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Lost in Translation?

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Aside from language (Americanized, with expletives bleeped) and the toning-down of a few sexy bits, the show’s migration to MTV produced only one major change: one main character getting swapped for another (sorry, Maxxie). Elsley was so bowled over by Sofia Black D’Elia’s audition, he turned a gay boy into a lesbian cheerleader. But there may be no pleasing fans of the original show: They are either “really upset that it’s similar or really upset that it’s different. Or both, which is weird,” says D’Elia. The good news is that if you truly don’t like MTV’s version of Skins, the original still runs on BBC America (or catch it on DVD).

arrowu.k.Tony Stonem

Requisite swaggering clique leader. As played by Nicholas Hoult (the boy in About a Boy), Tony is hyperintelligent, masterfully conniving, creepily emotionless, and, ultimately, tragic. One of TV’s best redemption arcs.

u.s.Tony Schneider

MTV’s Tony is more cheeky than possibly evil. As played by James Milo Newman, he’s also a lot shorter. “We try to forget the U.K. version,” says Newman. “Not only is it not helpful [to mimic the original], it’s also just more difficult.”

arrowu.k.Michelle Richardson

A sexy airhead who is constantly putting up with shit from boyfriend Tony. All indications are that she really loves him, which means she suffers from a case of perpetual heartache.

u.s.Michelle Richardson

Actress Rachel Thevenard plays Michelle more huggably than the U.K.’s cattier cool girl, who is off-putting at first. However, both share a love of conspicuous cleavage.

arrowu.k.Chris Miles

Charming, pill-popping Chris (Joe Dempsie) is the most lovable: a bundle of good intentions and disastrous consequences, knocked around by everything and destined to burn out young. He. Will. Make. You. Cry.

u.s.Chris Collins

The nifty zigzag design etched into the back of actor Jesse Carere’s hair is the obvious difference between U.S. and U.K. Chris. Carere’s take is more understated, but clearly indebted to Dempsie’s. And his joint-rolling skills are similarly peerless.

arrowu.k.Jal Fazer

A hard-nosed good girl who plays clarinet and is miles more responsible than anyone else in her life: her famous-musician father, her aspiring-rapper brothers, her best friend, Michelle. Eventually falls into a crushing relationship with Chris.

u.s.Daisy Valero

Still no-nonsense but, at least initially, not nearly as square as Jal: She smokes joints in the school’s bathroom. Though actress Camille Cresencia-Mills is half-Filipino, her character is Costa Rican.

arrowu.k.Sid Jenkins

Another high-school archetype turned on its head: Sid is a sexless, hopeless nerd—minus both smarts and hidden depths. (Fun fact: Co-creators Brittain and Elsley based Sid and his dad on themselves.)

u.s.Stanley Lucerne

Sid hides his hair under an ever-present beanie; Stanley rocks an impressive Screamo band mullet. But mostly they match: Stan pines for his best friend Tony’s girl, Michelle, while remaining woefully ignorant of Cadie’s feelings.

arrowu.k.Anwar Kharral

A horndog straight out of Porky’s, only with a strict but loving Muslim family and a gay best friend. Anwar’s mostly around for comic relief, but as played by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), he’s a real scene stealer.

u.s.Abbud Siddiky

Ron Mustafaa checked out the open call for the show because “my mom is a huge fan of Patel’s, and she said, ‘I want you to be the next Slumdog.’ I was pretty sure they weren’t making Slumdog 2, but Dev kept mentioning Skins in interviews.”

arrowu.k.Maxxie Oliver

The bubbly dancer got less shine than the rest of the main characters, though he did manage some major moments, mostly thanks to a crazed female stalker named Sketch (with the greatest Welsh accent you’ll ever hear).

u.s.Tea Marvellim

The cocky lesbian—whom even the straight girls fall for—comes from a loud Jewish-Italian family that would be appalled if they knew she’s gay. At the risk of blasphemy, Tea is already more interesting than Maxxie ever was.

arrowu.k.Effy Stonem

Every guy on the show is in love with Tony’s younger sister, who starts out as a nearly mute enigma who parties even harder than her big brother. By the third season, when a new batch of angsty youths are introduced, she’s anchoring the cast.

u.s.Eura Schneider

Eura spends more time hanging with Tony’s crew than Effy ever would. Actress Eleanor Zichy—who’s never seen Dawson’s Creek because “I was born in 1995”—says the intention is to make Eura central, too: “But who knows? It can go either way.”

arrowu.k.Cassie Ainsworth

Starts as token eating-disorder girl and, par for the course with Skins, mutates into something more interesting, especially after a romantic betrayal and a friend’s death. Endearingly says “safe”—British slang for cool—all the bloody time.

u.s.Cadie Campbell

Like Cassie, Cadie (Britne Oldford) exists on the clique’s periphery, and loves the nerd (Stanley); like virtually everyone on the show, she’s unduly fond of pharmaceuticals. But, so far, no eating disorder.

Photographs: Courtesy of Company Pictures (U.K. Skins); Courtesy of MTV (U.S. Skins)

See Also: The Dirt on Skins


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