The latest series of Skins fails to portray the lives of teenagers in an entertaining or insightful manner, writes Seán McGovern.
Loud, brash and annoying. These are the words whicah most accurately summarise the personalities of the new series of Skins.
The producers of the show have taken the decision to abandon nearly all the characters from the previous two series. Nevertheless, the faces may have changed but the premise remains the same, with the show following the antics of a group of adolescents as they frolic around in a world of sex, drugs, alcohol and general misbehaviour.
While the first two series had all the aforementioned factors, it also had a certain amount of depth to the characters. Although this latest instalment continues the shows examination of themes such as race and gender from the perspective of teenage life, it lacks any feeling of investment in the characters.
In addition, Skins is deliberately exaggerated in its representation of adolescent society and on this occasion, such an approach fails, as it is very difficult to suspend one’s disbelief when watching the events unfold on screen. Worse still is the fact that many of the characters aren’t likable. For instance, the loud and coarse James only seems of interest when he is getting some due humiliation. And there is no room for deviation from the stereotypical character types: the academic ones are socially awkward, while the idiotic ones are perplexingly popular.
“The writers are relying on the show as a collection of sordid spectacles as opposed to an actual drama”
Meanwhile, the story is not so much driven by plot as it is by cheap narrative ploys. The weakest being Effy’s challenge to James to break all the school rules on the first day. Arson, alcohol and drug abuse seem to just happen inexplicably, as if the writers are relying on the show as a collection of sordid spectacles as opposed to an actual drama.
Nonetheless, it can at least be argued that there is some truth to the characters’ stereotypes. They enter the higher education college with either inflated egos or stunted social skills that may be indicative of the unbelievable self obsession of late adolescents. If only this analysis could be achieved, without having a large proportion of the show taken up with witless fart jokes.
The show always ends with a three minute montage of what is to come. This feature, rather than whetting the viewer’s appetite in anticipation of the next episode, seems more like a plea to keep watching the show. Unchallenging it may be, but diverting it is not. Skins is fast paced and energetic programme making, yet this energy is ultimately rendered irrelevant by the poorly written script which the show relies upon.
The third series of Skins is shown on E4 every Thursday at 10pm