As Skins limps through another abysmal series, we ask why television hates teenagers so much?
So, no one wants to give us jobs, no one wants us to be educated without some sort soul destroying payment and evidently no one wants to represent us on telly anymore. For a teenager in modern Britain it’s a shite state of affairs.
I was left with a barrage of texts (one, really) when I finally found my phone at 11pm on Monday, my best friend exclaimed:
“That’s it, I fucking give up. I gave it 3 episodes and now I’m done. This boy is having anal sex with someone he found on a fucking iPhone app.”
And thus I bring you to Skins, which is now as about as relevant as fucking Bebo. It’s saddening really, that the current series is in line with my final year at sixth form because it actually makes me thankful for my piss poor uneventful life. I think Skins is under the illusion that somebody dies in every sixth form or that our ‘uniqueness’ is probably down to some mental illness. For a British show that took pride in not being The OC Gossiping girl of 90210; aiming for the sitcom to be watched by boys as well as girls, from hiring a cast that aren’t a bunch of late 20 something’s and having late teens have a hand a writing – it hasn’t half descended into absurd bullshit.
Apart from inspiring parties that the Daily Mail had an excited editorial wee wee over, It specifically built and shattered the expectations of non-compulsory education; not one mother fucker mentioned petty bureaucracy of UCAS and personal statements, coursework deadlines or actually finding someone to give you their ID for the night – a troublesome plight for the summer babies of the year. No one got rejected from Offy for buying a packet of Silk Cut, they’re too busy forlornly gazing ahead in an empty park finding ‘love’ or working out the real ‘me’ or why they hate their sodding stereotyped mum. Skins needs to be one of those mutual friends who fucks off to Australia. The one you thankfully don’t see when they come back to England once every 6 months.
But hey I’m a caustic ungrateful teenager, what gives me the right to whine about telly and what it should provide for a generation of shoplifters. Well number 1: this site is letting me and number 2: If producers think that everything from our secondary school years to college are really that important at least let them peddle it with some bastard integrity. Because really, being a teenager is as boring as fuck. Most of us are waiting for our salvation in early adulthood.
And where the teen sitcom fails lo and behold ‘reality sitcom’ comes in to sate us. The secret pleasure of watching debauched northerners, Italians and faux Sloanes are far too great. As well as gleefully watching a family (of the he dead guy who defended OJ Simpson and whose daughter made a sex tape) on our screens multiplying like fucking melanoma. Discovering a new Kardashian now seems, in the eyes of the media, tantamount to finding the Gardens of Babylon. I’m sorry, but the edited face lingering on some gormless being doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Skins needs to be one of those mutual friends who fucks off to Australia. The one you thankfully don’t see when they come back to England once every 6 months.
Nevertheless there have been notable exceptions to this shite; The Inbetweeners, though centred around 4 boys, portrayed the sixth form/college years relatively well and excelled where Skins failed, it made my parents laugh even though when ending up in somewhat similar situations my selves they weren’t spitting out their tea in particular amusement. Daria, the last credible thing MTV ever made, centred on the smart and cynical teen Daria Morgendorffer. Considering the show as a whole, it had very individual but well developed personalities of many economic backgrounds, realistic ‘teenage human condition’ themes and wit that’s worth remembering and using when lightly trolling over the internet.
But it’s not like we’ve come from humble beginnings either; loud obnoxious Disney-fied tweens reel my younger siblings in. Those who are pop stars by night, wear short sleeve shirts over long sleeved shirts and whose specific talents are either to sing, dance, act and probably shit glitter if they smiled hard enough. While I was being sold how Kenan & Kel had a fixation with orange soda they’re being taught that the Simon Cowell bastardisation of ‘talent’ will get them famous and happy. And that’s as twisted as having a plastic baby realistically piss.
Since we don’t have the cultural Britpop 3.0 to unite us, we have TV within the abyss of this post-modernist gloom. So I would love for some shows that are relatable with a decent mix of gender and ethnic minorities. Cos I’m getting a little bit sick of watching the Daily Mail wet dream of the Upstairs Downton Midwife because tbh I don’t find that pretty vintage dresses draw away the cool elegance of early 20th century colonialism, the golden age of stringent class boundaries or the glamour of staid gender norms.
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