Friday, March 11, 2011

Skins And It's LGBT Sexuality

Five seasons in and with the finale only six days away, you have to hand it to Skins. It really has explored as many facets to sexuality for LGBT characters along with heterosexual characters in a way that a lot of it's adult counterparts have not.

Let's look at Maxxie Oliver for instance. One of the things I liked about Maxxie as a character was that we finally had a gay teen on a series without the angst. The consequence of this might have led to him either doing very little from time to time or dealing with a creepy female stalker like Sketch but as a character, he was the first of a succession of LGBT characters that this show could get right. Pairing him up with Tony Stonem briefly was more innovative than what the US version tried to replicate with his lesbian equivalent in Tea but giving him a boyfriend as the second season came to it's conclusion and the first generation left was probably good in some ways. Like no overbearing angst if it had happened earlier.

Then there's Emily Fitch and Naomi Campbell from Seasons 3 and 4 of the series. The amount of furore these girls have caused was unprecedented but once again, this show mostly got them right. Their slowly but surely relationship was a good step and while the fourth season went overkill on keeping them apart, only to hastily bring them back together was tedious, it did only serve to highlight that a gay couple can have as much clout in a series aimed for teenagers as the straight couples can too. Were people this fanatical about Thomas/Pandora or Cook/Effy/Freddie during the much praised 2nd Generation? Were they hell? Naomily wins and yes, I am embarrassed to be referring to a successful couple I liked by their shipper name. I will absolve my sins in a reasonable fashion.

However the show's most complex strand of sexuality (and it's most innovative to date) has come from Franky Fitzgerald. Here is a young girl who does not want to be labeled anything sexually. She's not gay, she's not straight and she's not bisexual but she does like people and one of those people happens to be Matty Levan. Over the last few episodes we've seen Franky fawn over the guy while Olivia 'Liv' Malone has been seething about it. In a bizarre twist of events, Franky got to kiss both Liv and Mini whilst rehearsing and performing Grace's take on Twelfth Night but while kissing Liv only ignited bittersweet angst that Matty seemed to make ten times worse, kissing Mini was something different. Mini's whole attitude towards Franky throughout this season has been more interesting than anything else concerning her. She went from virtually humiliating the poor girl in the opening episode to smiling after they had to do a kiss in this week's episode and in the finale, clips have been released of Mini being rather protective of Franky. I don't honestly know what to think with the situation between Franky/Mini. There's no actual indication that anything sexual can or will happen between them but the writers in true Skins style have definitely added another interesting layer between them and it's one that neither girl have had with any of the men they've interacted with this season. Will this show buck a trend and give a triangle between Franky, Mini and Matty or is it Matty and Franky all the way?

And then there's the issue of Matty as well. I really wish that Sebastian DeSouza who plays him hadn't let slip that the character was intended to be bisexual because right now, I'm annoyed the show is not venturing down that trope with him. It would've been better than watching him emotionally dick both Liv and Franky about the place and bisexuality is the one area the show hasn't completely explored yet, unless next season either outs Matty, Franky or Mini as definitively bisexual but either way, Glee aside, this show certainly has a more interesting and somewhat realistic-ish depiction on teen sexuality compared to it's glossier rivals. More importantly, what do fans thinks - should it be Franky/Matty, Franky/Mini or something else? I personally don't want to see the former, unless Matty stops acting like a jerk and I'm not sure about the middle to be honest. Maybe something else. Give Matty a boyfriend rather than a girlfriend. Interesting how both Glee and Skins this week pushed sexual boundaries.


Nat said...

Personally I'm rooting for a Matty/Franky pairing. I think they have a great chemistry together and whilst both have issues to work through (especially seen in the final episode) I think they would work really well together.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Hopefully we'll see them working it out in Series 6. I'm not as fond of Matty as I was when the series started out but I do think the show is back on fine form with this generation of kids.