Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm angry.

And it's not fake, funny, "oh it's for the blog" anger.  It's real anger: hard, cold, and black.

It started as nothing more than a whisper and a rumor.  But, I was still worried.  And I was right to be.  Because on Monday, it became official.  And there's video proof.  MTV is destroying "Skins."

A loooonnnngggg time ago, I talked about Skins.  But, since most of you are newer readers, I'll summarize.
Skins is one of my favorite TV shows. Ever.  EVER.  I put it up there with MSCL, Freaks and Geeks, and Mad Men.  
And I'm not the only one who thinks it's amazing. Skins continues to win BAFTA's (British Oscars) year after year.

Listen, I hear you.  I read your comments and facebook feedback.  I know that Americans re-make British shows all the time. And yeah yeah yeah we all loved the original office and yeah yeah we all love the American version too.  And so this should give me hope for Skins right?

But no.

And here's why.

They are changing NOTHING.  The new American version is a literal teleplay of the original. It is the exact same characters, names, plot lines, and even dialogue  for the ENTIRE season (the "curse words" and British slang are the only things being taken out.  And, no. The American Office isn't remotely the same. It started being different in episode two). 

And sure, you would think that copy-catting would make me happy.  But you would be wrong.  

See, Skins is written for a British audience.  It's dark and gritty and the humor that's in it is weird and twisted, and and at times, a little off-putting.  And American audiences don't know what to do with that.  In America, if anything is weird or unsettling, we write it off as "un-cool" and discard it immediately.  And, it's for this very reason that I think the US Skins will be a huge, huge failure.  

Take the Mad Twatter story line for instance.  In Skins, "Mad" is a bi-polar drug dealer with a serious Napoleon complex.  That in and of itself will be strange for American audiences.  Add to it the fact that Twat means "vagina" in the UK, and there's the first of many jokes Americans won't get. Then there's the fact that they are playing off the idea of the "Mad Hatter" as well.  See?  Nothing's translating.

And then, there's the culture of the show itself.  Skins is about 16 year old kids who are in what is called "Sixth Form" which basically means they are high school seniors.  Let me spell this out for you.  Kids in England grow up quicker.  You are a legal adult at 16.  It's the age of consent.  You can do everything but legally drink at 16 (drinking starts at 18).  You basically graduate from high school at 16.  And, the final thing...not everyone in England goes to college.  Lots of them just get jobs.  Either way, after Sixth Form, you move out of your "house" and are on your own.  You don't start your financially independent life at 21/22 like we do here in the States.  You do that at 16.

So, yeah. They party waaaayyyy harder and way earlier than we do.  Rave culture is huge. Drugs aren't as demonized and some are even partially legal.
In America?  NO ONE will buy into a show where the kids act like they do in Skins because most American kids don't act that way at that age.  They aren't that autonomous.

And the other problem?

Skins is hard-fucking-core. There is nudity. And explicit sex scenes. And they use the word "fuck" like it's nothing.  Throughout the series there is death, and disease, and evil.   And the characters are shitty people who do shitty things to each other.  And episodes don't end with nicey-nice resolutions.   In short: Skins is REAL.

"...Skins goes where Gossip Girl and other teen dramas from these shores wouldn't dare."-San Francisco Chronicle
"If only American shows had half its guts."-Entertainment Weekly

Watch the above trailer for the original British version.  See? Now try and convince me that the US version won't pussy out.

Here's the thing.  I don't want to turn you off from Skins.  In fact, if you can approach it with the understanding that it's a show rooted in a different culture, you will LOVE it.  And that's a promise.  And if you want to try and prove me wrong, log on to Netflix now. You can watch Skins free and instantly.

But America needs to leave it alone. Or, if they don't, at least change it for a US audience. To do anything else is just plain disrespectful.

(Please note: All the previous images are from the Original UK version of Skins.  EXCEPT this last image, which is from the American version. Oh, bless their sweet little hearts. This is them trying to be "edgy."  Aren't they just so precious. You can smell the "Try" from a mile away.)

(P.S. Lena and both better back me up below).


  1. This is so depressing!! And confusing.... I don't even understand how they are going to attempt to do this... it would make zero sense out of context! Where is it taking place? Who is the hideous "red head" chick supposed to be?!

  2. MTV has decided that they are going to set it in Baltimore. Since, obviously, Baltimore is the American equivalent of Bristol. They both start with B's and have rivers.
    Also, if you can stomach it, watch the US SKINS "trailer."

    Oh...look at that. Poor lighting, poor sound, poor camera work, poor costume choices. AND WHAT THE FUCK...DO THEY THINK THOSE KIDS CAN ACT?
    I quite honestly thought it was a fan video from You Tube. Until I saw the MTV banner.
    I. DIE.

  3. And the hideous red head is supposed to be Michelle. But, of course, we don't have an American equivalent to "Chav" culture. So I guess they are trying to make her some weird mix of prep girl and hipster? And just WAIT until you see who they cast for Effy (my fav. besides Cassie). DISGUSTING! Effy is THE femme fatale. Not some cross-eyed blonde. Ugh. Will stop now.