Friday, January 26, 2007

Honking Box Review: Skins

Allow us to draw your attention to an understated, modest little show which E4 chose to quietly ease us into with a soft launch last night. It's called Skins - you probably won't have heard of it.

That's probably quite enough, as it feels like we're coming dangerously close to choking on our own surplus sarcasm. Either Channel 4's On Air team have lodged the tape in the playout system and can't get an engineer out for two weeks, or it's without a doubt one of the most over-hyped shows since Denis Norden first invented television back in 1787 at the tender age of 43.

It seems to punctuate every single ad break on Channel 4, E4, and presumably More 4, but we only watch that for the occasional Father Ted repeat. Each time we reluctantly whore ourselves by logging into MySpace, Skins is instantaneously cyber-raping us with its desperate propaganda. Every time a bus trundles past, the REALLY HIP AND TRENDY campaign for this REALLY HIP AND TRENDY show bursts out of the poster on the side, subtlely reminding us that Skins is REALLY! HIP! AND! TRENDY!! OMG!! ROFL!! LMAO!! FFS!!!!! Yes, quite literally, FFS.

Having already decided we hated Skins before we'd even seen it, the show would have to do something pretty damn special - or slip us some kind of state-altering narcotic - to win our approval. Alas, it sank even lower than the gutter-height expectations we'd set it. A launch episode so awful, so pathetic, so shambolic, it made the BBC's dire Robin Hood pilot look like the climax to Return of the Jedi.

Strange that a show covering the supposedly hedonistic supersocial lives of a bunch of 17-year-olds is aimed at an 18 plus audience. It's probably fair to say that the average Brit spent their 17th year on Earth completing inexhaustible UCAS forms, stacking tins of beans for a pittance, and smearing Aquafresh on their spots in lieu of Oxy 10 (which was way out of budget due to the pittance earned stacking tins of beans). Therefore, it's not exactly going to invoke feelings of nostalgia to see a bunch of ill-cast Sylvia Young daaahlings acting out a cliched smorgasbord of sex, parties, cars, alcohol, and overwhelming popularity. And any viewers young and naïve enough to identify Skins as some sort of aspirational blueprint will have been tucked up in bed an hour before it even starts.

Nicholas Hoult, previously known as the smug cuntchild from About A Boy, is the seemingly-proud owner of the most demonic features ever cruelly assigned to a human face. A stare so cold and Satanic, it makes Gillian McKeith's fizzog of spite look like a Sylvanian Families grandmother otter's sepia-tinted 8 x 10. Seriously, this chap's eyebrows alone carry enough demented evil to justify chucking holy water at the telly.

We actually enjoyed the horse-faced public schoolgirls, who were shrewdly observed and well executed, like a young Margot Leadbetter had Mrs Dooms-Patterson convinced her that ragga was the way forward. However, it would require far more than a brief chuckle induced by throwaway tertiary characters to prevent Skins from sinking speedily to the bottom of the televisual septic tank.

Hey kids! If you're REALLY REALLY KEWL and stuff, you can, like, totally watch the next episode of Skins on MySpace!! Cos, y'know, that's like TOTALLY better than anything that ever existed, ever. Or, alternatively, hire the horrendous Virtual Sexuality from your local soon-to-be-a-Nando's branch of Blockbuster - it's like the British Film Industry wiped its arse on a length of celluloid rather than bog roll. Watch it in bitesize installments (all the while stifling that gag reflex), and realise that you've just seen Skins, like, even before it's on MySpace! Totally!! OMG! LOL! E4!! SOS!!! SOFS, FFS!!!

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