Skins: The antithesis of cultural snobbery.

I just watched Skins.

I was really sceptical – like a lot of people – when I heard they were changing the entire cast for season three; and I didn’t like the first few episodes because I was so ingrained in the deep psychological flaws of the original cast. Cassie will probably always be one of my top-ten TV characters.

However, after the last (literal) couple of episodes, I was Twittering endlessly about how – given time to properly develop the characters – the third series was fast becoming as good as, dare I say it, season two.

Tonight’s episode seven was fantastic. From an objective point of view, probably the best yet. Episode six was incredibly powerful, but – like I did with a lot of season two – I was applying the situations to my own life and memories. Nothing beats a bit of televisual catharsis.

The reason tonight was so good was because although I couldn’t connect to it as deeply as other episodes, I was completely enthralled by the storyline, the new interactions between – finally – developed characters (JJ and Emily were obvious, but also between Emily and Cook and Freddie and Katie (honestly, never saw that one coming)).

Might I also point out that my favourite character is Naomi – one of the few characters I did not write off during episode one.

I even like Cook now – the outfits he wears are supposedly a mash up of violent youth culture over the past 50 years, which I think is a fantastic allusion – particularly since it is so malleable a medium.

I complained about the unrealistic feel I got from series three at the beginning: everything was over-the-top, special effects – and there still is an element of that – but the Bristol underworld does not play so big a part anymore. More to the point, it has been given its own place in the background: an integral part of the class system* building up around the characters in a way far more obvious than the previous series. Effy Stonem lives in the same house, yet now, the fact that she comes from a middle class part of the city is far more important. Bring on the bourgouise disillusionment.

*I am arguing that class is becoming less and less important with someone over MSN right now – what a charlatan I am.

One thing I was able to apply to this realisation of how important the class system is in Skins was that I was born to middle class parents, and am of the generation of the characters, regardless of being older than the original cast. Boo hoo.

But from my objective viewpoint, the series revealed itself to be – intentionally or otherwise – modelled on Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”. I only realised tonight, with the revelation of JJ’s autism, that he could be argued as taking the role of Prince Myshkin. Perhaps this was all too obvious since he was episode seven’s protagonist.

However, on a grander scale, Effy Stonem must be modelled on the damaged and damaging Nastasya Fillipovna: knowing that everyone loves her on sight, but does not really care; treating those around her as objects and experiments.

Perhaps thankfully, her character seems to be opening like a matroshka doll and allowing her true self to come out from within a beautiful shell.

My only concern is that when the main character in Skins – or any programme, since they are all so homogenous anyway – opens up like this, the series is surely drawing to a close. Please don’t leave me, Skins! I need you.

Final point: the music was, yet again, incredibly important. Thank you, Alex Hancock, for giving us an episode littered with Debussy – and thank you, anonymous gatekeepers of the rolling credits, who gatecrashed the screen before the actors names were given and rightfully spelled out the words “Music by Claude Debussy”. I knew we were listening to Clair De Lune on the first two chords, but suppose other people didn’t? Why deprive them from enjoyment out of some ridiculous snobbery?

On that point, there is far less snobbery in culture. I won’t go any deeper, but it is something to think about: maybe that is where the class system is breaking down. I will probably blog on this at a later date since I have decided to launch a journalistic campaign in favour of free downloads and against the restrictions on YouTube from the music industry generally which are hampering my enjoyment of life – no hyperbole.

Anyway, yes, Skins, yes, thumbs well and truly up.

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2 responses to “Skins: The antithesis of cultural snobbery.

  1. Hey, why no comments here?

    I just googled to test if anybody mentions the credits. It IS special for a youth series (supposed youth series) to write Debussy in its credits.

    Sigh… .Cassie. No series has characters like Skins. Normally i really hate tv-stuff about youth, especially youth series. But Skins is somehow different. As if the producers want to capture the Neo-No-Future-Generation; the dissolution of everything known to society (some called it postmodernism or generation Y, but i suspect the real social turmoil is ahead of us.

    Which leads me to your thoughts about classless society. Our society is evolving into decoupled groups, defined by whatever the do most in their time. Like going out, drugs, work, earning money without working, whatever. And Skins catches the problems that follow with this: The rules aren’t defined by the majority anymore, but through the expectations of oneself. Interesting enough, the writers didn’t introduce dei ex machinae like phones (except where carrying the story), the internet with its social networking 2.0-shit or similar topics. Just humans making decisions during a strange melancholic awaking of our lives. I literally freaked out every time i noticed how the camera captioned the feelings of the person being filmed; the scenes are so unbelivably cristal clear on my screen, they pop almost out of their beds…

    I like too how the characters aren’t just roles, but tasks; a little bit like everyone contributes to the fuckup a little bit more. The grotesquely incompetent school principal, the teachers giving up or staying in their youth, (like the hippie-teacher dating the mom), parents not doing anything resembling a parenting job. In that perspective the change to the younger ones that are influenced by the right-before-us generation, that did all the same nasty things and left nothing to top it is completely justified. Either we get to watch a new cast or nothing. But changing story-carrying performers like the role of Cassie can totally destroy the impression.

    As i first watched Skins i thought of it like a cross-section of all possibilities. After three seasons i watch it and think, gee, hopefully nobody has to suffer through that kind of pain and misery. I grew up without anything thats described in Skins; my younger relatives and neighbours tell me stuff that could be out of the next series. Time changes fast these days…

  2. Hi David! Thanx for mentioning my blog at Twitter. Are you interested in writing 1 or more articles about meggings at my blog? You have the experience with it. And need some help because I don’t have the time to write good blogs while I am still developing the website.

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