Reliving Skins As An Adult

by - Thursday, March 31, 2016



One of the best things about working from home is that you can choose your form of office entertainment. For me, its a mix between Beats 1, Spotify and old re-runs on Netflix.

Recently I opted to start Skins again, in it's entirety, from the very beginning. For those not in the know, Skins was a Channel 4 drama that followed the debauched lives of a group of Bristolian sixth-formers, changing it's cast every two seasons. Covering drugs, eating disorders, parental disfunction and relationships, it was forward-thinking and overwhelming british - the complete antithesis to teen-american imports that young people were used to.

First launched in 2007, I was 13-years-old and remember my first experiences of Skins vividly. It seemed like another world to my fairly-sheltered young brain, and while lots of the sentiment was lost on me, the confusion of being a teenager, desperately wanting to be understood while simultaneously revelling in the romanticism of being a loner.

By the time the second generation rolled round, I felt like I got it. I still wasn't interested in drugs, but I could see elements of my friends in the characters, I had crushes on boys that weighed so heavy I thought they'd kill me and music was absolutely everything. We went to Skins parties, ran like the wind for the last train home and wore as many fluorescent bangles and accessories as possible. We felt like we knew everything - things that seem trivial now were vital, exhilarating, devastating.

It's only now, watching it all over again at the age of nearly 23, that I can truly appreciate Skins for what it was. For how pioneering it's storylines were, how thoughtfully they portayed the teenage experience, how boldly they handled every issue. 10 years older and wiser than I was, here's my guide to Skins for those not lucky enough to have experienced it first time round.


Generation One: Series 1 & 2

Generation One Is The Best Because....The music. Crystal Castles, Gossip, Klaxons, Shit Disco - Skins introduced us to Millenial New Rave in all it's glowstick waving, pill-popping glory. If you weren't sporting some fluro leggings with an oversized top, studded belt and an armful of elasticated hearts while topping up your creative zen micro with New Young Pony Club tunes, you just weren't listening hard enough.
Best Character: The complexity of Tony Stonem's narcissistic character is hard to beat, but I always had a soft spot for Chris and his refusal to let the party end - plus Chris and Jal were obviously our original #couplegoals.
Best Episode: 'Sketch' from Season 2 - the tangled consumption of unrequited love, lost love getting itself back on track and of course, Osama the musical.





Generation Two: Series 3 & 4


Generation Two Is The Best Because....It's relatable. Generation 2 is the one that I think I was the 'right' age for at the time and even now, it's the one where I believe the storylines have dated least. The friendships are complex but believable, the diversity is well reflected and the parents are noticeably more developed than in earlier series.
Best Character: I take quite a lot of sartorial nods these days from the girls of seasons two and three (Pandora especially), but there is no doubt about the fact that Generation 2 gave us the best character of all three gens in the form of Cook. Portrayed to perfection by the excellent Jack O'Connell, the disintegration of his lad demeanour was captivating to watch.
Best Episode: Pandora's sleepover party in Series 3 is a favourite, but I also love the nuances of 'JJ' in series 3 and the relationship between Freddie and Effie in 'Freddie' (Season 4)

Generation Three: Series 5 & 6

Generation Three Is The Best Because....the realism. For the less wild amongst us, Skins Gen 3 was probably the most realistic and forward-thinking in the storylines it tackled - overbearing parents, teen pregnancy, asexualness and gender fluidity all tackled with sensitivity.
Best Character: An obvious choice, but Frankie. She's not always the most likeable, but if Skins were to be an academic subject, there is absolute reams to be written here, a testament to the talent of the screenwriters.
Best Episode: Without wishing to give away any spoilers, anybody who doesn't shed a small tear at the Season 6 finale is probably not right inside. Season 5 finale always leaves a shiver down my spine too with the use of Dog Is Dead's 'Glockenspiel Song' - a song's whose final lines take me right back to the first year of uni and the sense of young rebellion that came with it.

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