Hey! It’s MARIA and I’m back from the dead! Instead of offering weak excuses in order to pardon my absence I’ll just apologize, and I promise let you all cop a feel later.
But first, I’m sad to say with my return comes horrible (yet, expected) news. MTV’s American imagining of the British television sensation Skins that premiered on the network January 17th was HORRID. Being a fan of British television, I was intrigued to hear about another show coming to America, like many of you were. Whether you’ve seen the pioneered UK version of Skins, or you’ve watched the coming attractions on MTV and affiliated networks and internet entertainment mediums, you were at the very least intrigued (if not outraged or excited – seeing as how both ends of the spectrum seemed to be fully supported by the world wide web of haters and lovers). I, myself, was a Johnny Come Lately with all of this, not hearing about MTV’s new Monday night golden child until I picked up January issue of Nylon last month around Christmas (when my liking for balayage highlights and actress Mila Kunis, Nylon’s January cover girl, quickly matured into a gross obsession after watching Black Swan). [Editor’s Note: Maria? Get in LINE behind DivaJulia–She has DIBS on the Mila.]
In this month’s issue of Nylon, there was a mini-spread on the show’s arrival to the United States via MTV. After seeing the cast photos and reading their reassuring article of the show remaining true to form, with only a few of the character’s names changing and the setting being in Baltimore, Maryland, I was really excited to see what this show can bring to the table. So I read on to learn that Skins has had a reputation of button-pushing and raw storylines, and after it being compared to a filthy, darker version of the Canadian cult-followed Degrassi: The Next Generation, but with a slew of teenage drug abusers and sex-fiends–I WAS SOLD, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
The show was carried over waters by the original Skins creator, Bryan Elsley, who claimed that the show should go onto the same pathway of unapologetic and scandalous success as the parent version due to the formulation of the show. This formulation involving a panel of teens that basically veto and approve character standings, plot lines, and the fluidity of cause and effect on the show. For this, I commend them.
The more I read, the more ashamed I was that I hadn’t watched the British teen drama religiously online since its debut in 2007. Even without watching it though, I was already on the bandwagon of AMERICAN SKINS IS GOING TO SUCK…BAD. I could already imagine the pretty-faced no-name cast fumbling through their storylines and failing to deliver genuine drama, comedy, and the raw realities of the teenage life bred by Mommy’s money and hedonism.
After watching this week’s premiere…I was correct in my expectations. The other night, at 5ish in the a.m. I found myself restless and at the will of my buddy’s XBOX360 that was equipped with Netflix. THEY HAD THE FIRST THREE SEASONS OF THE BRITISH VERSION AVAILABLE, AND IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS. Of course, I only was able to stay awake through 90 percent of the pilot, unfortunately. But I LOVED what I watched before dozing off. And I cannot believe that little rosey-cheeked child from the 2002 Hugh Grant flick About A Boy, Nicholas Hoult, matured into such a man!
Just days later, I catch the American pilot for Skins online at mtv.com. It’s a mirror image of the UK version (which I had already learned would be the case from the Nylon article). And when I say “mirror image” I mean just that. It looked the same, frame by frame, but the majority of the dialogue was awkward. Not in a realistic, mockumentary awkward sort of way, just…awkward.
I loved the actors they chose, and I so desperately want to love the characters but find it so hard to, when we come to the end of the episode. I felt like the effort to keep it true to the original took over a little too much. Yes, teens are teens, and the underbelly of metropolitan living teenagers is dark and gritty no matter what country you’re in – but no show should be created SO equal.
[SIDENOTE: Plus, it all reminded me of a show I used to sneak to watch way past my bedtime; Undressed, the afterhours teaser show on MTV from eons ago. That shit was hot. When I was like eight years old.]
In my opinion, bringing the show to America was (and is) a stellar idea. The producers just should have done one of these two options:
One: Elsley should have brought the show in its entirety and struck a deal with MTV to promote an integration of the UK version into their program lineup, giving Skins just a second home, not a new face.
Or Two: Elsley and producers (one of which is his son, by the by) should have taken the original plan of attack but skipped the use of the skeleton, by creating all new characters and dynamics. Genius – I know.
I have heard, however, that the first few episodes are the only ones that will resemble the original so exactly — which gives me some hope. Maybe when the characters take on life of their own instead of trying to recreate in a new environment that has both indefinite and definite rules of its own, the show will become more watchable.
We can only pray that this current ode to the UK’s Skins remains just a nod and actual character progression is a little more natural, giving America its own brand new guilty, thismakesmefeeldirtyinallthewrongways television pleasure. Because True Blood is months away, and I need an addiction filler.
With all that said, I will continue to report on the show’s pilot season on MTV. For the sake of journalistic fairness, I will refrain from watching the Brit’s version and stay unbiased.
Just know, everyone; I may be unbiased, but I am still very hard to please.
Make me blush, MTV. Show me some Skins.
XXOO ~ Maria