Home > Social, Television & Film > Skins US vs UK: Part Two

Skins US vs UK: Part Two

I , unlike, so many fans of the UK original series was willing to give Brian Elsley the benefit of the doubt when I heard he was re-making SKINS for the U.S.  I’m not generally a fan of remakes but, in the case of SKINS, starting from the beginning was an unfortunate necessity for our prudish American minds.  Media outlets are already concerned about whether or not SKINS US can technically be considered child pornography (here and here).  Things kicked off when its was made aware that in the 3rd episode (airing January 31st) the character Chris Collins (UK version of Chris Miles) gets locked out of his house and runs down the street naked.  Parents Television Council came raining down on the show calling it the “most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children”. I wonder if we analyzed other American shows the way these people are shredding apart the morality of Skins how much content would be left.  If you’re less concerned about your teen watching a guy punch a girl in the face on reality TV but not watch some fake 17 year olds make out or have sex  on a scripted drama then  there may be something wrong here.   Snookie got punched in real life by a real person.  The Jersey Shore isn’t even listed on PTC site as a reviewed TV shows.

So kids. Fake tv sex=not okay. Real violence against women= eh.

I wanted to wait until I had gotten a few episodes in before passing judgment because Skins US is a strange case.  Anyone familiar with the UK version (read: watched all 4 series in a month like I did) can’t help but compare the two. Fresh off the heals of the last series 4 finale I can already tell there are a few major choices  MTV made that may have been the wrong one. Whats skins needed to do to win me over was come from left field, really blow my mind and prove it can stand on its own. I needed to see USA teens as complex human beings and not the lemming trash I currently think they are.  What did MTV do? Stole every god damn shot from the UK version they could.

The Bad:

  • The bleeps.  Bleeps always make things funnier. Period.  The cursing in the show was what added to the reality of following these teens around.  Kids curse all the time. Having them curse and bleep over it just makes it seem like an episode of JACKASS.   I would almost rather not have anyone in the show curse that hear that bleep again.
  • The character transplant. Something must have gotten lost in the translation because the entire time I watched the first episode I just kept thinking “This Tony sucks and he’s doing the wrong accent”. The US characters are very clear copies of the UK archetypes but not nearly as endearing.  I feel like I’m watching a watered down version of the original.  Nothing about them makes me care about their trivial experiences and most of them seem to be lacking the charm of the UK versions.
  • These kids look a  little too pretty and a little to put together to be the mess-ups we’ve learned to love.
  • Lack of Cassie: Cassie’s crazy but disarmingly honest character has been replaced by Cadie. Cadie likes the best drugs and won’t weird you out enough to make you want to know more about her.

The good:

There are two characters that seem a little compelling in the way the UK versions were.

Michelle:

Michelle hasn’t had too much to say in the first few episodes aside from agreeing to sleep with Stanley and encouraging the gay on the show to be honest about her sexuality. Even still, Michelle (played by Rachel Thevenard) seems to be one of the characters holding this, otherwise, fake friend group together.

Tea:

Maxxie was a favortie of mine.  He’s my UK gay JTT crush…without all the anti-abortion sentiment.  It was sad to see him get on the bus to the big city but Tea so far isn’t a terrible replacement.  I’m all for more lady homo visibility on TV. On top of all that, the second episode showed us that Tea is a young complex lesbian character with a hard love for Audrey Hepburn.  I didn’t really need both her and Tony’s dad to be in the mafia but whatevs. hopefully that won’t come up again. Tea isn’t terrified of her sexuality and she fucking gargled with vodka.

The things that makes the UK Skins so successful isn’t just the drug and partying and sex.  Its the genuinely compelling kids working through all sorts of screwed up things that happens to teenagers.  Truth is MTV should  have just taken the name of the franchise and Elsley and created its own American version without stealing the plot of each UK episode.  They could have started with a clean slate.  They could have had everyone comparing the authentic portrayal of teens in two culturally different countries instead of focusing on how much the U.S version isn’t the U.K version. They could have found a kid with more fucking hair to play Stanley:

I was considering doing recaps of this show but the truth is I don’t care enough.  This post isn’t really that compelling because I gave up about half way through it and couldn’t think of clever ways to express my disappointment. I’ll keep watching it but not with nearly as much obsessive attention as was inspired by the UK version.

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  1. CortesNyc
    February 9, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    awesome..

  2. Angela
    March 29, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    I honeslty thought the American version was really good. The characters on the show did great to. Ya there dull and you might think that they are bad actors but thats how teenagers that are into drugs are, all of them are laid back and chill. So in my opinion they did great with acting out their roles!

  3. Steph
    June 29, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    I honestly like more the uk version!

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