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Analysis: Skins

Impermanence

"The sun won't shine forever."
Emily

Skins, at its heart, is about the adolescent experience, a fairly transient stage in life, so we see all kinds of ephemera throughout the different generations. From Chris' rapid deterioration at the end of the second series to Katie watching her home, her family and her identity crumble before her eyes. The relationship dynamic between the characters is constantly shifting, the Dating Do-Si-Do running thick and fast. The cast themselves are just passing through until it's time for them to leave Roundview.

So how do the kids respond to this? By loving every minute of it. They know that they'll never be as young as they are right now and embrace everything that life has to offer.

Self-perception

Particularly through S4, Skins had one dominant theme; that of development and growth. If Series 3 was the story of teens finding their place in a mixed up world, Series 4 was about annihilating it. It was about taking those immature teenage perceptions of themselves, the world and their place in it, and shattering them. Freddie sees himself as a saviour, a protector and rescuer of everyone around him? Sorry, but you can't save Effy from herself. Cook parties to destruction because he doesn't give a fuck? Well, what's going to happen when it starts affecting people he does care about? Katie's dreams of family and high society, destroyed by economic failure, biological chance and social humiliation. Thomas, who has completely adjusted to the realities of teen life in modern Britain - until Sophia's death forces him to seek solace in his roots. Emily, who believes love is perfect and wonderful and all-consuming and all-eternal and her girlfriend is a paragon of humanity - until Naomi cheats. And Effy, whose deletion of the self at the hands of John Foster is entirely literal.

So having destroyed those teenage ideas, what next? Change or die. Make the adult decision. Cook accepts the consequences of his actions and hands himself over to prison. JJ finds a real human connection after years of ASD-induced isolation. Naomi, who has spent her entire life as an aloof saracastic bitch in complete terror of how much Love Hurts, is completely reborn into someone who can talk about her feelings. She even says it for us; "I love you so much it's killing me." It's killing who she was, and replacing her with someone capable of having an adult loving relationship.

And then there is Freddie. He couldn't save his mother from her demons and he discovers he can't save Effy from hers either; but he refuses to stop trying. He's still attempting to be the saviour, to rescue her if not from herself then from John Foster. And that's why he died. Because those demons will get out and destroy you. Because sometimes there are people you just can't save. And because if you carry teenage perceptions into the adult world, it will shit on you.
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