I don’t think it’s an understatement to say I’m obsessed with Skins.
Maybe it’s immature. Maybe, but my love for this show knows no rational bounds.
I consume this show in days-long binges during which I consume little else. Sitting in my bed, draining glasses of wine and mugs of coffee, I obsess over minute details of the plot. I play back the music and painstakingly download even songs that appear only in snippets. I spend hours recreating the character’s outfits, as if I could somehow inhabit their personas or transport myself into their world of teenage angst. I do and redo my make up to match the characters’, practice new hairstyles and craft bedazzled teenage mall rat outfits. At the launch of each new season, and periodically throughout the year, I lose myself in this show for a weekend.
For me, watching this show not only takes me back to an equally blissful and painful place and a time when I was able to indulge my hedonistic impulses without fear of shame or job loss, but it also recreates a metaphorical picture of fighting to grow into ourselves that I think is unobtrusively accurate.
In the Skins world, every instant is earth-shatteringly important. Even Skins fans admit that the show portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic for the average teenager, but I don’t think the expectation of pure realism gives this show enough credit. I don’t see everything that happens in the show literally. I think much of it is meant to demonstrate the crushing weight of our lives when we’re teenagers. We spend lots of our time inhabiting a dream world, feeling the weight of our decisions metaphorically crush us. The choices we make and the slights we perceive are debilitating for an instant, but years later, we can barely recall them. This show recreates that kind of dream-like, frenetic quality that makes up so much of late adolescence. Skins makes me nostalgic for the freedom and adventure and creativity I felt when I was in England, but I think most people feel a similar sense of freedom when they study abroad or leave their country for the first time. It does more than that. It rekindles that sense of possibility and the weight of false importance that was so unique to my very average middle-class adolescence.
When I return to the world in which I at once feel forced to live after pretending to be a teenage delinquent from Bristol for a weekend, I can’t help but feel a little disillusioned with the life I’ve got. This week, staring at a computer, day-dreaming of the bacchanalia I spent my weekend vicariously living, I’ve just been bored.