Ah, Skins: a menagerie of awful, entitled, jaded rich kids doing awful things to each other whilst seemingly getting a sexual kick out of this posturing, faux-nihilistic awfulness. Occasionally, we are asked to suspend our disbelief whilst the unbearable little shits export their particular brand of awfulness to a range of exotic locations, unlikely warehouse raves and/or what appears to be the set of Brighton Rock, all the while uttering the kind of wallowing, baseless, psychology-by-numbers banalities that make Amy Childs seem insightful and complex.
Inexplicably, according to Skins, no one in Bristol has a Bristolian accent, jobless teenagers never run out of cash and no one under 30 can act, with the possible exception of (OMG LIKE SO FUCKED UP!!!!) Franky’s psychotic cockney drug-dealing love interest, a sort of Scum-era Ray Winstone-cum-Topman model.
Unless the world has changed beyond all recognition in the seven years since I left sixth form college, the only thing amongst this drivel which actually rings true is the pervading sense of vacuity and selfishness that permeates all adolescent activity. All that is revealed by C4’s extended turd-polishing exercise is that, for all their slender limbs and agonised pouts, the lives of 17-year-olds are just too boring to stomach without a liberal smattering of violent sex, hourly drug intake and ill-conceived ‘serious issues’ to sledgehammer away any semblance of reality and/ or meaning. Luckily, there’s plenty of jumpy editing, elaborate sound design and the odd hallucination or dream sequence to distract from the very silly script, allowing the audience to focus their attention on what the cast do best: lolling around in their underwear, reciting clichés, with narrowed eyes and flat, plummy-voiced resolution. Gripping stuff.