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Paedophiles whose computers have been confiscated but who have been allowed to keep their Freeview boxes are currently celebrating the return of E4’s Skins, whose new series marks a new zenith in the channel’s misanthropic campaign to disseminate its own self-loathing as widely as possible. Whoever you are, it despises you. Witness E4’s latest trailer, a diseased promo intended to signify a massive ironic distance from both the viewer and the channel’s own programming but which instead overshoots the runway so spectacularly that it feels like watching someone’s nervous breakdown from the inside:

Skins itself also seems to be trying to do its job ironically but failing. It helps to know that the show is written by the same people who churn out stuff like Shameless by the yard but retains a few people barely out of their teens to report on which tunes their contemporaries are probably downloading this month. It puts writing like this in context: it’s a middle-aged hack trying to write like a dumb 20 year-old and actually doing a worse job. The result is Grange Hill with brain damage; Hollyoaks slumped dribbling on a train with its cock out.

Meanwhile the children in the show continue to get prettier and more unfeasible. Some of the boys are at least allowed a degree of uncool nebbish charm, but God forbid that any of the girls should fall short of FHM’s strictest regulations on female glamour. All this impossible desirability will, of course, iron out any problems of self-image and self-esteem among the teenage audience the programme-makers are so desperate to attract.

Not pictured: your teenage years

I can’t even be bothered to slag the show off for being obsessed with sex—realistically, a programme that’s trying to deliver this many young viewers to advertisers doesn’t leave itself much room to manoeuvre on that front—but I remain unsettled by the degree of contempt it displays for the viewer, and even for the people actually appearing in it (see poster above). What happened to all the nice Vickys, Lucys, Katies and Emmas who I remember working in TV in the 1990s? Have they all become this jaded, or have they been replaced en masse by malevolent imbeciles? Is E4 evidence of what too much cocaine does for your view of the world? Just how degrading to everyone involved is the channel going to be in five years’ time? I can answer precisely none of these questions, but I suspect that on balance Skins is likely to do more far harm than good. And that watching it over the age of 28 should probably be one of the criteria for winding up on the sex offenders register.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
e4 in 5 years time: a bong with tits
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
I've never watched skins but I do enjoy looking at stills of some of the cast.
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
And that's hebephilia at the very worst.
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
You have a thing for Jews?
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
Only if they're barely legal.
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
I'm no fan of skins, but I'd always wanted there to be some great Midwich Cuckoos-eqsque show with near-feral children whose apparent awareness of their own sexuality was sending tremors of fear through the villagers.

I saw that it could be some sort of commentry on the sexualisation of children in the media.

Jan. 29th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
It helps to know that the show is written by the same people who churn out stuff like Shameless by the yard but retains a few people barely out of their teens to report on which tunes their contemporaries are probably downloading this month.

It may help to maintain whatever high moral ground you're seeking (which is what, exactly? Shameless is a pretty well-regarded show, as far as I'm aware), but it's not, y'know, true or anything. One of the writers has written an episode of Shameless, and er, that's about it.

Though I do take your point: we need more shows about middle-class college-educated middle-aged people, over and over and over again. And the kids should be protected from shows featuring body issues and the fact that the rest of their contemporaries are cvnts. Because clearly the telly is their main exposure to these issues, rather than the rest of their life.
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)


(Sorry, channelling my inner Skin there. Not that I've ever seen the show. Though I suspect I'd rather like it.)
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
It's really good - it can be a bit awkward and obvious at times, but when it really gets into the skins of the characters (so to speak) it can be immensely affecting. Also there's nothing else really doing what it covers.
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I should give it a try. (Sorry, webofevil, I know this goes against the intention of your post...)
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
This is a show “featuring body issues”? I’m advocating “more shows about middle-class college-educated middle-aged people”? Skins in any way resembles “the rest of kids’ lives”? What are you talking about?

Jan. 29th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
i thought charlie quite liked skins (no audio here, so i can't hear what poo-art wee (call him by his name) is saying)?

anyway, there were some pretty good bits in the first series, which is the only one i've watched where, although the kids are pretty beautiful, the scripts were also good and there was a decent, relevant storyline.

all a bit hell-in-a-handcart of you this, isn't it? there's much worse telly to complain about...
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
> there's much worse telly to complain about

I agree, but little of it is blitz-hyped at children quite so much.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
well, adolescents rly. it's no worse than us* staying up late to watch The Young Ones, how many precious minds did that corrupt with its depiction of student life and assertion that rik mayall was funny?

*i'm assuming yr around my age, otherwise substitute appropriate "staying up late, talk of the school the next day, somewhat risque programme"
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
> how many precious minds did that corrupt

For all its daftness, it didn't lie and it wasn't trying to sell an image. That kind of arsing about is a far healthier way to corrupt young minds.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
I am, for the record, not suggesting that Children of the Stones is the same as Skins. Or that TV can't cope with a multiplicity of views: if someone wanted to portray teenagers acting like that today, I'd have no problem with it, though I imagine vast gales of laughter would be the only reception.

What are you advocating, then? Your objections seem to be based around the revelation* that it is not in fact being written entirely by The Kids, but rather by some experienced writers, with help from the kids (literally as two of the writers are father and son). But teenagers have always been written from at least generation away: the writers of The Changes and Children of the Stones were 20's babies - Press Gang was written by 29-year-old Stephen Moffat and his dad! This is at least a step in an interesting direction.

But no, fair point, Charlie Brooker doesn't like it. Or rather, Stewart Lee doesn't like it. Or rather, Stewart Lee notices the differences from what he used to watch, and is prepared to admit that being a teenager in the 70s might not be the same as being one now. But if we're allowed Celebrity Endorsements...

*Well, that and it contains unpleasant people, in so far as that can conceivably be an objection.

Edited at 2009-01-29 02:26 pm (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
>with help from the kids (literally as two of the writers are father and son

He was 21 and wise beyond his years when he suggested the idea. He is regardless an absolute delight.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, I took out the bit where it was his idea because I couldn't find a source for it, good to know my head is still more accurate than the internet.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
That said, I did rather go off on one, for unrelated reasons. Sorry, man.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
That's a load of balls. There are lots of professional writers on Skins, as well as a few noobies, some of who get credit (all those comedians), some who take credit for no work (some comedians), and some who remain anonymous.

It has been overhyped how much is "written" by kids. Even Bryan Brittain has said in interviews that they did workshops with "kids" which were them formally crafted into scripts.
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean that it was a bunch of new writers, just that "from the writers of Shameless" isn't so.
Jan. 29th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Seconded. May E4 die soon and painfully.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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