Visiting the world of 'Skins' in 2019

I’d been hunting quite some time for my next Netflix binge. So, when the ‘recommended for you’ email hit my inbox last month, I rushed to find out what was on offer.

Netflix suggested that Skins would be the show for me…and they were right! It’s boozy, sweary, and offers the kind of escapism that I love.

I never watched Skins when it was originally broadcast (waaaay back in 2007). But, as a Year 9 girl, I do remember hearing others talk about the parties, drugs, and lusting over Effy and Cook.

First season’s done and, so far, the flashback to 12 years ago has made me scream with laughter. I’ve also observed several things:

  • Firstly, a world without proper smartphones. I enjoyed slipping back to a time when we weren’t constantly glued to our phones. In one of the last episodes I watched, Tony had EIGHT contacts on his phone. He also had a rubbish camera and probably Snake, but that was it. Spending less time on your phone meant more hanging out with your mates in real life rather than wasting hours scrolling through apps.

  • A world without proper smartphones also meant a world without 24-hour social media. No selfie-taking, no staged images of laughter, and no comparing lives with others. What you see is what you get; you know who these characters are and it’s so refreshing to see their good and bad sides on display without a filter in sight.

  • The light humour blanketing some pretty hard-hitting issues. Skins covers a range of teenage struggles and, in the first season alone, I’ve already watched episodes covering sexuality, anorexia, drug use and overdosing. The funny thing is that every time I hold my breath waiting for something bad to happen…it’s fine! It’s all just a laugh and everything seems to work out okay in the end. It’s all part of the charm of Skins that makes it so easy to binge-watch.

  • Attitudes towards mental health. At this early stage, I can only comment on Cassie’s eating disorder so far. It’s another topic that seems to be covered in a jokey manner but I’m not sure this storyline would be portrayed in the same way in the present day. The show successfully shed light on such a sensitive topic at the time – but there’s been cultural shift in attitudes towards mental health since then and shows like 13 Reasons Why received much criticism for ‘glorifying’ similar issues.

  • Finally, Skins is known for promoting a hedonistic teen culture. It didn’t shy away from topics like booze, sex, drugs and raves, even for the underaged. This is a big contrast to the clean-living activist image that we see promoted by Gen Z today.

But that’s just the first season. I have six more to go and I can’t wait!