Sexy, scandalous and uncharted: Skins
Think back to your high school days. What were they like? Maybe there were a few parties, fights, scandals and other dramatic moments that essentially define adolescence. Mostly, though, you were probably living a very scheduled life: class, work or sports, homework and sleep – and maybe some room for food in between.
Not in MTV’s world! In its newest fictional show, “Skins,” MTV depicts its version of the average teenage life: soliciting sex from your friends, smoking weed in your school’s bathroom, trashing luxurious house parties, stealing vehicles, consuming as much ecstasy as you can find and escaping death several times in the same night. You know, kid stuff.
If “Skins” actually aims to portray an accurate representation of the high school experience, then that is only half of its shortcomings.
The show’s more glaring flaw is its weakly executed acting and, at times, absurd dialogue. In the opening scenes of the debut episode, after protagonist Tony Snyder helps his drugged-out younger sister sneak into her room, Snyder has a series of endless phone conversations, awkwardly trying to find a female partner to help his friend, Stanley, lose his virginity.
During or directly after the calls, a girl studies the proportions of her naked breasts, a Muslim teen leaves prayer to discuss his nightlife and Stanley, the shameful virgin, talks to his genitals. After the first 10 minutes of contrived comedy and amateur acting, all the characters seem so scripted, so utterly unbelievable, that their ensuing hedonism becomes more ridiculous than interesting.
Despite its silliness, what makes “Jersey Shore” such a lasting success is its character development: the quirks of “MVP,” the vindictiveness of Ronnie, the pettiness of Sammi and, well, Snooki. The eight cast members could sit on a couch and talk for an hour and still interest the masses because the audience can identify with them. Even if viewers do not go out to Karma or GTL, they still can easily recognize qualities in the characters that they admire or despise.
“Skins” rushes through any character development; these kids want to party before revealing their true identities. While that might work at a frat party, it fails as a television show. Skip “Skins.”
Kevin Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.