G325 b skinsarticle-


Published on

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

G325 b skinsarticle-

  1. 1. What does this article suggest about the representation of young people in Skins and Glee? Skins: it's not just about the sex and drugs As the finale of the fourth season airs tonight, Zing Tsjeng celebrates a series that shows how life really is for teens If you've only ever read about Skins, you may find it hard to see its appeal. Promo material tends to give the impression that Skins is Hollyoaks with a fistful of pills, a better taste in music and a predilection towards smashing up the local pub. And in fact, it's not that far off. Skins has taken the notion of post-watershed teen drama and hasn't so much as pushed the boat out as hopped in and started rowing for England. No wonder its viewers are looking forward to tonight's season finale. But there's only so much a show can rely on casual vandalism and drug use, which is where the sex comes in. Drunk sex, lesbian sex, casual sex, unprotected sex, sex where one character repeatedly shouts "grab my balls!" - Skins has it all, and is considered groundbreaking for its explicit depiction of teenage sexuality. But people who focus on that explicitness are missing the point – Skins is also one of the few shows to depict teenagers working out their sexuality without criticism or judgment. Unlike other teen dramas, Skins doesn't seem to have producers and writers hovering around the edges, anxious to make a point about Important Teen Issues. Just compare Skins to Glee – another much-loved teen drama with a similar sense of black humour (and slightly more showtunes). In episode four, Kurt comes out to his dad, who tells his son that he loves him anyway. While coming-out scenes that end happily are all too rare on television, you can't help but feel it comes off a tad preachily: "Don't worry, fledgling homosexuals of the world!" it seems to say. "You too wear McQueen jumpers and memorise the Single Ladies dance, and your parents will love you anyway!" Luckily, that's sometimes the case. But more often than not, teenage sexuality can't be boiled down to a song-and-dance routine, or resolved by the warm embrace of a loving parent. Teenagers in Skins struggle with their sexuality, making huge mistakes along the way – and in a world where the grown-ups are ridiculous caricatures of adult authority or entirely absent, it's the teenagers who are left to sort out the resulting mess themselves. The relationship between Emily and Naomi (known to Skins fans as Naomily) provides a case in point. One of the best scenes in this season was one where Emily discovers that Naomi has cheated on her. Crying, Naomi tries to explain herself: "I was scared." "You're always scared," Emily replies. It's a beautifully subtle comeback, and it tells us far more about both characters than any number of sex scenes set to pounding indie rock. The best scenes in Skins aren't about sex, they're about characters trying to figure out what to do afterwards. Take away the programme's outlandish plot devices and rampant sex scenes, and what remains is a surprisingly accurate portrayal of adolescence's emotional roller-coaster: the terror of falling in love, the attitude that mistakes insouciance and hardness for independence and strength, and the aggressive posturing that screams "don't touch me, I don't need you" but whispers "if you leave me I'll die". In short, it's about being a teenager. http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2010/mar/18/skins-season-four/print