I just saw the preview teaser for Skins U.S., and I actually, physically, literally cringed. I didn’t stop cringing until I got through to the end. Let me tell you why.
For those of you who don’t know, Skins is an insanely popular British T.V. show televised on the U.K.’s channel E4. It follows the lives of a group of high-school aged teens as they love, hate, party, and all the rest – think Degrassi done by Larry Clark. It’s dark, twisted, fun, and brutally honest in a lot of ways.
I think one of the problems I have with the American version is that it lacks that brutal, honest feel. It isn’t that the source material is being almost word for word copied (which is bad enough, in my opinion), or even that they’re dumbing it down all the same for American audiences (the bedspread below is from the U.K. – the new version has some stupid abstract design. BOOOORING) – It’s that the combination of dumbing down, ripping off, and miscasting have dulled the dark, brilliant edge that made this show like nothing else. The cinematography (from what I can tell, which isn’t much, in all fairness) ain’t much to write home about either.
And I have it from an online source that the American analog for the gay boy in the series is going to be *sigh* you guessed it, a lesbian. Who -get this- is a cheerleader. *speechlessness ensues*
I think what got me really were the casting choices, though. I mean, casting a lesbian role instead of a male gay role… well, that pisses me off and it’s exclusionary, but I don’t know that I’d expect any different from a U.S. television company. The problem goes beyond that, though – the guys are hunks, the girls are impossibly thin and pretty, and that alone makes the show uninteresting, both visually and aesthetically. It’s pandering MTV crap.
As a comparison, an American show I really love is Glee (broadcast by Fox, no less. *shudders*) One of the reasons I like Glee is for the specific reason that although the kids are all actually adults, and are very attractive in their own way, the cast as a whole is pretty, i dunno, average looking. They don’t look like they stepped off of a GQ cover. They look real, fer gossake. They look like high-school students.
As far as the American version of Skins, as much as I like(d) the original, I’d rather watch The Office – I’d actually cringe less.