Skins USA: Spot the Difference

5 Jan

It would appear that the producers of Skins USA have learnt from the mistakes of failed cross-continental conversions such as “Kath and Kim” and “Big Brother”; instead of reformulating a concept for American audiences, Skins USA looks to be more of a downtown-Baltimore carbon-copy. One might question the logic in spending millions of network dollars simply so American audiences need not furrow their brows in a desperate attempt to understand the phrase “you think I’m a right James Blunt”. But nevertheless, considering the popularity of the original Skins to every American in the English-speaking world outside of America, and as much as it pains me to admit, this *could* work.

But then wait a minute. There is something missing from that promo. Something’s not the same.

Watch it again.

Anyone?

Where the fuck is Maxxie?

Now don’t get me wrong. I actually didn’t like Maxxie in the original skins. I thought his character lacked development and that the writers had copped out on a figure who could’ve had a compelling and important storyline. But he was pivotal, interesting, and like all the other original characters, distinctly different from the kind of person who we were used to seeing on television.

So I searched far and wide and found Maxxie’s replacement.

Meet Tea. She’s young, she’s gay, she’s a dancer, and she’s….a chick?

Fascinatingly, Skins USA producers don’t appear to have bothered with changing anything about Maxxie Tea’s dialogue or relationships; check out this leaked “side-script” (court. Perez Hilton).

INT. SPORTS HALL. MORNING

CHEERLEADERS: (CHANTING) Roundview… We love you!!! Aha! Ahu! Love you, Roundview!! Say what?!! Say Huh!!! Say what! Say huh!! Say who! Roundview…!

The camera comes to rest on TEA (17), an unusual looking but nevertheless beautiful girl.
The CHEERLEADERS spin out into immaculately coreographed individual spins and group turns. TEA presses a BLUETOOTH RECEIVER. Cheerleader continues around her.

TEA: Hey Tony…
TONY: [PHONE] Forget the big gay night out Tea. We need you.
TEA: Sorry Tony, I promised Chris and Abs I’d take them on a voyage of wonder and discovery…

Yet again, identical (more or less) to the original.

When I was in New York a few years back, I watched on free-to-air TV the original Skins episode in which Jal contemplates terminating her pregnancy. It was a poignant and powerful storyline, one which had the potential to further the normalisation of discussion of family planning and teen pregnancy in an honest manner. And it was completely airbrushed out of the version I saw.

I’m afraid the same thing is happening here. Maxxie has been airbrushed out, and the opportunity to have a televised character who is young, male, gay, functional, and not on Law & Order: SVU has been lost. Instead, we’re left with another example only alternate sexuality permissible in the American media – young, hot, and lesbian.

There’s a certain irony in transforming a show which was based upon concepts of inclusivity into one which is subtly pornographying it’s characters.

Who knows; maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Tea won’t be a 2-dimensional object. But what worries me the most is that audiences won’t be watching in order to see a (inevitably stylised) reflection of their own lives, or to be challenged, or stimulated; they’ll be waiting for Tea and the other cheerleaders to hit the changerooms. And that is not what Skins is about.

The mind boggles.

Disney, you fucked us up.

30 Dec

If, every morning, my every need were attended to by wild birds and a pack of domesticated rodents I’d definitely be considering a relocation. If not that, then at least my health and mental well-being. The likelihood of a small flock of birds drawing a bath for me is slim to none, and I definitely wouldn’t want to these days with cross-species Avian Flu transmissions surely imminent. But evidently this wasn’t a concern for Cinderella in her fairytale kingdom, circa 1950.

Good ol’ Walt Disney sure knew how weave a false dream for thousands of kids around the world. And somewhere within the messed-up mental machinations of these youth, this fantasy was somehow internalized, only to return in years to come as fetishes not so benign. Or so Freud’s idea of the uncanny goes. If those friendly forest creatures aren’t prepared to pamper you when you get up and strip down every morning, then why not put them to some better use? Continue reading

Lady Negroni

27 Dec

Drunkeness AHOY

LADY NEGRONI (ORIGINAL JADEDLABEL COCKTAIL)

1 Shot Each Gin, Red Vermouth and Campari under ice. Pour into whisky glass and add fist of Ice. Top with Dry Ginger Beer, then twist 1 orange quarter into drink. Add crushed mint and crystallised ginger. Repeat x3, then slip into alcohol coma.

27 Dec

markus-weldon imagebank

How to Ruin Christmas

25 Dec

I’ve just ruined Christmas 2010. No. I “feel” like I’ve ruined Christmas. That distinction needs to be made clear because it’d pretty hard for one single action to ruin the seasonal grease that lubricates the cogs of capitalism and all the good cheer, tinsel and schmultzy holiday muzak that it brings.

But my failed attempt at baking gingerbread men today felt as though it had universal ramifications. Welcome to the life of a perfectionist. I had success the other night, baking 100 gingerbread men, reindeers, trees, and stars and buttering them up with enough icing to send even Lance Armstrong into cardiac arrest. But why the fuck did it not work today? Continue reading

Sydney Welcomes Oprah

13 Dec

After what’s cost taxpayers an estimated $3 million, initially set aside to be wasted invested in the NSW government’s phantom metro system, she’s finally hit our shores. Yes, that’s right, it’s Oprah-mania here in Sydney. With an entourage of 300 guests, security, staff and requisite stalkers (kept at bay with a few kilometres of electric wire fencing), America’s talk-show queen not only brings rare good publicity to Sydney’s starving shores, a freak outbreak of spontaneous emotional outpourings on Sydney streets has been reported, up some 78 per cent from the December average. Emotional binge eating is also on a rise.  Continue reading

Luxury isn’t a luxury.

10 Oct

Continue reading

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