Image: Flickr / Matthias Ripp

Ten Years On: What Skins means to me

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It’s been ten years since Skins first came to our screens, demonstrating what was supposed to be typical British teenager life – drinking, drugs, and relationships.

Although I don’t recall many similarities between my teenage years and that portrayed on Skins – I’ve never stolen a boat or confessed my love for someone only to be hit by a bus – but even if your life wasn’t as wild as the casts’, it was still refreshing to see complex, multi-layered characters. As each episode focused on a different person, it was unique to watch in how it developed all its characters storylines not simply one or two main ones.

Although it wasn’t like watching a total reflection of the teenage life I was living, it was good, quality television

This also meant Skins could cover a wide range of issues, from mental health to homosexuality without compromising the depth needed to explore these. Although Skins’ representation of some topics was certainly questionable, presenting a diverse group of teenagers in which there was a possibility for all those watching at home could recognise parts of themselves in should not be discredited.

Skins also offered a form of escapism. Although it wasn’t like watching a total reflection of the teenage life I was living, it was good, quality television (the first two generations certainly, at least). By watching an episode of Skins, there was definitely a kind of comfort that your life didn’t seemed as complicated as theirs.

The space to make slipups and learn from them was imperative in their teenage years and was important to send a message to viewers: that it’s okay to mess up when you’re young

Skins attempted a revival a few years ago, with series seven revisiting Effy, Cassie and Cook. Although there were many unanswered questions at the end of each generation – and, of course, it’s compelling to find out what happened after their teenage years – I think the defining quality of Skins was their youth. That’s why it was okay for all their numerous mistakes and failings to occur, things that were they still doing as young adults wouldn’t be as acceptable. However the space to make slipups and learn from them was imperative in their teenage years and was important to send a message to viewers: that it’s okay to mess up when you’re young.

However although everyone was dying to know what happened with Cook and John Foster, or Cassie and Sid in New York, the teenagers needed to be left young. A comeback wouldn’t work as the appeal is in their teenager years and the essence of the show was gone in season seven.

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