess. Tea’s a lesbian, who, of course, engages in girl-on-girl sex. Later on, she even has sex with Tony. Yet the most shocking moment of the night was Tea masturbating to Audrey Hepburn.
Really? Audrey Hepburn? I mean, c’mon, that’s Audrey Hepburn. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do that.However, when Tea’s not engaging in her “daring” and “bold” sex antics, she switches to this emotionally confused individual. This is understandable, as Tea tries to figure out who she is in life. The problem is, her complaints don’t feel like anything new. She wants to be equal, she’s aggressive and vocal to hide her true personality, and she’s just as confused as the rest of us. Give me something more to think about, Skins.
Even when it finally came time for what could have been a real moment, the show drops a contrived connection. Turns out the grandmother had an unknown past involving female relations. I guess that means Tea can feel okay about being a lesbian.
Wasn’t the fact that her grandmother appeared to be an outsider from the family for her dementia enough of a connection for Tea? I would have understood why she could talk to her grandmother without the dramatic reveal.
Being provocative doesn’t always serve the storyline, and in this case, it hindered it. I would have much rather spent more time on Tea having conversations or scenes with characters and learning the depth of her feelings, fears, and frustrations. If anything, the show needs to get past the basics and dig deeper. Like Tony said, we know, Tea, you’re a lesbian. Now what else can you tell us about yourself?
Skins did at least have a few good things this week.
Mob relations aside, I liked that Tea’s father seemed normal. He didn’t come across as moronic, but rather attending to the needs of multiple family members. He loves his daughter, but it’s hard to focus on just her when there are so many others in the house seeking his attention. He’s also working to the bone to support his family.
Another thing that Skins has going for it is its use of music. It utilizes a wide variety of new artists and tracks that spread throughout the entire episode. I’m often curious as to what is playing in the background during a particular scene.
Overall, though, this show is barely better than the premiere. Its desire to be gritty and authentic overshadow its attempts to expose the true heart of its characters. I don’t need sex scenes for the sake of sex scenes or the adage that a show is “simply showing real life” to get involved. If I don’t learn about the characters enough to care about what they do, it’s hard to want to continue to watch them.
That said, I’m still holding out some hope that the storylines will become engaging and focus on the pushing of characters, as opposed to envelopes.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.