Saturday, March 28, 2009
A Look Back at Season 3 of Skins.
With the old cast off to University/gap year/various escapades abroad, season three of Skins retained only Effy Stonem, mysterious younger sis of Tony, the centrepiece of the previous two seasons, and banged a bright new freshed face cast onto the show. From the first sequence, wherein best friends Cook and Freddie are both transfixed and bedazzled by Effy's dark allure, the scene is set for the teenage love triangle - and more - in Jamie Britain and Brian Elsey's previously groundbreaking Skins.
No point in beating around the bush, this year's Skins was not anywhere near as good as the previous two years'. This is down to a combination of two things - the writing, which has invariable deteriorated (the writers feel they are oh-so-edgy for bunging fags in every character's fingers and more liberal uses of the c-word), and some of the truly detestable characters. Whereas in the previous two seasons, Tony was a massive knob, at least he got was coming to him and got run over by a bus, which led him onto a not-altogether-convincing road to redemption, but a road nonetheless. In this season, the three involved in the love triangle are all truly detestable beings. Cook, the ASBO who smokes, gets pissed, steals, fucks his mates over and has no consideration for anything other than himself, gets beaten up in the second episode, but sadly not enough, for he doesn't die like he deserves to. Freddie, though hot as anything, is as dull as ditchwater. I've seen football players with more personality. And lastly, my most loathed - Effy. She's beautiful, no doubt about that, and is the very embodiment of je ne se quois; she would look stunning in just a bin-liner, which is just as well as that's pretty much as much as she wears. However, in terms of personality, I had nothing but contempt for her. Pouting and slagging her way through the series, I've never felt such hatred for any character.
The pure shittiness of these three sad individuals is almost redeemed by some of the other characters. JJ is the true star of the season - a character who, for all his Mathematical genius, is terribly socially inept, and constantly lives in the shadow of his best friends Cook and Freddie and their ongoing feud. As the season develops, he truly comes into his own, and even cops a mercy-bung from his friend Emily, who also happens to be a lesbian. In theory, this sounds both cliche and contrived, but the actors manage to pull it off, in a scene that turns out to be surprisingly moving. Emily is one of the other characters that I genuinely cared about - a raven-haired lass, she's a twin and has been following her overbearing twin Katie around, she learns to develop her own character and stand up for herself and her love for Naomi when she is tested. The lesbian storyline of Skins is very well done; the episodes focussing on Emily and Naomi capture the whimsy of youth perfectly, and the two characters are excellent in their portrayals of their teenage lust and the whirlwind of other emotions that come with it. It speaks volumes about the chemistry between the two actors that their love scene was far, far more attention-grabbing than the bung-a-minute between Effy/Cook or Effy/Freddie. Also, Panda, the ditzy cook of the gang, is absolutely adorable.
So all in all, it wasn't a bad watch - the soundtrack is stellar and the show is wonderfully filmed; just that the smugness that has been ever-prevalent in Skins for "showing teenagers like how they really are" was beginning to wear very, very thin. The finale in particular was one of the worst things I've seen in TV (mainly because Cook and Effy came out of it still alive), but as ever, the show has its moments.