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Skins v Real Life

As a writer with no teenagers of my own whose experiences I can draw on, I am an eavesdropper on public transport, in parks and cafes. I keep notebooks with transcripts of actual conversations. This example was overheard on the  Epsom train.

‘You know that guy? He was so scary’


‘Literally (laughs)’

‘If someone else goes, “don’t like them,” then, like, you’re going to be “I don’t like them either.”

‘I know. It’s awful.’

‘I love random names like Nigel or Gilbert or Damian’ (Subject change – keep up.)

‘I can’t get over what Damian looked like.’

‘He comes from such a stereotypical family, you know? I mean, his father’s a doctor, his mother’s a headmistress. How weird is that?’


‘She was like, she was like, she felt like she had to…’ (This poor girl, desperate to say something, never got to her point.)

‘He’s a bit of a social retard.’

‘Jasper was like, today he was like…’

‘So who’s it going to be?’

‘It’s basically going to be like us lot.’

‘So Scarlett and Freddie…’

‘Oh yeah, I think he’s really fit.’

‘That’s hilarious! No, that is hilarious!’

‘I went, like, shut up. Like shut up!’

‘I was, like, don’t talk about that!’

‘My mum was saying, like, you want a wealthy man, and I was, like, anyone I could go out with now, yeah? How would I know if they’re going  to be rich? Like, there’s all these rally rich people, yeah, but they’ve got no qualifications.’

You can’t write this stuff. Not unless you are Armstrong and Miller and label it ‘satire.’

So I also turn to Skins which is commended as the most authentic portrayal of teens today. I found this week’s episode particularly interesting. Its focused on Liv, the most obviously promiscuous of the group (who, in the previous episode, we saw sleeping with her so-called best friend’s boyfriend). This week, there is no judgement. No Minnie (beautiful, controlling and spiteful) standing with her jaw dropped. Instead, Liv’s pain is all too apparent. The fact that she knows she is being used by Nick. Visiting her sister in prison because she has no one else to confide in. Her insistence, on meeting Matty, that they are going to keep things simple, that it is a one-day-only deal, that there will be no on-going relationship. And then her need to cling to another human being. We hear her say ‘I hate this town,’ make plans to run away and never come back. But it is not the town that is the problem. 

Her mother, well-spoken and well-groomed, is off on a Healing with Crystals weekend retreat, saying, ‘I’m relying on you.’ We hear her say, ‘I didn’t have the option of walking out on you, like your father did.’ ‘I will not have any violence in this house.’

And it is quite obvious why crockery gets smashed.  It’s obvious why there is escape in the form of alcohol and drugs and sex. Because Liv is actually a very moral person. She tries to warn Minnie that Nick doesn’t love her. She takes the blame for things she has not done, balancing the scales for all of the occasions when she has messed up and has not been caught out. She wants to make things right with the people she considers to be her friends. She will not walk out on her little sister when the option is presented to her (even though she may forget that she has left her all night at a Sci-fi convention). Like any one of us, she is just doing her best, trying to get by.

One comment


    Comment by Captain Black on February 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm