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Skins: A Final Farewell

Other | Thursday 11th July 2013 | Keshav

It was certainly a major blow this year when E4 announced the current run of cult teen drama Skins would be its last. It has arguably been one of the most popular TV shows of the past ten years and influenced and highlighted a whole aspect of youth culture. The show began in 2007 to a rapturous reception. What caught viewers eyes was the recklessness of the characters. Asked why they watched Skins many will reply that they connected to one or more of the characters. It’s clear this could be the case with the writers making a conscious effort to delve into youth issues not highlighted by the media or government. Skins was certainly not appreciated by all with the older generation suggesting that it was a bad influence to young teenagers growing up.

Although very fictionalised what becomes apparent as you move through the various seasons is the development of personalities and teenage traits. The teenage years provide a window of exploration for the young mind. Different aspects of the world such as sexuality, drugs and alcoholism and all experimented with. What the writers of Skins did perfectly was explore the concept of freedom. The issue that surrounds most teenagers of our generation. Freedom to do what you want , Freedom to be who you want and most importantly make your own decisions. Some of the characters that were developed came from a wide cross section of society. In season 3 for example ‘Cook’ represented the boisterous ‘laddish’ kind of section of teenagers, whereas  Effy represented people who were ‘quiet but sharp’.

Every -week as millions would tune in the ridiculous nature of the parties and events excited various teenagers. The ability to watch such interwoven stories played by such edgy characters made for great TV. Credit must also go to some great acting performances adding to realistic nature of the show.  Some would watch in awe wishing they could themselves be like the characters and live the reckless life. Others watched in horror. What had modern day TV come to? To a certain extent it was true Skins had quite a negative effect of encouraging teenagers with some even willing to re-create parties and scenes. The issues that the show was exploring however were real amongst many young people. The light hearted nature of the show did not do the seriousness of some of these issues justice.

It was surprising then that with such a dedicated following the show suffered such a serious fall from grace. After season 2 and especially 3 viewing figures started dropping. Every season the core cast kept changing but stories remained the same. The creators failed to take the show into a new direction and just kept dwindling on old themes. Character relations and stories became predictable as people longed for more than just the same old ridiculous parties. As the core fan group started to approach their mid - teens they wanted the characters to follow suit but it seemed most of them were stuck at 16 for several seasons.

It was inevitable then that the show would have to end. The decision was made that the seventh season would be its last. The season began much as fans wanted previous seasons to. With characters such as Effy, Naomi and Emily facing troubles which occurred in the real working world. The first episode ‘Fire’ was received very well indeed with praise going out to the writers as well as actors.

Even though Skins has provided us with countless ridiculous parties it’s definitely time for the show to end. While the early seasons can still be looked upon and enjoyed people will continue to scratch their heads at what went wrong. It will be sad to see a British Television institution close its doors for the final time especially with the impact it has had upon many of today’s generation. It certainly in one way or another give us some experiences we will never forget as well as those we will not want to resurface!   

Keshav Kapoor 

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