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File:Skins logo.jpg

Skins (2007-) is a British teen drama set in Bristol, England and commissioned by Channel 4 in an attempt to put more homegrown talent on television. Now in its sixth series and third generation, the show grew popular among its mostly 14-21 audience for its edgy (often rude) take on teenage life in the late '00s and early '10s, specifically with its party scenes in which actors/actresses were left to their own devices as chaos ensued.

The second series was much criticized by fans of the show for its shift from the more fun story lines of the previous season to the more dramatic plots, and many angry letters were sent when a major character was eventually killed off. As a majority of the characters left Bristol to go onto university, future careers, etc., Series 3 began with a completely new cast (save for two of the minor characters in the original cast who are upgraded to the major cast), the so-called "second generation." Series 4 took an even sharper turn toward the Darker and Edgier and received even worse criticism than S2, since it was also Screwed by the Network into leaving some plots hanging.´On the upside, the second generation received lots of critical acclaim for its treatment of lesbian Super Couple Naomi and Emily.

So far Skins is a show with often outstanding writing, great acting and lovable characters. Whilst its wild New Rave-esque scenes and occasionally disturbing plot twists (not to mention explicit sex scenes) may very well make this the show you don't want your kids watching, they'll probably find a way to watch anyways.

MTV launched an American version in January 2011. Most of the attention it gained was on the back of the controversy it generated, with Moral Guardians accusing it of breaching child pornography laws and pressuring advertisers to pull their ads from the show (and they mostly listened, with eight sponsors pulling their ad revenue). It also came under fire from critics for being what they saw as a poor imitation of the British show, especially in the acting and writing departments. Despite all that plus lukewarm ratings, it managed to reach the end of its first season before being cancelled.

Back on home shores, a Skins movie has been given the greenlight (initially confirmed for release in 2011 before fast heading into Development Hell), and another new cast, "the third generation," was introduced in 2011, now in their second (and the overall show's sixth) series. It has now been announced that the show will end with the sixth series, although there are plans for three special episodes in 2013.

Now with a character page. Some Tropes have been moved there.

Tropes used in Skins include:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Cook, definitely.
    • The neglect and punch to the face Freddie gets from his dad.
    • Cassie's parents. Some could argue that her seeing them naked all the time, as well as the pictures of her mother giving birth to her brother with the umbilical cord still attached constitute abuse. They are definitely negligent of her and (to a lesser degree) of her brother. As far as we know, they didn't even visit her in the hospital after she tried to kill herself. They also don't keep track of her behaviour in regards to her anorexia at all. When Cassie says she will be signed off from the clinic if she has gained weight, it is clear that her parents don't know if she has even done it.
      • Not to mention in S2, they let her go back to Bristol without setting her up with any living arrangements. They must have given her some money, though, because what else would explain her being able to escape to New York in her episode?
    • Sid's dad started out as fairly emotionally abusive.
      • He's probably a subversion on the whole.
    • There are subtle hints that Jim Stonem may be partially responsible for his children's bizarre sociopathic behavior.
    • Michelle's mother isn't abusive, but she's definitely negligent. She's totally focused on her own love life and doesn't notice when Michelle and Tony have broken up.
    • Of course, the one who tops them all is Chris, whose parents both completely abandon him.
  • Actor Allusion: In Season 2, episode 2 Anwar recites Hugh Grant's filmography since 1992 during sex so he'll last longer. Upon finishing, he says that he never can make it to "About a Boy," the 2002 film starring Nicholas Hoult.
    • And there's even one with the guest stars.

 T Love (Will Young): Don't you think you should be leaving?

Freddie: Right now?

  • Adults Are Useless: On so many levels, though it does get subverted at times with the parents.
    • Possibly justified in that the series is from the point of view of teenagers, who often feel let down or ignored by adults.
    • And that the sort of teens who could get away with as much partying, drug use and sex as these characters do would have to have somewhat inept/oblivious parents.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: JJ is forever having his hair ruffled; he's well aware that it's mostly patronising.

 "Then I'd tell Freddie and Cook to stop fighting over Effy before they hate each other forever, and not make me take sides. And they'd listen to me for once and not fucking ruffle my hair!"

And then about two minutes later, Karen [Freddie's sister] does exactly that.

  • The Alleged Car: Keiran's car.
  • Alliterative Name: Franky Fitzgerald, Jonah Jeremiah Jones, Lara Lloyd, Mini McGuinness and Thomas Tomone. Not to mention Tony Stonem. The American version has Chris Collins and Cadie Campbell.
  • All There in the Manual: The novel is supposed to fill in the gap between series 3 and 4. S4 has used elements from the book for crucial plot points, and alluded to goings on from the character blogs.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: S2 has two, from Chris to Jal in the former's episode, and from Sid when he reunites with Cassie in Effy's episode. But the show's most notable one came in the S4 finale, from Naomi to Emily.
  • Arcadia: Creevey farm and Somerset; the latter is Truth in Television.
  • Ascended Extra: Pandora had a small part before being made full cast in 3+4. David Blood also rose considerably in importance from S4 to S5, as his daughter became a part of the main cast.
  • Beta Couple: Grace and Rich were this in S5.
  • Better as Friends:
    • What ended up happening in S4 with Naomi and Cook.
    • What Sid and Michelle were as of the end of S1. By Michelle's S2 episode, however, they're both single and lonely again and end up getting together. Even after they broke up, their friendship never quite recovered from the fall-out.
    • How Mini/Franky seems to be as of the beginning of S6.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Skins is fond of playing with this trope. With Sid as the Archie, it initially appears that Cassie is the Betty while Michelle is the Veronica. Series 2 turns this on its head.
    • It's much clearer for Michelle: Sid is the Betty and Tony is the Veronica. And the same is true for Michelle, Stanley and Tony in the U.S. version.
    • With Chris as the Archie, Jal is the Betty to Angie's Veronica.
    • The Triangle of Doom has Freddie as the Betty and Cook as the Veronica to Effy's Archie. JJ also liked to fancy himself as a Cheryl Blossom for a time.
    • The show plays with the trope again in Thomas's S4 episode. Thomas and his family see Andrea as the Betty to Pandora's Veronica. Viewers know, however, that it's actually the reverse and Thomas learns this by the end of the episode.
    • In the triangle with Franky as the Archie, it's hard to tell which one is Mini and which one is Matty. However, with Matty at the center, it's clear that Franky is the Betty and Liv is the Veronica.
    • In the U.S. version: when Tony is the Archie, Michelle is the Betty and Tea is the Veronica. With Tea as the Archie, Betty is, well, the Betty and Tony is the Veronica.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Josh in Season 1, after he gets revenge on Tony by kidnapping his sister.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Maxxie and the Russian police in "Maxxie and Anwar," who race in in just the nick of time to protect Anwar from getting killed by Anka's husband.
  • Big Game: Subverted. Nick's Rugby Union match is set up as one of these in his season 5 episode, only for him to quit the team before it even starts.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Whenever Thomas speaks French.
  • Binge Montage
  • Blank Slate: John Foster tries to turn Effy into this. He basically admits as such, in the season finale, that it's so he can have her for himself, by taking away all her memories of Freddie and Cook and everyone to whom she was ever close.
  • Boggles the Mind: When recovering anorexic Cassie and one of her loony bin mates play Scrabble, the whole board is covered in foods.
  • Bonnie Scotland:
    • Cassie moves to Elgin in between season 1&2, where she's seen learning highland dancing in a traditional outfit.
    • Mini and her mother are from Scotland. However, they mostly Avert the trope since, the mother's Glaswegian accent aside, they don't follow any stereotypes about the Scots.
    • Sid's dad also has a Scottish accent.
  • Book Ends: The first season opens with Tony in bed, close up on his face; the second season closes with Effy in the same bed, close up on her face.
    • The beginning of that second season closer also begins zeroing in on Tony's face in the bed, essentially in the same place he was at the beginning of the first episode.
    • The first episode begins with Tony in his bed, and finishes with Tony and Sid in the bed.
    • The last shot of Series 6 (the final regular series of the show, as well) is a zoom-out shot of Rich saying "bye," contrasting to the first shot of Series 1 being a zoom-in shot of Tony opening his eyes.
  • Break the Haughty: Tony in the series 1 finale.
  • British Brevity: Seasons range from 8-10 episodes.
  • Broken Bird: seems to be the case with Rich after the love of his life dies tragically. But, since his participation in the show after that was preety lowed down, Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Tony and Effy are very infatuated with each other. Tony's own girlfriend admits that Effy is the only person in the world Tony truly cares about. Expect eye rolls from Effy every time a girl hits on Tony in her presence. Also, Tony's Season 2 episode reveals that he has thoughts of having sex with Effy. (subconsciously, of course ...maybe)
    • Your Mileage May Vary as to how brotherly their affections are (staring longingly at each other through the window whenever Effy leaves...), but the Stonemcest fandom is quite popular, despite being what it is.
      • Effy's Unseen Skins episode in Series 1 takes this Up to Eleven.
      • It's also implied that Tony's absence was one of the contributing factors to her deteriorating mental health in Generation 2.
    • Conversed with Tony's cruel prank on Josh where he sends out sexy photos of Abigail, implying that Josh is doing her and with Josh's revenge where he tries to get Tony to have sex with Effy. The fact that Tony does not and in fact cannot might rebuff the Stonecest theory.
    • This may have something to do with the fact that she was dying of a drug overdose.
  • Brutal Honesty: "My name's Keiran, and I hate being a fuckin' teacher."
  • Burial At Sea: In S6; Alex holds one for his gran after she kills herself.
  • But Not Too Bi: Tony and Cassie are the second type. Mini is a version of the first type; while she never had sex with or dated other girls, she clearly had crushes on at least two of them - but there's no sign of any of that as of the S6 premiere.
  • But Not Too Gay: Played straight with Maxxie in the first generation. Averted with Naomi and Emily in the second generation. Doubly subverted with Tea in the American remake (in that she was billed as being a really strong lesbian character and her episode makes her out to be one, but her main series plot ended up focusing on her confusion over and hook-ups with Tony rather than anything she had with other girls).
    • Averted by Alex in his episode, as he actually does have a sex scene with another male.
  • Call Back: Effy's S4 episode, when we find out she's still working over her feelings re: Tony's accident.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Sid in his S1 episode, first when he calls his dad a dildo, and second right after his mom leaves them because of his father's insufferable behavior.
    • Alo and Nick do this too in their S5 episodes, though it doesn't go very well for Alo as his father collapses and ends up in the hospital after Alo yells at him.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: The theme of Jal's S2 episode. Jal can't figure out how to tell Chris that she's pregnant, partly because she's worried about how he will influence her choice about whether to keep the baby or have an abortion. Unbeknownst to Jal, though, Chris has his own, far more dangerous secret he's keeping from her: he has the same illness that killed his brother.
  • Cast Full of Gay: A surprisingly large number of main characters across the show are gay/bisexual, with at least one openly gay character in each generation:
    • In Generation One, Maxxie is gay, Tony is at least bicurious and possibly bisexual, ditto for Cassie.
    • In Generation Two, Emily and Naomi are lesbians, as is supporting character Sophia.
    • In Generation Three, Alex is gay, Franky is pansexual (at least in S5), and Mini was originally hinted to be bisexual or lesbian (with her "girl crushes"), but confirmed straight in S6.
  • Catch Phrase: Quite a few.

 Cassie: Wow!

Chris: Fuck it.

Pandora: Bloomin 'eck!

Pandora: I'm useless.

Doug: Oggi! Oggi! Oggi!

Danny: Nice one!

Cook: Grab my balls!

  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Sketch in Maxxie's room; Tony catching Sid with a picture of Michelle; Cassie catching Sid and Michelle making out and about to have sex; and lastly, Freddie and Katie being interrupted by his sister, her sister and J.J.
    • He was walked in twice by his sister and J.J., the first time he was having sex with Katie and the second time he was having A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Character Development:
    • If you didn't have much love for Cook and Katie in Series 3, then their Series 4 episodes should change that to some degree. Tony was much more sympathetic by the end of series 2 as well.
    • Mini, Nick and Rich have become more and more likeable since their respective episodes.
    • Jal gets a lot of this in Chris's S2 episode, as well as her own. It's hard to imagine S1 Jal even considering keeping her baby and staying in Bristol with Chris, even if that still isn't what she decides in the end.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the early series Doug is portrayed as a bumbling, Brittas-like character, rarely taken seriously by colleagues or students. By the sixth series, he has become the principal of Roundview and is shown as far more in-tune with the students and the issues they face.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In the US version, this is what happens to Michelle and Stanley.
  • Class Trip: Episode 6: Maxxie and Anwar in which the gang go to Russia. Described by one reviewer as "Carry on Russia", since it is a fairly dramatic break from the standard Skins episode.
    • Abbud's episode takes the gang on school camp to Canada.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Cassie, Josie the career counselor, and Pandora.
  • Color Wash: All the outdoor scenes are extremely saturated.
  • Concert Climax:
    • Season 5 Rich's episode feature one with a guest appearance by Napalm Death
    • Season 2, Episode 2 has the performance of Osama! The Musical as its climax.
    • In Series 2, Episode 3, Sid opens up to Tony about his father's death at a Crystal Castles concert.
    • Jal's episode in Season 1 ends with her performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto - not necessarily the climax, but the whole episode is pretty much building up to the competition.
    • The Everyone/Eura episode of the US remake ended with the gang reuniting in a frantic search for Eura at a club where a band is playing. After they've found her Stanley steps up to sing "Shout." Cadie joins in, everyone comes to some sort of realization while watching the performance. Possibly the best part of US Skins.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the first episode of S3, the locker that is set on fire has Sid's name written on it, and also contains one of his beanies and a copy of "Asian Fanny Fun." Speaking of AFF, it shows up again in S5 when Alo's friends use a copy of it to lure him away from his parents.
    • Girls in the uniform of Abigail Stock's school are spotted watching Naomi and Emily zoom around Bristol on a scooter in Emily's S4 episode.
    • Cook's dorm room at Roundview is the same one that used to belong to Chris, indicated by "Chris Miles" being written on the door and Chris's fish drawings on the walls. And interestingly enough, they both get expelled and end up having to vacate it by the time their respective generations are over.
    • Katie remembers Tony when she meets Effy in the S3 opener, and mentions how all her friends fancied him but she didn't.
    • Thomas's apartment complex seems to be the same one that housed Maxxie and Sketch in S2 or, at least, strongly resembles it.
    • In Liv's episode in S6, Doug talks about a time when he had to dance disco to help a girl get through her exam. That girl was Cassie in her S2 episode.
    • In the finale of Season 3, Cook and his father visit a bar that looks to be the same bar that is featured in generation 1's Unseen episode "To Russia With Love..." where Chris meets porn star Kathy Barry and eventually receives a check in order to go with the rest of the class to Russia in episode 6 of season 1.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Liv's season 5 episode involved her randomly hooking up with Matty who unbeknownst to her is the brother of Nick whom she had been sleeping with amongst other things .
  • Cosmic Deadline: All the evidence and clues suggest that the S4 finale was mashed together out of two distinct episodes at the very last minute.
    • All but confirmed by Word of God - Jamie Brittain is on record as saying that the latter half of the season didn't go as planned (the finale was supposed to be entirely Naomi's episode, rather than the Everyone it turned out to be, for example).
  • Country Matters: Peter Capaldi guest starred on this show. A few other characters have thrown the C-bomb around too.
    • Tony's father asks him if he thinks he's a complete "James Blunt" in the pilot, which is rhyming slang for Country Matters.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Arguably Sid Jenkins, and initially J.J. Also Grace and Liv, to Mini, in Franky's episode (though it doesn't last long).
  • Crowd Song: The last 4 minutes of Season 1, the cast all break into singing Cat Stevens' "Wild World", which is a departure from the norm of the series. This actually fits in perfectly as the lyrics describe what is happening and it also leads to some comedy when random extras such as men in the restroom and the bus driver sing too...
    • A less disbelief-suspending one happens in the Eura episode of the US remake as Stanley takes the stage with a cover of Tears for Fears' "Shout" (after having just interrupted the bands performance and getting booed off stage). Cadie and the band join in the fun.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Freddie's death. Seriously, what point did it have other than to fulfill some need for a Bittersweet Ending?
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Seems to be what Cook did to John Foster in the final reels of the series 4 finale.
  • The Danza: Josie Long playing Chris' career counsellor Josie.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Series 1 dealt with some serious issues, but was mostly upbeat. Series 2 starts with Tony recovering from being hit by a bus and ends with Chris dying, Cassie fleeing to America with Sid in pursuit, and everyone else parting ways. And inbetween, Sid's dad also died, and Jal got pregnant. At least we had the Sketch stalking Maxxie subplot to keep things lighter and goofier for a while there.
    • The pattern held for the second generation as well; Series 3 was much lighter in tone than Series 4, probably the darkest Skins season yet. Thankfully, Jamie Brittain has said that they do not plan to continue the pattern with the current generation; however, the first episode of series 6 ended with Grace in a coma and Matty a fugitive. Then Grace died the very next episode.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms
  • Dawson Casting: Averted with the main cast. Played (justifiably) straight in series 6 with Poppy, the 14-year-old Alo has sex with without realising she's underage, who's played by a 19-year-old.
  • A Day At the Bizarro: Season 2, episode 6 is a very strange episode - it's not certain if everything or possibly even anything that is going on is real, and it incorporates elements of Jungian psychology. An unusual example in that it is in fact a very important part of the show's continuity, finally bringing Tony back to his pre-accident state.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Once an Episode - each episode focuses on a different character (or, occasionally, characters).
  • Dead All Along: Grace in the second episode of season six.
  • Dead Baby Comedy: The School Play in Series 2, entitled "Osama! the Musical."
  • Deus Angst Machina:
    • Arguably, with all the crap that happens to Jal (almost to the point of becoming The Woobie) at the end of Series 2. Chris dead, unwanted teen pregnancy and eventual abortion, AND Mommy issues? How she managed to keep it together at Chris' funeral is a wonder.
    • This was basically the default setting for Chris. In S1 episode, his mother abandons him, we find out his dad has abandoned him already and his older brother is dead, and he even loses his house to a squatter! In his S2 episode, Chris gets kicked out of school, gets a new job only to lose it by the end of the episode, and unbeknownst to him, gets his best-friend-turned-girlfriend pregnant. And then in Jal's and Cassie's S2 episodes, he gets put in the hospital with the disease that killed his brother and eventually dies.
    • Several characters get this in Series 4, most prominently Cook and Effy.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Freddie's death in Series 4.
  • Did Not Do the Research:
    • Jal's profile on the E4 website lists her favorite "musical dynamics" as Dolce, Affettuoso, Rubato and Giocoso. Those are actually tempo (speed) and articulation markings; "dynamics" refers to markings that govern amplitude (loudness), such as "fortissimo" or "piano." Someone as advanced in music like Jal would know the difference.
    • Two characters make it to Harvard at the end of Series 4. Thomas goes there on an athletics scholarship - which is (vaguely) possible for some people, but not for Thomas, who let's not forget was EXPELLED from Roundview - and Pandora got a surprise admission there solely due to the grade she got on her History A-Level. While that is typical for top UK universities, with any US university she would have had to apply, be accepted and make her decision months before she would have any idea what her A-level scores were. May be justified as a case of Small Reference Pools.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Harry Enfield directed two episodes of series 2. Daniel Kaluuya, aka "Posh Kenneth," also wrote Jal's S2 episode and Thomas's S3 episode.
  • Driven to Suicide: Romantic rejection leads to Cassie's attempted suicide in S1 and Sophia's successful one in S4. Effy also tries to kill herself in Freddie's S4 episode, though it's never clear just what drives her to do it.
  • Dueling Shows: The Inbetweeners.
    • Especially with series 3 episode 2 of The Inbetweeners. Skins has taken years to try and give drug culture a positive image, Inbetweeners successfully ruins that image in 25 minutes.
    • Misfits has also been a contender, with some critics and fans calling it "Skins meets Heroes."
  • Eagle Land: "Osama! The Musical" is a definite example of Type 2. And oddly enough, the way the Skins characters are viewed by the Russians in the school trip episode encompasses a lot of stereotypes about Americans (culturally ignorant/insensitive, arrogant, gullible, etc.) as opposed to English ones.
    • The taxi driver and the Iowa boy who help Cassie when she escapes to New York give a more positive portrayal of Americans. Although Sid still manages to meet some asshole Noo Yawkers when he goes around asking where Cassie is.
  • Enforced Method Acting: When JJ blows fire in his S3 episode, when he's in the shed with Freddie, Effy and Cook. While Ollie Barbieri was learning the trick, Luke, Kaya and Jack were put under the impression that the fire would be added in with special effects, so their shock when it happened was completely genuine.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Played straight with most of the characters, but averted by others who started their arcs as virgins, such as Sid, Anwar, Pandora, JJ, Alo, Rich, Franky and Mini, and most likely Jal, Emily and Grace, too. So far, all of them have lost their virginities, all but Jal and Alo in their first series. In the US remake, Stanley, Daisy and Abbud also started as virgins, but that didn't last long, either.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Even the "good" kids party.
  • Everybody Smokes: Except JJ and Katie. Until her S4 episode.
  • Expy: Most of the US cast are based on characters from the first UK generation. Besides those that share the same first name, Stanley=Sid, Cadie=Cassie, Daisy=Jal, Abbud=Anwar, and Tina=Angie. Tea could also be considered the Distaff Counterpart of Maxxie, though she plays a much bigger role in the plot.
  • Fake Nationality: The Polish student from the pilot episode. It's obvious from even from her pretty much "niezrozumiale" (incomprehensible) "Ostatnio! Prawdziwa chłop przybywa." that Polish is not the first language of the actress. Judging from her actual skill (Or So I Heard) in Italian, it's not her second either.
  • Fallen Princess:
    • Tony can count as a male version in the beginning of Season 2.
    • Effy too can be a candidate for this, at the end of series 4.
    • Mini in her S5 episode.
  • Fan Service: Angie, Michelle, Chris, Maxxie, Tony, Anwar although his is played for laughs, Freddie, and pretty much everyone else to varying extents.
    • Holy hell, Katie in her S4 episode...
    • Or the beginning scene in the Series 4 episode "Emily" where Emily walks around Naomi's living room in nothing but her panties and the postman sees her breasts.
    • Tea gets changed a few times in her episode.
  • Fashion Show: Much of Mini's season 5 episode revolves around one for charity; it is Serious Business.
  • Feud Episode: Happens all the time with Tony, Cook and Mini. And Tea in the US version gets this from Michelle.
  • Fictionary: Twins Katie and Emily have their own language.
  • Five Philosophy Ensemble: The guys of the first generation. Tony is the cynic, Sid is the conflicted, Chris is the optimist, Maxxie is the realist and Anwar is the apathetic.
  • Foreshadowing: Possibly a case of Fridge Brilliance as well but a number of major plot points in S4 were arguably foreshadowed back in S3, such as the song playing off at the end of the twins' S3 episode, particularly when the vocals come in. Lyrical Dissonance, perhaps? Or in Freddie's episode, Naomi's analysis of Hamlet.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: In the second generation, Effy and Katie split the "sexy one"; Pandora is the sweet, naive one and The Ditz; Emily is the nurturing one; and Naomi is the Deadpan Snarker. In the third generation, Liv is the "sexy" one who Really Gets Around; Mini is the naive, cute one; Grace is the Team Mom; and Franky is the mannish one.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The girls of the third generation. Liv is sanguine, Mini is choleric, Franky is melancholic and Grace is phlegmatic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Most of the characters have terrible parents, but none more so than Chris and Cook.
  • Freudian Slip: In S4, J.J.'s mother offers Lara a "slut" of tea.
  • Friendship Moment: Many, often Heartwarming.
  • Gainax Ending: Generation Two went out with a... something.
  • Gayngst: Emily, Naomi, Mini and once or twice Maxxie.
    • In the American version, Tea and Betty.
  • Genius Book Club: Tony and Cassie, plus Effy in her S2 episode.
  • Get Back in the Closet: BBC America got a lot of criticism along these lines for how they edited Series 3, allowing fairly raunchy moments between opposite-sex couples (like Cook and Effy's grinding in the closet) while pulling a Fade to Black with far tamer scenes featuring Naomi and Emily.
  • Gilligan Cut: Directly after Doug tells the students to take it easy before their exams. Take a guess as to what it cuts to.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot:
    • Subverted with Pandora, who seems a bit shocked and appalled to see Cassie "man-and-woman kissing" another girl in Effy's S2 episode.
    • Cook's rationale for crashing Pandora's pajama party. JJ doesn't believe him, until he runs into Naomi and Emily...
    • Also a possible reason why Maxxie was replaced with a lesbian in the American remake.
    • In the American remake, Abbud follows Tea to a lesbian bar for this reason. He is disappointed when the girls are way more interested in each other than in putting on a show for him.
    • Also, Alo's reaction to Mini and Franky kissing.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel:
    • Maxxie and Anwar are this for Sid in his S1 episode, with Maxxie wearing devil horns encouraging Sid to go outside and smoke pot with his friends, while Anwar, wearing a halo, tells him he should go to class even if he's late.
    • Katie and Cook don the outfits in Freddie's episode, and he needs both of their help to try and save Effy.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted when Jal gets an abortion in Series 2, so she can continue on with her music studies at Uni.
  • Good People Have Good Sex
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
  • G-Rated Drug: The American version has the kids referring to fictional pharmaceutical drugs by their color (mainly blue, which are apparently mood enhancers). Otherwise, though, both shows avert this.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Cassie's parents are preoccupied with sex and making nude paintings that they tend to overlook their daughter. In a twist the father is the artist.
    • Naomi's mother subscribes to the New Age Retro Hippie variant, having turned their house into a commune.
    • And Cook's mother is a wackjob conceptual artist too, although that's the least of her problems.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Let's face it, Skins loves this trope.
    • Sid and Tony. Tony kisses Sid once on the lips and once on the forehead, they sleep naked or mostly naked in the same bed, and Tony cries when he's sending Sid off to New York to find Cassie.

 Tony: "I always loved you the best, Sid."

    • Michelle and Jal. They've been friends since they were 4. The S2 finale really brought this home.
    • Maxxie and Anwar - minus the "heterosexual" part for Maxxie, obviously, but it's the same idea.
    • Cook and Freddie from the second generation even more so. (Seriously, have you seen the Unseen Skins?) Hell they've said "I love you" more frequently to each other than their actual love interest.
    • Effy and Pandora end up like this.
    • Alo and Rich for sure in Generation 3.
    • Mini and Franky are shaping up to become this, Mini's one-sided crush on Franky aside.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Very common. For starters, the show has a tradition of casting well-known British comics and comic actors as the parents; of 18 main characters in the first two series (well, 16 if you note the two pairs of siblings), 15 (13) have at least one comic for a parent.
    • A couple of the main characters are this too; more than a few people know Tony as "him from About a Boy," and Dev Patel is now far better known for Slumdog Millionaire than for being Anwar.
    • Geeks are about to get this with Luke Pasqualino (Freddie), given that he's been cast as a young Bill Frakkin' Adama.
    • More than a few people recognized Dakota Blue Richards from The Golden Compass when Generation 3 was revealed.
    • Fans of The Vicar of Dibley will recognize Sid's dad as Tristan, the handsome BBC director who Geraldine fell for in "Songs of Praise". Others will know him as angry, foul-mouthed, political spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It.
    • Speaking of Dibley, in Pandora's episode, Hugo Horton (or John Dashwood for Austen fans) appears in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo as the cranky neighbor who is revealed to be in a sex tape with Pandora's mum when Effy and Cook fall into the house next door.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: in Series 2 and 3.
  • Hookers and Blow:
    • When Cook and J.J. visit a brothel in the former's S3 episode.
    • Nick has a rather bizarre encounter with a prostitute in his ep, too.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: JJ a lot (it's a sure sign he's become locked on); Katie and Naomi have done it too.
    • Tony comes up with an annoyingly long list of euphemisms for Sid losing his virginity in the first episode of the first series. Sid eventually tells him to "fuck off."
  • Ice Queen: Effy Stonem, she of the sly reticence and the glacial indifference. It was a stroke of genius to overlap this with her role as Fille Fatale.
    • By the time you get to the end of the series, it's difficult to remember that Naomi started this way (she's explicitly referred to as the "snow queen" in the book) before Emily defrosted the hell out of her.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag:
    • The twins, Katie and Emily, have birth marks by opposite eyes. Katie's is by her left eye, while Emily's is by her right. Though these appear to be make up that the twins put on, as Emily can be seen without hers after swimming with Naomi, and also switches which eye it is by when she pretends to be Katie.
    • In Series 4, Katie dyes her hair a much darker color, while Emily keeps hers red. This makes identification much easier.
    • Even in Series 3, while Katie and Emily still look pretty similar, Katie has a generally flashier way of dressing, choosing bold patterns like animal prints, while Emily goes for more classic, simple styles - emphasizing their personality differences.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The title of each episode is simply the name of the main character featured that week, mostly because the writers know that people will just refer to (for example) "Naomi's episode". Exceptions are the first episode per generation (usually called Everyone) and the last (usually called Finale), because they normally cover virtually everyone. Of course, this results in considerable ambiguity; there are four episodes called "Effy".
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Maxxie to his stalker Sketch.
    • Emily to JJ and, most likely, Naomi to Cook.
    • In Series 3, Naomi tells Emily this, but as we see in the Series 4 finale, it was never true.
    • Tea to Tony and Abbud, though even she took a while to figure this out in the former case.
  • I Never...
  • Informed Attribute: A lot of the characters have interests and attributes in their E4 character profiles that never show up in the actual show - the biggest examples being Naomi's interest in politics and Liv's obsession with dancing.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In-universe example. Sid is helping Jal zip up a dress in a changing booth and gets his finger stuck. The resulting conversation causes a few worried looks from the other shoppers.
    • Also, Maxxie's mom helping Tony with his fly.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In S3, when Katie and Effy lace the brownies with ecstasy at Panda's pajama party, unbeknownst to everyone else.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Thomas's sports scholarship and Panda's history scholarship to Harvard at the end of S4. While Thomas's scholarship was particularly impossible with him having been EXPELLED and all, both demonstrate massive Did Not Do the Research in terms of differences between English and American university admissions.
  • Is This a Joke?:
  • Naomi initially thinks Katie is kidding when she tells her that the Fitch family needs to stay at her house for a while.
  • There's this exchange between Grace and Rich:

 Rich: "I'm a metalhead, I like metal music... why do you think I dress like this?"

Grace: "I thought it was a joke or something!"

  • Kissing Under the Influence: Multiple times, though averted at least once (when Emily admits she wasn't high the first time she kissed Naomi.)
  • Land Down Under: Angie's Ambiguously Gay fiancé from the season 1 finale is a particularly obnoxious version of this stereotype.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: The show's only Teen Pregnancy storyline among the main cast was given to Jal, who was implied to be a virgin - or, at least, extremely choosy - before the sex with Chris that knocked her up. Contrast that with two seasons later, when Katie, who has bragged about her numerous boyfriends, goes in for a pregnancy test and finds out that she is going through premature menopause and will never conceive.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Done several times, especially by Effy in Series 2.
    • Chris's comment in Michelle's S1 episode about how it's "like a fuckin' episode of The OC in here!" could be seen as this.
    • When trying to get into Pandora's slumber party, J.J. tells Cook that "teen dramas" tend to exaggerate what happens at such events. Cook's response?
    • S6 ends with Rich looking up to the camera and saying "Bye" to the Grace, and as we may assume to the viewers also.

 Cook: "Have you ever heard of wish fulfillment, J.J.?"

  • Left Hanging: Happens at the end of both the completed generations:
    • At the end of Series 2, we never find out what happens between Sid and Cassie. And while it's implied that Tony and Michelle don't get back together, it's never quite revealed why, and there's hope left for a reunion.
    • Several at the end of Series 4, due to it being Screwed by the Network:
      • Cook is a fugitive who presumably just murdered someone.
      • Cook is the only cast member who knows that Freddie is dead.
      • The fact of the matter is we only know definitively about the future plans of Thomas and Pandora as well as Freddie's lack of them. It's also suggested that Naomi will be going to some sort of university - though even that's unclear - and Word of God has said that Naomi and Emily end up getting married. And it's assumed that JJ is staying in Bristol to help Lara take care of her baby, though again, not confirmed. Other than that, though, there's nothing. Effy, Cook and Katie are left completely open. Part of the problem is that the creators were likely banking on the Skins movie (which planned to focus on Gen 2) to resolve these loose ends, but now that it's mired in Development Hell we may never find out.
  • Logging Onto the Fourth Wall: The third generation all have Twitter accounts, and Franky has a YouTube account.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Skins loves this trope.
    • Generation 1: Tony and Michelle start the series as a couple. But Tony's best friend Sid is in love with Michelle. And Tony cheats on Michelle with Abigail and Maxxie. Cassie falls for Sid, and Sid slowly finds himself returning her feelings and they became a couple before Cassie moves to Scotland. After discovering Tony's cheating and dumping him, Michelle hooks up with Abigail's brother, Josh, leading Tony to frame Josh as having slept with Abigail. Josh retaliates by drugging Tony's sister Effy and demanding that Tony has sex with her if he wants Josh to call an ambulance (he doesn't, but Effy survives). In the finale, Tony tries to get back together with Michelle, telling her he loves her before getting hit by a bus. In S2, Tony's accident results in various complications including erectile dysfunction, putting his relationship with Michelle on hold. Sid/Cassie are also falling apart, so Sid and Michelle end up getting together out of loneliness. Cassie returns and rejects Sid for his infidelity, suggesting to Tony that the two of them should hook up. When Tony declines, Cassie begins sleeping around with people of both genders to make Sid jealous. It works; Sid and Michelle break up, and Sid gets back with Cassie. By this point, Tony has mostly recovered from his injury, and he and Michelle reunite as well. Through all of this, Chris is dating his teacher, Angie, but she's engaged. So he hooks up with Jal. But then Angie comes back and he cheats on Jal with her, but Jal forgives him and they get back together and remain so until Chris's death, even after Jal gets pregnant by Chris (which ends in an an abortion). Maxxie is being stalked by a girl named Sketch, despite him being gay, and Sketch hooks up with Maxxie's best friend Anwar (who had previously lost his virginity to a Russian girl in S1) when she can't have Maxxie. She tries to make Anwar look like Maxxie and the two break up when Anwar realizes this. Maxxie finds a boyfriend in James, and they move away to London at the end of the series with Anwar in tow.
    • Generation 2: In the first episode, best friends Freddie, Cook and JJ all meet Effy and all immediately fall for her. Cook and Effy sleep together and continue to for much of the series, while Freddie continues to pine for Effy. Effy's best friend Pandora gets together with Thomas, but after he leaves the country, she starts an affair with Cook, which she continues after he returns and it eventually results in their breakup. While all this is going on, Naomi and Emily start up a heartfelt but unofficial romance behind closed doors. Naomi promises Cook that she'll sleep with him if he wins the student election, which she almost goes through with when he does. Emily gives JJ a sympathy shag for him to lose his virginity. Effy falls for Freddie, but he has started a relationship with Katie. While high on shrooms at a party, Effy gets into a fight with Katie and hits her with a rock, and then sleeps with Freddie. After Katie is taken into hospital, Effy skips town with Cook. The next episode, despite Katie's interference, Emily and Naomi resolve their issues and become an official couple, as do Thomas and Pandora. In the series finale, JJ and Freddie track down Cook and Effy. JJ demands that Effy choose between the three of them right there and then: she picks Freddie. In series 4, Freddie and Effy are a couple but Cook still holds feelings for Effy. Naomi cheats on Emily with Sophia (who kills herself when Naomi rejects her) and the two all but break up. Emily falls to pieces and starts punishing Naomi, including sleeping with her friend Mandy. Thomas, still angry at Pandora for sleeping with Cook, cheats on her with Andrea, which causes Pandora to dump him. Naomi kisses Cook but rejects him because she's in love with Emily. JJ gets a girlfriend in Lara. Katie kisses and develops feelings for Thomas, but he still loves Pandora. Effy goes crazy and almost kills herself, and gets a psychologist, John Foster. Foster falls in love with Effy and so beats Freddie to death with a baseball bat. The series ends with Naomi and Emily, and presumably Thomas and Pandora, reuniting, while Cook avenges Freddie's death by seemingly beating up Foster, possibly to death.
    • Generation 3: Nick and Mini start the series as a couple. Franky met and developed feelings for Matty. Rich and Grace become a couple. After Mini was reluctant to sleep with Nick, he cheated on her with her best friend, Liv, which ultimately results in Mini and Nick breaking up a few episodes later. The next episode, Liv hooked up with Nick's brother Matty in a drug-fuelled night of passion, and then they became a couple, but Nick holds a torch for Liv until she rejects him in his episode. Feelings are still shared between Franky and Matty, and Liv eventually gets sick of their obvious feelings and breaks up with Matty. Matty and Franky try and have sex only for Franky to Freak-Out hinting at possible past abuse, and they come to an understanding of sorts. Also, Mini has developed a blatantly-obvious one-sided crush on Franky as of the S5 finale.
    • US Remake: Tony and Michelle are a couple, though Tony cheats on her repeatedly, including with a rich girl named Tabitha. Tea hooks up with Betty, who is initially reluctant to ditch her beard boyfriend, but they eventually start dating. However, Tony begins to fall for Tea, who confuses her friendly chemistry with him for sexual attraction and sleeps with him. Abbud, who liked Tea but thought she was gay, feels betrayed by this. Michelle finds out about Tony's cheating when she catches chlamydia from him, causing her to cut all ties with both him and Tea, who also gets dumped by Betty. Michelle goes after Stanley, who is torn between her and Cadie (who is now dating Warren). Abbud and Daisy sleep together "as friends," but begin to develop feelings for each other. Meanwhile, Chris is sleeping with his teacher Tina, who gets fired and charged as a sex offender, forbidden to contact Chris again. In the finale, Stanley/Michelle and Daisy/Abbud become couples, Cadie and Warren break up and Tea apologizes to Tony for leading him on while trying to fix things with Betty.
  • Lying Creator:
    • Matty DOES have ties to a character in Season 5, Nick (his brother).
    • The writers said in an interview toward the beginning of S3 that Naomi was not gay.
    • Many lesbian fans saw all the hyping of Tea as a super-confident lesbian, after she started sleeping with Tony, repeatedly, as this trope.
    • Jamie Brittain said that the pattern of having a kind of light season followed by a Darker and Edgier season wouldn't happen for Generation 3. S6 is probably the darkest season yet, with a main character in a coma as of the first episode, and dying in the second, a character that ran away and is wanted by the cops, a pregnant girl who really doesn't know what to do and can't even admit to herself that she's pregnant, problems with Russian mafia, and most of the characters being troubled psychologicaly by grief. And from what we've seen from the previews, it's not going better to be better in the last 2 episodes.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: So much that it would probably be easier to list all the times that this show has averted it.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Heavily deconstructed with Cassie, as if the writers were exploring how miserable and messed up it would be for everybody if this trope was real.
    • Beth from Tony's season 2 episode plays it straight which makes perfect sense considering she is a manifestation of Tony's subconscious.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Tony in Series 1, before his fall from grace.
    • Sketch then becomes the old Tony's Suspiciously Similar Substitute in Season 2. Except creepy instead of outwardly charming.
    • Effy in her S2 episode.
    • Mini in Franky and Rich's episodes, before her own fall from grace.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Anwar's mother knocks on his bedroom door, asking "Anwar? Are you masturbating?" (He isn't.)
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Maxxie and Tony getting it on is, for the Yaoi Fans in the audience at least, a pretty hot moment... until the camera pans to Michelle and you see her wince. And whatever leftover hotness is then doused in cold water when Maxxie rebuffs Tony, saying that "We've finally found something you're not actually good at."
    • In Cassie's S2 episode, it's easy to forget that just a few minutes before Chris's death, Cassie was dancing around to "Funkytown" before her final exam and, then, stealing a goofy t-shirt for Chris.
    • S4 had this on the episode level - Freddie's incredibly bleak episode is followed by JJ's rather sunny, sweet one, which is then followed by another very dark Effy episode that ends with Freddie's death. Many fans interpreted "JJ" as a breather.
  • Moral Guardians: The US remake. Even with the nudity and most of the swearing from the UK original gone, it was described as "child porn."
  • Morning Routine:
    • Both the UK and US version have this in the pilot episode.
    • The S3 opener introduces Emily and Katie by showing them getting ready for their first day of college.
  • The Movie: It's happening. Or maybe it isn't.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin:
    • Sid, Anwar, and the ostensibly-celibate-in-S1 Jal all have had sex multiple times by the end of Season 2.
    • Even J.J. from Season 3 eventually gets a sympathy screw - from the show's resident lesbian, no less. He gets some genuine lovin' in his S4 episode, though.
    • Mini as well.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A little rule of thumb for this show. If a scene appears in the Next Week segment, expect the actual meaning of the scene to be the exact opposite of whatever's shown. Especially if the scene depicts any two characters kissing.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Chris has a couple of them. Sid has a few hats not very many of them are nice though.
    • In Chris's S2 episode, he dares Jal to steal a "cool hat" they spot on a singer at a club.
  • Noodle Incident: Literal example. Episode 2 starts off with Michelle's house trashed after a party that we never saw, complete with actual noodles strewn all over the place. Michelle's mum is not pleased.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Series 2 finale. Bizarrely averted with the Series 4 finale.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?:
    • When Michelle tells her mother that she has broken up with Tony due to his frolic with Maxxie, her response is "Oh right, well just say you're sorry or something."
    • When Effy attempts to explain to her mother about wanting to break up with Cook and realises she isn't listening, she announces "It's going to make it really difficult to look after our baby," and finally drops a vase on the floor.
    • JJ's mother also pulls one of these on her husband, who never looks up from his newspaper, in JJ's S4 episode.
    • The U.S. version has Eura pull this on her parents by stripping down to her bra and panties and pouring a container of yogurt over her head.
  • The Not Love Interest:
    • Played with in the case of Sid and Michelle. The Dogged Nice Guy loves his Jerkass best friend's girlfriend? Clearly, it's only a matter of time before the girl's heart gets broken and she realizes what she really wanted was just underneath her nose, right? By the time this happens, though, Sid's affections have already turned toward Cassie and he's realized he never truly loved Michelle. And when they do get together in S2, they're clearly Romantic False Leads from early on. Or as Sid said, "We had great sex for three days and guilty sex for the rest." However, their American counterparts, Stanley and Michelle, do end up together.
    • In S3, Emily is the only one who truly sympathizes with and listens to JJ, helping him to confront his crummy friends, even flashing her breasts at him to get him to focus when he's getting "locked-on." He also comforts her later in his episode, when she's crying about her homophobic sister finding out that she's a lesbian. They even share a sympathy screw at the end! ...But wait, we did mention Emily is a lesbian, right? Just in case anyone hadn't figured it out from the previous episode, Emily gives JJ a spectacular coming-out speech that doubles as her Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Only One Name:
    • Crispin. Some have speculated that his first name may be "Just."
    • Matty from Gen 3, until Liv's episode.
    • Rider from Gen 3
    • Various minor characters, when you think about it. Even Sketch never gets a last name.
    • Betty in the American remake.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the teenage characters are referred to almost exclusively by shortened versions of their first names
    • Franky seems almost physically unable to refer to herself as Francesca, and is embarrased when Doug says it.
    • Toxic Bob, the music shop owner from series five.
    • Averted and lampshaded with Mini. Alo refers to her as Minerva during 5x06 but she denies that it's her full name, although many assume it still is.
  • Opposites Attract: Both Chris/Jal and Grace/Rich. It's even lampshaded in the latter case, by Grace. Naomi and Emily could also be a minor version of this, in that Naomi is headstrong and independent while Emily is (at least initially) meek and a bit clingy.
  • Outlaw Couple: Cook and Effy throughout points of series 3, possibly (particularly towards the end), It's even lampshaded.
    • Liv and Matty could count too on Liv's episode of series 5.
  • Overprotective Dad:Rob Fitch (Katie and Emily's dad)

 Rob: They're not still virgins tomorrow, I'll hunt you down like dogs.

    • ...and Rob is nothing compared to David Blood. He bugged his daughter and practically stalked her, for heaven's sakes!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Grace, in Rich's S5 episode, dresses up as a metalhead and takes the name "Sub Rosa" (Sub for short). Rich isn't fooled, but indulges her anyway. (And for anyone with a cursory knowledge of Latin, even her name is as lazy as "Guy Incognito.")
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • Anthea clearly favors Effy; in general, Tony's parents are the only ones who see him for the Jerkass he is.
    • Chris' father is also heavily implied to have not paid any attention to him, preferring his deceased son Peter. When Chris goes to visit him, there are no baby photos of Chris and his father refuses to see him.
    • Nick and Matty's father clearly prefers Nick (the "good" son) over Matty. Interestingly, however, Nick is the one who is jealous of Matty, not the other way around.
  • A Party - Also Known as an Orgy
  • Platonic Life Partners:
    • Chris and Cassie in S2.
    • Sid and Michelle seemed headed down this route in S1, but S2 seems to have muddled things a bit.
  • Plucky Comic Relief:
    • It's easy to forget it with all the shit he was put through in S2, but Chris was this for much of S1. Anwar remained the comic relief throughout the first generation.
    • J.J. and his episode have this effect in S4, as a bright spot sandwiched between two very dark episodes.
    • Alo - the character, not the episode - is this for S5.
    • Chris Collins, like his UK counterpart, seems to have taken up this role in the U.S. remake.
  • Power Trio:
    • With the Terrible Trio in Gen 2, Cook is the Id, JJ is the Ego and Freddie is the Superego (although JJ and Freddie sometimes switch places, particularly whenever Cook and Freddie start fighting over Effy).
    • Mini's crew in Generation 3 can be seen as such: Liv is the Id, Mini is the Ego, and Grace is the Superego.
    • And a separate Gen 3 Power Trio with Alo as the Id, Rich as the Ego and Franky as the Superego.
  • Pull the Thread: Emily's S4 episode, which very consciously painted her as the intrepid Private Detective in a Film Noir. Her life would have been so much easier if she could have stopped herself.
    • Freddie as well in Effy's S4 episode.
  • Queer Romance: The show wasn't intended as this trope, but a lot of the acclaim it received for the second generation was due to its lesbian Super Couple of Naomi and Emily. By series 4, a fair number of viewers were watching just for the Naomily bits, especially when that series started taking all the other couples in rather trainwrecky directions. It's still recommended on various LGBT sites as one of the best portrayals of a teen queer couple to ever grace TV sets. And Generation 3 continues to draw in lesbian fans with Mini's crush on Franky, however one-sided it may be.
  • Reality Subtext: Ironically, while at the end of series 2, Anwar is the only member of the main cast who isn't 'going somewhere' with his life--but immediately after leaving the show, Dev Patel was cast as the lead in Slumdog Millionaire. Not bad.
  • Rich Bitch: Abigail Stock
    • Subverted with Mini, who appears this way (with her clothes and love of shopping) but who is actually from a low-income neighborhood.
  • Rousing Speech: Cook in a way, to himself, at the end of Series 4, could also count as a Shut UP, Hannibal.
  • School Play:
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Naomi and Emily; Tea and Betty.
  • Screwed by the Network: E4 cut the budget for series 4, resulting in there only being eight episodes. For nine characters. Series 5 was also limited to eight episodes, although at least the creators were prepared that time. It was fixed with the upcoming Series 6, which has been confirmed for ten episodes.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: The US version almost had this, when Moral Guardians started asserting that the show violated child pornography laws and threatened to get law enforcement involved. The show didn't actually violate any laws, though, so all it resulted in was the loss of some gullible advertisers.
  • Sensual Slavs: Anka, the sexy Russian who takes Anwar's virginity, and the Polish girl in the pilot.
  • Sex as Rite-Of-Passage: It's the plot of the first episode!
  • Ship Tease: Mini and Franky in Grace's episode.
  • Shout-Out: Cook's look towards the end of his S4 episode (in his lawyer's office in front of the window; defiant, collar popped, arms in front) is a direct reference to a famous shot of Lewis Thornton Powell, one of the people involved in the Lincoln assassination, in irons.
    • Anka, the woman Anwar meets in Russia, claims she learned English from "best American TV show" but never names it. Some fans, however, may have been able to guess, as she later uses that famous phrase "we were on a break."
    • Also, earlier, she says "Yaha!" and "How are you doing?" which are phrases from that same TV show.
    • Don't forget she says "He'll be there for you when the rain starts to fall" in reference to Maxxie being a good friend to Anwar, another possible Friends reference.
    • In S4, when Katie (in her episode) looks at the blackboard in Naomi´s house, and sees written (supposedly by Naomi and Emily in happier times) "I am your lobster", and "I love you more than cheese," these are yet again references to that same American TV Show.
    • The theme tune is a possible Shout-Out to Rugrats. They sound similar, and it would be thematically relevant: the lives of babies vs. the lives of teens, and both shows were made for the same generation.
    • Eura's episode in the North American series has a scene in her room where we see a large poster with backwards writing hanging on her wall. The words on that poster is the speech Effy made in her S1 episode, and the very first words the character ever spoke in the series.
  • Sibling Triangle: In season 5, both Matty and Nick are interested in Liv
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • All the questions about Naomi's sexuality turn out to be pretty much moot, when she finally turns out to have always been an Emilysexual; The Speech in the S4 finale is basically her coming out as such.
    • Emily is clearly one toward Naomi as well; Cassie also appears to be one toward Sid romantically, if not sexually.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Subverted with Michelle, who seems to understand that Sid cares about her more and would be a nicer boyfriend than Tony, but still prefers Tony. Played with more in S2, when Michelle and Sid do get together and it doesn't work out because, despite everyone's theorizing to the contrary in S1, Sid doesn't actually love Michelle but Cassie, and it turns out Tony really does love her.
  • Slumber Party: Pandora's episode.
  • Smug Straight Edge: Cook and Effy meet one in the S3 finale.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Deadness: Chris and Freddie have both been put through it.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Subverted, at least as far as race and sexuality go. Both characters killed off were White straight guys. One article joked about the S4 finale, "This might be the first time in human history that at the story’s end, everyone’s life is shit except for the lesbians’ and the black guy’s."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Lots, and the music team know it.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Series 4, with Sophia's suicide.
  • Stealth Pun: In the first episode Pandora appears in, Tony receives Michelle's watch in the post.

  Pandora: Can I open it? I love parcels!

  • The Stoner: Everybody is one to at least some degree, but certain characters stand out as more drug-loving than others.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: "It's only the drugs, right?" Yeah...
  • Tie-in Novel: Two so far both considered canon, the first featuring the second generation and one featuring the third.
  • Their First Time: Mini and Nick in season 5 goes through this with the complication being that only Mini is a virgin and extremely reluctant; it was actually a Tear Jerker to many viewers.
    • The scene where Mini practices sexual positions is some kind of broken Heartwarming moment.
  • There Are No Therapists: Oh there are... just not very good ones, in some cases really not good ones. Though this is more to do with the writer's issues concerning mental health professionals.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: In Generation 1: Michelle (The Seductress), Cassie (The Child), & Jal (The Mother). In Generation 3: Mini (The Seductress), Grace (The Child), & Liv (The Mother).
    • Following Mini's episode, one could also call Mini the Child (or Maiden), Grace as the Mother and Liv as the Seductress.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: In Cassie's episode she keeps getting texts telling her to EAT! on her phone and seeing the word spelled out elsewhere. Nobody is texting her. They are all just hallucinations.
    • There's a possibility Tony's episode in Season 2 was this; either that or the whole thing was a hallucination.
    • Effy has a couple of moments like this. In her S3 episode, when she is on mushrooms, we see her fight with Katie through her stoned haze; in Freddie's S4 episode we see the attackers she's hallucinating as we watch Freddie scare them away for her. We also watch her tell herself that bad things didn't happen and see those things actually disappear - or play out as she wanted them to play out like Tony walking across the street without getting hit - in her S4 episode when John Foster is directing her to forget all her bad memories.
    • Tends to happen when a character is on some particularly powerful or hallucinogenic drug. Besides Effy in her S3 episode, there's also Sid in the S2 opener when he's on the LSD Cassie gave him, and Liv and Matty in the former's S5 episode after they've taken the drugs they nicked from the bum.
  • Token Minority: Jal Fazer, a bright girl who is discriminated against because she is black, and Anwar Kharral, a Pakistani Muslim whose religion leads him to question his friendship with Maxxie.
    • Maxxie, Emily, and Naomi to an extent, definitely Thomas.
    • Cassie because of her anorexia and JJ because of his autism.
    • Franky, being androgynous and pansexual, also qualifies in a few ways.
    • Tea is a Twofer Token Minority, being lesbian and (half-)Jewish. Also, Cadie is biracial, Daisy is Latina and Abbud is a Pakistani Muslim.
  • Triang Relations: It's a Teen Drama, of course there's Triang Relations. Cook/Effy/Freddie very boringly reached a Type 4 (or maybe Type 11 - see that page for details); Emily/Naomi/Katie played out as a triangle from Type 10 to Type 7 (but look down a couple of tropes for the twist...).

 Cook: She broke my heart as well. You broke my heart. I bet you’ve broken hers at some point. So what are we gonna do? Are we just three losers screwing each other forever? Or are we something better than that?

  • True Companions: The whole premise of the show is about gangs of very close, very screwed-up teenagers, most of whom have poor family lives and need close, protective friendships to help them struggle through it all. In many case, they actually do take the places of the families that have abandoned them, such as with Chris, Cassie or Cook.
  • TV Teens: Strongly averted, the teens have sex, swear, take drugs... even have acne sometimes!
  • Twin Switch: In Katie and Emily's S3 episode, Emily pretends to be Katie and sits in for the latter's exam because Katie doesn't want anyone to see her injuries after Effy hits her with a rock in the previous episode. Which results in a very confused Freddie when he sees what looks like Katie kissing and then walking away hand-in-hand with Naomi.
    • Katie also poses as Emily later in the episode, in order to trick Naomi into seeing her so Katie can tell her to stay away from Emily, and spread the news that Emily had sex with JJ.
  • Two-Act Structure: Each generation roughly follows the "Rise and Fall" pattern, following its first series with a Darker and Edgier second series, where things start falling apart.
  • Underestimating Badassery: John Foster does this to Cook. He probably realized his mistake very quickly, given Cook's response.
  • Very Special Episode: Deliberately averted with the first "Cassie". Channel 4 tried to put a counselling hotline over the credits; Elsley asked them not to for this exact reason.
  • Not Wedding Day: Rich and Grace's wedding in the S5 finale. It doesn't go according to plan, and they don't go though with it, but it still ends happily.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Freddie goes through a period of this with Cook.
    • How Michelle feels about Tea in the U.S. remake.
  • Wham! Episode: At least one guaranteed per generation.
    • Chris's S2 episode was a big one. First, he gets expelled from school. Then, Cassie returns to Bristol and reveals to everyone that Sid and Michelle are together. Then, Chris and Jal get together and Jal gets pregnant. Also, two ships are sunk: Chris/Angie and Anwar/Sketch, not that the second one every had any shippers, of course...
    • Effy's S4 episode was probably the biggest one. The WHAM in question being inflicted on Freddie by John Foster with a baseball bat...
    • The first two episodes of S4 qualify as well. You could even say the entire season was one long Wham! Episode.
    • In Generation 1, the S1 finale, and Cassie's S2 episode.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cassie's parents appear in her Series 1 episode and are then never seen again - even after Cassie attempts suicide and ends up in hospital.
    • The fact that Cassie's parents are woefully neglectful of her when we do see them might account for this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At least out of the first cast, Jal is probably the only major character who hasn't pulled a What the Hell, Hero?.
    • Pulled by everyone in the second generation. J.J. even gets one. Ironically, Katie may be one of the only people who didn't.
  • Where Were You Last Night?
  • Wild Teen Party: Which should have been named Skins Party, as it is pretty much standard affair in the series.
  • Writer on Board: Jamie Brittain said in a video about the writing of Effy's series 4 episode that he has some unresolved issues with therapists.
  • You Look Familiar: Morwenna Banks, who played Anthea Stonem in seasons 1-4, returned as a completely different character (Franky's child psychologist) in Franky's season 6 episode.
  • You Need to Get Laid: In season 1, Sid, Jal, and Anwar. In 3, J.J. In 5, Mini and Rich (although in Rich's case, it's more "you need to get a girlfriend.")