Thoughts While Watching 7 Seasons of Skins: a Listicle

This should be fun! It seems like lots of British actors doing stuff now were on this show at some point, so it really is time to watch this show. (Nothing but spoilers, from here on out)

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Season 1

1. Nicholas Hoult the Adult is wayyyyy better than Nicholas Hoult the Boy. Those eyebrows are out of control. He does a great job as the confident, good looking high-school boy. Completely self-absorbed and oblivious that not everyone has it like him. He makes an excellent Golden Boy.

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2. GILLY!!! I mean, CASSIE!!!! I fricking love her, esp. in contrast with all the “Let’s have a talk about consent” teenage boys. She’s introduced as a kook. Reminded me of this ad for Red Flag perfume:

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but then they fleshed her out, and the sadness behind her, “oh, wow!” set in, and she suddenly reminded me of girls from college.

3. GENDRY!! Before Gendry discovered the gym, he went Trainspotting. Also a story full of sadness.

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4. “You play clarinet; I look shaggable.” I died. I was always the girl who played clarinet—I never understood the girls who excelled at looking shaggable.

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5. Tony grows up to be one of those guys from The Loft, doesn’t he? He sees Wolf of Wall Street as aspirational. I haven’t wanted a character to get punched in the face this much in a while. (WHOOOOO!!!! It happened, and I am filled with glee!)

6. Oh no!! A teacher-student love plot! I can’t support those. They are always icky because JAIL BAIT. And Chris is such a sad little boy, and she’s a mess, and now I’m sad again.

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7. This Josh guy looks like British Cappie from Greek. Seriously freaking me out.

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8. Hit by a BUS! I mean, I didn’t like the guy, but he’s just a kid who was finally starting to grow up. Seems cruel, is all. If only that had happened to Ellis on Smash....

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Season 2

1. They can get away with that horrid, offensive 9/11 musical because they’re British, right? Because WOOWWWWW... Too soon, man.

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2. I love that Capaldi’s character is more like Thick of It-Capaldi than Doctor Who-Capaldi.

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3. Cassie is a pretty spectacular creation. She lives by her own set of rules, and people let her. She’s ignored and dismissed and forgotten and hides it all beneath a thin facade of happiness that everyone buys at face value. She also drops genuine truth bombs all over the place. The show really needed her, especially in contrast to Tony’s Master Of The Universe as intro’d in the pilot. She reminds me of so many girls from college.

4. Hi Sean Pertwee! You show up in the weirdest places. Like Teen Wolf. And Skins. No matter where I see you, I wait for you to say the words, “Master Bruce.” Just rolls off the tongue, you know? When does Gotham come back, anyway?

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5. Sid’s the stud?! Didn’t see that coming.

6. Jal & Chris are adorable. Very sweet & unexpected. Not a pair that I think would be as at-ease in an American show.

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7. When did this show get so sad!?? Holy cow. I think I cried more in the last 3 eps of season 2 than I have in ages. Cassie has me on eggshells. Chris surprised me, and also didn’t. I mean, I knew Gendry needed to find his way to the gym soon for his GOT prep, and the escapist-addict surely wasn’t long for that world, but still. So very sad. There’s way more death in season 2 than I expected. Like, this show took a turn.

Season 3

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1. Is that a baby Musketeer I see? As a sk8rboi? Okay, a full-cast reset might be good.... And Mr Stonem freaking out hilariously? Sold.

2. Teacher-who-hates-being-a-teacher might be my new favorite. Most relatable of all the teachers. I definitely had that guy as a teacher in high school. a few of them, actually. Well, he’s my new favorite, to a point. Creeper.

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3. Effy is pretty darn fascinating. Her brother was a Master of the Universe, and she was well on her way to becoming the same, using people for her own gain. I loved the bits with her art project in season 2. It’s fun to see the chessmaster unravel in season 3. I could practically see the barbed wire tighten around her heart in her scenes with Freddie. I can see it in her—that Starbuckian quality, where she doesn’t know

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how to handle her feelings so she does the opposite of what she’s “supposed to,” which only hurts the ones she cares about. As someone who always self-sabotages any romantic interest, I could most definitely relate.

4. This show has really interesting things to say about the whore-y outcasts. The isolation that craves companionship, however shallow.

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5. Emily is getting a wayyyyy better storyline than Maxxie ever got. His boyfriend showed up and we never got to know him, or their relationship, at all. So glad they went for it with Emily’s arc. Actual depth! who knew!? I will say, her family makes me miss Maxxie’s dad. That guy was pretty great. Emily’s dad is...less so.

6. I like how they tweaked Chris’ archetype—pill popper, outcast oddball—and added nerdy pursuits (magic!) to form JJ. He hits real close to home—I knew at least 3 of those kids, growing up. All of the awkward! Speaking of awkward, Pandora’s pretty delightful. Soo glad she lost those pigtails.

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7. Who is worse: season 1 Tony or season 3 Cook? That’s a tough call. I feel like Tony always had 1 or 2 redeeming qualities. I’m still looking for Cook’s.

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8. It’s weird that neither Effy or her parents mention Tony, right? I mean, I know he’s off being an X-Man or whatever, but still.

Season 4

1. Loving that we finally see behind Katie’s facade. She works hard to maintain it, but she’s fierce.

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2. Ugh. Effy is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Seems like a cop-out. Seeing her darkness seems quite sudden (since she’s been MIA most of the season), but I like the reason Freddie can see it clearly. (I mean, I don’t like it, but you know.) I do like the way the show shows the downside of doing all these drugs, too. Fun for a while, but addiction is not fun.

3. Interesting that they took Cassie & Sid’s storyline, and shifted a few things, and it became Effy & Freddie. Much heavier the second time around. Glad Freddie’s more aware than Sid ever was.

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4. The “pop music” in this show is hilaaarious. So filthy, so sexual, sooooo terrible—but the characters don’t seem to notice because it’s so catchy & easy to sing along to.

5. I am so glad I now know where this brilliant gif is from:

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6. Welllll, shit. Things just took a tragic turn. Does each class’ story always end with such heavy hearts?!? There should be a warning. Also, glad I finally see Cook’s redeeming qualities. I was talking to my tv for the whole last 15 minutes. We don’t know who won (damn you, format!), but, come on. We know. Cook’s been training for this for 2 seasons, and prob his whole life. Freddie was a sweethearted Romeo, but Cook’s a hooligan. He got this.

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Season 5

1. Grace is lovely. She’s the new Manic Pixie, isn’t she? She does have the lady-in-waiting thing down, though.

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2. Finally! Rich & Alo are my guys. Those were the guys in my classes at school, who I understood. I’m so glad they’re here! I have to say that one time, I went to a metal show in an ivory floral peasant top, and I got all the strange looks. Faces called me a poser, everywhere I turned. I, of course, wore my “why the fuck not?!” face, and I was happy. So I have a very hard time believing a bunch of metalheads at a show would be all that kind and inclusive of a ballerina in pink tulle, no matter how into the show she was.

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3. I like how the show always has a storyline about mental illness. It’s an important part of growing up, and one of the main reasons teenagers are dicks (generally speaking) is because they are entirely self-involved and can’t see outside their own orbits. (There’s a lot going on—a lot of change in a short time, so who can blame them, really?) It’s good that the show has relateable storylines about actual teenage concerns. Addiction, depression, anorexia, sexuality, autism?—in addition to love triangles & unexpected pregnancies, really fleshes out these kids & makes them relateable.

4. Hold up. There’s a video camera in a fitting room, and a Pervert tries to undress Liv against her will. Matty knocks him out with an extinguisher. Okay, cool. Well-deserved. THEN!! they destroyed the evidence that would prove it to be self-defense. Clearly, the Pervert’s numerous crimes are far worse than their measly assault. Later, Pervert is talking to cops while holding the extinguisher, and we know he will keep the camera in the fitting room, and “help” someone else to undress in the future. Man, drugs make you do stupid things. Also, thank you, GT & Jez, for shifting my mind in ways that allow me to recognize this bullshit.

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5. I take back everything nice I said about Alo. I do not suffer fools, period. The boy is a moron. He is useless AND he exploded his family’s cow, that they live off of. I can’t see him ever having a job that lasts more than 3 weeks. He grows up to be an internet troll, is my guess. If I were his parents, I’d have kicked him out after the cow incident. I’d sign the papers making him an emancipated minor and wished him the best. I’d take him back eventually. But that boy needs to shift his understanding of the world. I understand, everyone has their days, but this is baloney.

Illustration for article titled Thoughts While Watching 7 Seasons of Skins: a Listicle
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6. WHAAAAAAAAAAT.

A teenage wedding? Noooooo!!!! I frickin despise those! Never in my life have I EVER met a teenager who wanted to get married before age 19. The guys looking like the Beatles is pretty funny, though. Also, when the hell did Mini become Franky’s best friend? That might be the saddest, most WTF development so far. (Mind you, I’m writing this after her brownface incident.)

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Season 6

1. Franky feels like a half-formed idea. Like they started writing her & weren’t sure what they wanted her to be. So they wrote her in 80 different directions. Have I missed something? Probably. They probably wrote scenes & left them on the cutting room floor, but still had the characters act like they happened. But we’re out here with no idea what they’re referring to. I mean, from what I’ve seen, she’s friends with her tormentors. It’s like she’s friends with them because they were the only people who talked to her. And they were friends with the boy she liked. Not sure I fully buy that one.

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2. WHY AM I STILL SO SURPRISED BY THE DARKNESS IN THIS SHOW????

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3. Mini’s arc seems...drastic. Power Couple Virgin who works hard to keep up the facade, grows into...a Cassie/Effy/Jal blend? I’ve seen it in life, but not to this extent. Seems odd.

4. Everybody’s joints seem so long. Are the rolling papers longer in England? Or do they just have tinier hands & faces? Granted, I am definitely not an expert, but it seems weird.

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5. Now Franky’s psychotically sadistic? They do know they don’t have to use every characteristic they throw in the pot, right? Her character stew really could have used some editing. She’s a strange creation. And she’s supposedly magic that brings all the boys to the yard? Bullshit. I bet her two dads are super disappointed she’s not a lesbian. Franky reminds me of my college roommate. Subtract all the boys declaring their love for her, and add bulimia, and that’s her, manipulation and all. Maybe that’s why I don’t like Franky very much. Flashbacks to my own frustrations with someone who has no idea who she is or aspires to be.

6. GREY WORM!! I didn’t recognize you with HAIR! and an ease of speech! I was like, “I recognize that guy, kinda. His accent is wrong, though....” Thank you IMDb! He seems so short—was he standing in a hole? the whole time?

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7. I’ve decided this batch of leads is entirely horrible people. They don’t grow; they don’t learn from experiences. They make every decision with soap-opera-logic, solely to create drama and not be fully-formed humans. They also got away from the school setting. The whole thing is rubbish. How very disappointing. Does this happen with British series often? Because the later seasons of Misfits were also rubbish.

Well, Rich grows. I like Rich. Needed more Rich.

8. Ohhhh. Grace was Lady Sibyl! Too good for this world and these people. Makes sense.

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9. Alo cannot take responsibility for his life. Does anyone else think that baby is doomed with him? They might get married, but they’ll be miserable, until he runs off. His parents will be around, but he is sooo leaving them all.

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10. THESE PEOPLE GET HAPPY ENDINGS??? WHAT THE FUCK???

Season 7: the Epilogues

1. Farewell format! Yes!! I mean, I’m a little sad we don’t get a new class to follow, but judging by how badly they botched that last one, I’m okay with it.

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2. Effy!! See, I fully believe everyone falling in love with her. She’s fascinating. We’ve seen her go through actual shit. With Franky, none of it was earned. Kaya Scodelario carries Skins like Dylan O’Brien carries Teen Wolf. Sounds like I’ll need to rewatch the Maze Runner series after this concludes, now that I know her work.

3. I like that she’s got a new friend like JJ in Dominic. The way she sees everybody—that’s her magic. I knew that girl in school, too. That’s why everyone falls in love with her. Glad to see that even though she’s not sober, she’s still sleeping with the wrong men! And dressing too edgy to work in finance, even if she IS sleeping with the boss.

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Illustration for article titled Thoughts While Watching 7 Seasons of Skins: a Listicle

4. So... insider trading is her new drug? Sad, but it makes sense, too.

5. (in Effy’s new high-rise apartment) “Is this where Patrick Bateman lives?” HAAAAAAAAhaha! Maybe Naomi really does have a future as a comedienne. But she did not deserve the end she got. Neither did Emily. Their relationship wasn’t a healthy one, but this was tragedy for tragedy’s sake. And Effy smiles at the end of her tale. Just like at the end of her art project episode in season 2. So...did she plan to take down her boss? Or is she just happy that she’s going to prison, where her days will be regulated by others, like at the sanitarium?

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6. Hello, Cassie! Glad she’s still around. Sad Sid isn’t with her, but I get it. I love that her theme music is so Gershwin-inspired. Lovely. This show had better not come to the conclusion that the stalker-boy wins. Because that’s fucked up. Voyeurism is not flattery. I’d hope, at this point, that Cassie is smarter than that.

7. Okay, now I’m sad. I am not sure Cassie knows what love means. She’s got a great storyline about trying to be on your own, moving forward, with the pull of your responsibilities elsewhere. I’m glad she’s lost her “oh wow” automatic response. She still gets to be in the mental illness storyline, though. I LOVE how her story ends. I can’t be confident all her decisions won’t be nuts in the future, but at least there’s something to ground her, and keep her thinking of bigger things.

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8. What the hell happened? I like Cook? This is too weird. He’s an almost well-adjusted adult. He has learned from his life, and understands his limits. Was not expecting that. He appreciates the annonymity of this new place and this new life. He knows the cards have been stacked against him from day 1.

He’s totally a memorial-tattoo guy, isn’t he? Where’s his Freddie tribute?

9. THERE’S that darkness. Poor girl. Cook’s a smartass through all of it. That weight of killing Foster is heavy on him, and it’s been odd to see him so quiet and pensive. It seems rare that a character with his background, who killed someone, has a hard time with it. Especially having a hard time of killing again. American cinema has a very different take on it. He really was right about he and Effy being similar: both leave a trail of scorched earth behind them.

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What a dark-hopeful way to end things. Now I’ve got to go watch Unbroken, too.

tl;dr Effy & Cassie, great creations. Franky, a jumbled mess. Great ensembles (mostly), coming of age. Why so much death??? Solid B+, Would recommend.

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