The Patch

January 14, 2007

Sunday 14th January- The Changing Nature of TV

Filed under: Celebrity/TV — denesha @ 10:41 am

Anyone who has been watching Channel 4 or E4 recently will have seen the adverts for a new show called Skins. For those of you that haven’t, it’s a pretty cliché advert, aimed to regurgitate some form of As If for a new bunch of 16 to 18 year olds, by portraying extreme regurgitation. That was my initial reaction, and I would have stuck to it, if a) The boy from About A Boy hadn’t grown up into a hot, young man and b) if they hadn’t invited aspiring graphics designers, film makers and some other people I don’t care about, to take part in the making of it.

It intrigued me to say the least and I looked it up whilst moseying around the internet during my half hour break from revision. The website for it is cool, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. It has little video blogs of the characters which are a novel way of communicating with ‘fans’. Despite not actually having any real fans as it hasn’t even premiered yet. Wait, I’ve just noticed the E4 Skins MySpace page. Kill me now.

This assault on the internet offends me. It really shouldn’t; I mean it’s a free world. I endure needy My Space kids posting bulletins about their new haircuts, pictures, blogs, comments and songs. I endure pop ups, bad blogs and ‘wacky, celebrity gossip sites’. I don’t even mind spam now that Gmail has introduced that ‘delete all’ button. But this…this has pushed me too far.

I know that YouTube has changed how we view TV- TIME magazine told me so. I know that the internet is said to be the replacement of traditional television. I know. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I feel manipulated and sick of the show before it’s even started. It doesn’t look like it is going to offer a social commentary of the lives of teenagers in 21st Century Britain. It doesn’t look particularly different from As If or funnier than Teachers or even as addictive as The OC. It looks average. Their approach is commendable (despite my personal reservations) as this is undeniably a well planned and media savvy campaign designed to attract hype and by proxy, some substance.

I suppose an advantage to this ‘whoa, dude, we’re pushing the envelope here, dude’ approach to advertising is that the little website allowed me to amuse myself with the character profiles. The lead character, Tony is supposed to be (and I quote) “the best-looking, most popular boy in town”. His side kick is a boy called Sid, a weird looking chap who is “a virgin with no confidence, his best friend Tony plays him like a fool, and it doesn’t help that Sid’s forever lusting after Tony’s gorgeous girlfriend.” Stock characters from any teen show- the hot guy, the ugly sidekick, the hot girlfriend, the token nerdy, geeky, Asian kid who dispels all stereotypes (says, the token nerdy, geeky, Asian kid who dispels all stereotypes) and my personal favourite, Chris- the boy who wants to shag his Psychology teacher.

What is so disappointing about the melodramatic, over hyped and superficial characters is that there is so much potential. Every generation needs a movie or TV show that is emblematic of their lives and none more so than the current generation of teens. This generation of British teenagers are tarnished by the highly publicised antics of pregnant ASBO teenagers; therefore a show following a group of teenagers who have fun without smashing up cars would be a wonderful way to dispel the misguided belief that all teenagers are idiots. I must admit, that while reading the character profiles, I did notice that there were similarities between my fabulous (albeit slightly unhinged) friendship group and the characters on Skins. Once more though, E4 goes too far and the characters are caricatures of a typical group of friends. It’d be interesting to see if they are developed into well rounded, compelling characters, rather than regurgitating fools who are unable to convey more than their one sentence long character description. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Well rounded characters trying to make sense of their world of exams, sex and drugs would never make good TV- but watching a boy vomiting into a toilet or urinating in his own face does. Apparently.

Anyway, yes, this show is remarkably different from any other show (- after all, the adverts keep telling me so.) In fact, it’s the most original show in the world because the adverts showed a boy urinating into his own face and walking home naked- presumably right after updating his E4 blog. I’m being sarcastic right now; it just doesn’t transfer that well on to computers. I actually think it is going to be quite shit from everything that I’ve seen so far.

And therein lies the problem with giving someone too much information, too soon. I was able to Google, read and discover that the show is not that special at all. I didn’t even have to watch the pilot.

Subtlety is an art form, Channel 4. The reason why I adore The West Wing is because the hype came from people saying “wow” once they’d watched the pilot. The reason why I adore anything by Aaron Sorkin is because More4 showed me one trailer of Studio 60 on Sunset Strip and that’s all I needed to get me excited. Word of mouth, a sneak peek and substance is what goes into creating an effective and successful show. Not cheap gimmicks created by a talented IT team.

Subtlety, Channel 4, subtlety.

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2 Comments »

  1. really good points here. it’s worrying to me that e4’s attempt at a show emblematic of this generation’s teenagers potray a guy who is awesome because he’s hot and a guy who is a loser, and treated as such, because he’s a virgin and can’t score with the hot babe; and then they garner their audience by shoving it down your throat until it airs and you’re so curious you cant help but watch it. yuck.

    Comment by Amie — January 14, 2007 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  2. “interestereminggggggg”

    Comment by zak — January 14, 2007 @ 9:49 pm | Reply


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