I am not afraid to admit that Skins was my favourite TV program for a long time. When the first season was broadcast, I was around the same age as most of the characters, and immediately fell in love with the hedonism and craziness which they showed in the lives of these teenagers. When season three started and there was the ever present question of whether or not Naomi and Emily could actually make it as a couple, I began to love the series even more. So, the recent news that Skins is to be reprised for one more season – wrapping up some of the storylines – has got me very overexcited!
I fell in love with Skins at least partially because, when the first season came out, the characters were the same age as I was, and I empathised. Between Sid’s awkwardness, Tony’s cockiness, Michelle’s insecurities and Cassie’s mental problems, I saw myself and my friends in the characters that Jamie Brittain and co had written. It helped that the production was slick-yet-real, and the music was the kind of stuff we listened to as well – but really, for me, it was the characters.
By the time season three rolled around, and we were introduced to Emily – closeted, scared – and Naomi – confused, untrusting – I was at St Andrews, and struggling to deal with my own sexuality. Early 2009 (when Season 3 premièred) I was hopelessly crushing on a (female) friend of mine, and she and I spent many hours curled up on sofas watching The L Word and Tipping the Velvet and when it came out, Skins. I felt so conflicted during this time; because I had feelings for this girl, and she and I had drunkenly kissed, but I knew that she wasn’t really interested in me. That was the hardest part; trying to work out if I liked this girl because of something about her, or whether I liked her because I liked girls.
Anyway; around the same time that Emily was exclaiming that she liked “girls, I like their rosy lips, their hard nipples, bums, soft eyes… I like tits and fanny, you know” – I was working out more or less the same thing. I immediately decided that I must change who I was to become a ‘proper’ lesbian – I chopped off my hair, bought a load of vest tops and immediately made a point to tell all my friends – most of whom just rolled their eyes at me.
I’ve got to admit, the first two thirds of 2009 were not particularly easy or enjoyable for me, and I definitely went off the rails a little – thank God I met Stacey later that year. Trying to work out how I felt for girls, and for this one particular girl really threw me – but by the following year, I was happily settled into my new relationship with Stace, and watching Emily and Naomi’s relationship self-implode made me realise just how lucky I was. That being said, my favourite quote from Skins still comes from the time when Naomily was on the rocks –
Emily: What do you do when someone you love lets you down? Really fucks you over?
Thomas: You must try to stop loving them.
Emily: And is that possible?
Thomas: [Pause] No.
I guess, at the end of the day, I loved Emily and Naomi on Skins because I saw so much of myself in the characters; someone scared of working out who I really was, scared of falling for anyone after being hurt and particularly scared of falling for a girl. And that’s why I’m so excited to see what the writers of Skins will have decided for these two characters since we last saw them. Back in 2010, we left the couple about to go and travel around Goa, after Naomi told Emily this:
I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you. I think I was twelve. It took me three years to pluck up the courage to speak to you. And I was so scared about the way I felt, you know, loving a girl, So I learned how to become a sarcastic bitch to kind of feel normal. I screwed guys to make it go away, but it didn’t work. When we got together it scared the shit out of me. Because you were the one person who could ruin my life. I pushed you away. I made you think things were your fault. But really I was just terrified of pain. I screwed that girl, Sophia, to kind of spite you for having that hold on me, and I’m a total fucking coward because I got these [reaches in bag and pulls out two papers] these tickets to Goa for us three months ago, But I, I couldn’t stand… I didn’t want to be a slave to the way I feel about you, can you understand? You were trying to punish me back and it’s horrible. It’s so horrible, because really… I’d die for you. I love you. I love you so much, and it’s killing me.
I empathised with that speech when I first heard it, and I empathise with it today. So much of how I felt 2, 3 years ago was played out through Skins, and I felt vindicated by seeing Emily and Naomi fall in love – despite everything – on my screen. Since the couple were last part of Skins, so much in my life has changed – I’m now happy and secure in my relationship and sexuality – and that’s why I’m excited to see whether the same is true of Emily and Naomi.
So – Naomily – my favourite lesbian couple on TV – will be back in mid 2013. Anyone else excited?!Carley