Skins

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Fandom
Name: Skins
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain
Date(s): 2007-
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: UK
External Links: http://www.e4.com/skins
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Skins is a British teen drama that follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England through the two years of sixth form. The show is known for its controversial plotlines, exploring issues such as dysfunctional families, personality disorders, eating disorders, mental illness, homosexuality, and death. The show was created by father and son television writers Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain for Company Pictures, and premiered on E4 in January of 2007.

The show is notable for its casting of amateur actors and young writers. The cast are entirely replaced every two series, when the characters leave sixth form. Skins has broadcast four series, and has been commissioned up to a sixth. A Skins film is also in production, as well as an American adaptation by MTV, set in Baltimore, Maryland.

Skins fandom

Although a British show, it has become very popular worldwide, in part thanks to the internet. E4, which airs the program in Britain, has encouraged fans to participate in fandom, even holding fan video contests.[1] While popular in its home country of England, Skins is also especially popular in America. BBCAmerica does air each series, albeit a heavily edited version; the show's strong language is edited out, as well as most of the sex scenes. Most, if not all fans, prefer to watch Skins in real-time, unedited, and E4 encourages live streaming for international fans.

The Skins section of fanfiction.net is quite prolific. There is also a great deal of fanfiction on Livejournal, where Skins is most popular. There are several fan and writing communities on Livejournal. There is also a strong Skins community on the popular message board FanForum, where it is consistently ranked as one of the most popular boards, in regards to the number of posts per month.[2]

The fandom is particularly known for having a very strong voice when it comes to storylines and treatment of characters. The show's writers and creators have said that they frequently go online to gauge fans' reactions. With Gen 1, the characters Chris and Jal were written into a relationship, as many fans were vocal about their shipping of them. Fans were even more vocal regarding the popular Gen 2 couple Naomi and Emily; Skins received heavy criticism for certain "bad" storylines (such as Emily sleeping with a male friend, JJ, in the third series).[3] There was also a loud outcry from fans when the character of Freddie was killed off and E4 was forced to issue an apology.[4]

There has been some controversy among fans for the USA version of Skins. The fanbase seems to be split between support and disdain for the remake. However, most fans apparently remain cautiously optimistic.

Characters

Skins is notable for changing its cast every two seasons (or, as they are called in Britian, series). This has led to some arguments among fans about which cast is better. Currently there have been two casts, frequently referred to as Generation 1 and 2, or Gen 1 and 2, respectively. A third generation has been cast for series five and six. Per tradition, the names or pictures of the actors and characters have not yet been revealed; they are kept secret until filming is over.

Generation One

Tony Stonem (Nicholas Hoult) is an attractive, intelligent and popular boy. His manipulative ways often go unnoticed by many, and are a catalyst for the majority of the events in the series. Sid Jenkins (Mike Bailey) is Tony's best friend, but has an entirely opposite personality. He lacks confidence, is socially uneasy and struggles with school work. Tony's girlfriend is Michelle Richardson (April Pearson), a girl who can never stay angry at his mischievous behavior for long. Outwardly, Michelle appears shallow, vain and conceited but she works hard and is emotionally mature. She is friends with Cassie Ainsworth (Hannah Murray), an odd girl who suffers from an eating disorder. Cassie attempts to hide her own struggles with mental health while her flamboyant parents ignore her in favor of their new baby.

Chris Miles (Joe Dempsie) is the party animal of the group. He has a difficult home life; he lost his brother to illness at a young age, and is an emancipated minor due to his ambivalent father and absent mother. He has a crush on his psychology teacher Angie (Siwan Morris). Jal Fazer (Larissa Wilson) is a sensible girl with a talent for playing the clarinet. Her runaway mother has left her to live with her famous musician father and aspiring rapper brothers. Maxxie Oliver (Mitch Hewer) is an openly gay character who loves to dance and, unlike most gay teenagers on British television, is still considered "one of the lads". His best friend Anwar Kharral (Dev Patel) takes a pick-and-choose approach to Islam, and has no qualms indulging in pre-marital sex, alcohol, and drugs. He has a slightly off-the-wall personality, known for his silly antics and sense of humor. Lucy, better known as "Sketch" (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), is a quiet Welsh girl, who is polite yet unnerving. She is a young carer for her mother Sheila, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Generation Two

Elizabeth "Effy" Stonem (Kaya Scodelario), Tony's younger sister, becomes the lead character for the second generation. Effy is beautiful, popular, and a natural leader like her brother, but also quiet and distant, attempting to keep her own troubles hidden. She is fully aware of her desirability and capacity for manipulative behavior, but feels expressing her own emotions will show weakness. Pandora Moon (Lisa Backwell) is her best friend, having appeared for the first time in a second series episode. She is innocent to the sexual and narcotic world in which Effy indulges, but is ready and willing to explore it. Thomas Tomone (Merveille Lukeba) is an immigrant from the Congo, with a morally upright outlook and good-hearted nature.

James Cook (Jack O'Connell), Freddie Mclair (Luke Pasqualino) and JJ Jones (Ollie Barbieri) have been best friends since childhood, known as "the Three Musketeers". Cook is charismatic and sociable, but boisterous and not afraid of authority. His womanizing drives many of the events in the series. By contrast, Freddie is an easy-going skater who likes to smoke weed, and as the more sensible and responsible friend, he is often put out by Cook's behavior. JJ's Asperger syndrome makes it difficult to fit in socially, but he has learnt to use magic tricks to make friends. His friends view him kindly but with a degree of amusement, and sometimes irritation, but he knows Cook and Freddie will always take care of him. He is the kindest of the three, and by far the least worldly.

Katie (Megan Prescott) and Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott) are very different identical twin sisters. Quietly insecure Katie thinks of herself as something of a WAG and wants to usurp Effy's place as queen bee of the group. Her homophobia causes problems with her sister Emily, who is coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian. The quieter of the two, Emily is used to being the shadow of her sister, and is sulky but perceptive. She is in love with Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless), a fiery, politically-charged and passionate young woman with idealistic views and an abundance of ambition.

Skins links

  • Skins Fans - The most popular, all-encompassing Livejournal community for Skins
  • Skins BAMFs - A more casual, general Livejournal Skins community
  • Skins Fic - A general Skins fanfiction Livejournal community
  • Skins RPF - A Livejournal community for fanfiction about Skins actors
  • Skins USA - A Livejournal community for the USA version of Skins
  • Lily Kat Love - A Livejournal community for fans/shippers of actresses Lily Loveless and Kathryn Prescott

References

  1. Skins Mash-Up Competition, accessed July 8,2010.
  2. Post Count for June 2010, accessed July 8, 2010.
  3. Skins' Controversial Lesbian Storyline, accessed July 8, 2010.
  4. Thank you for your feedback, accessed July 8, 2010.