Skins cannot live up to its British counterpart Thursday, June 16, 2011 By Christal Kuriakose
While MTV is known for its reality shows and lack of music, the station recently tried to incorporate more scripted shows. Skins was added to the lineup of prime time shows on MTV on January 17. Skins began as an award winning British drama that took critics by surprise. It was created by father and son writers Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain who wrote the American version of the series as well. While the British version is genuine and interesting, it does not translate well to the American series. The series premiere attempted to replicate the UK version yet the subtle details are what contributed to the disappointment of many viewers. For instance, the show attempts to duplicate the format of one of MTV’s reality shows, Jersey Shore, but fails completely. It seems that every other word that comes from an actor’s mouth is a curse word. Because the network is not allowed to air such profanity on screen, the words must be bleeped out. Yet the question is, what is the point of cursing in a scripted show when the words are eventually going to be bleeped out? The writers of the show have the opportunity to filter the show to make it easier to follow, yet they do not do this. The writers and the network desire Skins to “model” shows like Jersey Shore because they believe it will attract viewers. Simply put, the bleeping every few seconds is both utterly distracting and annoying. It distracts from the overall content of the show, which contributes to the confusing story lines. The show also features poor and inexperienced actors. The point of this is to provide a “break-out” role for the actor so he or she will be able to be successful in their future. However, in no way will any of these actors be able to call Skins their breakout roles. The fault does not entirely lie with the actors. It is more the fault of the director and writers who give the actors such horrible material. Too much pressure is put on these young actors to create something out of nothing. Skins is supposed to represent high school teenagers and the problems they go through everyday. Yet, the only aspects of teenage life that the show focuses on are the sexual desires of the characters or their addictions to drugs and alcohol. It is understandable that most teenagers will have thoughts like this at one point in their lifetimes, but the show does not concentrate on anything else. It is clearly evident that MTV solely cares about ratings and not authenticity. The characters in the show barely have family lives. The only individual who does not fit this profile is Daisy, the person others often look to for advice. She wants to become a professional trumpeter, but does not have the support from her father. Throughout the series she is shown having to compromise her respect for her father and her passion for the instrument. Out of a cast of nine actors, one character with family problems is not accurate. If MTV wants to publicize its show as a “real depiction of high school students” they must pay more attention to detail. Furthermore, it is clearly not the only show on television that features teens having sex and using drugs, but other shows display the consequences of these actions at some point. The idea that teenagers can do these things without ever getting caught or having some of it catch up to them is not realistic. Skins makes it seem as though every teenager has sex, uses drugs, and drinks, while clearly there are some that do not. Overall, the show proved to be a disappointment. It should not even have the privilege of sharing the same title with the illustrious British drama. The only factor that is minutely decent is that the show has a multiracial cast. Otherwise, the show was a waste of time and it is no surprise that it was not renewed for a second season.