Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pilot Review: Skins

Skins (MTV)
Premiered January 17 at 10pm

The second of two American remakes of British shows I haven’t seen that premiered this past Monday night is MTV’s abysmal “Skins.” It’s also my first experience watching any programming on MTV (no, I’ve never seen this “Jersey Shore”), and, unless I want to continue watching this train wreck due to that irrational human instinct to be unable to look away from horrific things, it may well be my last. It’s not too difficult to grasp why it is this show is so terrible, but it may be harder to convey just how bad it truly is. The first moments of the pilot show a fringe character at the height of her depravity, coming home to her parents’ house in the morning after a clearly rough night. From there, things get continually more unhinged, unclothed, and unbelievable. The show tries so desperately hard to push the envelope and display how uncensored (despite the occasional bleeps that are heard whenever characters curse) it wants to be. The show’s main character, Tony, is the ultimate off-putting protagonist, whose smile makes you want to punch him in the face before you even hear any of the despicable things he has to say. It’s no wonder that all the characters end up walking home after driving a stolen car into a river; these people are just absolutely out of control. It may be some depiction of how wild teenagers live, but it goes way beyond any potential degree of believability in the service of remaining as crudely appealing and outrageous as possible. Tony seems like he’s trying hard to be like Ryan Phillippe’s Sebastian from “Cruel Intentions,” and this is a pale imitation at best. Sex-starved Stanley looks like a cross between a grungy Paul Dano and a clean-cut, boyish Michael Cera, but nowhere near as appealing as either of them. All of the female characters are hopelessly one-dimensional and seem to exist only to serve the will of Tony. I realize I’m not a member of the target audience for this show, but I never expected it to be this bad.

How will it work as a series? I took the liberty of watching the promo for the rest of the season, something which I usually avoid doing so that I don’t have future plotlines spoiled for me. What I saw was even more ridiculous and preposterous than anything that has happened yet, so we can expect more of the same foolhardy, amazingly stupid and scandalous behavior from all of these heinous and horny characters.
How long will it last? It saddens me to say it, but this one is almost a sure bet for renewal. The British original is already getting ready to start its fifth season, and the ratings for this American remake were shockingly high. From what I’ve been hearing about “Jersey Shore,” this should be the perfect companion piece.

Pilot grade: F-

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