Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by the American remake of cult favorite Skins! The original UK version of the show was groundbreaking—it was the first series that dared to tell the stories of teenagers, starring actual teenagers. For once, young people could relate to the characters whose lives were unraveling on screen. The US version tried and failed to capture what made the original Skins so special, which is why many disregard it completely.
Returning to what was the one true Skins, some of the most compelling narratives often came from the romantic relationships between characters. They seldom got to see their happy endings, but that's why they were so important in the first place. The world isn't always unicorns and roses, and Skins made a pretty good job reminding us of that fact. Every relationship we saw on the show taught us something, some more successfully than others. Six years after it aired, it's time to rank the most significant relationships on Skins, from worst to best.
It's not rare for someone to feel so filled with pain in life that they end up in a relationship that screams bad news. When people can't deal with grief, they'll often turn to toxic methods in order to cope—and relationships definitely fit into this category. When we met Franky, she was desperately trying to deal with the death of her friend Grace, and she finds solace in Luke, who is nothing short of bad news.
Luke is violent, often getting involved in fights reminiscent of Fight Club, but this is exactly what draws her in. This environment allows her to let go of her pain and frustration, but we eventually find her lost and a victim of abuse on Luke's part. The relationship between the two is a tragic, albeit accurate depiction of many relationships in the real world. Thankfully, Franky eventually manages to escape this disaster of a relationship.
It's the very typical teen movie kind of relationship at first with the most popular kids in the school: he is the captain of the rugby team, she is the Regina George of the school. They look great together, and they rule their tiny little high-school world, but it's pretty clear that there isn't much love there. Their relationship was always more about what it looked like than what it felt like. And that never ends very well.
Things get even more complicated (and, quite honestly, wrong) when Nick falls in love with Mini's best friend. They eventually begin having an affair, and as if that's not bad enough on its own, Liv also begins a relationship with Nick's brother. It's a telenovela kind of situation and, in the end, Nick and Mini's relationship was just a plain trainwreck.
The relationship between Freddie and Katie was a very painful reminder for many viewers of what it's like to be with someone who doesn't return your feelings, or worse, someone who's trying to get over someone else. Once again, Skins hit the nail on the head when it comes to depicting a very sad, but very real situation that many people have to go through.
Even though Katie wasn't very likable, and everyone was rooting for Freddie and Effy from the very beginning, it's still quite heartbreaking to come to witness Katie's realization that he never really had feelings for her. Being someone's distraction is not a problem if no feelings are involved—but it's just plain sad when they are.
Okay, it's true that Michelle and Tony were the dictionary definition of a trainwreck. In all honesty, if you look it up somewhere, they're probably one of the examples. Both as individuals, and especially as a couple, those two lived to make each other suffer, only to fall back into each other's arms again. It was painful to watch, but, for some reason, fans couldn't help but wish that they'd eventually work it out somehow.
One of the stunts Michelle pulled to enrage Tony was having a fling with Sid. He let her because he was also trying to get over Cassie, so that attempt at a relationship was not going to work. Clearly. It was just incredibly cringey and painful to watch at times. It was like putting ketchup on ice-cream—just no.
Effy was as messed up as they come. From what we got to see during the last season of the show, things never really turned out great for her, and somehow, the men she chose almost always had a role to play on her downfall. Of course, she made her decisions with eyes wide open, and Cook was one of them.
Putting two people with an insane amount of issues together is usually a recipe for disaster. The only saving grace of these two was that, deep down, we could tell that they actually cared about each other. There was potential for an actual, deep friendship there. But they just ended up doing nothing for each other and hurting Freddie, the person they both more cared about in this world. Props for the great scenes, though.
These two were meant to be from the very beginning. It was clear as water, from the first time Freddie saw her, that these two were bound to find each other. But because Skins is Skins, things were far from smooth, and Effy ruined things even before they had a chance to take off by having a fling with Cook.
Effy and Freddie gave us some of the sweetest moments on the entire show. The lake scene, where Freddie confesses his love, is worthy of a full-blown Hollywood movie. Unfortunately, their relationship was plagued by Effy's demons, as she tried to kill herself when they were together. Freddie supported her until the very end and his love for her eventually led to his death—the modern day Romeo and Juliet, only with a lot more drugs.
Sid and Cassie were true oddballs in their own right. Cassie suffered from an eating disorder, among other things, and Sid was dealing with seriously low self-esteem. While the two got off on the wrong foot—Cassie tried to kill herself when Sid unintentionally stood her up, which is a testament to just how badly she needed help—the two eventually started a long-distance relationship after she moved to Scotland.
The ups and downs were real, especially when Sid got with Michelle. Even though it seemed like two would finally get their happy ending, Cassie fleed to New York after she witnessed Chris' death. Sid goes after her, and that's the one flicker of hope we're left with at the end of the season...until season seven completely smashed it.
Without a doubt one of the most beautiful relationships on the show, Naomi and Emily had to go through their fair share of complications. Their love story was an absolute favorite among fans, even though it ended tragically (thank you again for completely ruining our hopes, season 7).
Struggling with one's sexuality is very common in your teens, and it was a great move on Skins' part to portray it on the show. It was a constant back and forth between Naomi and Emily, but their love was clear to everyone who ever watched these two interact. Despite everything, they always made their way back to each other, and the pairing was a beautiful portrayal of coming to terms with you really are and finding the happiness you deserve.
If anyone deserved a happy ending, these two were the front-runners. It was a beautiful thing to witness their friendship getting stronger, and eventually blooming into that teenage romance we all crave. Even though Chris almost managed to completely destroy everything by getting together with Angie, the two made it work again.
What made Chris and Jal special was that they were good for each other. They made each other grow and want to become better people. Skins is filled with devastating moments and Chris' death surely tops the list, along with Jal's abortion. We did get the closest thing to closure with the wonderful speech Jal gave on the day of her boyfriend's funeral. Beauty and pain, all wrapped up into one.
Why, oh why must you be so tragic, Skins? Rich and Grace were arguably one of the healthiest relationships on the show that brought us more happiness than misery. They seldom made us want to scream at the TV in a rage because one of them did something utterly stupid to the other. Much like Jal and Chris, they were good for each other.
Plus, everyone loves a good old bad boy/nice girl kind of trope. This wasn't exactly it—the two were somewhat opposites, but once Rich accepted his feelings towards Grace, he acted accordingly. Grace's death still haunts many fans to this day, especially because there was so much potential for a beautiful life together for these two. Either way, they are probably the best couple to ever be a part of the Skins legacy.