The First Season of the American adaptation of Skins originally aired on MTV from January 17, 2011 to March 21, 2011.
Season 1 introduces the "first generation" of characters, which are featured in Series 1.
Season 1 takes place during the character's junior year of high school.
The series was cancelled after 1 seasons,leaving many controversial issues behind.
The initial season introduces nine major characters and one major supporting character.
Newcomer Daniel Flaherty was then cast as Stanley Lucerne, the US equivalent of Sid Jenkins, whose character is described as someone who "lacks confidence, is socially uneasy and struggles with school work"
Similarly, newcomer Rachel Thevenard was cast as Michelle Richardson, the US equivalent of Michelle Richardson, someone who is "drop dead gorgeous with a quick wit that keeps everyone on their toes".
Series co-creator Bryan Elsley served a the show runner for the first season, along with serving as an executive producer with Derek Harvie.
The first season was produced by Company Picture, Entertainment One, The Movie Network, Movie Central, Storm Dog Films, and MTV Production Development.
The main staff writers for the first season were Bryan Elsley, Ryan O'Nan, Monica Padrick, Jamie Brittain, Mark Hammer, Matt Pelfrey, Maisha Closson, and Derek Harvie. However, many elements from the original UK scripts from Series 1 were adapted into the first season.
Michael Rosenberg, Laszlo Barna, Chris Clough, George Faber, Kevin Lafferty, Margaret O'Brien, and Charles Pattinson served as producers for the first season.
The regular directors for the first season were Scott Smith and Samir Rehem.
The first season's incidental music was composed by Al McCabe Segal and Matt Simpson, with the music supervisor being Matt FX.
The show's opening theme is "Lina Magic" by 3D Friends.
|#||Title||Featured Character(s)||US Viewers||Original airdate||Total|
|1||"Tony"||Tony Snyder||3.26 million||January 17 2011||1|
|Tony's a smart kid. So smart he believes that he can get his best friend Stanley laid, and make a profit in the bargain -- with a drug deal. Inevitably that deal goes wrong. Stanley doesn't lose his virginity...again. And a stolen car, carrying the unpaid drugs, goes into the lake. Now the kids are really in trouble...|
|2||"Tea"||Tea Marvelli||1.58 million||January 24 2011||2|
|Tea's beautiful and gay. Everyone loves her, and they certainly can't help but want more from her. But she won't even think about it - she just carries on being happy and untouchable. Until one day, she meets her match, and her once blissful life is set ablaze.|
|3||"Chris"||Chris Collins||1.45 million||January 31 2011||3|
|Happy-go-lucky Chris wakes one morning to find his single Mom has left him a thousand dollars on the kitchen counter and blown town. Twenty-four hours later, the cash is gone - spent on a wild party. It is only then that Chris realizes his Mom's not coming home. Ever.|
|4||"Cadie"||Cadie Campbell||1.19 million||February 7 2011||4|
|Cadie's cured - released from the hospital. Great. Except that Cadie's no better. Her friends are anxious to share her Rolodex of prescriptions. Her parents just want her to be good. But Cadie's worst problem is love -- an illness that can't be cured with pills. But that won't stop her from trying... |
|5||"Stanley"||Stanley Lucerne||960,000||February 14 2011||5|
|Stanley's in trouble. If he plays truant once more, he'll have to repeat his junior year. So one morning when he misses the school bus, Stanley has no choice but to commandeer his dad's car... just this once. The day gets weirder - his best friend Tony gives him Michelle. Now Stan finds himself in his dad's "borrowed" car with the girl of his dreams. What could possibly go wrong?|
|6||"Abbud"||Abbud Siddiqui||974,000||February 21 2011||6|
|What happens when you go on a class trip into the woods for a little self-discovery? You create your own "trip"...by any possible means. But no amount of drugs, no buzz will make Abbud forget that he's completely in love with his best friend. He longs for the day when those feelings are reciprocated. Sadly, it looks like that day may never come.|
|7||"Michelle"||Michelle Richardson||1.170 million||February 28 2011||7|
|Michelle has finally caught wind of Tony's betrayals - no thanks to her friends who seem to have known all along. So Michelle cuts Tony loose and sets off on a social cleanse. After the dust settles, she embraces a new friendship. Will she get Tony out of her system for good?|
|8||"Daisy"||Daisy Valero||1.088 million||March 7 2011||8|
|Daisy has big dreams, not that she can focus on them when she feels bound to clean up the messes her friends and family make of their lives. She's good at school, great at playing the trumpet and excellent at managing her friends' disasters. But can she ever get what she wants?|
|9||"Tina"||Tina Nolan||1.107 million||March 14 2011||9|
|It's Tina's birthday and she's feeling like an adult who still hasn't grown up. She makes efforts to change her life and fails disastrously, winding up even more of an adolescent than ever...|
|10||"Eura"||Eura Snyder||1.165 million||March 21 2011||10|
|Tony is depressed and all of his friends have shunned him. His younger sister, Eura, is here to help lead him back to salvation.|
The first season received generally mixed reviews in the US, with many reviews unfavorably comparing it to the original UK series of the same name. Others criticized the similarities in promotion of the show to that of the UK version's first series citing the US show's unoriginality. Most reviews claimed that ultimately the show was unable to distinguish itself from not only the original UK version but also to other similarly themed teen shows.
The Boston Globe gave the show a positive review, but not without reservation, stating that "[Skins] resembles its progenitor, and is not quite as good; but [it] offers something worthy nonetheless. It’s too bad the premiere plot is so stale; in later episodes, each of which focuses primarily on one of the characters, the pathos and particularities of the characters’ lives emerge effectively".
Entertainment Weekly, although giving the pilot a B, compared it unfavorably to the UK version, stating that "What disengaged me from the new Skins was that everyone looked so attractive and alert (even when the characters are supposed to be messy and wasted), so ready with a perfectly timed quip (even the characters who were supposed to be dim), that I didn’t suspend my disbelief for a minute. This was not the case with the far more engaging British version, which, like much British TV, isn’t afraid to cast actors who aren’t ripped and lovely, and whose characters are permitted to mumble and be irritating, if that’s what’s called for. It’s called dramatic verisimilitude".
The Faster Times gave the show an extremely negative review, stating that much of reworked dialogue, especially Tea's, prove that "Skins is not interested in tackling the serious side of the series’ critically acclaimed forerunner. The fact of the matter is that none of these teens show half the charisma of the originals… Some of them hardly seem like they can act. And due to the director’s decision to stick so closely to the original script, the freedom to curse and show nudity in the British original is incredibly apparent. Some of the choices in editing the language made it sound as though they had actually done a TV edit of the first episode! This show, to put it quite simply, fails on all fronts."
Reception in the UK was extremely negative. The Guardian gave the show an extremely negative review, stating that "while MTV's reboot feels like a paint-by-numbers remake, there is one key element missing: the honest discussion of class and societal status. If Skins had been set in Baltimore, it would have inherited a long tradition of quirky snapshots of American life. It would have had the space to grow into a series that wasn't afraid to tangle with the bleakness of life of those with more experience scoring drugs than competing for test scores. But instead, Skins was completely lobotomised: Tony lost his trademark bedspread, his father lost his profanity, American viewers lost Maxxie, and teenagers found their shot at a realistic view of class politics left on the cutting room floor."
Former UK Skins cast member Kaya Scodelario (who played Effy Stonem) also spoke negatively of the US adaptation on her Twitter, stating "Na mate! Brits did it better…Can't believe it was bleeped! That's not what Skins is about. And making Effy blonde? WTF! but good luck 2 them anyway, not about being a hater."
Child Pornography Claims
Due to stricter laws in the US than in the UK regarding media featuring minors, issues raised about Skins' content, which features real underage actors (their ages range from 15-19) participating in sexual and promiscuous acts on-screen, forced MTV execs to scrutinize upcoming episodes of Skins to ensure they don’t violate US child pornography laws.
The Parents Television Council, having previously called the show "the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen” before its premiere, have called on the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice to open an investigation for possible child pornography and exploitation on the show. After the airing of the third episode, the PTC urged people to call their State Attorney General and ask him or her to investigate whether MTV or a local cable/satellite provider that airs Skins has violated child pornography or exploitation laws in the viewer's state.
Although no violations or charges have been brought against MTV, the controversy surrounding this issue caused Taco Bell to pull all their ads and no longer sponsor the show a day after the show's premiere. A spokesperson stated that "Upon further review, we've decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming." Two days after the show's premiere, both General Motors and Wrigley similarly pulled all their ads and no longer sponsor the show. A day after that, H&R Block also decided to pull all their ads and no longer sponsor the show. Four days after the show's premiere, Subway and Schick Hydro similarly pulled all their ads and no longer sponsor the show. A day later, L'oreal and Foot Locker.Inc similarly pulled all their ads and no longer sponsor the show. On February 1, 2011, Proactiv similarly pulled all their ads and no longer sponsor the show. On March 1, 2011, both Clearasil and Red Bull decided to pull their ads and are no longer sponsoring the show. By March 1, 2011 (six weeks after it's premiere), Skins had lost eleven advertisers due to the controversy surrounding this issue. However, on March 15, 2011, White Castle decided to support the show, having their ads air during the show.
Entertainment Weekly commented on the controversy, stating that "Skins is also dangerous — legally — because the show cast kids as kids. Unlike most glammed-up network teen shows, like Gossip Girl and 90210, these aren’t sexy 20-somethings playing high school students. These shadowy figures tearing their clothes off and hopping into bed are actual 15- to 19-year-olds, whether or not they’re anywhere near enacting “pornography.” I can’t begin to rule on whether this show comes anywhere near child pornography, as I’m not a lawyer. The argument was silly when applied to the “kids” from Glee — really 20-somethings — posing scandalously in GQ; it might not be so silly, at least legally, when applied to Skins, given that a 1995 series of Calvin Klein ads attracted attention from the U.S. Department of Justice. Granted, those ads were clearly meant to imitate sleazy porn — Skins only sets out to depict teen life realistically, not (I don’t think) appeal to pervy adults. Yes, it’s a little glamorized and dramatized for the cameras, but this is a pretty real look at current teen life, whether parents like it or not. All of its plots are workshopped by a group of real-teen advisers in New York. Like MTV's documentary series 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom before it, Skins could just be showing us what we don’t want to see about teen life."
Skins castmember Sofia Black-D’Elia (who plays Tea Marvelli) spoke out at the controversy, stating that "it’s pushing the boundaries for teen drama because I think Skins goes where other shows are afraid to,” she explained. “It’s what teens are doing. It’s the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don’t really support you or really listen to you. That’s what most of these kids are going through. ... And so, um, the drugs and the sex, they’re vices, and that’s what teenagers have."
Former UK Skins castmember Kaya Scodelario (who played Effy Stonem) spoke out at the controversy on her Twitter, stating "SERIOUSLY? and that's what they think of the toned down US Skins! they'd faint if they saw the uk version."
MTV released a statement regarding the issue, stating that "Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers. We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate."
On January 24, 2011 creator Bryan Elsley released a statement exclusively to MTV regarding this issue:
"Skins is a very simple and in fact rather old fashioned television series. It's about the lives and loves of teenagers, how they get through high school, how they deal with their friends, and also how they circumnavigate some of the complications of sex, relationships, educations, parents, drugs and alcohol. The show is written from the perspective of teenagers, reflects their world view, and this has caused a degree of controversy both in the UK and the USA.
In the UK, viewers and commentators very quickly realized that although there are some sensational aspects to the show, Skins is actually a very serious attempt to get to the roots of young people's lives. It deals with relationships, parents, death, illness, mental health issues, the consequences of drug use and sexual activity. It is just that these are characterized from the point of view of the many young people who write the show and has a very straightforward approach to their experiences; it tries to tell the truth. Sometimes that truth can be a little painful to adults and parents.
Consequences do flow from incorrect or selfish behavior but in the show, these are shown to be unexpected, hard to predict, and more to do with the loss of friendship than anything else, which in any context, is a disastrous outcome.
We proceed from the idea, not that teenagers are inherently likely to misbehave, but rather that they are intensely moral and disposed to make judgments on their own and others' behavior. Sometimes, but not always, they get things wrong. In this teenagers are remarkably similar to adults. Their morals may not be the same as those of their parents and teachers, but they are nevertheless, highly developed and active in their world.
When viewers have taken the time to watch the show in a little more depth, they are less concerned about the behavior of the characters. Teenagers can be loyal, supportive, dedicated, focused, and capable of making informed value judgments about their lives. In the pilot episode of Skins, it's possibly easy to overlook the story wherein a young boy sets off to a party to sell drugs and have sex, but in fact, does neither of these things, because, he senses that he has been manipulated by friends and does not feel ready to have sex with someone he does not know properly.
Skins is a traditionally made television series which has won countless international awards and gained a worldwide audience for stories about the joy, misery and challenges of being a teenager. The show has been used in anti-drug campaigns, has drawn praise for its portrayal of mental health issues and explorations of bereavement, sexuality, bullying and gender stereotyping.
I have lost count of the letters we have been sent by viewers who tell us that they have been able to approach their parents or teachers with their difficulties after watching the show. It is something that we take a great deal of pride in and which can unfortunately be eclipsed by some of the negative attention.
Our approach is not careless. We've created a supportive and protective environment for everyone working on the show. And of course abide by the law, and give respect to our work colleagues who in this case, are young energetic and exciting people with so much to offer to an imperfect world."
Tea Lesbian Storyline
Another topic that caused much controversy with viewers was the character of Tea Marvelli, who although proclaims herself to be a lesbian, continually sleeps with Tony Snyder. Many lesbian fans and sites were outraged against Tea's actions and storyline, speaking out vocally against it as they felt Tea's character misrepresents the lesbian population, as they feel Tea is portraying lesbians as being bisexual.
Lesbian-based website AfterEllen.com interviewed creator Bryan Elsey about the controversy surrounding Tea, he stated:
"Tea definitely identifies as a lesbian. In fact, it is really interesting to me that so many of the young people I spoke to definitively characterized themselves as lesbians and they report that for various reasons they've all had sexual relationships with men. I think that possibly what happens, with both men and women, is that there is a process so many people go through whereby there sexuality is in question, often into adulthood. Often times in adulthood, people get more entrenched in their position.
I'm sure plenty of teenage lesbians would never proceed in this fashion [to sleep with men]. But I would like to add that I urge people to watch the whole story, because it twists and turns. Tea does characterize herself as a lesbian. And I'd like to point out that these two sexual experiences she's had with Tony have been deeply unpleasant. They have not worked for her in any way. And they have only caused her trouble. In Tea's relationship with Tony, I am characterizing someone who is behaving badly, not well. Her motives are complicated.
It's about how someone could confuse an intellectual connection with someone, or a spiritual connection with someone, or even a dislike of someone for sexual attraction. That's what's being portrayed here. She keeps saying, "I feel something for him" without ever defining what that is. And I don't want to give the story away, but she's making a mistake. She's mistaking the vibe she feels for him as sexual attraction.
I have a personal belief in this, and Skins does in some way reflect my personal belief. My belief is that, in matters of sex, as long as what you engage in is not illegal or abusive, no one should have an opinion about it. It's something I believe rather profoundly. This story, in so many ways, is about how Tea finds her feet, and how Tea remembers who she is. I feel that the story lands in the correct way."
Home Media Release
- Main article: Skins (US): DVD Releases#Season 1