Approximately/exactly 22 days from this very moment in your tender yet wild life on this crazy planet, the sixth Season of Skins will premiere on a channel in a country I do not live in, which means approximately/exactly 23 days from this very moment in my tender yet wild life on this crazy planet, I’ll be downloading this shit from some superfan’s tumblr. Are you excited? Then you’re in the right place, we have the same feeling, let’s smash our feelings together and have all the feelings. This post you’re reading RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND contains heaps of information about Series 6. I found a healthy portion of this information very upsetting due to my irrational attachment to Minky (aka the idea that Mini and Franky could be together or make out or whatever), but having only slept 5 hours in the last two days, it’s difficult for me to form an opinion on anything, really. Let alone write a sentence.
First up is the Season Six official trailer!
So, if you’re anything like me, when you’re not accidentally leaving the ice cream on the cutting board, you’re saying out loud to the wall, “I WISH THERE WERE MOAR GAY BOYS ON TEEVEE!” Right? I mean, if we wanna see Franky and Mini make out, we can just go to sleep and dream about it. But gay boys. Gay boys! Put them on the TEEVEE!
Yes, Series Six will feature a brand new character. His name is Alex, which is the same name I give to the baristas at Starbucks. He’s a pyromaniac!
This is what the actor who play Alex says about Alex:
“He sleeps around a lot. Alex doesn’t have long relationships with guys. In episode three he has sex with guys just to relieve tension… He likes the adrenaline rush. He knows what he wants and exactly what he’s doing it… Alex IS a caring person. Although he shags these guys and doesn’t really care about them… he cares about his friends and the people in his life.”
Anyhow, I’ve said actually semi-genius things about Skins in the past, but today is not one of those days. Today I am a vessel of information about Skins grasping desperately to my most recent memory of the English language. Let me cut to this chase:
So don’t look at this and get any ideas:
But there’s still lots of other neat things to look forward to. Sometimes I wanna get all like ARGHHH WHERE’S THE LEZBIANS but at the same time, that’s because I spend truly unhealthy amounts of time analyzing pop culture from a queer/feminist perspective, so it’s like a knee-jerk reaction. I like this show, I’ll try and trust that they’re telling the story they need to tell, regardless of if that story isn’t also my own, or yours.
Actually Skins is rare amongst my favorite shows as being a show which played out an entire lesbian storyline between two main characters. FYI, my other favorite shows are: Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Friday Night Lights, The Office, The Wire and My So-Called Life.)
Check out this interview:
Any new issues covered?
Alex: Tons! The big theme is how girls are treated by guys in society.
Sam: There will be a lot more sex!
Sean: A lot of violence, a lot more drug-filled issues, and sexuality preference. A lot of adult themes that start to affect us.
Do you worry how young viewers perceive you and the storylines?
Dakota: I do. In the next series there are seven sex scenes, five of which I’ve been a part of. I don’t want my younger sister to watch it, let alone people I don’t know.
Laya: I think a lot of kids are going to be doing it anyway. I like that people can relate to the show. I remember relating to thes how when I was watching the first series. That’s why we’re doing this; why I’m doing it.
Also, Dakota says this, which is funny, because I said almost literally the exact same thing last year. Maybe everyone says it?
Dakota: The difference with Skins is you see the shit side. When you see the characters taking drugs, we don’t then look perfect the next day; we have hangovers and feel like crap. It’s not like some kind of fantasy; it’s showing what it is like for people who live that kind of lifestyle.
Also, this is funny:
Any off-camera romances?
Laya: Be nice to think, yeah, but no! The boys are like annoying brothers you want to get away from half the time. They come to us for girl advice, to them we’re chicks with a dick.
Jess: Sean thinks we’re the most disgusting chicks ever.
Laya: Sean’s the type of guy who likes his girls pristine and well-kept.
Freya: And obviously he never dates girls who get their periods!
Also I don’t know how I feel about this (really, I don’t, I’m not just being Miley):
What do y’all think? Are you excited for Skins Season Six? The thing about Skins is that it surprises me a lot, and thinks of things I’d never think of.
Gosh dang, are Mini and Nick getting back together? And the video worries me, but it’s “Skins;” I have to watch it.
I hear Mini is definitely, for-sure a lesbot according to the Skins novel I didn’t read. Also that thing where her relationship with Nick was mostly awkward and forced and a performance they were putting on for other people, while her crush on Franky was sweet and genuine.
I see a self-acceptance/coming out narrative in her future, even if there’s no Minky.
I saw all of these rants about Tumblr, angry rants about how the Minky relationship is so much more genuine and makes more sense, like you said, but despite this the writers weren’t expecting to actually follow through. At all. As in, a cold, “everyone is straight forever”-story. This makes me excited and happy, thank you.
Aaaaah I am always always excited about Skins but I really wanted Minky to happen.
This piece was really funny and informative, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Thank you.
why is franky not going to be androgynous in the next season? and mini’s behavior made her seem gay as hell (her disinterest in her boyfriend, the pressure she put on herself to keep up a public facade of perfection, and her blatant attraction to franky), so why aren’t they at least delving into her sexuality? as much as i would have loved minky, mini didn’t have to be a relationship with franky for her to be a lesbian. it just feels like not only did they drop the minky storyline, they’re running away from further exploring mini’s sexual orientation and franky’s non gender conforming way of dress. it’s disappointing.
NOOOOOOOO it’s gonna SUCK I just KNOW IT.
I bet I know what will happen. Franky will gain self-confidence and start dressing like a real girl and won’t have to hide behind her ugly, ugly clothes.
Basically they’re approaching the subject of gender-non-conformity with a big spiky club.
I’m hoping the new feminine Franky will be either (a) Franky continuing to “just be” and rolling with a fluid gender or (b) the opposite of that, an act she’s putting on because (for example) she is pressured to do so or because she likes the affirmation she gets when she does.
My worst fear is everything you said + they say her androgynous appearance was somehow caused by her sexual abuse history.
I suppose the kind of clothes Franky normally wears aren’t exactly ‘summer holiday’ wear.
i decided to interpret it as that she wouldn’t describe franky’s style as androgynous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s femme, either? i think. although preview suggests otherwise
@sophie oh god if that happens i will completely die
i’m gonna hold out for ” Franky continuing to “just be” and rolling with a fluid gender”
So afraid this is the case…argh.
Yay! I am so excited. I think I’m in the minority of those who prefer Season 2 to Season 1 and Season 4 to Season 3(minus the killer plot line). I love when things get dark and twisty and that Skins is willing to take a lot of the characters to uncomfortable places. I do like when Skins is really funny and smart, but I think some of the best episodes and stories get told in the finishing act(like S2 Cassie, S2 Tony, S2 Chris, S2 Effy, S2 Everyone, S4 Cook, S4 Katie).
I’m a bit sad about lack of Minky, but Skins is a show that isn’t afraid to embrace controversial or strange storylines. If they’ve chosen to go another direction, I trust that it’s because they have a better story to tell. I’m not all that excited about a new character though. I really enjoy the Sketch episodes in retrospect, but when S2 was showing it was torture to sit through episodes about someone who I wasn’t remotely interested in.
Anyways, any bets on who dies this season? My money is on Grace.
Oh please no not Grace!
I do have a feeling it’ll be a girl, though, both of the characters they’ve killed before were guys. (still sad about Chris, not really sad about Freddie because his death was just stupid)
Also, I generally prefer the darker seasons of Skins. S2 is my favorite so far. With the second generation, the ways in which S4 went wrong were just too much for me, but I loved what they did with Cook and Katie that season. The Freddie-death thing – and the general theme of the psychiatrist being harmful, but self-medicating with drugs is A-OK – really bothers me because what they did with Effy that season could have been so great, and makes more and more sense to me as I review her character throughout all four of her series.
But then again, I also didn’t really mind Sid and Michelle in S2, which is an extremely unpopular Skins opinions. So just because I agree on even-numbered Skins series doesn’t mean anybody else does :)
I think it will be Grace. She’s sweet and naive, she’s in a stable loved-up relationship, and she’s everybody’s friend-so she’s the perfect person to kill off in order to create some drama. Of course, it also makes it very predictable to kill her off.
The fact that people are completely certain that someone will die this season shows how predictable this entire show has become. I’m hoping the writers will buck the trend and won’t let anyone die. Or even kill off more than one person-which will be depressing, but it will actually be shocking.
More important to me than potential Minky (which I do care about) is Franky’s gender. I’m sad to see the dapper, transmasculine Franky replaced by a bangs-ed, chickified version of herself because I am pretty desperate to see moc folx up on my TV (and all the awesome clothes~!) but gender fluidity is also a thing I love.
We’ll see where this goes. It could be awesome, and could be awful. The anticipation is killing me.
Franky isn’t going to be androgynous?!? WHY. WHY WHY. She was pretty much my favourite TV character (except for Omar from the wire, no-one is better than Omar) because she was just herself and cool!
This is horrible, I thought she looked to hot as she was. Dakota Richards should dress like that all the time, it makes her way sexier.
And I really liked the fact she was with Matty, even if the guy who plays him is a horrible actor. And a horrible character, but anyway I thought it was cool that she got with a guy!
For whatever it’s worth, 6.09–the episode immediately preceding “Everyone”–is called “Mini & Franky”.
Yeah, I think I heard there might be some resolution for the two of them at the end. So maybe we’ll just have to slog through a shit show for 8 episodes before they get to the good stuff.
Also, the Skins people are super secretive so I don’t know how much I actually buy that Mini and Franky aren’t going to end up together in homoparadise. #delusional much?
If it helps, they’ve lied about stuff before, including with this generation. For example, they said at the beginning of S5 that Matty was not going to be related to any of the main cast and then, lo and behold, he’s Nick’s brother.
This gets – 10 Maddows for lack of ongoing lesbian drama.
eh, my excitement has decreased by 80% since learning that not only are they dropping the Minky storyline, it seems they aren’t even going to explore Franky’s gender identity or Mini’s sexual identity. And they’re bring in a new gay guy to fill Skins’ obligatory gay role instead…
Franky and Mini were to only characters this generation that have kept me consistently interested. The Gen3 boys are either uninteresting and/or annoying.
I’m so disheartened that I’m going to wait until the series is over and then watch all the episodes in 1 or 2 days to shorten the sting of inevitable disappointment.
I like Rich and Alo.
Also, Rich and Grace are adorbs.
Will the curse of the evenly-numbered Skins series strike again?
Or should that be even-numbered?
Hey, Series 2 was actually good!
Also, Jamie Brittain did an interview with AfterEllen about a year ago where he said they weren’t going to kill anyone off in Generation 3. But he quit the show at the end of S5, so who knows…
And they’ve done the “lying creator” thing before, like the part about Matty not being related to anyone else on the show.
So many disappointed/frustrated feelings about the writers dropping Franky’s androgyny. IT WAS PERFECT WHYYY. I might not even watch this series, with the lack of androgyny/Minky. Wtf. I was so looking forward to more of what they had going in the fifth series! Franky’s struggles with gender expression were something I could really relate to. :(
I think one of the main reasons they dropped Franky’s androgyny is that the actress who plays her got a bit too curvy to successfully pull off the look. I think I read some where or saw an interview with Dakota Blue Richards where she said that they had to bind her breasts to pull of the look and she found it really uncomfortable. She’s not naturally a Shane, so they probably just went with the change to make it easier for the actress to breathe/act.
I’m also pissed that they aren’t going the Minky route or at least making Mini gay. I was so looking forward to Skins’ storyline about the popular girl being queer, because I knew that they would do it right and take out the bad taste in my mouth that Glee’s left with the Santana storyline. But no, apparently Mini gets to go back to being the image of the heterosexual princess S5 did so well to upend. Yay for Skins backing out on what could have been an awesome story about/involving femme invisibility! Yeah, I’m not bitter about that at all. I’ll just go watch Water Lilies again.
Fair enough, but it’s how they’ll explain the change that worries me.
I’m really hoping that all this beginning of the season hype and information will only apply to the first few episodes. I seem to recall that in s5, most of the information in the beginning was that even though Frankie dressed androgynously, she wasn’t going to be a queer character, and that turned out to be not true at all as the series went on.
It seems like the writers for series 6 have forgotten most of what happened in series 5. The blatant crush Mini had on Franky seems like it’s just going to be swept under the rug and forgotten about and probably not even addressed. Which annoys me. I wanted to see Minky happen, and if not I at least wanted them to explore Mini’s lesbian tendencies that she not only showed in s5 but also showed in the novel.
Upside though, the actress who plays Mini (Freya Mavor) admitted in Diva magazine that she is definitely not straight in real life, likes androgynous girls and is open to dating a girl. Yay.
Really? She’s hot.* That DOES make me feel better.
*Is she underage….? Oh well, so am I.
Nope, she’s 18!
My heart is kind of broken… but I’m still so excited for the new season I could possibly implode.
Well I’m looking forward to it. And to everyone bitching about Frankie’s change of style. She’s meant to be what, 17? I was flicking from boyish to heels all the time at that age. It’s reflective of the character that maybe she’s giving something else a go.
is anyone else totally grossed out by the word “minky”? D:
When I first heard it I honestly thought it was some British slang for ‘vagina’.
My sister does use minky as slang for vagina!
Oh god, by brother’s girlfriends name is Minky. I will never be able to look at her the same again.
Alex: Tons! The big theme is how girls are treated by guys in society.
So ironically meta considering they’re dropping the biggest queer-girl drama so that they can go run off with boys. “OOPS we already did one lesbian storyline well, god forbid we revisit that magic!”
Riese, when it comes to Skins there has been a change at the top. Co-creator Jamie Brittain left the program after the last series. Now co-creator Bryan Elsley is back. Elsley had left UK Skins to work on US Skins and was the force behind the now infamous Tea/Tony storyline on US Skins. Elsley’s arrogant interviews and comments on the criticism showed a man whose view of lesbians is warped at best. Brittain leaving and Elsley taking back over was an immediate concern. While Mini had been depicted with sapphic undertones in series 5 and the book went further, general consensus was Elsley would straighten Mini and do away with Franky’s adrogyny. He did so also deciding that the only LGBT aspect would be an addition of a gay male character. None of this is surprising.
Elsley’s tendency is to go the cliched route and then act as if he is some revolutionary. Instead his storylines are vapid and when he stumbles on one that works he takes focus elsewhere – such as the utter mishandling of the Emily/Naomi storyline in series 4. This is the man after all who thought it was believable that Emily would sleep with JJ. This show does not need our support.
woah. thanks for the info. I’ll definitely NOT watch series 6 and go ahead and check out the books to satisfy my needs.
Or you could watch it before making assumptions. And is Elsley really coming back? I heard that neither of them would be involved with S6 and Elsley’s instead going to focus on making the Skins movie happen.
I also didn’t find it that unbelievable that Emily would sleep with JJ. He had said at the beginning of the episode that the first thing he’d do if he was normal was “lose his virginity,” and the entire episode was Emily trying to make him feel normal. Skins has all sorts of characters sleeping with people they’re not actually into, it’s not nonsensical that they might do that with someone of incompatible orientation, too.
It’s not fair to compare Naomily with Tea’s storyline. Both Naomi and Emily’s dalliances with guys were meaningless, and even the other characters knew this (see: JJ’s S4 episode, the conversation Thomas has with him about needing to get laid by a girl who is actually into him). Their primary relationship was with each other. By contrast, the Tea/Tony relationship was the main plot for both characters. The only way you would know that Tea was “really a lesbian” who was “confusing friendly chemistry with sexual chemistry” is if you were reading Elsley’s interviews with AE. People can be mistaken for thinking that Tea actually liked Tony, as that’s how they wrote it – and also, the terrible casting, as the girl who played Betty had pretty much no chemistry with Sofia Black D’elia, who played Tea. On the other hand, the straight girls who argue that Naomi/Cook “really had a connection!” are being intentionally obtuse.
Elsley has indeed taken over the role of overseer. After US Skins was cancelled, he went back to that role. While Naomily was a well told tale for much of the 3rd series (and a wasted chance for much of the 4th series), no rationalization makes Emily sleeping with JJ makes sense. None. What should be examined more is that the 3 lesbian characters (Tea, Emily, Naomi) slept with men. Naomi’s of course was described as happening before. Emily slept with JJ after stating she was a lesbian and Tea was an out lesbian who slept multiple times with Tony. No straight female characters have slept with women. The gay male character of Maxie never slept with a woman. Only one straight male character, Tony, slept with a man. That means out of all the characters, only lesbians (and in this case every single one), slept with the gender they are supposedly not into. Emily and Tea did so after having come to acceptance with being lesbians. They did so for reasons that do not hold up at all. It is insulting to think that Emily would allow JJ’s penis to be in her one episode after she is crying over Naomi. And why – besause she feels bad for him. It is insulting in every regard. It is an indefensible storyline. As for Naomi, does one forget that she has a kiss with Cook in series 4 when she is with Emily.
That is the problem. One gives excuses for shows they like and the creators just exploit you. Lesbians are always the sexually fluid characters. Straight men are respected. Straight woman are respected. Gay men are respected. Lesbians always need penis apparently in Bryan Elsley’s world. The man himself even said in an AfterEllen interview that all lesbians think of sleeping with men.
Now we have two abrupt shifts again. Mini, who seemed to have an absolute disgust for sex with men and looked at Franky as if she wanted to have passionate sex with her, is now straight. Franky, once an adrogynous character, is now straight. These are thoroughly abrupt changes from what we were shown in series 5.
It is clear the show and Elsley in particular have zero respect for lesbians. So why give this jerk the time of day.
“No straight female characters have slept with women.”
Well, actually, that depends. Cassie clearly was only attracted romantically to boys – or just Sid, perhaps – and yet she slept with multiple girls in S2. You claim Tony to be straight, but I would say there’s way more of a case to be made that he is actually bisexual than that Cassie is. He was messing around with Maxxie out of curiosity. Cassie was sleeping with girls – and boys – in order to try to make Sid jealous. Which one sounds more like genuine sexual fluidity and which one sounds more like putting on a show? You be the judge.
It’s not that I’m being “exploited.” It’s that I see this storyline as far, far more nuanced than you do. You don’t even address my particular reasons for why I think Emily/JJ, just repeating over and over that it doesn’t make sense, that it doesn’t make sense that someone who is out as a lesbian would allow a penis to go inside of her – without giving any reasons why that’s the case! Is it because it’s true for you? Well, Emily is not you. I’ll just drop Heather Hogan’s recap of it here, because I think it explains it well: http://www.afterellen.com/TV/skins/recaps/3/7?page=0%2C6 but I think the place to start here is to realize that Emily doesn’t see JJ as just a penis because, well, he isn’t. Not all lesbians are the same as you in these respects, and just because you’re not attracted to someone – and not ashamed of that fact – doesn’t mean you’d find the idea of sex with them totally disgusting.
On the contrary, one could make the case that Maxxie was just a penis to Tony in the scene where they have sex. Maxxie even initially gets offended when he feels that Tony is treating him like a hobby or experiment, rather than as a fully-fledged person. But you don’t act like Tony “needs the penis.”
Anyway, to make a long story short, I can understand why you feel so frustrated about the way that lesbians have been portrayed on Skins. But that doesn’t mean that those of us who disagree with you are being “exploited” or gullible or whatever else. It just means that maybe we had a different take on the storyline than you do; maybe we saw things you didn’t, maybe you saw things we didn’t. The nature of interpreting and reviewing fiction is that it’s subjective and there is no “right” or “wrong” approach to it.
Heather Hogan’s article is rationalization, a joke, and sadly she hurt much of her credibility with her continued defending the show at all costs especially with US Skins. I do agree I forgot about Cassie where having sex with a woman is shown as a sign of falling apart. That said, that means one straight female out of over a dozen and one straight male out of over a dozen had at least one same sex encounter. On the other hand, all lesbians have sexual encounters with men. To not see a difference is stupefying.
As for Emily and JJ. Place that in overall context. The prior episode shows Emily deeply wanting Naomi. It shows her finally making love to Naomi. It shows her in complete love with Naomi. It ends with them holding hands through a catflap. We find out early in the next episode she identifies as a lesbian. By the next episode, Emily, who shows zero sexual interest in men and is deeply in love with Naomi, gives JJ a mercy bang. Getting past the lesbians always sleep with men trope that is pushed here (and yes some lesbians sleep with men), Emily is used as a prop to make JJ feel better. You know who loves that ending. People who have zero respect for lesbianism. The amount of straight people applauding Emily giving up her body to JJ was hilarious and insightful. How can we get people to be respectful in their portrayals of lesbianism if we tolerate such nonsensical portrayals. I love Naomily but there is no way getting around the fact that there were failures in it’s depiction due to a disrespect of the characters that is tied to a disrespect of lesbian portrayals.
Also please don’t put words in my mouth. Your reading of Tony by the way is way off. Tony’s sex with Maxxie is about him proving how he can manipulate anyone. Emily’s sex with JJ is her deciding her obligation as a woman is to pleasure a man if they need it. It is one of the most inane sequences in television history and one that only works if one says lesbians are a joke.
You know, I could just say that your reading of Emily and JJ is “way off” (I mean, “obligation as a woman is to pleasure a man if they need it”? If it’s her OBLIGATION, wouldn’t you see her doing this a lot more in the series, as opposed to just once?), but I do respect the fact that there are different ways to read a work of literature and, as I said, I understand your frustration. However, as I said before, you really need to stop acting like your interpretation of Skins is the ONLY RIGHT ONE, especially since as far as Emily and J.J. go, your opinion of that scene is in the minority? Which is not to say you’re wrong, but maybe some of us who feel differently see something in that scene, it’s not just that we’re “gullible” and “exploited”?
I don’t necessarily agree that either Tony or Cassie is bisexual, and I think the interpretation that Tony is trying to show he can manipulate anyone makes sense. I just thought you were seeing Cassie as bi but not Tony, and out of the two I think more of a case can be made for him than her. But you forgot about Cassie, and that makes that point moot.
“That said, that means one straight female out of over a dozen and one straight male out of over a dozen had at least one same sex encounter. On the other hand, all lesbians have sexual encounters with men. To not see a difference is stupefying.”
But you’re going with a small sample size as far as lesbians go. Skins UK has only had two canon lesbian characters (Mini isn’t lesbian in canon). If this was like The L Word in its lesbian representation, and all those characters had slept with men, you’d have a point, but I don’t think we can draw any conclusions based on two lesbians and one gay male character. Who knows, maybe they’ll have this Alex go through a “sexual fluidity” storyline in S6.
As for Heather Hogan, I agree with you completely on her interpretation with Skins US, although I think it was more that she was colored by the fact that she’s now a personal friend of Elsley and Brittain. However, I don’t think that retroactively makes her Skins UK commentary no longer “credible” (in large part because there’s no such thing as “credibility” when it comes to reviewing fiction). Then again, I’m generally not someone who is into throwing the baby out of the bathwater, and completely dismissing a writer’s entire catalogue because a portion of it pissed me off.
I did not list Mini as one of the three lesbians in Skins history. You can go back and check but I listed Tea, Emily and Naomi. You state it is a small sample size yet there are plenty of straight characters to see if this goes both ways (it does not) in respecting orientation. Lets take Skins US and Skins series 1 to 5 together and with the knowledge Mini has been retconned.
Main straight male characters – 16. Number who have sex with a man – 1.
Main gay male characters – 1.
Number who have sex with a woman – 0.
Main straight female characters – 14.
Number who have sex with a woman – 1.
Main lesbian characters – 3.
Number who have sex with a man – 3.
Those numbers are startling.
Not only that, Emily and Tea both identify as lesbian when they have sex with men. This is not a coming to terms with their sexuality thing such as Santana on Glee. Emily and Tea are very emphatic that they are lesbian yet Emily has sex with JJ as if Naomi does not exist. Tea has sex with Tony and becomes seemingly obsessed with him.
As for Emily/JJ, my opinion is not in the minority when it comes to lesbian viewers. It may be in the minority when it comes to all viewers. One of the shocking reactions was how many straight viewers said how wonderful. Why? Because they did not respect the Emily/Naomi romance. Same thing happened in series 4 when Naomi and Cook kissed. That you don’t criticize that but use it as confirmation is intriguing.
I’m not surprised that some straight viewers think it’s “wonderful,” but you’ll notice I didn’t say that. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I’m not, in fact, straight (which is why I’m not sure why you’re using their reactions to “explain” mine).
In fact, what I said was that I didn’t think it was inconsistent with Emily’s characterization, and I didn’t think it was at all comparable to what happened with Tea. Still, I never even told you whether I liked the scene or not!
I’m withholding judgment as much as possible, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Skins, it’s that the whole crew seems preternaturally skilled and keeping their fans spoiler-free. What we’re hearing now might be somewhat true of the first few episodes, but the Skins gods only know what’ll come after that.
Wait and see, then vag-rage away, I say. :)
Yeah this is super-sad to me. I had thought Mini might be bisexual rather than a lesbian, which I’m fine with because, well, I’m bi and also I’ve been aching for Skins to give some genuine bisexual representation, something less up-for-interpretation than what we got with Tony and Cassie. (I don’t think we’ve seen that with Franky yet, either; she’s said it, but hasn’t shown it.) But if she had been gay that would be awesome, too; as already said, it would be a way for them to basically do what Glee has been trying to do with Santana right. Also, the most-popular-kid-in-school-falls-for-the-weird-loner thing is such a common straight trope, it would be really cool to see it played out in a same-sex relationship.
So sad to see we’re not getting any of that. I mean, Mini could be gay or bi without Franky, but Freya’s comments seem to make it out that Mini is actually straight. And while it’s nice that Alex might actually get the focus and more fleshed-out storylines that Maxxie never got, gay boys have become the default “teen queer character” in TV-land.
Then again, I also heard whispers before S5 that Matty was supposed to be bi, but I feel like if he’s the “Skins bisexual character” that’s almost worse than no bisexual characters. Ugh. He is so annoying.
Rose, that would have been awesome if they would have hinted even slightly that Mini was bisexual. However everything hinted she was a lesbian. The character was someone depicted as being infatuated with women and being repulsed by having sex with a man. She showed no interest in men at all.
Now Franky would have made sense as bisexual. Maybe a bisexual woman who is more interested in the man than the woman. One could argue that was there. I’d love for more bisexual representation to be shown on television. But there was nothing showing Mini as having interest in men. That is why the retcon to make Mini a straight woman is so inane.
I don’t mean to debate so much on this but the longer we accept Skins exploiting the viewer – and it is exploitation when they have the two actresses doing interviews with AfterEllen (which is upcoming) and Diva magazine – the longer show creators will think it is allright. We already got badly burned on Tea. This retcon is even worse.
I’d disagree that Mini has no interest in men whatsoever. She clearly had interest in Nick and wanted to look sexy to him and impress him. Not being ready for sex with him at the time that he wanted does not necessarily mean she is a lesbian. If that were the case, what of the numerous teen drama storylines where the man in a heterosexual couple is ready to have sex and the girl isn’t ready yet? Are those girls are lesbians, too?
Now, I could buy it if they ret-conned it that Mini’s interest in Nick was purely out of the idea of how it boosted her popularity. And she is clearly interested in other girls, and it’s silly that they’re just throwing that out the window. But she did like Nick enough that there could be a basis for Mini being interested in men, should the show go that route. I just don’t think it makes sense to act like she’s ONLY interested in men.
Honestly, your use of “exploited” to describe these storylines is rather hyperbolic and a bit offensive to lesbians who had to go through some messing around with guys first to realize they weren’t all that attracted to them. Not everyone emerges from the womb knowing their exact sexuality. I thought I was 100% heterosexual until my sophomore year of college, despite multiple crushes on girls. Even those who know might go through a period of denial. Would it be nice to have more stories of Kinsey 6 lesbians (and, hell, more sexually-fluid storylines for queer male characters)? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that other types of teen-lesbian storylines are “exploitative.” They are someone’s reality, even if they’re not yours.
Your reading of series 5 is intriguing because it basically means disregarding the way Mini acts to Nick. I don’t think I have read anyone else who thinks Mini has sex due to a sexual desire for Nick. Her actions seem solely motivated by status and expectations.
I think the disagreements between us come down to this. You want to see bisexual visibility and therefore code events that do not make sense in context as okay. I would love to see bisexual visibility but know there is a difference between bisexual visibility and contrivance regarding lesbian characters (such as Emily sleeping with JJ, Tea sleeping with the same guy twice, or Mini going from lesbian desire to straight desire based on who is in charge of the show).
I have noticed all my bisexual friends give the lesbian portrayals on Skins a pass and none of my lesbian friends do. Interesting. As far as exploitation, what would you call it when the Skins US pushes a lesbian character on lesbian sites and advertises her as a lesbian character only for her to be obsessed with a guy for 95% of her screentime. As far as exploitation, what would you call it when the actresses who play Franky and Mini do an interview with Diva magazine and an upcoming one with AfterEllen. They are advertising to the lesbian community while ultimately not showing lesbian characters. I think we can all agree that Tea is not a lesbian character. Yet that is the way the creators play the community.
“I have noticed all my bisexual friends give the lesbian portrayals on Skins a pass and none of my lesbian friends do. Interesting.”
Well, obviously, the logical interpretation of this is that the lesbian interpretation must be the right one! It’s just a part of our Vast Bisexual Conspiracy to claim everyone’s characters, because we’re still pissed about lesbians stealing Willow from us and straight people stealing just about every other bi character! Jokes aside, I doubt Emily and Naomi would have swept the 2010 AfterEllen Visibility Awards if there weren’t a lot of lesbians giving those storylines “a pass,” as you say. I’ve even seen a lot of lesbians who are more understanding of the Emily/JJ and Naomi/Cook stuff because THEY had sex with boys when they were still figuring out their orientation/not yet out about it. Let me repeat: Not all lesbians are you! And showing lesbians who are not gold-stars on TV is not necessarily “exploitative,” because that is a lot of people’s reality!
As for Tea, I completely agree with you about Tea that the way they advertised her versus her actual storyline was exploitative, and that she wasn’t a lesbian character. I think you’d find most bisexuals aren’t very happy about her either, because aside from the way her character deceived lesbians, she’s also a missed chance for bisexual visibility. I don’t know why we’re arguing about Tea. All I think is that it’s a little silly to then retroactively interpret Naomi and Emily – as well as Mini, who wasn’t even created by Elsley – through the lens of what happened with Tea.
TL;DR, yes, I totally watch Skins with my bi goggles on, as well as many other pairs of goggles (like, the fact that I’m a classical musician is probably why Jal is one of my favorite Skins characters). However, you’re also watching it with your own set of gold-star-lesbian goggles. Neither one is more “valid” than the other. The problem here isn’t your sense of frustration, it’s your idea that your perspective is the most/only correct one, and your patronizing attitude that anyone who disagrees with you must be either “exploited” and gullible, or not interested in good lesbian visibility at all (as you seem to be implying about bisexuals).
Emily has already come to terms with being lesbian when she has sex with JJ. She even tells JJ she is a lesbian. Not that it matters because, in Bryan Elsley’s world, all lesbians have no problem having sex with men. It is the way lesbians are wired. He has said all lesbians think of having sex with men. Just the way it is.
One of my favorite lesbian portrayals on television is Santana, a character who had sex with many men. That better fits your description at what you are trying to say. That Emily, one episode after making love with Naomi, goes what the heck being a lesbian and in love with Naomi (and in a romance with her) I will still let JJ get off inside of me is nonsense. People did not vote them most popular couple because of that. They voted for them by ignoring that. I know I did and have plenty of friends on that site who did the same.
I gave it a pass. But after US Skins and now this Mini retcon, that pass is no longer going to be validated.
You’re right, Emily has come to terms with her sexuality by that point, although she isn’t out to everyone yet. I meant to say something about it in the post but I forgot!
My point with Emily is more that you’re dismissing her behavior on the grounds of “this doesn’t make sense because that’s not what a lesbian would do” but you can’t really say that because all lesbians are different; I get that you and your friends wouldn’t do that, and frankly, even as one of those slutty bisexuals, I couldn’t do what Emily did. But a few anecdotes are not enough on which to base sweeping statements like that. My question from the beginning was really more about why you thought her behavior in the JJ scene was inconsistent with the characterization of one Emily Fitch, taking more into account than the fact that she is a lesbian. (For one, Emily is a Skins character, and Skins characters in general have much looser attitudes about sex than most real-life people, often having it for reasons that have little to do with love or even lust.)
also re: “He has said all lesbians think of having sex with men. Just the way it is.”
Actually, what he said was that every lesbian he knew had sex with men on the way to discovering their actual orientations, so he thought that was true for all lesbians. Which is still an ignorant, sweeping statement, but not quite the same as “lesbians really want the penis.”
Rose, you may want to recheck that interview. As far as Bryan is concerned all lesbians think of getting banged by a man sooner or later. Just the way lesbians are wired.
As for Emily, you seem to have some desire to rationalize. Now you have gone back on whether Emily identified as lesbian and are saying instead as an excuse that in a Skins world, actions never have to make any sense in context. That no character behavior shown in a character should be questioned in terms of whether it is authentic or logical. I know this is tricky and that when scrutinized that Emily/JJ bit makes no sense. The writers used it as a cheap plot contrivance so there would be a conflict in Series 4 episode 9.
It wouldn’t make sense Emily having sex with a woman in episode 7 let alone a man. The Emily Fitch shown throughout series 3 is a woman completely hung up on one person. She makes love to that person in episode 6. She holds hands through a catflap with that person at the end of episode 6. Then she has sex with someone else in episode 7 to serve the other person’s needs. That is not believable even in Skins universe. You have offered zilch to explain why it would be (besides your Skins does not have to be realistic at all excuse – kind of hard to argue when someone says any inauthenticity must be excused). You also keep saying how lesbians in real life have had sex with men. No duh. But we are talking about that character in episode 7. Can you with a straight face say that made sense and was no more than a lazy plot contrivance. And you still have no comment for why all, not just some but all, lesbians have sex with men in Bryan Elsley’s world. Can you seriously not see the incompetence in that?
I always thought that Emily having sex with JJ was not about Emily, but about JJ. they are friends and she was doing him a favour. she says she’s gay earlier in the episode, she says so when they get into bed, but he wanted to feel normal and having sex with a girl made him feel normal.
in the greater context of lesbians in the skins universe it doesn’t look great but I thought it did seem in character for Emily. like it wasn’t really sex for her. it was just a favour for a friend. I liked it, cause I identify both with JJ and Emily, with JJ for his weirdness and all that and I understood that desire to feel normal, not to feel like a freak. and Emily had before been shown to be a generous person. she likes helping others and doing that made jj feel happy. the next morning, having breakfast with his mum, she could see it made her happy too.
so Emily got a pass. when it came to JJ. Series 4 was a disaster, I think we all know that.
I’ll watch series 6 cause I don’t want to hear it all by second hand but if it’s crap… I won’t defend it. and I defend skins like crazy. I promote and talk it about and blog and all that.
Thank you Charlie, you explained it much better than I did!
Another thing I forgot to mention is that one of the reasons I thought Mini might be bi is that there was an interview the Skins Gen 3 actresses did where they said that none of the characters in that generation would be lesbians. But they never specifically said that none of them would be into girls at all, and a lot of the commenters on the AfterEllen article concluded that maybe one or more of them would be bisexual or pansexual instead.
My greatest fear since S5 ended was that they were going to fuck up S6.
I really, really, REALLY hope I’m wrong, but it looks like they have.
Anyone know any blogs that will definitely be posting skins downloads?
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Is it just me or does Alex, in that picture, look a lot like Nick?