The Contradiction of American "Skins"

The Contradiction of American "Skins"

Everyone hates the new “Skins.” I read a bunch of commentary from important people, but none of them touched on what I see as The Main Problem. So, here it is:

The Main Problem

There is an existential problem at the core of American “Skins,” that being that “Skins” was good in the first place because it signified Not American TV to those of us watching it in the great states. Many of my thoughts while watching “Skins” over and over on streaming Netflix were along these lines:

-On an American show, Michelle would not even be popular. She would work in a diner and date a “dork” in the A.V. club. The popular girl would look more like this:

Not this:

Not that Michelle isn’t beautiful. But would she get past our inane focus groups? No.

-The many dialects of British English are so enjoyable!

-They always listen to dub step. That must be a British thing.

-Their families are dysfunctional in a way that American families on Tv are not allowed to be. Their moms have sex with guys who sell weiner dog statues! Their dads aren’t fat doofuses. The dysfunctional family on American TV looks like this:

Watching “Skins” was like going over to your cool friend’s house, where she had cool parents who let you drink beer and play violent video games. If your parents just suddenly started mimicking those cool parents, would it feel right? No.

I feel like for American “Skins” to work, it has to feel more … American. Not that it has to fit on the CW or borrow plotlines from “Secret Life of the American Teenager,” but it could try a bit harder to acknowledge the media frames of reference that we’ve grown up with. It’s not that its impossible for Americans to make a good show about teenagers. It’s just that when it happens, it looks more like “Freaks and Geeks” or “Daria.”

An American version could look at the American lens on “teenagerhood” and start from there. At our best, our sentiment is self-deprecating and our narrators are underdogs fighting phoniness. Our most beloved teen shows acknowledge the pool of stupid teen media directly, and that’s why they feel true to life.

Other squabbles:

Bad-ass Effie has been replaced with this whore:

Is that the difference between England and the U.S.?

The main character of Tony is a lot more endearing if we know that, at 12, he played a bumbling little precocious dorkus in the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s “About a Boy.” Awww. Proceed to exploit women. You earned it, you little mop top.

Becky Lang wanted to make more comparisons to “The Office,” but there’s only so much time in a day.