There’s always a lot of chatter on the internet about how Skins bosses pander to the gay community, and every time I see that kind of thing, I want to find the people who are writing it and get close enough for them to smell my minty fresh breath when I laugh in their faces. Let me tell you what pandering to the gay community would look like. Pandering to the gay community would look like drawing rigid lines around characters and stamping them with prefabricated labels: Lesbian. Bisexual. And then copying down some IKEA instructions and calling it a story. Pandering to the gay community would look like parading those gay characters around on the merit of their gaynesss and begging the gay community to tune in and watch them be gay.
That is the opposite of Skins. It’s all about narrative integrity with those guys, and nothing in the whole wide world will earn you a kiss on the mouth faster than that. (From me, at least. You might use other criteria when dolling out snogs.)
When series 5 ended last week, I said out loud, “Well, that was just the queerest thing to ever happen to my TV.” After “Grace” I wondered if there was some actual substance to the sizzling chemistry between Franky and Mini. The writers had obviously been setting up a Franky/Matty romance from the word go. Were they really going there with the queen bee and the gender non-conformist? After “Everyone,” I have to believe the answer is “absolutely!”
On the morning of Grace and Rich’s wedding, Mini takes a break to pull up a photo on her phone — a photo of Matty and Franky. A photo of Matty and Franky that she instantly resizes to frame only Franky’s sweet face. And that’s the moment — right then — when you know it’s more than mates.
Mini marches herself over to Matty to have a little chat with him.
Mini: Stay away from Franky today.
Matty: What are you, her bodyguard?
Mini: No, I’m her best friend, and I’ve been looking after her.
Matty: Is she OK?
Mini: No, she’s not OK, OK? You’ve made her ill.
Matty: I haven’t done anything.
Mini: We all have to make an effort today, and that includes you, amazingly. I mean, you’ve done a pretty good job ignoring her calls, so please don’t fuck with her head today. Promise me?
Matty: Yes. I promise.
Mini: Good. Toodles!
Here’s a tip: If you find yourself threatening to cut off some guy’s balls over your “best friend,” there’s a chance you’re mistaking “protectiveness” for “nuclear-level jealousy.” I maybe know this from experience. In high school I maybe tried to run over my best friend’s boyfriend — with my car.
The problem is, Franky’s kind of begging to be messed with because she’s leaving a note on Matty’s pillow at the same time, asking what’s going on between them.
Mini is keen to help Franky into her dress for the wedding. She zips her up and spins her around, giggling about “VBL. Visible Boxers Line.” And the way Franky looks at her when she turns makes my heart hammer in my chest like it’s trying to break free.
Franky: Do I look like a d–k?
Mini: No, you look amazing. Now, remember what I said.
Franky: I deserve better.