'The dark side of Naomily': Skins, fan texts and contested genres
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In 2009, Series 3 of the youth-focused British TV drama Skins won widespread praise from fans and critics for its handling of the coming out story of two teenage girls, Emily and Naomi – known in both fan and official discourse alike as ‘Naomily’. However, despite, the Skins' productions team's commitment to dialogue with their youth audience – deemed central to maintaining ‘brand values’ of authenticity and marked by the use of young scriptwriters, by attempts to draw on input from Naomily fans via interactive and collaborative opportunities, and by intertextual plays on the Naomily fan text aesthetic – fan reactions to the recently aired Series 4 have been mixed, leading to heated debate on discussion boards, (‘You've ruined it’) and resistant responses in fan texts. Focusing on genre as a contested site in representations of sexuality and desire in contemporary read/write youth culture and on the generative and dialogical potential of intersections (including collaboration and contestation) between authorized producers and fan creators, as well as the problematic power relations that underpin it, this paper critically applies Derek Johnson's recent concept of ‘fantagonism’ to explore the creative tensions between the Skins writing team and Naomily fans.
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