Skins rolled back to our screens this week with an opening scene straight out of a Mumford & Sons video. The attention-seeking dramatic Morocco episode, featuring sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and all the other bullshit that Skins used to do so well, is yet another desperate attempt to restore Skins to its 'iconic teenage series status' it once held. However, we've reached series six now and I don't know if it's me or it's the programme, but the programme is apalling and has become a poor parody of its former self. No, scratch that last, it's definitely the programme.
My main problems with the episode were how (apart from the intensely non-dramatic and heavily foreshadowed incident) there were no consequences for anyone's behaviour. In series one/two, Tony was a bastard and got hit by a bus. Simples. In this series, '18 year olds don't owe anyone anything' and should feel free to run away. I don't remember earlier series being so blatantly blasé about morals.
Now, I'm no child psychologist and I hate to be a killjoy, but I do think that Skins is becoming dangerous for the remaining audience - 13-year old boys who probably sneak onto 4OD for this to catch a bit of tit, and tv critics. Dangerous for me, because it's just shit now and dangerous for teens because the messages are just absurd - take drugs, have sex, smoke constantly and everything will ultimately be okay. The line 'Make it ounces... we smoke a lot of spliff' isn't really something to be praised, and there seems to be no discussion about how drugs affect teens or health or relationships, it is just taken as a way of life that one should be permanently off one's fucking head most of the fucking time. (In the words of the beloved Cocozza, you better 'know that shit').
Skins has also veered heinously away from the slight hint of realism that we used to have. Teens used to be shown as under the rule of their parents, a school system and potentially a work environment. None of this casts' parents are physically present, or leave any hint of morality in their kids when alone - for characters to be entirely free is to limit the potential of the series' scripts, because all we're seeing is pure hedonism and thoughtlessness, with no outside influences.
Just a brief list of the most ridiculous lines we encountered in this episode. Note: there were just 50ish minutes of episode this week, and this much apallingness was jammed right in there. They need little explanation.
1. 'Hey black bitch! Hey white bitch!'
(Noone says things as crass as this)
2. 'I'm getting stoned like a whore in a burka'
(' I'M SKINS! LOOK AT ME! IM CONTROVERSIAL STILL!' I won't give this line any more thought - it's just fucking stupid)
3. 'Let's get fucked!'
(Skins' solution to everything - would be useful if not used every episode)
4. 'Charles Manson on ket'
(More headline-grabbing contro quotes from Skins here. Shame the papers/none of the media give a shit)
5. 'If I catch anyone checking out our fanny festival...'
(Mini sets Feminism back about 6 years every time she speaks)
6. 'I've had a number of orgasms today and right now I'm completely happy'
(Again, ridiculously open here in a way that people aren't)
7. 'Is that what life's all about then? Not upsetting our boyfriends?'
(Cringey 2005-myspace comments here gals. Post it as a bulletin and shut the hell up)
We'll stop at seven because it'll just get embarrassing otherwise. Another embarrassing plot point is the phone that Ginge stole for porn - convenient that Luke's monthly T-mobile contract covered MOROCCO.
Ultimately, I actually struggled to watch this episode. Matty struggled to even attempt to STOP Frankie getting in the car which led to the ''chase'' and their friend's hospitalisation, and if the aim of this ''twist'' was to show the dangers of driving, why was there no comeuppance for the moped-sans-helmet-ing that opened the series? There was also a brotherly heart-to-heart which ended with 'sort it out, mate' - brilliant advice if I ever saw it. I would frankly rather watch the US remake, and that is really saying something. I can't see this making it to a seventh series - public interest is down, as is the quality of the scripts- e4 cannot even justify this on artistic merit. Bryan Elsley needs to end this, and come back to our screens with something akin to series one. Adios Skins, you were good in the heyday.