The Triumphant Return of TV

The unholy mix of orange leaves and heavy snow from the recent freak October snowstorm brought plenty of chaos to our neighborhood: downed power lines, trees bent over like soggy french fries, and cars bumper-to-bumper at the gas station. It was the kind of experience makes you go all apocalyptic and start Googling what, exactly, your body needs to survive.

Beans and rice and Vitamin C, mostly, in case you were wondering.

Even our workplaces lost power for several days, which meant a whole bunch of days spent at home. We didn’t dare venture out far into the destruction and our house was among the few that had heat and power all the way through. This meant:

1) Cat pukes got cleaned up throughout the day instead of en masse in the evening.
2) Becoming really really accustomed to the sound of wood chippers.
3) Catchin’ up on TV.

And by TV, I actually mean Netflix. We’re kind of on the cheap/lazy side when it comes to home technology stuff, so we never bothered to get a splitter to easily go from digital cable to the Wii. Therefore we tend to leave the Wii plugged in all the time and just watch stuff on Netflix, instead of fiddling with the plugs.

The funny thing about Netflix is that it tends to have a brainy-ifying effect on one’s entertainment habits. Critically acclaimed dramas, documentaries, and British comedies that feature complex sentence structures – all are comfortably at home in the Netflix queue. Lifetime Movies, Switched at Birth, Dancing with the Stars, and all the other junk I used to watch on TV? Not so much. In my current queue, I’ve got The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a documentary on the Theremin, and Jeeves and Wooster: The Complete Series. All my queue needs now is a monocle.

I guess it makes sense – passively sitting by while TV does its thing is a lot less of a commitment than adding something to a list. Who out there wants to admit that, yes, I’m carving out some future time in my schedule for Keeping up with the Kardashians? Isn’t it better when it just “happens”?

Yes. It’s more forgivable.

But…I love bad tv. Really I do. So I’ve kind of felt its absence under the reign of Netflix.

At the end of the week, Mr. Max had to return to the post-Snowtober outside world, but I still had one more day at home. I used the morning for laundry and one of my occasional WiiFit workouts, followed by couch/lunch/TV. Netflix kept recommending Skins, a British series, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Skins follows the exploits of a group of teen scoundrels (and scoundrettes?) in Bristol. It’s an ensemble cast, so there’s a lot of details to keep track of, but the only important thing to know is that EVERY aspect of the show is designed to horrify parents. And by every aspect, I mean that the teenagers in Skins: drink, smoke, peep at neighborhood middle-aged ladies (who peep back), take pills, drive cars over bridges while clumsily reaching for condoms, etc.

Oh, and they seem to accidentally see teachers naked a lot.

It’s pretty trashy, alright, but it’s like Alice Cooper or a GWAR show – anyone offended by it is probably taking it way too seriously. In short, it’s my new favorite bad TV show.

The group of teenagers in Skins is led charismatic but manipulative leader Tony. Tony is basically an a-hole, but everything he does comes off smoother than molasses.

Yes. Even this.

In other words, Tony is a Gary Stu. Like Ferris Bueller and Wesley Crusher before him, Tony is a super-idealized wish-fulfillment fantasy for teenage boys.

Or TV writers who used to be teenage boys.

Tony is usually accompanied by Sid, his best mate and/or greasier shadow. It’s hard not to feel bad for the poor actor playing Sid – in order to emphasize Tony’s coolness, the writers have given Sid a big-time dose of schlubbiness; I’m talking stained sweatshirt, dirty face, a reliance on naked lady magazines…the whole shebang.

Did I mention his continued virginity is a major plot point?

Naturally, Sid is secretly in love with Tony’s girl Michelle. Michelle’s out of his league, so he settles for hanging around Cassie, a loopy blonde with an eating disorder.

Kinda like Luna Lovegood. But with pills.

I’ve only seen two episodes, but I look forward to binge-watching a bunch of episodes in the near future.

Don’t worry…I’ll throw a documentary in there too.

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