Sunday, 21 September 2014

Representation of Tony - Skins

Representation of Tony – Skins

I will be looking at how the character Tony is represented to the audience in TV series, Skins. I will be analysing his character, the way he acts towards other characters and also what his personality is like. Throughout doing this I will look at the mise en scene in the programme and other specialist things like; camera, editing and sound.


At the start of the first episode of skins we are given a shot of Tony in his bed with a duvet cover with two naked people on it. The man on it was facing down and the woman was facing up. What I found interesting about this was that Tony was positioned in the very center of the bed, neither with the man nor woman. This initially suggested to me that he could be confused about his sexuality. Following this you heard an alarm go off however Tony was already awake laying there, directly facing the camera in the center of the frame. Two camera shots were used in this first shot and they were an extreme close up and then the camera zoomed out to a bird’s eye view of the whole bed. This could be seen as a longshot. He also noticed how he had half of his face in shadow and half clearly visible. This could be to give the audience an initial impression that he is quite a dark and sneaky character but also that he is shy in some ways. Maybe? Because his alarm went off after he was awake I think he must have had something on his mind that had either kept him awake all night or must have woken him earlier than he wanted to.


After this, the camera frame changed and it moved to seeing his room much clearer and it stayed as a long shot while you saw him get out of bed and start his day. He began with him doing his exercises and posing to himself in the mirror. This suggests to me that he cares a lot about himself however he is a bit obsessed with himself too. The music and backing track to the scene turns to rock music and this must be his personal choice as it is music within the scene rather than it being added afterwards. This is called diagetic sound as it was already in the scene. Non diagetic sound is when it is added afterwards in editing. Other sounds are also involved in the scene. This includes the use of morning bells and his other alarm clock. The bells could signify that he lives in a quiet village although perhaps bordering the city as you can hear the bells rather than everyday traffic in a city type area. Living in a village also makes me initially think about his family and how he must have a tight relationship with them. Tony then leads to looking out the window after his alarm goes off. This is at a woman through another window as she gets dressed. She stands naked and knows Tony is watching her and is pretty much encouraging him to do so. The camera angle that is used in this case is a personal view from Tony himself and how he would see the young woman across the street. I feel that the woman is older than Tony and likes his attention due to his lust for sex. Tony could be lonely and I think this because of the way he looks at the woman. He looks at her as if she is an object and he is using her to gain a ‘buzz’. Another reason I think that he could be lonely is because of his quilt cover and the way he doesn’t position himself with either person

When looking at the way Tony presents himself in the programme he appears to be a bit OCD. When he is getting dressed in the morning he makes sure that everything is perfectly folded and all his shirts (about 6) are hung up above his draws as if they were being presented at a shop rather than in a teenage boy’s bedroom. His OCD may also have something to do with why he is so obsessed with the way he looks and could be a reason why he always does a workout in the morning as soon as he wakes up. Another reason Tony is represented that gives the audience an idea that he is OCD is how tidy his room is. When looking at the area around his bed in the opening scene you can see that his floor is completely clear and his bed looks as if it hasn’t even been slept in. Again this could also be another signification that he might be slightly lonely.

After this the camera goes onto Tony’s younger sister. She is walking along the street early in the morning and wants Tony to let her in. To distract his dad Tony turns up the volume on his stereo to its maximum and his dad comes storming in. Tony speaks in a very polite manner to his dad as he swears and yells at him. This could be seen as Tony being spiteful and somewhat passive aggressive. By helping his sister sneak into the house and not snitching on her suggests that he cares about his sister however is rebellious with her towards their parents. I guess that Tony could be seen as stereotypical teenager. The camera angles in this scene range from being extreme close ups of that dad to potentially elaborate the fury in the scene and also show full body angles so long shots on Tony to make him look smaller. However, when looking at the behaviour of the father and son, Tony appears to be in control of the relationship when it is normally the dad. Tony is also in control of the sister, Effie, as he could simple go and tell the parents what she has been up to. Further representation of Tony is shown in a similar manner when he is in the bathroom. Tony is seen reading a book about nausea in the shot showing that he is very intelligent. He also looks intelligent in what he wears because it is very basic however is also quite stylish. He is wearing a pair of beige chinos, a plain red top, a V-neck black jumper and a pair of white shoes. This will all have been planned out very carefully in costume design because they had to make sure that Tony did look intelligent but they also had to make sure that he was keeping his look of ‘popularity’. The nausea book that Tony is caught reading would probably be to expand his knowledge for maybe future university/college applications as he would have expanded his knowledge rather than wasting his time. 


Another thing that I notice about Tony is how he is represented when he goes out in the morning. He is the person to wake everyone up and get the ready for the day ahead. He begins with ringing someone up called Chris. He is with someone in bed and Tony encourages him to continue and acts as if he is the boss of the whole situation. He the calls up another friend, and she is playing her musical instrument. He attempts to talk to her but she tells him off and he ends the call. From these two first calls I got the impression that Tony is quite a manipulative person and normally tends to get his own way rather than people saying no to him. Tony also appears to have an aim for everyday and in this case in this episode it is getting his best friend Sid to have sex before his 17th birthday. He continues to call around his friends and speaks to Anwar who is Muslim and Max who is a gay dancer. This to me makes me think that Tony is very popular and has a quite broad range of friends. This makes him as a character to more interesting and will also give the audience something more to connect with as it makes the programme itself link to, different genders, different sexuality’s and also different cultures. Anyway, he calls up a girl called Michele and asks her straight out to have sex with his friend Sid that evening and treats her as if it is her duty to do so. This again gives me the impression that he is quite a controlling person and also is very disrespectful to woman. Being disrespectful towards woman wouldn’t give any potential girlfriends a very good first impression, this could be another reason why he could be lonely and is in ‘need of sexual activity’.

The next section that I will be looking at in terms of Tony and how he represented is the mise en scene of skins. This for example is the props he is given, the action going on within the frame he is in and things like that. In terms of props Tony has a mobile phone, very basic and typical for a teenager to have but it shows he must have a social life and is high in popularity, as he seems to be on his phone a lot when walking down the street. Another prop that I will be looking into is the fitness equipment at the start of the show that is in his bedroom. His bedroom looks very intelligent and clean and you would often stereotype this attitude with a geek or someone who isn’t very popular. However in this situation it’s someone who appears to be very popular and quite ‘cool’. He obviously cares about his belongings and himself, hence the exercise and fitness equipment. He had weights, a pull up bar, sit up mat etc. This, to me and as the audience suggests that he could be trying to impress people and stay within a certain type of people rather than him being labeled as something else. This could be another reason why he has friends that are all different because he is trying so hard to fit in. The way he actually speaks to his friends is quite narcissistic as he almost speaks down to them. This represents him as someone who doesn’t actually see any potential damage they could cause. An example of this could be getting Sid to have sex with someone just so he can keep his and Tony’s friendship. This also happens so that Tony doesn’t get seen to be associated with a loser. This is almost threatening and arrogant. Another example is when he speaks to his dad and acts in a spiteful way; this could lead to a non-existent father son relationship that they will most probably regret in the future. The lighting that is used in the clip of the programme that watched makes the programme seem quite bright and upbeat. The colours and light activity could a way of making the audience connect to the day-to-day life of the characters. This could be like getting up early in the morning for social things like Tony or coming home from a party early in the morning like Effie. Either way the audience can resemble something, even the parents. Maybe the audience acts like Tony at home and have to do there exercises in the morning but still keep in touch with their intelligent side of life. Other lighting features include the shadowing of the woman that Tony looks at through the window. It keeps the programme decent and the darkness also adds a sense of suspicion. Should Tony be really doing that or could he get into trouble for it?

What are the relationships like between Tony and the other characters? If you analyse the first relationship that you see in the programme, with the father, you can see that it isn’t very strong and it is almost a love hate relationship. When the dad storms in in the morning you can see that he is fed up of his sons attitude and how he speaks down to him. This seems odd as it is usually the father’s job to be in charge and in this case it is the other way round. An example of cheek that Tony gives his dad is when he goes down the drainpipe rather than opening the door to let his dad in to the bathroom to use it. This aggravated the father even more so giving Tony a sense of ‘pride’. The next relationship that you see represented in the programme is between Tony and Effie, his younger sister. Siblings don’t usually stick up for each other but in this case Tony makes sure his sister gets back into the house okay without getting into trouble and gets himself into trouble to help her out. This as a representation of Tony shows that he can be quite a caring person despite being controlling and arrogant towards others. This especially happens with his sister. You only see Tony for a short amount of time with his mother however it does look as if she doesn’t care about what he does. When his dad comes storming into the room to tell Tony off the mother just stands there and appears to smirk slightly. This will give Tony the encouragement to not behave himself. His mother also seems quite laid back with him going out early in the morning for no reason and with the attitude he actually has towards his dad. When it comes to male friendships Tony does seem to be pretty polite and happy towards them, makes them laugh like a good friend should do. With Sid he is very encouraging and supportive in the fact that he is ‘still a virgin’ however he is very passive aggressive in the fact he basically tells Sid that he has no choice in what happens to him, sexually. With Chris he really gets into the idea that he is with a girl in bed when they are on the phone and Chris appears to be the player of the group. Tony talks to the girl and almost in a flirtatious way as if he wants to join in. He probably does. This friendship relationship probably isn’t very strong as you would expect Tony to come to between his friends and their girlfriend’s partnerships by perhaps telling stories or forcing himself in on the ‘action’. I think Tony could be a player himself. When you see Tony’s female friends you would think that he would be quite popular with them and they would really want to talk to them however one of them doesn’t really. She turns him down and this probably comes as a surprise to Tony as he is ‘so popular’ with the ladies. At least that’s what he wants to think. The way he is represented in terms of partnership relationships he looks as if he would struggle getting a committed girlfriend due to manipulation and disrespect. An example of this would be the situation between Sid and Michele.

In conclusion I think that Tony appears to be a very handsome, popular and academically gifted person and has a very stereotypical English middle-class background. He plays cruel games with his family and friends, in particular those closest to him showing that he is manipulative and sneaky. Tony's sexual encounters are supposedly vast and eventually when he gets his girlfriend Michele it is a rarity too. I feel that Tony thinks that sex is a type of power so lusts for it in any way that he can. So, Tony is represented in Skins in many different ways, a dark side and a nice side.

1 comment:

  1. A great piece of analysis. You have covered the main areas well. As an early piece of work, this is amongst the best I have seen. I'm impressed.