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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cover Up, Skins! (US Version)

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     After Shameless and Being Human, I am getting a little tired of typing 'based on the British show of the same name', but here we go again. Except, this one is MTV's Skins. Please keep in mind, I haven't seen the British version. Everything I say this review applies ONLY to the American version of Skins. And what I'd like to say is, the show is terrible.

     Where to begin? First of all, the only audience I see for this series is the legions of horned up boys that flock to whatever the current equivalent of American Pie is. Look at the poster above, and you'll see what I mean. I will be the first to admit, I was in this demographic ten years ago. Ok, seven years ago. But now it takes a little more than the promise of a bit of girly skin to get me to spend me valuable time. And being that this series airs on basic cable, all you're going to get is a glimpse of that skin, not any of the really naughty bits.

     The characters are incredibly poorly executed. The lead, at least in the first episode, titled "Tony", is Tony (James Newman). He is supposed to be the ultra-cool kid that everyone loves, who can score all the girls, and gets whatever he wants because of his charm and good looks. I got a kick out of his friends making fun of him behind his back in one scene, because I don't see how anyone could possibly like Tony. He isn't that good looking. He's arrogant. He's a horrible friend. He takes advantage of people in obvious ways. There is nothing likable about him at all. Yet, there are plenty of 'Tony's out there that somehow pull this off, at least while still in high school.

     Similarly, I found most of the characters one note. Stanley (Daniel Flaherty) is the ugly dork who can't get laid, though he did show a slight hint of personality and kindness late in the episode. Cadie (Britne Oldford) is the pill-popping crazy one. Abbud (Ron Mustafaa) is little more than a racist stereotype. Tony's friends at the all-girl schools were two-dimensional preppie types. And yes, some teen guys are obsessed with girls and drugs. But most of them don't flaunt it as badly as the 'characters', using the term loosely, as caricatures would be more accurate, in Skins.

     The only small saving grace was Michelle, also known to Tony as Nips (Rachel Thevenard). Yes, her nickname is sexist and vulgar. No wonder she doesn't like it. She is the sole character that showed slight depth, and felt marginally real. She had a good sense of humor, was kind, enjoyed her life, liked who she was, and knew where she stood. So why is she sleeping with a creep like Tony? 
 
     I have considered that perhaps I'm just not the target audience for this series. I did manage to sit through the whole hour, so it wasn't the worst thing I've ever watched. But even teenagers deserve better dramas than this stuff. If anything, this just gives them an unrealistic worldview of limited, if any, consequences for dumb actions.
 
     If you'd like to make your own judgments, Skins airs Monday nights at 10 p.m.

Article first published as TV Review: Cover Up, Skins! on Blogcritics.

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