Skins US – What went wrong?

The ratings for Skins US have declined so rapidly since it started just a few weeks ago. You’d have thought that the hoo-ha the American media have created about it being exploitative and sexually explicit would make more people want to watch, but the opposite has happened.



The U S Media have been banging on and on about how there is too much promiscuous sex in Skins, and how it’s pornography, and won’t somebody please think of the children? The thing is, I didn’t initially watch British Skins because judging by the promotion that was done for the first series, it seemed to be all about house parties so not really interesting. Even if I did have the same skirt that Michelle was wearing in one of the promo adverts! But the reason why I finally did get into Skins because once I got past the partying, and the driving a car into a river, and buying drugs, there was some genuinely great storylines that pulled me in. I wanted to know what was going to happen with Cassie and Sid, and I cared about Chris and Jal. The acting by the kids in the US series just isn’t as good, so there’s nothing to really fall back on. I’m not sure if it’s because they haven’t been given better scripts to work on, or if they just plain suck. Plus, there’s hardly any sex anyway. I don’t know what the fuss is. By third episode of the last series of British Skins, I’d seen at least four sex scenes. But I think that’s because by that series, they had run out of ideas on what to do with the characters. Especially Effy and Freddie. What w ank!



Okay, so the fact that Skins doesn’t portray teenage life realistically is not the reason why it’s not doing well. Gossip Girl is wildly successful and all the kids on that show act like they’re 35. They have their own companies, their own drivers and they’re not self-conscious or shy at all. Portraying teenagers in a realistic light on TV has probably never happened – apart from maybe the Inbetweeners (at least, that’s what my friends who are boys tell me!) So, the script writing sucks. Example? In one scene in US Skins, Betty kisses Tea in the school cafeteria, to prove that she’s not scared about being an out and proud lesbian. A cute, yet cliché scene. But when some boys start yelling at them, Michelle shouts at them ‘Why don’t you guys go screw each other in the ass? It looks like you want to, the way you’re all touching each other and everything.’ Calling people gay like it’s a bad thing in order to stick up for your gay friend really doesn’t work. Or when Caddie is talking to a girl at the clinic who is putting on a cycle helmet. ‘Are you cycling home?’ she asks. ‘No’, the girl in the helmet responds, holding up a pill. ‘I’m flying home!’ JFC.

* Caddie’s Mum says this to her in one episode.



Because nothing says the end of the world like the -gasp!- human body, US Tony and his best friend Stanley (who was called Sidney in the British version) lie in a bed with spiders on the covers. I guess it’s not a big deal, but it really bothers me anyway. If they are going to use the same characters, and storylines, then why not use the same bedcovers?



Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa.

When Effy was coming home from a ‘wild night out’ in the first episode of British Skins, she had some smudged eyeliner and was wearing some pretty ridiculous clothes. But she didn’t look like a thirty-something stop out who had been up to all sorts with tons of men. Good grief. I’m sure the actor who plays Effy is really sweet, and I feel bad for her since she’s only fifteen IRL, because they made her look unacceptably bad here.



I reckon that if Skins US was about a bunch of teenagers living the Skins lifestyle in Canada or wherever the fuck they’re meant to be, it really wouldn’t be as bad. The problem is, some genius decided to have the same characters, with the same names, and the same storylines. This means that the actors have to not only match their UK counterparts, but outshine them. This has not happened. Joe Dempsie who played British Chris, was a really outstanding actor who made you feel so much empathy for Chris – the American actor hardly has a chance. When I watched the US Skins episode ‘Chris’, it was more or less frame by frame the same scenes. Maybe because I’d seen it before, it wasn’t as shocking, or as emotional, but I know really that it sucked because it didn’t have enough heart. A lot of the US actors are lackluster and just can’t act as well as the British kids did. And I’m including Cassie in this so you know I’m srs!

The character of Tea (pictured above), who replaced Maxxie – who for some reason wasn’t deemed good enough for MTV – is not half as  bad. Her episode, apart from the appallingly bad dialogue, was the most watchable of the lot so far. It verged into really corny a few times, like when she had a heart to heart with her Nana, who was the only person who really understood her problems. It was eye rollingly saccharine. But she had her own storyline and this made her much, much less annoying.



The poor guy who is playing Tony was never going to be as good as Nicholas Hoult, who somehow managed to dance along the fine line of sleazy and sweetly vulnerable.

Here is what people online are saying about MTV’s Tony –

“I think I would like the show 10x more if Tony’s character was played by a redwood log. He’s so terrible and stoical and he seems pretty static. I don’t believe anything coming from him.”

“I’ve said before that the actor portraying Tony is atrocious. He totally brings the entire show down.”

“The whole mean girls like story they’ve got going in the (fabulous) UK season atm is something they could’ve used easily in the US series and probably would’ve felt way more natural than the group of friends they’re trying to throw together here, especially since they’re built around Tonys character who is the miscast of the century.”



Bet it won’t be better than the OG version, tho!

Am I being way harsh, Tai? If so, tell me in the comments.


10 thoughts on “Skins US – What went wrong?

  1. I wrote one of these on the night the US version premiered but I haven’t posted it because it felt too harsh.

    Having watched most of the first US series (except the finale, which aired tonight and I have yet to see—it’s not online yet), I’m glad I held off a bit because it’s not that bad.

    Michelle is still a good character and her situation bridges any gaps between credibility and empathy.

    There was also an episode that focused on the teacher who has an affair with Chris. It did an excellent job of taking an adult and turning them into a child, something the British show didn’t accomplish until they brought that character back in the second series.

    Still, the acting and writing are mostly awful. By eliminating Maxxie, the writers shot themselves in the foot, since he drives so many of the best stories from the first series. The kid they got to play American Chris is about as likeable as a crisps/energy drink advert spokesperson. Worst of all, without Maxxie, Anwar turns into such a nothing character (the same is true when Maxxie takes a backseat in the second British series, but they redeem him with Sketch and his b story in the 2nd series finale).

    American Skins is not as bad as some other British imports, but it was underfunded.

    • All you people are stupid. The U.S. versions of skins is so much better than the stupid ass British version. Everyone needs to stop ragging on the show. i mean hello wake up people this is what teenagers are out doing. they are out getting high and having sex. so why not let us watch about our lives on television. Mtv is so stupid for cancelling this show. It was the best the ever even put on there network, i can tell you one thing i will not be watching Mtv again ever until you bring back skins. the characters are great, the story line is great. the British version and the British characters suck.

      • See that thing waaaaaay in the distance? It was the point, and I’m pretty sure you missed it by a mile.

        It wasn’t cancelled because of the sex or drugs or amazeballs things that REAL LIFE TEENS like you are doing. They cancelled it because it sucked. The British version had more of that super productive “getting high and having sex” in five minutes than the US version had all season.

  2. I haven’t seen the finale yet either. I wonder if Tony will be hit by a bus in the US version!

    I agree about American Chris – he is so unlikeable. Also Daisy was pretty pointless. I liked Tea, though. It’s a shame they got rid of Maxxie, I didn’t realise how important he was to the story until he wasn’t there anymore.

    Have you seen the latest series of British Skins? I love it! I’m working on a ‘My favourite moments in Skins series 5’ post as we speak!

  3. I watched all of the most recent British Skins series and it was mostly good. The end was a touch anticlimactic, but the Mini/Frankie-centric episodes were gangbusters.

    Five minutes into the American finale and I’ve got all fingers crossed for a bus accident.

    • I finally got the post up, yay!- after WordPress crashed hundreds of times.

      Is the US Skins finale worth watching would you say? If only for cheap laughs… or is it really bad?

  4. I’m from South America, and here Skins US aired last sunday. It was so awful. US Tony is a mannequin, and hi is so little and thin, anyone can beat his ass, and he supposedly is the leader of the group… In the party of ep 1, I remember british Michelle hiding behind Tony during the fight, but US Michelle is fighting side by side with Tea and Daisy (JAL). That is so a cliche in american series. I watched the last episode online and there’s no bus accident. Eura (or Effy) kinapped herself. Stanley and Cadie sang in a concert . WTF?! Is this a Disney series?

  5. Pingback: Since I’ve Been Gone | HELLO SOPHIE

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