As big fans of the original UK series Skins, we were very excited when we heard that MTV was remaking it for U.S. television, especially since we loved out gay character Maxxie. (Note: Logo and MTV are both owened by Viacom.)
Maxxie and Tony
Part of what made Maxxie such a fun character was the fact that he was completely fine with his sexuality and fit in nicely with his diverse circle of friends. One of those friends was Tony with whom Maxxie had an interesting relationship as Tony was one of those cool straight guys not afraid of hanging out with a gay guy or even acting a little gay himself on occasion.
And were even more excited when we got our hands on the first casting sides (portions of the pilot script used by actors hoping to land one of the roles) for Skins USA that showed the remake was going to include a Maxie-like character, renamed Teo for the U.S version (set in Baltimore). How great it was going to be to see that Maxxie/Tony friendship presented to American audiences.
Except now it looks like that won’t be happening.
Earlier this month, Autostraddle.com reported that Teo was being replaced by a lesbian character named Tea. Autostraddle based their info on updated sides showing the change. AfterElton.com obtained the same sides and it looks like Autostraddle was right.
Good-bye, Teo. Hello, Tea.
The evidence seems pretty compelling. Here is the description of Teo from the original sides, as well as as some dialogue between Teo and Tony:
TEO, a beautiful, GAY, HISPANIC boy is TAP DANCING alone in a studio.
Forget the big gay night out Teo. We need you.
But I’m taking Chris and Abs on a voyage of wonder and discovery.
And here is dialogue from the new sides. Teo is now a female cheerleader described as TEA, (17), an unusual looking but nevertheless beautiful girl.
Forget the big gay night out Tea. We need you.
Sorry Tony. I promised Chris and Abs I’d take them on a voyage of woner and discovery.
She lunges forward, seamlessly performing her part.
So it seems pretty likely Teo is gone. I reached out to the show’s creators to confirm the change, but have yet to hear back. Do keep in mind, this could yet change again or the show may have simply been looking at auditioning actors for the part and Teo might yet live.
While the change is definitely a disappointment for fans of Maxxie, who were looking forward to seeing him translated for U.S. audiences (not to mention for folks happy to see another gay man of color on our televisions), this clearly isn’t a case of the character being degayed as he’s been replaced by a lesbian.
That’s certainly not good news for us, but given the woeful representation of lesbians on TV, it is good news for the gay/bi ladies out there.
As for the reasons the change was made, since I didn’t hear back from the producers, we don’ t know. But when I head off to the TCA Summer Tour next month, I’ll try to get some answers.