“Skins” Gets Axed, Just Like Franky

As Skins barrels through the endless bender of its sixth season, The Guardian is reporting that Channel 4 has confirmed that the controversial series will die (probably in a car crash) in 2013.

A Channel 4 spokesperson told The Guardian: Skins is a brilliant show which has defined a generation and will go down as a truly iconic, game-changing piece of television but after seven series it is time for E4 to make way for the next generation of the bold, the new and the innovative.” Next year three more episodes will air, and the Channel 4 Rep says, “We think Skins has gone as far as we can take it, but we know fans will be disappointed. So we think three episodes to really celebrate the series is a good send-off.”

MSN reports that 2011 was a rough year for the franchise, saying that “the American version proved too controversial, and was axed after only a couple of episodes,” which isn’t actually true — MTV aired the complete season and then cancelled it, but the controversy if anything only amped up interest in the show. The American Skins‘ fatal flaw was that it totally sucked. Like it sucked so bad it needed a whole new word for “suck.”

after drowning in suck, the cast of Skins US crosses a bridge

In the UK, Skins‘ ratings have been rolling gallantly downhill all season. MSN, apparently very short on fact-checkers yesterday, said that “last night’s finale” (It wasn’t the finale, it was only Episode seven of a 10-episode season) “was seen by just 630,000 people, a loss of over 40% of its launch audience.” They also report that Season Six debuted to the show’s lowest ever overnight average — a huge loss for a show that premiered in 2007 to 1.7 million viewers.

MSN theorizes: “Over five years in, and it seemed as if the writers were running short of the kind of fresh ideas that made the first couple of series so watchable. In this day and age, it’s perhaps difficult to appreciate just how groundbreaking Skins was when it first premiered. However, in its prime, it was a groundbreaking show for young people, devised by young people and played by young people.”

But is that really it? Now that the ground has been broken, we’re no longer moved by Skins‘ central concept? I don’t think so. There are definitely elements of the show’s premise less suited for a 2012 audience than a 2007 one, and I’ll get to those later, but perhaps MSN is the most accurate when they suggest “the new cast – including the likes of Dakota Blue Richards, Alex Arnold, Sean Teale, Freya Mavor and Jessica Sula – polarised fans. Some were enamoured with them, others weren’t.”

the cast of season six

Obviously the new cast never shone quite so dirty-bright as the previous two but Season Five had its moments — more specifically, it had Franky.

In Season Five, Skins unexpectedly found a way to break new ground with Franky; a delicately beautiful girl with nervous eyes, a wild angry vulnerability and a distinctly androgynous style. Although Franky never used the word herself, many viewers immediately identified her as “genderqueer,” which we don’t see on television, really, not ever. When asked whether she’s into girls or boys or both, Franky responds — with a rare assuredness for her — “I’m into people.”

Franky, who was bullied at her old school, is quickly harassed at her new one, too, but by Season Five’s end had meshed into a new gang and a new love triangle — or dodechahedron, really — dominated by Matty the Emo Brooder and Franky’s new best friend, the bitchy-because-she’s-needy Mini.

Minky share a romantic moment in season five

It was thrilling, that unexpected sexual tension with Mini, and it made perfect sense, it really did, that Mini’s initial twatdom towards Franky was rooted in internalized homophobia. Although I’m holding out hope that episode nine, “Mini & Franky,” will basically be the two of them on ecstasy in bed making collages in their underpants, thus far last year’s sexual tension has vanished into the ether along with Franky’s Oxfords.

Season Six debuts with the gang, clearly unfamiliar with photographs, telephones and TripAdvisor.com, vacationing in Morocco at a hotel situation that lacks beds, water, a functional pool, toilets or anything they’d allegedly paid for. When Franky and Matty, now officially together, pulled up in their Jeep, my eyeballs fell out of my face, mostly because I had no idea Dakota Blue Richards had such an impressive rack…

…but also because she didn’t look like Franky anymore.

S6’s stylist: “[This season] we’ll see [Franky] take control of who she is. Gone are the button up shirts, Franky has started to embrace her sexuality and she’s not afraid of exposing some flesh and finally being noticed by all.”

franky fashion, season six

This is how Franky’s style was described last year: “Her sartorial experiments defy all gender expectations and she’ll plunder from all ages of fashion if it feels right, from old-man trousers via romantic tail coats to Teddy Boy’s brothel creepers.”

franky's fashion, season five

“I liked [Franky] better when she might or might not be lesbian.”
– Mini, Episode 601

Yeah, me too. How did we go from this…

To this?

There’s nothing implausible about Franky’s turnaround, but it’s super-disappointing, and Skins‘ insistence that her new style reflects new confidence is both confusing and problematic. If S5’s Franky was confident about anything, it was probably her outfits. She wasn’t throwing shit on to cover herself up, she was a Dapper Fucking Q, that woman. She clearly had a passion for a certain kind of fashion.

Franky getting dressed in Season Five

See, part of what made Franky so fun and revolutionary and compelling was that she disregarded the “femme = sexy” hierarchy and when peers suggested her style reflected insecurity/discomfort, Franky insisted otherwise — no, it was just her. When she felt peer-pressured into wearing makeup and a girly tank top to school in Season Five, she quickly broke down over it: “I tried today and now I feel kind of less like me, and I’m not exactly over the moon about being me in the first place, but now I think I kinda like it less when I’m trying NOT to be me. Because I just wanna like, be.”

Season Five

We admired her deviance and weirdoness, which seems to be subsumed this season by a self-destructive streak that begins pre-Death-of-Grace, although its root is never truly fleshed out. Real talk: They’re trying to make Franky into Effy. Right? I mean, they’ve just sort of stuffed a bunch of Effy into Franky’s body and are running with it. Couldn’t they have picked someone else?

Also, as of Episode Seven, Franky’s already slept with three guys and has yet to fingerfuck Mini in a dirty city alley. So Franky joins the ranks of “female characters who are theoretically attracted to all genders but only actually date men in practice” which’s shitty for her queer-lady following and by that I mean ME.

dude, stop looking at franky's rack!

Franky’s episode was probs the season’s best, although it was totally fucked and if I’d seen it as a teenager and if high-speed internet had existed when I was a teenager, I would’ve watched it ten times and had lots of confusing and ultimately self-destructive sexual feelings about it. But a part of me knows that’s not a good thing, and presenting all that physical violence between Franky and Luke without context — like when he aggressively fucked her while twisting and smashing her head into the bed with his hand completely covering her face — seemed sloppy and felt like shock for the sake of shock rather than a genuine desire to tell that particular story. Like the story about the girl named Franky from last season’s finale. .

But it’s not just Franky who’s fallen out of favor this year, it’s everybody! Last season, Nick made me wanna take a nap and this year he makes me wanna smash a truck into a mountain of cocaine and slip into a seven-year coma. He’s suddenly in love with Franky now? Really Papi, Really? Fuck me in the ear.

I never fancied Alo or Rich but I appreciated the newness and distinctiveness of their characters, but this season I’d really like Alo to ride his tractor off a cliff. Their quirks have been muted in favor of repetitive storylines (Alo + Mini = Sid + Michelle = ~JJ + Emily) and pointless subplots like Grace LITERALLY DYING IN THE SECOND EPISODE and Alo hooking up with a 14-year-old named Poppy and getting arrested for it. That being said, Poppy is fucking awesome, get that girl a spin-off.

Poppy and Alo do drugs or something

But like everyone this season, selfishness abounds in fists for these boys, beyond anything the first two generations suggested. These rascals are slightly more unkind, less ambitious, more arbitrarily rebellious.

AND, despite Mini pinging so hard last season that she nearly fell into Franky’s vagina, this season that’s all over. In fact, she’s pregnant (like Jal!)!

this was cute though

Let’s be real here — fucking up isn’t new. Skins has made some epically stupid storylines over the years (for example: Sketch) and it’s probably just more apparent this season because the protagonists themselves haven’t captured us on their own merits.

There are some tropes replayed this season, like Skins’ most consistently irritating plot device of entangling its young comrades with unseemly gang members and drug dealers, situations which always lead to tense piles-of-cash-related confrontations in dark side-rooms followed by a fight, a car/foot chase or a round of sadistic sexual torture.

The “parents are gone, let’s throw a party and invite all the extras!” game is another repeat, but this season seemed especially fucked ’cause who the fuck throws an epic gigantic rowdy property-destroying party in their girlfriend’s house while she’s in the hospital following a car crash that was actually indirectly caused by the same friends throwing the party? I’ll tell you who — ASSHOLES.


It’s had its moments, sure — Franky’s heart-to-heart with her Dad made my heart swell and my eyes water, for example — and don’t get me wrong, I still prefer it over just about any other show on television. But I’m Skins’ permanent niche, this show is so far up my alley that it nearly ran over the neighbor’s cat (his name is Pablo and he is ALWAYS in the way). But I guess it’s just me and the other diehards left, which’s why it’s getting cancelled.

So then there’s the question — entirely separate of this cast, has the series itself simply played itself out? After last year’s youth-led riots throughout Britain, it’s possible that drunk nihilistic authority-questioning kids have lost their charm, or that their teenage self-obsession seems particularly idiotic with so many real things to be upset about.

As I’ve said beforeSkins succeeds because it always goes for the jugular, steering its narrative into the deepest cesspools of teenage desire and fear, the murky hideaways where adolescence is at its most wretched and hard-fought. Skins characters have never been the clear-skinned perfectly-haired impeccably-dressed stick-thin plastics of 90210 or even Pretty Little Liars: they’re not people we look up to, they’re people we unfortunately sometimes are — fucked, reckless, alienated, confused. And even at its worst, Skins refuses to let you disbelieve it, and even at its most ridiculous it still feels honest and maybe that’s because it’s never sentimental, not ever.

But Skins maybe could’ve benefited this season from acknowledging the world around it, which’s as rife with terror as it’s ever been, especially for teenagers. You can write off the intense heedlessness of the first two generations as one part personality and one part familial fate, but by the third generation we’re a little more curious why, exactly, these bright young things crave oblivion besides that they’re characters on a show called Skins and that’s what Skins is about. I mean, shit sucks — parents are in debt, income inequality’s at its savage peak, higher education is now a gamble rather than a ticket — a person can fuck up their entire life these days without leaving the couch, which makes those who tempt that fate so desperately even more compelling — I mean, they must be the products of some fucking incredible backstory. But where is it?

I don’t think this show needed to end, I don’t think it’s run its course, and I still like watching it ’cause it always surprises me. But there are so many new stories to tell these days and one of those stories is about queerness and about sexuality and about gender and Skins started telling that story with Franky and Mini and then stopped. I’m so biased I probably should eject myself from my own conversation, but the thing is that I trusted Skins to tell that story in a way I don’t trust many franchises to tell a story. You should’ve been braver, Skins. You should’ve been brave and wanted me back.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. I completely agree with what you’ve said. I have found the Frankie transformation quite bizarre and sloppy. I have to say though; I was impressed with this week’s Poppy scenario. They made it so she didn’t look underage, and as soon as it was revealed that she was I was pretty taken aback, and then she suddenly looked younger and it was like “oh, of course”. Apart from that, its definitely the weakest skins series of them all.

    Also, when they first season of skins came out I was the same age of the characters. Now I feel a little bit of a disconnection from it because well, I’m not seventeen anymore. This may explain a little why the ratings have dropped; some people have moved on and grown up.

    • I feel that I’m a bit too old for this show now too but I still watch it because, well, it’s always hard for me to stop watching a series. For example, I’d really like to stop watching Law and Order: SVU but I just can’t. D:

      I was so happy with the Poppy character until about halfway through their forest date at which point I thought she seemed a little young and then knew something was going to happen and Malo would still be endgame. :(

  2. Great post, Riese!

    I’ll definitely miss Skins considering I’ve pretty much watched it throughout my late teens years and now my early 20’s. But now, especially with season 6, you can tell it’s run it’s course.

    I also think one of the big reasons why season 6 sucks so bad is because Bryan Elsley came back and took over from Jamie Brittain. If JB would have still been in charge, I think s6 would have been 1000x better. Bryan doesn’t seem to take lesbians seriously and got butthurt at the lesbian community’s reactions to Tea from Skins US, that he came in and ruined Minky for us as punishment. Also don’t like how Franky’s style has changed either. OK, you want her character to bang a lot of guys, but did they really have to femme her up for that? Ugh.

    I’m looking forward to the “special episodes” they’re planning to do, but also kinda can’t wait for this show to put itself out of it’s misery. There’s nothing worse than a show that doesn’t know when to end.

  3. After the first episode of season 6, I couldn’t be bothered to watch another. They so thoroughly botched my favorite character ever on that show (Frankie, obvs) that I just… couldn’t.

    The sad thing is that I could have bought that transformation – if they’d actually SHOWN it. Instead they just plonked her changed self into the beginning of the series and I’m scratching my head saying, “Is this even the same character?!”

  4. I dunno, Skins lost its charm for me when they sucked all the humour out of it. There’s no charming goofball, no Panda or Cook or Anwar. It’s so dark.

    • yeah there’s no comic relief this season — i think alo is supposed to be, the only problem is that alo is actually not funny

  5. I feel as if the show would be salvageable if they replaced the cast. I think that yes, they messed up this season, and yes, this cast is past the point of no return, but the premise of the show is still good, and us teens need a show that has the balls, in a manner of speaking, to say it like it is and show us that the things we deal with everyday are things that teens everywhere deal with. Being a teenager is sometimes a very lonely and occasionally terrifying experience, and to have a show like skins really does help us feel less… alone. It’s just a shame that this season didn’t have the nerve to be what it needed to be.

  6. I don’t watch skins (or intend to), but I just thought I’d acknowledge “everything I touch turns to shit.” Jenny Owen Youngs. Nice.

    • I watched season 1-4 on YouTube.
      If S6 is not up right now it will be eventually probably.
      Patience my child.

    • You can find the first four episodes on Hulu, and they post a new one every week.

      Of course, the Hulu episodes change the music and stuff, but I find I don’t really mind that for this series because it’s all really loud dubstep anyway. Even the soundtrack has gone downhill!

      • By the way, I’m referring to the first four episodes of Series 6 (and there are five up now). The previous five series are on Hulu in their entireties – at least if you have Hulu Plus, I don’t know what it’s like for others.

      • wooo! thank you all! i know what i’m doing tonight! i mean…i’m super busy and have places to be and people to see, duh it’s friday, i’ll watch skins later.

  7. Riese, The only thing I have to disagree with in your fine article is the statement that Franky’s change is not implausible. As a TV audience, we are owed seeing a character arc play out if there is such a significant change in a character. It was not only in what she wears but one has to remember that Franky was the same character who had a breakdown when Matty almost had sex with her. That was last series’s finale. So to jump from that character of Franky to this completely different character of Franky without the details needed to see this change facilitated are implausible.

    Do shifts like Franky’s occur? Absolutely. But in the medium of television, such a shift not being shown means retcon not arc. This was not an arc but, as you say, an attempt to make Franky the new Effy (and also Mini the new Cassie). This meant making both straight.

    Lily is right that much of the decline this year has to do with Elsley. I have never seen such a disrespectful display towards romances between women than what Elsley displayed in that AfterEllen interview. I wonder if he blames lesbians and bisexual women for the downfall of US Skins.

    • It reminds me of Alice from the L Word’s sudden transformation into an obsessed stalker at the beginning of season 3. And you know when your narrative is reminiscent of the L Word that you have a problem.

  8. It is so disappointing to see Franky now. She really isn’t that interesting anymore. Even her episode seemed all but about her. And all those boys who seem to be into her are so fucking boring!

    Also the Alo/Rich friendship was so much better last year or maybe it is because they were new. And I agree the party in the dead girlfriend house could only be the idea of a total asshole.

    Anyway, I’m hoping Liv episode will be good.

  9. Between killing Grace and killing Franky, I was just too heartbroken to keep watching.

  10. Thank you for that last paragraph and particularly the last line.

    I’m having real life feelings. I’m actually kinda really sad.

  11. Holy shit. I had no idea this was going on. Earlier AS comments in other postings caused me to suspect that things weren’t well, but…WOW. I probably sound like I crawled out of a cave to just be learning this, but I’m shaking my head as I type.

    I noticed Dakota’s “impressive rack” S5, esp. in the “I want to just be” ep. in that Mini-inspired tank top. I probably deserved one of those “stop looking” captions looking at that one.

  12. The current series just makes me want to curl up in ball and re-watch the first two generations over and over again.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of this generation, but I really don’t understand this series. With a few exceptions – like Thomas suddenly turning into a jerkwad in his S4 episode or, of course, Freddie’s infamous fate – I feel like where the writers took the first two generations in their respective second series made sense. There was grounding for it in the previous series. I don’t get what they’re doing in S6 at all. It’s not just Franky – but Nick’s sudden crush on Franky, the Alo/Mini thing, where did this all come from? There’s nothing that built up to this in S5. Nothing. And they killed off my favorite character to top it all off!

    I would have really liked to have seen the S6 that Jamie Brittain had in mind. He said in interviews with AE before he left the show that Minky would be explored more in the next series, and that they wouldn’t kill off a character or get all dark like they did with S2 and S4. It’s really clear that with the change from Brittain to Elsley, the concept behind this generation completely changed. At the very least, though, the passing of the baton could have been a bit more graceful.

  13. Good article. I think I sort of agree with most of your points, that the series has declined because of poor characterisation and tiring storylines.

    Despite being an ensemble show, Skins has always had a “main” character, someone with enough magnetism to bend the other plotlines to them. Tony had it, Effy had it. But they had it in fairly obvious, conventional ways. I feel like with Franky they bit off more than they could chew.

    When the excruiciatingly annoying Matty first claps eyes on Franky, he calls her a “glorious headfuck thing.” I never bought it. They were trying to strike this very tricky balance between her vulnerability and I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, and for me it didn’t succeed. I felt like they were trying to tell me what she was without ever actually bothering to show it.

    For this gen, I thought last series (5), had interesting stories poorly executed (seriously, the first episode felt so stilted and awkward I almost stopped watching). Conversely, the current series has been much slicker, but they have literally lost the plot of several characters.

    As people have stated, we might be more on board with Franky’s straightening if we’d been shown it. Personally, I was more intrigued with what they could have done with Mini, whose episode was my favourite of S5. I never really read her as a lesbian (I think I am just programmed with anti-shipping tendencies), and when she was crushing on Franky at the end of the season, I took that to be a hormonally-charged kind of awe. However under-portrayed Franky’s sexuality was, it was clear that she owned it 100%. I can see how Mini (whose main story for me was the lack of control over her own life/future) would be bowled over by what Franky was (or was meant to be), if not who. I was looking forward to S6 showing Mini getting to grips with her sexuality – whatever orientation – because it’s rare we see any portrayal of female sexuality beyond virgin/whore crap.

    But, well, what did we end up with? Pregnancy and Daddy issues? I feel like the writers blithely skipped over what could have been the really interesting and groundbreaking issues for both Franky and Mini to deliver us more tedious love triangles and pining looks.

    Nevertheless, I am very sad to see it go. It’s the most un-procedural, un-soapy show I can think of on TV. As much as we lament how Skins’ creators have dealt with certain characters and storylines, who else is even going to try?

  14. I don’t see how anyone cannot see the Mini of last year reading as a blossoming lesbian…unless one has some innate bias (ex. lesbians can’t be beautiful, most teenage girls who like a girl just have a crush, etc.). If ever a teen character was being played as young lesbian it was Mini last year. The “hormonally charged awe” comment is as bewildering as it gets.

    • I was careful to couch my comment in as many “I feel that” and “for me personally” qualifiers because I know that most people won’t have read it that way. But I did. Would I like her to be a lesbian? Bloody hell yes!

      Undoubtedly my bewildering comment is the sign of a warped, self-loathing straight woman trapped inside a lesbian’s body, but I will attempt to explain what led me there, before I am committed to the asylum forever.

      Mini is first introduced as a queen bee type. She controls her friends with bitchiness and controls boys with her conventional good looks, choosing a boyfriend that consolidates her own power.

      In her own episode, she carefully weighs out her food, another sign of control issues/pandering to gender pressures. We meet her Mum, whose life centres on the men she is sleeping with. When Mini bumps into her Mum while they’re both on a walk of shame back to the house, I took this as an obvious cue that we are meant to be asking whether Mini will be condemned to the same life as her Mum.

      However, secretly Mini doesn’t have a clue about her own sexuality (I mean the general sense, not just orientation), as evidenced by the scene with her trying out sex positions from a magazine. We clearly see that she doesn’t enjoy sex with Nick.

      Here’s the first question: is she so clueless about sex and distasteful of sex with Nick because she is a lesbian? Is that the only possible answer?

      When Franky comes along, Mini initially does her Mean Girls thing and does everything in her power to put her down. I didn’t interpret that as nascent attraction, just a power play. I think it’s Grace and Liv that persuade her to let Franky into the friend group.

      On the back of her disastrous virginity-loss, Mini develops a crush on Franky. Franky is a free spirit who goes on about being into people. Franky is very different from anyone that has been in Mini’s world before.

      Next question: does Mini have a crush on Franky because
      a) she’s a girl
      b) she’s genderqueer
      c) she’s as far removed as you can get from the person she has been not enjoying shagging
      d) she’s someone that eschews the chains of heteronormativity that look set to bind Mini to a life of sexual servitude and wanting Franky is the beginning of discovering there might be an alternative
      e) all of the above (I can think of more too)

      Are those questions really so bewilderingly unreasonable? If so, I will have to switch my brain off forever.

      • That is how I interpreted it all too.

        The early episodes definitely seemed like power play more than anything to me. Mini needs to be in control of everything at all times and Franky was shaking things up.

        I saw so many reasons other than, though possibly in addition to, lesbianism that Mini and Nick were horrible together. They both chose to be together to fit a social image. Mini had lied about how experienced she was and felt like she needed to live up to that. We get a scene of Mini’s mother telling her “men want one thing and one thing only and then they’re gone” and Mini sees this actually being the case with her mother. Mini’s mother compares Mini to herself and Mini looks like she does not want to be like her mother. Nick is putting pressure on her and flirting with her more sexually available best friend.

        Then Mini’s crush on Franky really comes into play.
        That they haven’t address that crush at all so far in S6 sucks.

      • So it is a phase? This sounds more like the psychobabble that parents, who can’t stand their child being a lesbian, and psychiatrists of the 1960’s used. I expect this from a 70 year old who cannot believe that a woman would be with a woman but not from a reader here. That same kind of psychobabble is pulled on teens everyday to make them believe that the feelings that they have are not real but just some transitory mistake.

        Your post is particularly bewildering considering it is 2012 not 1962.

  15. Does anyone know if franky’s change happens in the book that’s inbetween the seasons just like the 2gen had a book inbetween the seasons I wonder if it makes more sense reading the book or if its any good

    • I haven’t read the novel, but from what I’ve heard it’s a prequel about the lives of the characters before S5, not a “midquel” like the Generation 2 book was.

      • Oh well if its a prequel then all the stuff going on this season makes no fucking sense thx for the info tho :P

        • Yeah, and from what I heard about the novel (like AfterEllen’s article about it), it just made Mini out to seem even gayer. Like, she apparently used to have all the feelings for Liv that she does for Franky in S5.

  16. I agree with a lot of what you’ve said but even when the show kind of goes off the track I still love it beyond any other series. I mean, I thought I adored FRIENDS but that didn’t even compare I don’t think. I don’t know what Skins does to me, I think it is so different from my life as an adult but also I think it brings me back to a time before growing up when things were more innocent and that’s a great escape from working, commuting and paying bills. No matter what the show does I try to just go with it because it brings me so much joy, I try not to question it too much. I kind of liked Franky getting a little sexy and I LOVE her with Nick (though I wanted her with Mini also) but I just wish they hadn’t gone so far to sexy minx so quickly, I wish they’d taken a little bit of time with it. I wish the show wasn’t ending but apparently they don’t listen to me on these things. Great article!

  17. Maybe I love this show too much regardless, but I have patchily enjoyed this season so far. I love Rich and Grace and Rich’s episode was a beautiful punch in the gut the way Skins does best. I actually like Mini and Alo, though the pregnancy storyline makes me want to barf a bit.

    Franky is the problem here, but she didn’t have to be. Nothing that has happened to her this season has seemed hugely unlikely or out of character to me* – her sexual dysfunction spiral thing, her relationship with Matty, how she gets in so deep with Luke was all hinted at in her freak out with Matty at the end of last season. There is a lot we don’t know about all of these characters’ pasts, but childhood sexual abuse does not seem unlikely. I can even see how Franky trying so hard to be that girl, normal, Matty’s girlfriend (because isn’t this what she’s wanted, what ached inside of her unexplained for all of last season?) would lead to her wardrobe change. There is a lot of Matty hate but there was obvious intense feeling on both sides that couldn’t be denied and was always going to end in disaster. Glorious headfuck thing.

    Last season both Franky and Mini were obviously drawn to each other and understood each other, and there was something between them. They both had complicated relationships with sex and their sexualities that lead to them, mostly, not having sex. And the transition from that to having sex with people not each other was not implausible and always going to change their relationship to a more supporty, friendshippy place, like we see now. They’re still close and they still understand each other. Franky is more than partly responsible for the death of one of best and oldest friends but she is far closer to Franky than to Liv. Franky didn’t have to be told that Mini is pregnant. She was watching and understands and she just knew. They still have that connection and although I would have preferred them to bump uglies this relationship now isn’t implausible to me, at all.

    The problem is that the explanation for where their relationship is now and wtf is going on with Franky is mostly made up in my head. Franky’s freakout and thing with Luke and the car crash are the root of almost everything that has happened this season, and the reason that happened just isn’t there.

    tl;dr, I know. But, in conclusion, lots of things must have happened between the end of season 5 and the beginning of season 6 that we need to see to understand this season. And the explanation is nowhere. Maybe we needed a novel? Ahahaha.

    *I’m pretending the Nick thing didn’t happen. lalalala

    • Yeah…it is implausible. I know some people feel defensive towards the show but to settle for desexualizing a woman’s feeling to a woman and then make her dick-hungry is embarrassing.

      • I think reducing Franky’s behaviour this season to ‘dick-hungry’ is a huge oversimplification of what is going on with her this season. Like I said, the problem is what is going on with her isn’t properly explained, but she clearly felt trapped in her relationship with Matty and lashed out against that with Luke. I’m not especially bothered about what gender Luke was, more that he was an abusive psychopathic controlling cunt. But I understood why Franky was drawn to him and what he represented at first, even though everyone but Franky could see it was going to end awfully.

        There are three episodes left this season, and the promo for Liv’s episode looks like it will address the issues around the crash and the relationship between the three girls. I think Mine and Franky’s relationship has changed and developed, yes I’m disappointed that they didn’t pursue a more romantic route but I really don’t think it is implausible. I always thought that there was far more feeling on Mini’s side than Franky’s anyway, I’m far more upset with the writers for ignoring that aspect of Mini than Franky, tbh.

        • I was referring to Mini. And yes it is implausible. This is television which means what is shown is canon. If, after series 3, series 4 came back to show Effy with Katie in a romance with each other it would be implausible. To arbitrarily change characters from one episode to the next creates implausibility.

          You state things have developed. Nothing developed though. One moment Mini was one character and the next she was another. One moment Franky was one character and the next she was another. Nothing developed. They just changed because the guy who used to run the show came back and decided to put his own imprint on the show.

          Anyways, this piece of garbage is cancelled. Luckily there are shows out there which don’t use the 1960’s storylines of teen women going through same sex attraction phases because they are confused. And luckily most persons are no longer going it is fine by me if they change same sex attraction to a platonic, spiritual relationshup for the sake of ratings.

          • Nothing on the show has remotely implied that Mini or Franky was confused or going through a phase. Two people who have/had an attraction not sleeping is not implausible. If you think it is I sort of want your life. I think people are overstating what was between them, especially on Franky’s side. To me, season 5 did not imply they would get together, at all. Not in a cynical way. That’s not to say I don’t ship them, but I don’t mind them being with other people, either.

            I disagree that they are different characters. They’re seventeen and their best friend just died. Things are going to change. Everyone is pulling away from each other this season. It’s sad. but understandable.

          • They are different characters from last season. The only similarity is the name. By having Mini be clearly sexually attracted to Franky last season and showing no sexual interest in men to now only wanting men and having no sexual interest in Franky is —- the show trying to state that was a phase. I did not necessarily expect Franky and Mini to end up together because Franky always seemed more interested in Matty. But just as Franky changing to a girly girl whose dress style of last year is shown as unhealthy, Mini’s abrupt change is a whim most likely done in a futile attempt to get higher ratings.

            I get it. You are a bigtime fan and therefore in a defensive posture that refuses to see that the show made them into two new characters which it did. I never expected Franky and Mini to end up together myself. For Mini to all of a sudden be straight, for Franky to all of a sudden be straight, for both to be nonstop having sex with men, for both to want to be as heteronormative as possible, and for them to take joy that the one is pregnant has zilch to do with the characters that were on there last year.

            You can defend all you want. You are showing the show a heck of a lot more respect than it shows you. Personally, I don’t defend things that ridicule me or trivialize my sexual orientation.

            The message of Skins this season is clear. Attraction by a woman for a woman, dressing up in nonconformist attire, and not assuming the proper role of a woman which is being pregnant and making your man happy is wrong and must be grown out of. If Friends went from Ross wanting Rachel in one episode to have him pining for Joey in the next (and wanting only to be friends with Rachel), everyone would go what bull. Only in a woman wanting a woman scenario is such an abrupt change defended.

            Until we expect more, shows like this will play these games. Enjoy the games. I would rather watch shows that respect lesbians and bisexuals.

  18. Skins follows a pattern: Introduce new gen, fall in love with new gen. Second series of new gen, someone is dead and storylines make you want to bang your head off a wall.

    Maybe its good theyre cancelling after season 7, we’ll just get the love of a new generation without having to wonder which one will die.

    • Actually, I really liked Series 2, and may even consider it the best Skins series. To me Series 1 (except for the last few episodes) was a bit too light-hearted, a bit too much like a constant party – and Series 2 was what made me care about those characters. At least all the drama and darkness of that series (and only got REALLY dark with the last few episodes anyway) made sense in terms of the character’s development. Though I was still devastated when they killed off Chris (one of my favorite Skins characters ever).

      Whereas, with Series 4, both Thomas’s episode and much of that Freddie/Effy plot came completely out of nowhere (it’s true that Effy clearly had a lot of problems from S1 onwards, but the way they went about it just seemed excessive, especially with the killer psychiatrist part), and in Series 6 that seems to be what they’re doing with all the characters now.

  19. >a person can fuck up their entire life these days without leaving the couch

    This is beautiful.

  20. Honestly, I think this news has been a long time coming. Skins has had its card marked ever since The Inbetweeners became a success.

  21. “She wasn’t throwing shit on to cover herself up, she was a Dapper Fucking Q, that woman. She clearly had a passion for a certain kind of fashion.”

    thank you! what is wrong with that stylist? you don’t have to be more feminine or wear more revealing clothing to show that you’re taking control of your life and that you’re embracing your sexuality! that is completely absurd and to characterize it in that fashion is kind of insulting to more masculine women and genderqueer folks. no wonder this show has jumped the shark.

    i thought season 5 was intriguing, particularly franky and mini’s storylines. but now, with them ignoring mini and franky’s sexual tension, completely discarding franky’s gender ambigiuty and refusing to explore mini’s sexuality (honestly mini seemed like the biggest lesbian alive, who just didn’t know it yet), i couldn’t bring myself to watch past the first episode of season 6.

    • The last time a character was so purposefully written as a lesbian as Mini was last year was Jessie Sammler on Once and Again. Apparently the book also focused on Mini’s desire for women – one thing forgotten is that, as Liv says in series 5, this isn’t the first time Mini wanted a girl. As soon as Bryan came back on board, rumors came out they would no longer head there. Anyone who has read his weird take on lesbians and saw Tea on the United States remake of Skins knows there is something off there.

      Emily (self-professed lesbian) sleeping with JJ, Naomi’s flirtations with Cook, Tea (a self-professed lesbian) and her desire for Tony, Mini turning straight out of nowhere, Franky’s out of nowhere change in her wear and her becoming straight (she had the into people line last year).

      Tony messed with Maxxie once as a Machiavellian exercise. Otherwise it is always women whose sexuality is fluid and almost always lesbians (even ones who in the case of Mini change to man hungry out of nowhere). To be fair Cassie had sex with a woman but that was used to indicate a downward spiral.

      • i haven’t really seen any skins series besides this generation’s and the u.s. skins versions, but from what i have obeserved, i totally agree that their representation of their female queer characters has been problematic.

        • One of the reasons shows such as Skins continue these offensive storylines is that many LGBT viewers accept it instead of questioning it. The interview that Bryan Elsley did last year showed a patronizing attitude towards lesbians. He sounded like the politicians who wouldn’t let women testify on birth control. When it came down to it he told lesbians that they all think of having sex with men.

          The reaction – while many were ticked, others who liked the show made excuses. All this excusemaking allows is the person to continue perpetuating these dated notions of lesbianism. In Mini’s case that includes the following offensive and long rejected notions – that it is a phase, that she was frigid, that she was scared of sex with men because it is real, that young women blur the lines between friendship and romance, that good sex with a man will make them want men again, etc.

          This is the very type of storyline that The Celluloid Closet attacked.

  22. *applause*

    Thank you for calling it like it is. This generation have had their moments, but season 6 is a total shit-fest. I invested everything into season 5 for one reason – Franky and Matty. To have all that build up be wasted in the first episode was complete and utter bullshit! Not to mention, it feels like these writers have run out of ideas. It seems to be a general consensus that we will see the following in each generation:

    – a betrayal of a male character towards another male he is close to so that he can have the girl (think Tony/Sid regarding Michelle; Cook/Freddy regarding Effy and Matty/Nick regarding Franky).
    – a “death (think Chris, Freddy and Grace).
    – Pseudo-lesbians turning straight again randomly (think Emily and Naomi both making out with Cook, Mini developing feelings for Franky but apparently losing them before season 6 for no apparent reason??)
    – Pregnancy (Liv and Mini)
    – The quirky characters always changing because apaprently it ain’t cool to be different. When we first met Cassie she was eccentric and troubled – but beautiful and sweet. By the end, she was a whore. Socially-awkward JJ having a girlfriend and baby by the end of the series and somehow forgetting all the things that made him different like his magic tricks. Franky going from alternative, a possible sexually-abused, independent fashionista to a predictable whore… it’s crap.

    I think the writers need a wake up call. Not that we’ll get it.

    • You don’t need to call women whores because they have a lot of sex, don’t you think?

  23. I think this is the first time I heard what I feel about my gender expressed on TV, ever: “I tried today and now I feel kind of less like me, and I’m not exactly over the moon about being me in the first place, but now I think I kinda like it less when I’m trying NOT to be me. Because I just wanna like, be.”

    that’s Skins at its best. confusing and introspective and not entirely articulate, and experimenting and a little angry. not what they’re doing now.

  24. “Really Papi, Really? Fuck me in the ear” this made me lol
    my thoughts on s6:
    1)I know that for some fucked up reason, one character from every generation has to die, but why the fuck did they kill Gracie so early.
    2)What the fuck happened to Frankie and why the hell does she want to suddenly have sex with half of the guys on the show.
    3)I hate that Rich,Minnie and Liv spent most of the time on their episodes crying/bitching about the fact that Gracie was dead, I know her death was hard to deal with but the season only has 10 episodes, they shouldn’t have spent so much time on one thing.
    On the bright side Alex (the new guy) seems pretty interesting and even though skins has been cancelled we still have Shameless US and a new season of Arrested development to look forward to next year.

  25. Franky and her WTF-turnaround -> The biggest reason I stopped watching skins.
    Also a mayor reason -> the death of Grace. I really liked Grace/Rich and I think it was, besides Emily & Naomi, the best couple ever on Skins.

    Another reason: the new guy! I just don’t like him and can’t stand his face on Skins.

  26. great article.

    i can’t even believe how bad S6 has turned out. i LOVED S5. though jamie brittain did such a beautiful job. great build- ups etc.

    the biggest disappontments are

    -franky’s charcater assassination. she used to be one of my top 2 favorite characters..now i can’ stand her. couldn’t agree more that they’re trying to make her into effy..and i like effy but wtf

    – mini /alo/pregnancy …i can’t even beginn to tell you how much i hate this storyline. S5 mini would have never let alo touch her. everytime i see them together and they’re non exixtent chemistry and have to roll my eyes…

    -minky not getting any kind of resolution. they build up to it all of S5. they promoted them during the ENTIRE hiatus on teh E4 website and then on afterellen just before S6 started. just like everyone else i blame bryan elsley. so disrespectful.

    -killing grace. it wasn’t even handled well nor eas the gangs grieving very touching imo. i just feel sorry for jessica sula and us for not being able to see her anymore (much).

    -alex arnold to me is by far the best actor out of the boys and rich is my favorite gen3 boy. i feel like we’ve barely seen him this series apart from his ep (which wasn’t really great at all)

    anyways, i don’t feel sorry for them being cancelled. well deserved tbh.

  27. I totally agree. Skins has a habit of making really stupid decisions sometimes (US version was awful, and wtf happened with Effy) but at least there’s always been something about the characters that draws you to them. I actually really liked season 5, and I was definitely into the Mini/Franky/Matty thing. I loved Franky. I also REALLY loved Rich and Grace. I thought Skins was going to do the most revolutionary thing they could have possibly done with a couple: let them just be happy and stable. But yeah. I watched the first episode of season 6 and was totally pissed off about the sudden change to the cutest little genderqueer in the world, Franky. And I only watched the second episode to see if Grace would live. With Grace and Rich’s relationship dead, and Franky gone, I don’t really have any more reason to watch, so I’m quitting season 6.

  28. I like Franky’s new clothes, and the actress looks great in them, but they don’t suit Franky at all and I like to think that’s intentional. Franky’s changing gender expression and generally acting like a straight girl, while being really fucking unhappy with everything, looks a lot like being a closeted pansexual and genderqueer person.

  29. Amazing commentary. One thought though, on the passage below.

    “You can write off the intense heedlessness of the first two generations as one part personality and one part familial fate, but by the third generation we’re a little more curious why, exactly, these bright young things crave oblivion besides that they’re characters on a show called Skins and that’s what Skins is about. I mean, shit sucks — parents are in debt, income inequality’s at its savage peak, higher education is now a gamble rather than a ticket — a person can fuck up their entire life these days without leaving the couch, which makes those who tempt that fate so desperately even more compelling — I mean, they must be the products of some fucking incredible backstory. But where is it?”

    Reading this as an English person, I almost feel as if what you’re craving and the reason this was never really addressed in the series is because this is a very culturally-based attitude. I don’t want to say that the lifestyle of the characters in Skins was typical, it was always hyperbolic, but one of the reasons Skins was so relatable was because the emotional range, drives, and the dialogue were very true of British people in general. It didn’t need to be explained because it was lived. Since attending college in the US, I’ve noticed this attitude missing in almost all my peers. They, too, see this aspect of Skins as strange and unexplained, but for English people it doesn’t really need explanation, it’s just how things are, especially in adolescence.

    Last year– I think it was in the Guardian– there was a discussion of where modern, British drama lives. We’re always so involved in making (highly entertaining) period pieces, from traditional Edwardian dramas to that of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, that modern British culture is basically unrecorded. The article cited Skins, along with two or three other dramas (more geared to adults), as being the few in the last decade or so that have actually captured the feel of modern Britain. To be honest, I would agree with them. We might not all go on drug-binges– though many do– but a lot of that desire for oblivion is felt by everyone, especially in their adolescence. I don’t know if that helps, but I thought I would mention it.

  30. Perfect post is perfect.

    It’s like Franky got fucked and his dick magically transformed her into a totally straight, cisgender puddle like the rest of them. Why did they do that to one of their most challenging and dynamic characters???

  31. I completely agree with what you’ve written – Franky is by far the biggest disappointment of season six. The Skins writers had such an opportunity to promote awareness of genderqueer people, and they messed it up by turning Franky into a generic wannabe. Series five was filled with optimism – Franky, Rich and Alo as a trio were great! But as soon as Grace died, all of the other characters merged into the same stereotype. All of the girls are angsty, and so take drugs and sleep around to hide it, and all the boys do is spend their time following the girls around. I’m so disappointed that the writers have sacrificed interesting characters for no real reason, and I’d much rather Skins were axed now than have to endure another two seasons of watching alternative characters get ‘fixed’ by their new friends, only to become generic and dull.

  32. Totally agree. And the latest episode they could have gone there with Minky but they just completely fucked up and bailed out. It’s so frustrating!

  33. I can deffinetly agree with this! The first four seasons were by far the best because they had so many differnt things but still kept to the same characters we know and love.but now with the new seasons, they don’t go in depth with the characters which is deffinetly dissapointing. I wish they could follow the old characters and see what they are up too. Like did sid and cassie ever find eachother? What did cook do too john foster? So many questions left unanswered!

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  35. “But there are so many new stories to tell these days and one of those stories is about queerness and about sexuality and about gender and Skins started telling that story with Franky and Mini and then stopped… I trusted Skins to tell that story in a way I don’t trust many franchises to tell a story. You should’ve been braver, Skins. You should’ve been brave and wanted me back.”

    I really wish you had just let the article be as I have quoted you here, because I am not in your ‘niche, as you describe. I am straight, and male, and I absolutely agree with you.

    I am rewatching Skins again, and I am realizing that the 5th season is still well worth the watch, but the sixth is utterly beyond saving; the sixth season of Skins is the reason the show stopped, not because it got long in the teeth, but because a show this controversial needs to continue to be unbelievable, needs to be beyond good to transcend the niche and to move into the mainstream, and the sixth season simply wasn’t good enough. And so much of the reason why is that the Mini/Frankie relationship did not occur.

    I know I am so far forward in time, but I’ve watched my favorite season of Skins – season 3 – too many times. I want another show, one that challenges, that is game to tell stories that are separate, that are about failure and loss, that are about finding the self amidst the confusion of teenage into adulthood.

    More than that I think, to a certain extent, we’ve told the stories about the mainstream. Could we please tell the stories Skins told, that we need rather than want to hear; stories about the edges, about when things fall apart, and when the centre no longer holds.

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