Oh wait. I certainly have very very much more important things to do. But, whatevs. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. ONWARDS!
GUESS WHAT! X-Factor is balls so I've found some new folks to help me out with all this. A round of applause for Jenna Marbles, Kingsley, the cast of The Hills and Parks and Rec. Huzzah! I will miss you terribly Dannii & Co. Maybe I'll ask you to play a bit now and then. I just can't give you up.
So Skins, what just happened?
Jenna is speaking to me. Cos, yes, it's sadly true.
I think first, go watch that disgusting excuse for a mini-episode. And excuse me, what the fuck is a mini-episode anyway? OH WAIT. It's a webisode. HEY WAIT, what other Skins did those? OH IT WAS MTV!SKINS! I see where this is going already... God forbid you call it an Unseen. Cos really, aren't they the same thing. No? Oh that's right, Unseens were actual quality once upon a time and were absolutely integral for full understanding of the characters and stories. Webisodes, however, are just shitty filler.
Except in the case of MTV!Skins, half the time the lame webisodes were better acted, better produced and better written than the actual episodes. If that isn't a big red flag, I dunno what is. But rest assured, here in Series 6 Land, you need not worry about the webisodes outshining the episodes -- cos they're both equally crappy.
The only bonus of the webisode is that Liv actually has a point in being there. That's nice, seeing as she's my fav character and all.
If you haven't seen it, never fear. Here's a recap: Alo is gross and needs to get laid. Wow. Shocking. So Mini invites him over to hers where, in typical Bryan Elsely teen boy fashion, starts rubbing one out on her bed, to a photo of her mum. Liv and Mini catch him and it's oh so hilarious and cheeky! Yes. That is EXACTLY my reaction if I walked into my room to catch my guy friend jerking it to a photo of my mum. So deciding that Alo is just so adorkable and desperate, Mini and Liv decide to overact themselves into a goth club, complete with Alo looking like a total tool.
Please don't even make me talk about the stereotypes here. You know I want to, you know I want to bitch endlessly, but I must save my energy for the actual episode. So, ofc, Alo fails miserably and ends up doing what would normally get a dude beaten to a pulp and plays air guitar very, very badly on stage at this virtually empty club. This is somehow impressive. Turns out goth chick has a dude. It's all very clichéd and then Alo goes to see a prozzie to lose his virginity, a la JJ in 3x02, but can't do it, a la JJ in 3x02, cos she was his babysitter (unlike JJ so at least that's remotely original). It ends with Mini and Liv comforting Alo about finding the right person eventually. Blah blah blah. Liv is actually awesome here. I ship Liv/Alo more than Mini/Alo tbh. Then silly Alo gets another boner and pokes it into Liv's butt as they're chatting.
OH ALO! YOU CHEEKY PERV! You're just so cute!
Now, ignoring the latter half of that webisode, can we just PLEASE note the similarities between Alo and MTV's Stanley? Okay, yes, Sid did this too. But it wasn't nearly as bad. He did it at home. In his room. Both Alo and Stan seem to have a serious disorder -- their boners are SO raging that they simply MUST whip it out EVERYWHERE and have a go. Oh. This isn't disturbing at all. Cos we all know how much teenage girls love seeing their friends masturbate all over their belongings. It's so sexy, innit? Personally when I was in high school, I just sat around dripping wet, waiting for some lanky, gross boy to pull it out and spunk all over my linens/teddy bear/mother's photograph. BE, you need help. Seriously. I don't know what you think teen girls like, but that is not it.
If you are a teen girl and think it's sexy for some random boy you don't even really like (that way) to spunk all over your stuff -- you obviously don't have brothers. Or have spent a lot of time around boys at all. (Or you have a kink, but that's beside the point.) Having dried, stinky semen on everything you hold dear is not pleasant. Rolling over on crust in the middle of night, having to scratch spunk off your nightstand, of a photo of your mum, having to avoid sitting on the toilet seat cos it's sticky...Just no. This is not sexy. It's disrespectful imo. It shows a lack of willpower, a lack of decency and a complete ignorance to the rules of social living. Cos guess what, when you're 40 years old and go around jerking off in your boss's chair or on your date's duvet, IT'S NOT SO CUTE ANYMORE. It's borderline sexual deviancy. It is NOT an endearing, harmless character quirk.
Now, I will say masturbation can be sexy -- when it's someone you're WITH, or it's in porn. It's NOT sexy when it's your friend fucking your bedsheets. Mainly, I'm trying to saying, there's a time and place for everything. And having a guy jerk off for you, because of you, whatever, can be completely fine, welcomed even. Just not ALL the time and whenever the fuck he feels like it. I am distrubed (like Twilight-levels of disturbed) at this perception that boys are just wanking machines, completely unable to control themselves at all times. yes, teen dudes get hard-ons a lot. But, I know this may seem shocking, the vast majority keep it in their pants and wait til an appropriate time. "Excuse me, I need the loo!" "I've gotta go!" etc etc. I can't say I've ever invited a friend over and walked into my room to see them spanking it all over my room.
Call me a prude, if you must. But I would not giggle at their silliness. Not at 17. Not if it was from a guy who I was not interested in.
Wow, that was quite a digression. I'm just sick of BE thinking that writing this kind of thing is either a) edgy, or, b) humorous. Do you even understand humour anymore? I just really could not separate Alo from Stanley. That is a very bad thing indeed. I feel like so far, Series 6 is just a stand-in for the aborted MTV!Skins. Same stupid fucking themes, same characters, same dude behind the scenes...
"OH GOD ESKIMO JO, STOP TALKING ABOUT MTV!SKINS."
You'll see why I keep coming back to this later. It all knots itself together nicely in the end. But I'm sure the most insightful of you have already come to a similar conclusion.
Okay, moving on, to the episode itself. So, that mini-episode was the set-up for 6x01. Get it? Mini and Alo? Force-fed down our throats? Yes. Let's continue.
That is simply the gist of my feelings too.
And not in a good way either. It wasn't like... I dunno, a good episode of Skins where lots of mega drama happens but it's all so good and awesome and whatever. It was more like, "Hello. What is this? Who am I watching? Remind me, is this Skins? I can't tell."
Help me out here, Skins fans. Was there a series of Skins that I missed? You know, one that had character development? Cos I think I missed the memo.
My complaints can be broken down into a series of discrete categories:
- Shitty, stereotypical American teen drama
Let's break it down and start with the easiest:
Liv. You are my darling. Laya, tbh, you are pretty much the only reason I'm watching. For the majority of the episode, Liv was relegated to secondary character status, and you know what? That is good, cos it means they couldn't really fuck her up like the rest of these poor excuses for characters. She generally stayed kick-ass. Except -- WHAT THE FUCK was that hug? With Franky... I feel that the reason it seemed so poorly acted was cos it was, quite frankly, stupid. I don't care that a month or two has passed between 5x08 and 6x01. Just no. Not real. Liv and Franky would not be that affectionate with each other. It seemed TOO friendly. I don't mind them being friends, but the degree it was taken too seemed forced. DNW. Don't fuck up my baby girl, writers.
Okay and before I move on, I feel a disclaimer is in order.
#1 -*- I stopped liking Franky as a character around 5x04. I simply did not care for her past that point. She irritated me. And by the end, she downright pissed me off. But I could overlook it cos I thought the rest of the cast was still strong.
#2 -*- Shockingly, I never truly cared for Minky. I saw it, pondered it, didn't dislike it, but I wondered if it was more of a misunderstood affection thing (on Mini's part) and by 5x08 I did NOT want it. I didn't loathe it, but I certainly didn't ship it either. I was generally indifferent. If it happened, and happened organically and made sense, then fine. If it never did, so what. I don't care.
#3 -*- Also, I never cared for Malo either. Generally the same as Minky above. Indifferent. It never struck me as something I cared to see. It was sweet in 5x06, but as friends. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST BE FRIENDS?!
So, as I entered 6x01, I really did not give a shit who was fucking who. Again, all I wanted from this series was friendships. I couldn't care less about who's fucking who. Just shut up with that noise. Not every teenager is fucking all their friends. Ugh. But it seems like these incestuous Skins groups... well, that's all they do is share gonorrhoea back and forth. (I'm not saying it doesn't happen. Let's just say, I dated a boy in high school that 2 of my friends also did (one before, one after). [Note: It was a terrible idea.] But to have it constantly be a thing amongst EVERYONE in the group is ridiculous.) Plain and simple, Mini can fuck or not fuck whoever she wants and it doesn't make a difference to me. I'm not emotionally invested in either.
In fact, ALL I did want was realistic and consistent character development. Is that a weird thing to ask? I feel like perhaps it is cos Skins, with BE on the throne, seems to not consider this important. Like, at all.
SIDE NOTE: Does hemp have nuts? I'm really confused. I'm eating a "HempHog" rn and it says "Hemp nut filling". Since when did hemp have nuts? Ngl, I have a particular affinity for hemp. But it's such a strange taste. (Have you ever had hemp beer? OMG. It's nasty.) Oh well, back on track.
Hmm where to take this train next?
Ah, let's talk about Franky.
I hate Franky. Sorry. I do.
She is such an insufferable prick.
Obviously, I have residual dislike from S5 but it was just taken to a new level in 6x01. Partly cos, while it was nice of Skins to completely reinvent their characters, too bad they did it so cloyingly. If you're going to toss out everything from a previous series, at least make the magical new characters likable. Is that too much to ask? They made Franky WORSE. If I have to sit through an entire series of this stupid bitch that has no explanation about why she's like that, I ... I miss 5x01 Franky, I miss her integrity and genuine niceness.
I especially like how realistic it is for someone like Franky to emerge from her cocoon with the help of the Magical Penis, and become a beautiful headfuck-thing butterfly. Yes. It's TOTALLY possible. Because in BE's world, girls just need a big cock up their vaginas and all is well with the world. They won't be able to resist! ALL girls, regardless of their sexuality or history, just want a little dick to be happy. And getting said dick is either heart-warming, irresistible, or healing -- or a combo. (Emily, Tea, Franky.) IS IT JUST ME WHO SEES A VERY SCARY PATTERN IN THIS WRITING?!
I have such an AMAZINGLY hard time reconciling this mindset with the same man who wrote 1x07. It's like some scary monster took over his brain. Like a brain slug attached itself and implanted BE with all these horribly offensive male-fantasy ideals which he just spews out OVER and OVER again without shame.
I've read the fanwank arguments re: Franky's changes. "Blah blah blah, she's had all summer!" Yes. Cos serious issues like she had in S5 are completely resolved within a span of 2 months when it's been building for 17 years. All girls need to do is lose their viginities and they're all better. This is akin to a doctor telling a young woman that in order to cure her endometriosis, she should just get pregnant. Just FUCKING GET SOME COCK IN YOU, YOUNG LADY. FFS. What's taking you so long?
I just... there's very little I can really say about Franky in 6x01 that hasn't been said already. I direct you to HERE.
Sure, we didn't see what happened all summer. "You don't know what she went thru!!!" True. Cos guess why? They blew their budget on fucking Morocco and so we don't get Unseens. Yes, we all know that we'll get some explanation about Franky in later episodes but I still feel that there was a SERIOUS disconnect between 5x08 and 6x01. There always is, but there's also always been stuff to fill in the gap. (G1 had a series of Unseens, G2 had the novel.) We got nothing this time. No actual explanation. So instead, we are thrown back in with a fucking, unrealistic bitch of a character that has very, very few similarities to the previously established one.
I liked how they kept some form of her intimacy issues. But, seriously, that's not enough. Don't patronise us. And regardless of how much background they give to these massive Jekyll-Hyde changes in Franky, it can't remove the huge gaping hole between S5 and S6. It will forever be a void that is only explained retroactively. I'm not going to speak anymore about this lack of continuity cos we've prolly all heard it already. I think the only way to salvage this is to show that actually, it was a lie. Franky and Matty's grande tour de Afrique was actually a sexless, frustrating journey. Franky didn't fuck Matty until "it got boring". And that's why they were at each other's throats. Not cos the sex got boring (I AM SORRY. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? BE, THESE KIDS ARE NOT YOU. They are not middle-aged. Sex doesn't "get boring" 1 month into a teenage romance. It gets stale 3 years into a marriage.)... bu cos there were much more subversive issues at play and their little roadtrip wasn't sunshine and puppies.
I can't even comment on Franky's Golden Vagina that every boy ever wants to get with. Just... So amazingly stupid. Fuck this shit, seriously. Dakota was obviously watching too many G2 episodes over the break cos she has literally copied Kaya's Effy Dance. Oh, yeah, there's nooooo way Franky's being set up for an Effy meltdown... No wayyyy....
Quite frankly, I found the end offensive. I very rarely find Skins downright offensive. The fact that back in Bristol, Franky is suddenly dressing all androgynous again because she's depressed is fucking balls. Cos, you know, genderqueer folk can't be happy. Dressing that way is only because you're depressed, frigid, or going through a phase. The kick to the legitimacy of being queer that Skins threw in there was in poor, poor taste, imo.
Granted, you can argue, well, that is Normal Franky, and Africa-Franky was just her stepping outside herself, trying something new, experimenting cos she was in a different locale. THAT was just a phase. That's dumb tho. Issues just don't vanish cos you have sunshine and dick. Or, "teenagers experiment!" Yes, true. But I was under the impression that Franky has been that way for a while so to suddenly change it up completely and ignore everything that was her beforehand just cos she ~fell in ~love is ludicrous. Whatever, if it's explained, that's cool. All I'm asking for is a bit of insight into WHY instead of speculation. If it's not explained, I wouldn't be surprised tho...
Speaking of... let's talk Mini. OH HI, NEW!MINI! It's very nice to see your tits out and about. Hey, noooooo. I think I must have completely imagined 5x03. You don't have body issues! How silly. I must have just been projecting. There was simply no evidence of such a thing last series. Oh, oh... huh? That moment when you insecurely held your tummy in the mirror? No? Didn't happen? Or that time when you tried to cover your tummy again when getting naked with Nick, your boyfriend?
Oh, my bad. I totally made all that up cos clearly you have no issues whatsoever with flaunting your half-naked body around now.
Mini's sexuality aside, it's nice to see that everything else about her has been ignored as well and she's reverted back to 5x01 Mini, sans any character depth. Now speaking of this, let's briefly touch on TITTAYS. It got its own category cos of how much it bothers me.
Now, yes, Skins is no stranger to showing off half-naked young girls. Michelle got her kit off more times than I can count (Okay, yes, I can count to 3). So did Naomi. Emily. Effy. Liv. But here's my issue... it has become slightly gratuitous to me. Sure, it happened in S1-3, but it never seemed ~pointless. S4 started bordering on some sort of line, what with Ems jaunting around half-naked, ass hanging out. But generally speaking it was manageable. I always thought Naomi lying naked on the bed was a bit weird, but you could make an argument for some sort of metaphor there. Which I'm sure BE delivered with glee and aplomb.
Then MTV!Skins came along.
The promos themselves were blatant sexual objectification of minors. You seriously can't argue with this. 70% of the time, Michelle and Daisy had their dresses/tops hanging off, breasts spilling out of their very visible bras. You'd have to be blind not to notice. But you know what? UK!Michelle barely owned anything that didn't do the same. And plus, they were promos meant to raise hype. So, no harm, no foul. Let it slide. Then came the episodes. I know I commented on this in my reviews cos it struck me as uncomfortable then as well. The preoccupation with Camille's tits. Rachel's. The fact there seemed to be no excuse too weak to get them with cleavage pouring out of their tops. It became disgusting.
I stopped thinking it was harmless and it became worrisome near the end.
Fast forward to 6x01. Not only is Mini --the girl with an eating disorder and body image issues-- suddenly completely cured of that and flaunting her half-naked torso everywhere, but so are all the other girls. A Moroccan holiday is a GREAT excuse to have the girls parading around in next to nothing for gawkers to admire. And let's be honest, one of the main things I read about Dakota is how great her rack is. Skins PTB: "Let's get your tits out, girl! We need RATINGS!!" You certainly couldn't have this in Bristol.
I know what I must sound like right now. I must sound downright ornery and elderly, sitting on my porch in a rocking chair throwing sticks at all the neighbourhood youth. And honestly, it probably wouldn't have even been a blip on my radar if I hadn't been previously sensitized to it in MTV!Skins, and if Mini hadn't been a party to it. And it wasn't just like it was a quiet issue. Alo draws attention to Mini's breasts. And then two seconds later, Liv is ripping her shirt off for no comprehensible reason. Please, seriously. Someone explain it to me. My immediate thought was that she was tripping. She was, right? The only time I see people do that shit is if they're hallucinating. And there wasn't anything actually on her. It was so random tho. Lay of the hash, Liv. You're gonna give yourself schizophrenia. (Shut up, it's technically possible to trigger it this way. Not common. And you can't just get it out of nowhere. It has to have some pre-existing basis. But this is a controversial issue so let's move on.)
Seemed like a really contrived way to a) get Liv's tits bouncing around, b)give Mini an excuse to grope, and c)allow Nick to take the bike. Ugh.
That's how I knew, 5 minutes into 6x01, that it was written by the same man who did MTV!Skins. And god, could that opening have been more grating? The song itself is good. The sound editing was awful. It sounded like a fucking lot of noise. And shut the fuck up. Who seriously goes riding around screaming constantly? WOOOO!! WOOOOOOO!!! No one. The shit stops 2 minutes into the ride. People don't go around screaming on motorbikes in dusty climates for an hour. Sorry. It was so terribly contrived and stereotyped. Like, really.
Anyway... what else to say? Rich/Grace.
That's all. I honestly don't give a fuck. Sure, they're cute but they don't do anything for me. I actually fast-forwarded some of their scenes cos I was bored. As a result, I didn't care about the end. It made zero impact on me. Except, hello Dobbie. I want to chew on your weird hair.
That actress seriously creeps my shit out. IT'S DOBBIE. She's not a NURSE. She works in IT! Silly, Dobby. Go back to Croydon. Also, again with the ludicrously contrived bullshit re: the hospital. Whatever, Skins. Unless Grace has a police guard, hospitals don't have the resources to assign watchdogs to random ICU rooms. Nurses are notoriously overworked and busy. There's no way Rich wouldn't have been able to sneak in. And in a way other than through the fucking ceiling. And guess what THEY DON'T LOCK the doors! Why you ask? Cos, funny fact, if there is an emergency and staff need to rush in, they don't have time to fiddle with keys and unlock doors.
Which is all too bad cos I thought Jess was rather good. One of the better actors, tbh. Rich pisses me off tho. Again with a complete 180 of character. I hated that line from Grace "don't go changing" or whatever. Bitch, have you seen him? He's got his Bieber hairdo and a pink vest top. He's the definition of someone he used to hate. And fucks sake, it was such bullshit there. "there's no heavy metal beachwear". HEY RICH. ARE YOU MENTALLY RETARDED? They're called T-SHIRTS and you already own them. There is no rule that in Morocco, you must wear tank tops only. It's not that fucking unbearable. You can wear t-shirts.
(Let's not even talk about how Skins portrayed Morocco. That's not the sort of thing I recall, or have read about, but having never been there I can't really talk, I suppose. It's kinda like how they make Bristol look fucking amazing... and it's not.)
I call it now: Coma Baby.
If Veronica Mars can do it and think it's a decent idea, I'm sure Skins can rip that off too. They're already working their way through ripping off every other shitty American teen drama/film.
There was once a time that I watched Skins and said, "Yeah, this is a bit unrealistic, but wow, it's also REALLY real. I can relate to a scary degree." Now, I sit and watch and say, "Hmm. Am I just really old now or is this actually how teenagers live?" Cos last I checked, S4 was a massive pile of utter OTT bullshit. But it seems like S6 is speeding down a similar road...
Cos let's just touch on a few things quickly.
Oh, Skins. How I've missed your completely inaccurate portrayals of drug use. You would think after 6 years, they would have found SOMEONE on staff with some experience in this area. Oh wait, that's right, BE thinks he understands kids and thus has all the answers. Teen advisory boards are just for show, right?
First things first: congrats on learning a new drug: ketamine. Too bad you're about 20 years late and wtf. That's seriously what Matty was trafficking? REALLY? Seems... odd. Ket is awesome, but seriously, you can get prescriptions for it in Morocco. Hell, I worked in a vet's office here and the stuff was everywhere. Under lock and key, but still. I just don't understand the point in trafficking k thru Morocco. In a country with prisons/police as corrupt as that, it seems like really unnecessary risk with very small reward, cos what? You sell it in a neighbouring country that likely has the same regulations on it so it's really no bonus?
Is it just me, or did Josie say it really odd? Is that how you Brits pronounce "Ket-Ah-Meen"? Cos, wow, you're doing it wrong. I can't even remember how Josie said it but it was fucking weird. It's ket-ah-meen/ket-ah-min. Not whatever she said.
All that aside, yes, Morocco is known for serious amounts of weed. But ... it's usually sold as hashish, not dried plants. Kif is common, even if it is illegal, but I dunno. I thought that was fucking stupid of Skins. Oh look at this giant bag of weed! It's far more likely it would have been hash. Nit-picks. Not really all that important cos really it's just a different form and it's not like kif is the only form available there. If you've got kif, you've got plants. Anyway.
But here's the kicker: HOW STUPID ARE THESE KIDS? Oh hey look, a massive bag of weed! Let's smoke it! I guess Santa left it for us! Of course, if I was in a strange country in a run-down villa, the first thing I would think when I found a huge quantity of drugs was "Let's use it!" It would never occur to me that, I dunno, there's some drug deal shit going on. Of course not. Cos, you know why? On Skins, the kids ALWAYS (save Sid/Chris in S1) get drugs as easily as they get water. Bags of it, just handed to them for free. So why would this situation be any different, yeah?
Except, OMG, it IS different, cos an unrealistically young, Maculaly Culkin look-a-like is actually a ~dangerous drug trafficker and uses Rider's pad as a holding pen and then blackmails Matty into transporting it for him or else, dun dun dunnnn, he'll fuck Franky!!! Like FUCK RIGHT OFF SKINS. No. Kids that age aren't trafficking kingpins. I feel like this is turning into a fantasy novel or something. Like that South Park episode when there were no adults and kids did everything. Cos guess what? You don't just shift a few ounces of weed and suddenly you're an international drug smuggler. If it was honestly that easy, I'd have dropped out of uni and changed careers.
Has BE ever seen Layer Cake, at least?
It's all such utter bullshit.
And honestly, Matty may have been a tool, but he was smart to run (about the only moderately smart thing he did the whole episode). You're never getting out of Moroccan prison, buddy. It's actually amazing that Liv and Grace were free to go. Cos the police woulda tried to finger SOMEONE for those drugs. Matty's dumb tho. He shoulda taken a bag of dope. It's currency, man.
Hmm, that wasn't quick at all.
I don't really want to get into the stuff about the random ass choice to pick Morocco for a holiday. Who's brilliant stoke of genius was this... instead of, I don't know, one of the actual common vacation destinations for British youth. (Note: The Inbetweeners did this whole thing better.)
Does anyone else remember when there was a group of friends who lived in Bristol, and it was one of their birthdays and they all wanted to go on a camping trip? Remember that? And, like, there was a lot of fuss about getting a car and driving there? And it was a big deal to organise it? Or maybe I'm imagining that... Maybe I'm confusing it with that other time, with another group of friends who wanted to go camping and that was an issue organising a ride there as well? And those places were either in Wales or outside Bristol. Or even that other time when a 3rd group of friends had an adventure just trying to get to a church in Somerset? All that stuff like normal teenagers face when they want to go on holiday???
Am I just imagining all this?
Now, not only are this group kids from working-class (with some middle-class) families suddenly on a magnificent holiday in Africa (which btw, you need to take malaria meds before you leave. It's not just a place you can jet off to on a whim... unless you want to risk a parasitic infection depending where you're going and what you're doing... and... i mean i've had friends who have done just this, but that's neither here nor there. they didn't have the greatest time, let me say. it's cheap there, sure -- mostly, but at a cost.) but they are also completely devoid of any parents whatsoever.
OH SERIES FOUR, I almost didn't recognise you! You're a bit sunnier, but it's good to see you haven't changed much.
Even in the fucking terrible G2 novel, EFFY STONEM had parental supervision on holiday. EFFY STONEM. Not to mention teh Fitch twins as well. To me, this situation is like taking off to some random dive in Mexico with no parents when I was 17.
In other words, fucking impossible.
Yes, it's more common for kids in SoCal to jaunt down to TJ for a bit of fun -- but again, that's a moderately short bus ride. That's like when I took off to NYC. Or, if the Skins kids, took off to... London. Dublin. Berlin. Greece I suppose even. BE should not be taking his cues from The OC or Gossip Girl. Just like Americans think Skins is this completely accurate portrayal of everyday life in England (seriously, a lot of them do. Dumbasses.), I cringe to think that Skins writers may believe that American teen dramas are accurate portrayals of American youth. Cos, no. I'm pretty sure that was the whole point behind MTV!Skins, yeah? To tear down the glitzy façade of American teen programming? Ring any bells, BE? Then why on earth are you picking up pieces from said unrealistic American teen soaps and replicating them in UK!Skins? Honestly.
It's just such a massive heap of stupid that I just don't understand where Skins went wrong. Like, when exactly did they completely lose the plot? What happened to even a modicum of realism here?
Oh well, enough on that. It angers me too much.
Nick. Shut up. Just shut the fuck up with your whiny ass. Oh boo hoo, poor Nick is so misunderstood and blah blah blah. Whatever. I got it last series. I loved it last series. Like, fucking grow up, Nick. Life sucks, we get it. Your spiral into substance dependency was chronicled last series, but again, perhaps I just imagined his whole speech in 5x08.
WOW. FRANKY AND NICK ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER.
Ah, yes. Now we come to Malo. Tbh, I'm pretty ranted out. But I do have thoughts on this.
Let's just stick with the basics for now:
- I was not against Malo coming into this episode. I was curious, even hopeful. Yet, miraculously, I hated it. I now do not like it. I do not want it on my screen, I do not want it on my tumblr dash. I just do not want to look at Alo's face. Period.
- Alo. Ugh.
- Mini, who are you?
- Shoving something down my throat is usually a sure-fire to make me HATE it.
- I officially don't want Mini with either Alo or Franky. Since we apparently can't have nice things, (like FRIENDSHIPS) let's just toss everything out and, hmm, Liv/Mini. Yes. That's what I want now. Cos, why not? Who cares what the characters are actually like. Make enough boner jokes and people will think it's ~MTB and froth at the mouth over it like rapid badgers.
OTP. Look at Mini. True wuv. Also, cos due to Freya's awesome acting (and I'm saying that genuinely), that little waking up, looking at Liv bit. Yeah, I'm taking that out of context completely. I fully expect that they'll drop Mini's whole ~confusion from S5 completely in S6, but it's moments like that from Freya that make it worth it. And really, why not? It's not like I trust them to actually focus on the real gems of this gen, which are the lovely friendships like Liv/Mini had/have. They're making everything about shagging, so why not lump these two in there as well.
So yeah, abandon all ships! I'm gonna play pirate and takeover a new one!
Back to Malo. If I had been a fan of Malo before this episode, I would have been upset by this. Not only cos it seems so fake cos the characters are strange and OOC. But seriously, you're all rejoicing about this? Do you all remember what happens to 2nd series relationships? They either break-up cos they're shit or someone dies. Sketch/Anwar. Sid/Michelle. Chris/Jal. Freddie/Effy.
Have fun, Malo stans.
Cos it's obviously set-up to be so endgame... Random hookups on holiday tend to totally work out this way. --_--
Now, the thing I'm pissed off about is not Malo itself. As I said, I was pretty okay with the idea of it. But my one stipulation was that whatever happens, happens organically and is developed well.
Neither of those things are true here. It was not organic and it was not well-developed. All of a sudden, Mini wants some ginger peen and voila! Sex-God Alo emerges. I mean, come the fuck ON. First things first, all the comments that "OMG MALO HAD SUCH AWESOME DEVELOPMENT AND CHEMISTRY. THEY WERE TOTALLY EYE FUCKING IN THE CAR!"
I think we must have differing ideas of what constitutes "good development". To me, I like things to exist prior to the episode they happen in. I don't ask for blatant foreshadowing. But take Chris/Jal for example, there was a relationship that was rooted in deep friendship all the way back to 1x04, perhaps even earlier. For Chris and Jal to evolve into a romance never felt forced, it never came out of nowhere. Same can be said for Freffy, as much as it pains me. There was an exorbitant amount of build-up. Even Sid/Michelle. You know who didn't? Sketch/Anwar. So, look at the company you're keeping there. You know who else was just thrown together? Katie/Freddie. Katie/Thomas. JJ/Lara. Effy/Cook. Look how well those turned out. (I mean, Malo fans can hope that the parallels in origin between Malo and Ceffy work in their favour and Malo becomes far more fleshed out... but I personally am not holding my breath for a Ceffy rehash -- cos that took 2 series. Not one. And it was ... well, it was Cook and Effy. Simples.)
Here's my thing:
Alo's whole ~shtick was irritating. It comes back to that stupid mini-episode. Like, his behaviour was NOT endearing to me. Of course, Mini's flattered. I'm not sure when staring at a girls' tits and wanking over her mum became a courtship ritual but I'm sure as fuck glad I'm not a teenager anymore. Cos, gross. Now, getting guys hard is fun. It is flattering. Validating. Satisfying. It's a bit of power trip even. And I think most straight girls welcome the sight of a raging hard-on made just for them; they like turning their guys on just and much as guys like turning their girls on. But when it's not asked for? Um, not so much. If some douchey guy at my high school came up to me with a boner, I'd be like fuck off. It's the equivalent of those creepy men on subways that "accidentally" jab their dicks into you in rush hour crowds. I'm not sure why men think women want to see and feel their cocks all the time and we will ALWAYS be in awe of it. Uhhh, NO. "Look at me, I'm such a virile male specimen! I want to put this in youuuu!!!" *shudder* Not every girl is just drooling for random dick every hour of every day. Not every girl wants to have boys oogle her at every opportunity... and then rub one out on their bed. Why does Mini actually find any of that attractive enough to completely do away with her own pre-established insecurities and bang him?
Maybe she didn't find it attractive. Maybe she just wanted some play, some attention, holiday fun. Fair play to her. In which case, as a Malo shipper, I'd be gutted. But the alternate of her suddenly finding him irresistible rings just as hollowly. Cos aside from one sweet scene in 5x06, everything else I see being used as "evidence" of their amazing development is just a bunch of wank. Seriously, I can pick apart episodes too and assign meaning to every glance in the way I want to interpret it. I'm sure you could take ANY pairing and apply this method and come up with all sorts of evidence that points to them being totally into each other. And to me, taking that 5x06 scene and making it romantic is a huge disservice to the characters at that point.
We all know Alo likes hot girls, but I really enjoyed that scene cos it showed Mini pulling down her persona for a moment and just being KIND for the sake of it. Not cos she has a secret crush on Alo or any shit like that. And Alo recognising that hot girls aren't just bitches who won't do him, but people too, not just porn fodder.
But shippers will see what they want. I should know... Heh.
The one thing I disagree with Malo detractors about is Alo's "disrespectful" attitude towards Mini, in that "fucked yoru brains out" scene. Like how crass and arrogant he was, and how OOC that was. To me, Alo has never been particularly respectful of women. 5x02's convo between him and Rich was clear. He sees them as a place to shove his dick into, and that's all he's interested in. And, you know, that's fine cos a lot of boys are like that at that age, especially if all they do is watch pornography. Cos, really, women serve no purpose in that vast majority of male-oriented porn than to be moaning semen receptacles. Like fleshy tube socks. I'm no Freudian, but his relationship with his mother (the only real female figure in his life) doesn't help matters. He's disdainful and petulant.
I didn't see his attitude post BJ/fucking as particularly out of character. And really, his disrespect was always on display with his oogling of Mini anyway.
But that doesn't mean I didn't feel sleazeworthy vibes from it anyway. I didn't like that Alo, tbh. It doesn't suit him. Made me cringe and I honestly can't look at gifs of that scene without cringing again.
I feel, perhaps unfairly, that people who are particularly ecstatic about this, are Alo lovers, or perhaps dorky and awkward themselves, so they see Mini wanting to get with Alo and they feel better about themselves. Cos they love Mini too. (I truly believe that your shipping preferences are a reflection on how you relate to characters themselves. I feel like this is an obvious observation but it seems that we ignore the influence of our own projections when rationalizing our shipping preferences. Whatever, who cares.) I just know that if I have to see one more fucking Skins episode with the awkward, social retard getting with the hot, popular girl, I'm going to smash something. It has effectively been PLAYED OUT. Put it away now. Cos, you know what reality is? It's NOT getting THAT girl. You're a gross, weird-looking, chronic masturbator --- no, you are not getting the girl. Sorry. That girl doesn't want you, regardless of how much Skins would insist that spunking all over her bed and showing off your porn knowledge are aphrodisiacs. Cliques exist and they SUCK but that's how it is. (Ever seen "Just Friends"? For a silly rom-com, it's actually sort of TRUE. Go watch it.) Just wait til you graduate and the world will open up a bit.
I am aware that these are not nice things to say but someone has to call shenanigans on this bullshit. It happens in practically every teen show ever. Every silly teen movie too. But in reality, it really isn't that common. At least in my high school years, and in everyone else I've talked to. That's kinda why school/life is so shitty. You're stuck in some mould that everyone else has placed you in, and most people aren't willing to look deeper. The only thing I can assume with Mini/Alo is that Mini has some insight about the type of guy Alo is and she chose him for whatever that reason was. Nothing's clear yet so I really don't want to speculate. Otherwise, it makes no sense and is complete rubbish. Back to my actual recap tho...
Also, I can totally see someone like Alo being stupid like that about his realistically mediocre if not downright crappy sexual performance. He prolly got off a few times, and so, obvs that means he fucked her brains out, right? Boys have a funny view about sex, espesh when they're teens. They all want to think they're sex gods. And so very, very few of them actually are.
But this is where this whole story starts to bother me. Firstly NO VIRGIN WHO SPENDS ALL HIS TIME IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER SCREEN IS AMAZING AT SEX. NO. His ideals of sex would be warped for one thing. Secondly, I would say the majority of boys, especially younger ones, are shitty at sex their first times. It's not some miracle. Here, I'm going to shatter a few illusions for you virgins: Quite often, the first time you have sex with someone, it's not amazing. It can be downright awkward cos you simply don't know each other like that yet. Some guys, after a lot of experience, can nail it first time around. Same as girls. And sometimes the emotional connection and combined experience can result is a wicked first time (with each other, not as virgins). Alcohol is also a great lubricant to ease awkwardness. But generally speaking, there's no chance in hell that sober Alo would be giving sober Mini mind-blowing sex his first go around. Hey, remember in MTV!Skins when disgusting Stanley shot off in Michelle's hand before they could even get anywhere? Yeah. That's real life. Sure, Mini went down on him with barely any preamble and likely tapped that well dry for about 10 minutes, til as a 17 yr old boy, he's ready to go again. It may take slightly longer when they actually have sex, but not by much.
It's just so absolutely infuriating to me to suggest that Alo is some sex master off the bat. It is SO typical of male writing. Have you read any sex fic written by men? Yeah, it's pretty much EXACTLY what happened in this episode.
Hot girl comes to loser boy for no real reason. Doesn't matter anyway, really. Girls' thoughts and motivations are of no importance in sexual relationships.
Hot girl goes eagerly down on him.
He has a huge cock. She loves it.
He is an instant studly sex god, in every way. oral, genital, etc.
She just can't get enough of his sex and practically begs him yet still resists to appear not a desperate whore.
Seriously? Go type in "free sex stories" or something in google. You'll see loads of crap written by dudes and they all sound like cheap pornos. Thanks, BE. That's exactly what I wanted. When I watch Skins, I'm looking for middle-aged male wish fulfilment. OH WAIT, no I'm not. I'm looking for only slightly-exaggerated teen life. This was NOT. What is up with these nerdy dudes being instant sexual masters? Sid, anyone? When Michelle was like "No one's made me cum before" well, I can believe that. There are a surprising number of teen girls who don't get orgasms from their boyfriends. Hell, there are a significant percentage of women of all ages. But the fact that Sid was this amazing lay? LOL. Please. I CAN however fanwank this myself cos the emotional connection between Michelle and Sid likely played a role -- she was a lot more ~herself when she was around Sid. He wasn't threatening, or judgemental. She had no need to perform for him like she no doubt had to for Tony -- and the big kicker: she was incredibly emotional and lonely when it happened. (And when that rush wore off in 3 days, teh sex became crappy again.) Part of this you could stretch to Mini/Alo's situation as well... but they simply do not have the backstory and history of Michelle and Sid. And, really, Mini is certainly not Michelle.
And let's... well... you know that toilet scene. So Mini's just standing in the middle of a path getting head? I don't have enough HEADSHAKE gifs in the world for this. Have any of you girls ever received that standing up and not able to lean or hold onto anything? Yeah, you know where I'm going with this. Good luck with your rocking orgasm...
And can I just say, there is NO way in hell Alo would be any good at that having never done it before. True, teen girls probably are easier to please than an older girl with some experience, but still. I could suspend disbelief for Naomi/Emily cos really, Emily's a girl and would have a much better idea and also there was a serious emotional connection already present which is a huge benefit to the enjoyment. If any Malo fans come to me and say, but Malo have a similar connection to Naomily, I will punch you in your stupid face. You cannot seriously believe that.
So, I guess this is all a really roundabout way of saying that I don't mind Mini and Alo hooking up, technically. I do however mind how it's been done here. It's so beyond the scope of realism and continuity. I'm not saying I would have liked a full series of hints, but something MORE than that terrible webisode would have been preferable. I can't say I support Mini/Alo now.
It makes me sad. Cos they could have been done SO MUCH better. But as it stands, it was terrible. I actually somewhat hate it, as it is. I'm not saying there's not room to fix it... but this is Skins. And the same dude who gave us S4 and MTV!Skins. I've had enormous amounts of patience in the past, and it's never panned out. So, really, I won't be holding my breath that they'll salvage Malo and explain Mini's mindset going into the whole thing.
I'm just not sure that I believe Mini would have chosen Alo for this. Usually holiday quickies are with people you never have to see again when you go home. That's the point. Not to start a stressful ~secret ~relationship.
I'm not saying all hook-ups have to be ~meaningful. Sometimes it's relaxing and fun just to fool around on holiday. But stans are taking it way to seriously as a ship if that is all it is. To me, it's either a bit of holiday fluff or it's a legit romance. It can't be both. And if you want Malo to be legit, then I would be concerned with the set-up as it stands because it has no solid basis. But if you don't really care about longevity or exceptional storytelling, then have fun with the holiday fluff theory. But telling me that this little shag-arrangement is OTP-level romance is really pushing it. If that's what you wanted for Malo, I would be disappointed if I were you... and you'd better hope to god that someone swoops in and fixes that pile of shit that you were given in 6x01 cos it was not a good omen. It's not impossible for a fling to develop into something more, often they do, at least for one half of the pair. But I would be crossing my fingers that Skins writers recognise that they have to actually show that development, not just throw flashy naked things in our faces and makes lots of loud emo sounds to distract us from the fact that they really have no substance to the story.
And seriously, if those Mini/Alo spoilers I read today are true... For fuck sake. (Grain of salt aside... cos it could just be someone talking bollocks to work everyone into a frenzy). I'm done. I won't even watch the rest of the series cos honestly? It's fucking ridiculous. If I wanted fucking moronic soap operas, I would watch them. That shit IS NOT SKINS. Or, at least, it wasn't the Skins I fell in love with, and it's time to break up if that's the case. If you honestly think that is a great storyline for Skins, well. Have fun with it. At least you'll be happy. Btw, thanks for ruining Skins for the rest of us. That sort of idiotic storyline... It's worse than a bat-wielding, obsessive, psychiatrist lunatic. Instead, it's straight out of a really horrible Gossip Girl episode or something. Or Teen Mom. The horror! Mostly cos those characters sound completely different to everyone we got to know in S5. The whole point of Skins was to reflect what is important to young people, and to present in a way that didn't take every little moment and exaggerate it to oblivion. It can't be point-for-point realistic, but it was never so extreme (except S4) that it was unrecognisable. I never sat and compared Skins, The OC, Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives or whatever and noted all the similarities in outrageous stories. No. Cos Skins was genuine in its approach. These spoilers? Holy fuck no. That's what I see on TV if I turn on Days of Our Lives in the mid-afternoon. It would make Degrassi look like a legit documentary.
It actually makes me feel a little ill. And terribly betrayed by Skins. Sure, they don't owe me anything... but I didn't invest all this time and love into something only to have it turn into THAT.
Anyway. Enough. This is insanely long, isn't it? Eek.
One more thing: that really over-dramatic car crash? Puhlease. There is no way in hell Matty would be RUNNING away from that wreck with nothing but a lovely cinematic forehead wound. Bitch would AT LEAST have a concussion. The truck was FLATTENED on top. Crushed. Yet Matty magically gets out, is virtually uninjured and sprints off. Yeah, okay. And then Liv is pretty much okay as well, a split lip and again with the stereotypical forehead wound.
Oh yeahhh. You can total a car like that, have it roll over and smash down, and you'll all be hunky dory. A few scrapes a bruises but nothing serious. Damn lucky considering the roof CRUMPLED in on itself. The whole chase/crash scene was really... hollow. I found it didn't move me at all. Like, I just half-paid attention cos really, I've seen this whole episode a million times before in a million different TV shows and films. No emotional relevance whatsoever. And then everyone's just a wee bit banged up.
Oh, except the one person who's in a devastating coma. Sucks to be you, Grace. Welcome to typical TVland. (And wasn't it just wonderful how psychic Rich is? What the fuck is this shit?! Touched by an Angel?)
Overall, it was a terrible episode. IMO. Josie was lovely. It was so amazing having her back. Doug, I love you. Liv, you've got my heart too. But everything else? Uh uh. Everything was so... stupid. Just so painfully stupid and all the characters were annoying. Except Liv. (And occasionally Matty cos for once I could actually understand his staring and I legit felt bad for the dude cos bitchmonster Franky is a huge cow.) I felt as if it was so badly done that it was actually insulting to my intelligence and taste, as if I would actually find this enjoyable. Like this is what I want? NO way. JB, you were smart to get out when you did, tbh. Unless he's secretly ghost-writing now...
But to me, this episode just felt like MTV!Skins. BE had his own thing, and then when that got aborted cos it was so poorly done (No, it wasn't AMERICA'S fault that they couldn't handle your edgy, avant-garde TV. It was just BAD.) he high-tailed it back home and tookover his son's baby. He kidnapped Gen3 and decided to just slap on everything he had been trying to do in the US. That's why the characters are so strange -- S5 didn't exist. S5 and MTV!Skins were actually the SAME! Ahhhh! I just picture BE like one of those crazy women who looses a child and then runs to the mall and kidnaps someone else's and just sits around trying to force it into being the child she lost.
Am I alone in this? Yes? Oh well. I would say here I mean no disrespect to BE. But that would be a lie. He disrespected Gen3 to such an enormous degree, and then fled Twitter before he had to even face the critics -- like a child who shoves his fingers in his ears and refuses to hear anything. If I don't hear it, it's not true! Riiiight. This is a man that I once admired. He wrote such amazing things and provided us with great, real, powerful stories that were easily relatable. Something happened along the way. With Skins' success came branding, and that in itself removed the authenticity of the initial vision. When he jetted off to America to start over, it left Skins in the hands of the original brains, JB. The one who really did imagine Tony, Sid and Michelle way back when Skins was going to be a novel, not a TV programme. The one that wasn't blinded by business and ratings and just wanted to get back to telling REAL stories with complex dynamics: friends, lovers, parents, enemies. And out of that came a ratings nightmare, but one of the most genuine series of Skins. All the dumbasses that had picked up Skins cos of the melodramatic atrocity that was S4 were suddenly screaming "BORING!!! NEEDS MOAR EFFY!!" everywhere. But a lot of the fans, who hadn't grown up and moved on naturally, who have watched Skins develop slowly, weren't so dismissive. It may have lacked some of the emotional wallop of G2, or even G1, but it was well-made, well-imagined, and felt like more Skins was originally meant to. Then the MTV flop. Daddy comes home and snatches it all back: "We must have ratings! Money! Advert revenue! We must make brainless things! Kids like that! We must get girls naked all the time and make all jokes about penises and farts! Also kids like drama so melodrama it is! Doesn't matter if nothing makes sense as long as there's loads of drugs and sex! It'll be so EXCITING! GENIUS!!!" And guess what, all those people complaining about how boring S5 was and how great S4 was are suddenly happy again. Congrats, BE. You did it. But you sold your soul. Wait, not your soul, Skins' soul.
You see my point? Seriously. It hurts my head. And my heart.
Remember in Elf when they're talking about the picture book that was missing the ending, and the executive said that it didn't matter cos kids are stupid? Feels familiar.
This was not the Skins I said goodbye to at the end 5x08. This is some weird alternate reality version. Do not like. But, hey, it's only the first episode. We have NINE more to go. That's plenty of time to fix it. After all, 4x01 was pure shit too, and they came back with 4x02/3/&4. Then it all went to shit again, but I'm sure we'll get at least 2 episodes this series that are better than this crappy offering. Hopefully this was purposely set up to be jarring and horrible.
I genuinely thought that S6 would potentially be so good that G3 would dethrone G1 as my fav Gen. It was on the fast-track. Not a great start if that's the case... It's such a shame that Laya and Freya (even Jess) are wasted on this stupid shit. They deserve so much more. Especially Laya.
So, final verdict: D.
Sorry, series 6. C'mon. You can bounce back. Maybe.
Other fun posts I've seen: