Despite debuting to decent ratings, the U.S. remake of popular British television series, Skins was panned by critics and fans, declaring the scandalous series as being simply lost in translation. The show’s chilly reception meant a couple of important things:
- There has been a restored faith in humanity
- MTV should finally stop producing scripted shows
- Viewers no longer give a shit about people who don’t give a shit
In the ’80s and ’90s, youth apathy was popularized primarily by writer, Bret Easton Ellis, and filmmaker Larry Clark. The two tastemakers capitalized on the fears of suburban mothers everywhere by claiming to offer an authentic look into the lives of teenagers today. Collectively, they answered the famous question, “It’s 11.00. Do you know where your children are?” with the response, “Doing drugs, having sex, and not giving a fuck about anything. Ever.” Kids and Less Than Zero were undoubtedly sensationalistic but they were also terrifying to those who weren’t in the know. After watching Kids with my mom, I saw her pained expression and had to assure her I didn’t know anyone who was spreading AIDS and engaging in hate crimes. At the end of the day though, it didn’t matter how honest these depictions actually were because people still found them interesting enough to watch.
But that was then and this is now. MTV’s marketing campaign for Skins promised lots of teenagers behaving badly, but they missed the memo that we, as a culture, have moved on from that. 2011 is the year of feeling and sociopathic teenagers are so yesterday. These days, a truly shocking move would be producing a show like My So-Called Life again—something that explores the subtle nuances and heartbreak of adolescence rather than exaggerating them.
So that might’ve been the reason why no one liked Skins. That, or the horrible acting, awkward dialogue and uninspired casting. Either/or.