If you’ve been hanging around AfterEllen.com for more than about ten minutes, you probably know that Skins is one of my most favorite TV shows and that Naomi and Emily from series three and four are the most cherished characters on every plane of the space-time prism in any direction for all possible eternities. (All glory and honor to cat flaps, amen.) I wrote a little bit about Skins‘ fifth series last year, about the radical portrayal of Franky Fitzgerald’s genderqueer attributes, and about the evolution — from “let me smash your face into this mud” to “let me smash your face into my face” — of Mini McGuinness’ feelings for her.
Generation three didn’t give us a beloved lesbian couple to have and to hold in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for as long as we all shall live, but it did give us a smorgasbord of narration about identity construction and gender flexibility and sexual fluidity.
Series five was a lot of glorious things, and some of those things were queer, queer, queer.
Plenty of people have (and will continue to) call me a lunatic for having the audacity to say such a thing, for pulling and pulling at a fictional thread until it unravels at my feet and I can examine from every angle and come to my own conclusions about the whozits and whatsits, as if a thing cannot be true or real or even beneficial for deconstructing our own personal narratives if a writer or an actor hasn’t pasted a permanent label on it so we can tuck it in a specimen jar and file it safely away with Things Just Like It. As if opinions and taste-buds are empirical data, and human beings are all computers, processing units of information for the purpose of producing correct conclusions. As if the world can be shaken down into black things and white things, gay things and straight things, wrong things and right things. It is — forgive me — a silly way to approach life and an even sillier way to approach stories.
Maybe series five had no gay merit as far as you’re concerned. That’s cool. But it did for me.
Sadly, as series six drew near and interviews and trailers started to roll out, it sort of became apparent that Skins wasn’t going to explore a romance between Franky and Mini, or even address the confused attraction Mini felt for her at the end of last season; and that Franky’s gender presentation was going to hop over to traditionally feminine without much in the way of exploration or explanation. I think both of those things are bummers, in large part because Franky and Mini were catalysts for conversation about all sorts of fascinating Judith Butler-esque topics, like the oppressive nature of pretty much every social dichotomy, and the way the world tries to squash all of our individual experiences, and how who you’re f–king is only one of a zillion ways to define who you are. Obviously we can still talk about all that stuff, but I wanted to talk about it while listening to Freya Mavor‘s accent and admiring Franky Fitzgerald’s suspenders. (I can’t remember what you guys call those things in Britain. Braces?)
I’m not foolish enough to assume there’s no merit in a TV show just because it chose not to tell the stories I wanted to hear in the ways I wanted to hear them. Skins is still a damn fine program, and I’ve been around and around trying to decide how to cover it this season. I’ve seen the first three episodes now, the preview for Franky’s episode, and the trailer that shows her and the Moroccan Drug Lord beating the s–t out of each other up and down the streets of Bristol before getting their shag on. When I add that to the tempestuous relationship most of our readers have had with Skins over the past year, I’ve decided I’m just going to SnapCap it for the time being. If things get queer-er or the AfterEllen Bait factor goes through the roof, I’ll expand the recaps. But for now I just want us to be able to talk about the show together and have a laugh or two. OK? OK!
“Everyone” opens in Morocco where Alo is still obsessed with boobs, Liv is still tripping balls every time she gets a chance, Mini is still correctly conducting her life by the principles set forth by Katie Fitch, and Nick is still making that one face. Pretty soon, Grace and Rich join them, and they’re still very much in love. No one has changed — except for Franky, who shows up on the scene shouting at Matty about, “I have changed! For starters, your face makes me want to vomit. Also, talking about second wave feminism makes me want to vomit! Also, your music makes me want to vomit!” And then she actually vomits on him to prove her point about how disgusted she is that he continues to exist in the world. She’s pretty pissed off in general, and just all-around bored with all the sex and talking and cuddling and couple-ness that happens when you’re, you know, part of a couple.
As far as Mini’s latent homosexual leanings go, they’re addressed in a single sentence. Nick says that Matty is obsessed with Franky and Mini smirks, “Yeah, I kind of wonder how that feels. Weird I suppose.”
Also, it’s kind of weird that for two people who had such extreme, negative reactions to sex, Mini and Franky are just screwing whomever they want whenever they want these days, without much in the way of explanation.
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS
Skins is the best at giving me feelings, and this week my feelings were mostly reserved for Franky and Grace. With Franky it was all frustration and fist shaking, not only because she was acting like a brat to pretty much everyone, but also because her first order of business after arriving in Morocco was to fall for a drug lord who looks unnervingly like if Macaulay Culkin mated with one of those wolves with human eyes from The Hunger Games. He was all, “You don’t owe anyone anything,” which is kind of an interesting commentary on her sexuality and stuff, but also: Pretty sh—y life advice. At least she tried to get him to pull the car over when it became obvious that he was kidnapping her for a drug lord scheme.
And for Grace my number one feeling was one million frowns and sighs of resignation. Someone always has to take a blow to the head in the second series of every gen. At least it wasn’t a baseball bat wielded by her girlfriend’s deranged psychiatrist.
This week’s “Don’t be such an asshat and people will like you more” award goes to … THIS GUY! (Who, I am sorry to say, isn’t going anywhere.)
What did you think of “Everyone”?