Homework: Skins US on MTV

I’m a big fan of the show Skins, which ran in the UK on E4, particularly the first two seasons (or series, as they say in the UK). Seasons 3 and 4 totally suck and aren’t worth mentioning. But the breakthrough character is that of Tony Stonem, as played by Nicholas Hoult. Tony is a textbook example of a raging narcissist and manipulative sociopath. It’s eerie how the writers and Hoult could so effectively and accurately capture the inner world and relationships of a narcissist.

The US version debuts tonight on MTV, and from the trailer it seems the American version of Tony is doing a good job of capturing that same destructive narcissism. In addition, they’ve added a character Tea who’s arrogant and has an infuriating superiority complex. I’m interested in seeing how these characters play out over the season, as for 2011 a big theme of this blog will be personal dynamics such as narcissism, superiority and inferiority complexes, masochism, games, psychological scripts,  and defense mechanisms and how they manifest themselves in everyday life.

I feel like I’ve done evolutionary psychology to death, and in addition I think narcissism and superiority complexes are a growing epidemic in North America and the West in general, and I predict it will increasingly become a hot-button issue in years to come. So expect a lot more articles about them, along with practical advice on how to spot and deal with these issues in yourself and others.

Here’s the trailer. See if you can spot the characters suffering from narcissism and superiority complexes. If the show lives up to my expectations, expect it to be covered more in depth here. Also, you can order up the first season of the UK version on Netflix instant. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer below:

9 Responses to “Homework: Skins US on MTV”

  1. i wasn’t aware that this was a remake of a british show until my roommate informed me. what i found glaring was the predictably and overt attempts at hip/trendy/vacuous less than zero style characters, and to quote the great gatsby, there’s only the wanted, the wanting, the busy and the tired.

    there was the horn dog muslim character, the kids obsessed with losing their virginity, the semi-suicidal total detached girl with a knife obsession….it all felt completely trite, forced, and predictable.

  2. @TAllagash

    Yeh, I agree it sucked. Especially when you compare it to the British version of the show. The style is better, the girls look and dress better, and the dialogue is satisfying. And for the record, I can’t believe we’re so PC or just immature, that we can’t even cuss on a show with an MA rating. Just despicable!

  3. Wow, MTV just keeps scraping the bottom of the barrel. No surprise there then.

  4. So far the show is clearly inferior to the UK version. I especially don’t like that they took the safer route of changing the Maxxie character from a gay male to the safer, tamer route of a lesbian. But the biggest problem to me is that by recreate the UK pilot episode so slavishly, they ended up making the US pilot seem way to culturally British. It had American accents but didn’t seem British, so it just came off inauthentic. It wasn’t British, it wasn’t American, it was just…off.

    The show creators swear that after the pilot, the American writers will assert their voices more and the show will veer off into its own direction and become more authentically American, so we’ll see. If that doesn’t happen, then I just recommend viewing the original version and dealing with the accents.

  5. Honestly, it looks like nothing more than “Kids” the TV series, albeit much tamer (i.e.kids with minimal parental involvement indulging in self-destructive behavior) :


  6. Alex, I wouldn’t say Skins is just Kids the TV series. While there are many similarities, Kids (intentionally) had zero character development while with Skins, character development is a big part of the show, especially as the seasons progress.

  7. just watched the UK pilot episode, and all I can say at this point is the predictable “if that’s the next generation, we’re fucked!”.

  8. Okay, so it’s Kids the TV series with more character development… or maybe not. The more I think about it, the more I realize that you may be right, but not for the reason you stated.

    Kids was more of a borderline art house style film with a limited release (IIRC) and though shocking, overall seemed to have a message of utilizing shock to force people to analyse what’s happening to inner city youth.

    Skins, by being a television series on a network that is primarily marketed to teens and young adults…. seems to be wanting to utilize such shock for the ends of entertainment. Thus, I am somewhat bothered by such a series due to the possibility of intentionally or unintentionally normalizing such behavior, or even worse…. that this show is nothing more than a mirror of modern youth culture.

  9. I watched it and it really was inferior to the UK version and it is because that it really dosent have a culture. To me the most sucessful UK to US translation I saw was Queer As Folk as that was because it used the culture of Pittsburgh as a central theme instead of just trying to be almost cultureless as this skins version is.

    Also predictably the PTC is gonna put the pressure on to get sponsors to drop the show by using child pornography charges and of course sponsors are gonna react to it.