Rich and Grace are the most poetically beautiful couple Skins has ever written. In this post I hope to illuminate all the reasons why I love this relationship. In the hopes that it will bring comfort to grieving Hardlet fans and maybe convert a few to the cause.
When we first meet Rich and Grace we can immediately tell that they were two very different people. We look at the screen and see this metal head guy with a scowl on his face and snark in his voice. Then we see this beautiful elegant girl who seems to glide and exude enthusiasm with every word uttered from her lips. Together they bring something the other needed. Grace is a character who is always worried about making other people happy that sometimes she sells herself short. Rich is a character that has such a narrow definition of who he is and what he represents sometimes he doesn’t see what is right in front of him. Grace is optimistic and loves things. Rich is pessimistic and hates things. Grace taught Rich how to open himself up and see beauty in the world. Rich taught Grace how to stand up for herself and how sometimes it is good to be selfish. The relationship they have is a positive one in which both characters matured with the love they shared.
I also think that Rich gets locked on and gets stubbornly angry sometimes and Grace makes him calm. That scene in Series 6 Episode 1 is a perfect example. Rich is ranting about how horrible the trip is due to Ryder’s lie about his family’s villa; however, Rich stops mid-sentence after seeing Grace. She calms him and makes him happy. Grace has a father who is a control freak and a mother who fed her stories every time she felt upset. Rich gives Grace honesty and stability—because that is what Rich is. He is a dependable and honest guy.
Even though they are different in temperament and interests they do have two really important characteristics in common. The first thing they have in common is that they are both passionate. Grace is immersed in her art, ballet, and all the things she enjoys. She loves them fiercely and puts her all into it, because they are important to her. Rich is also a passionate guy who is obsessed with the power of metal music it is what has always defined him. The second thing that they have in common is that they are both old-souls who fantasize about the past. This was evident in the first episode of the fifth series when the characters were having their first civil conversation with Franky in the cafeteria.
Alo and Rich sit down at the table with Franky who lets them know a girl named Mini is being horrible to her.
Rich: If Roundview was a medieval village, I’d strap that witch to a ducking stool.
Alo: Save us your middle ages wet dream, Rich!
Rich: She’s probably got, like, friggin’ gills under her armpit.
Then Mini, Liv, and Grace sit down at the table with Franky who mentions the grief she received at her last school.
Grace: Before, like Oxford or past-life before? Cause I had a dream two Sundays ago, that I was a slave actually working on a plantation in Jamaica.
Liv & Mini: Shut up, Gracie.
Both Rich and Grace mention the past and both of them got some heat from their friends for doing so. This is what made the differences work in my opinion. They both complement one another and they have this underlying innocence due to their old fashioned nature.
Another thing that is special and lovely about Rich and Grace’s relationship is that they both accept one another. Grace does not want Rich to change for her. Rich wants Grace to be herself. Rich is use to his parents and everyone else trying to change him, tell him what to do, or tell him what is wrong with him. But here is this beautiful girl telling him to be himself and that she loves him for it. Grace has always been told what is proper, what is expected of her, and what is not respectable by her father. On top of it she was friends with Mini who dictated everything in their friendship in the beginning never asking what Grace wants or who Grace is. Then Rich comes along and says just be you…be the real you. That is powerful. That is love at its purest. Full acceptance.
This is why the Skins writers could not destroy the relationship within. They were too innocent, too in love, too old fashioned, and too in tune with one another to ever fall prey to a misunderstanding or cheating. No it would have to be exterior reasons that would create the tensions between them. Series 5 the tension was the secret Professor Blood forced Grace to keep and the separation Blood threatened. In Series 6 it is the car accident and Grace’s injury that separates the two lovers. Rich and Grace work so well that the writers had no other choice (in my opinion) then to have the couple react to outside threats. This is the first time that this has ever happened on Skins. I know many people who are screaming “what about Jal and Chris?” Chris may have been taken from exterior forces, but they both kept secrets and Chris cheated. They had issues and before they could work through it (and they would have) Chris died. However Rich and Grace? It was all exterior.
I know many people compare Rich and Grace to Romeo and Juliet. It makes sense and completely works especially with Blood’s adamant disapproval. However, Rich is nothing like Romeo and Grace is nothing like Juliet. How I like to think of them is that Rich is a medieval knight and Grace is a whimsical princess.
Rich being a stubborn, brave, and protective medieval knight he sees this beautiful princess who feeds ducks and loves unicorns. He scoffs at the princess and dismisses her. The princess though being incredibly kind notices the knight and sees something intriguing about him. She immediately wants to know more about him, but the knight resists believing that this is not how the world works. A dedicated knight like him is not supposed to be tempted by a whimsical princess. However after a while he starts to fall for her despite himself. He then begins to see himself as her protector he says “be careful,” puts the burden on himself to find solutions to problems, finishes her projects that she cares about when she cannot, and gets mad at himself if things do not work out. Ultimately the noble Knight Hardbeck wants to make Princess Grace happy. While Princess Grace wants to see Knight Hardbeck enjoy life. Beautiful—poetic—perfect.
They are also a couple that has always seemed like they were always married. They have such great banter. Giving each other crap in a teasing way. Rich bickering about Grace’s luggage or Grace yelling at Rich about his tone. I do believe that even though they did not get married at the end of Series 5 their relationship dynamic was certainly like a married couple. Devoted, strong, and committed. They are also the longest running couple of the Series.
The truth is. I will not be mad about what happens in Series 6, because Skins gave us a wonderful couple that taught us the good things about love. That you can find someone whose love makes you a better person without forcing you. That love can actually heal you and make you stronger. The other Skins relationships always portray love as a weakening force that leaves you with a suffocating and out of control feeling. Rich and Grace show us that love can save you and heal you if you allow yourself to fall and commit freely to it. The love that these two characters showed one another is legendary. Inspirational.
Rich and Grace’s relationship has made me cry, made me smile, and most of all it has given me a sense of hope despite the tragedy. I hope that whatever the future holds the love and strength that Grace has given to Rich will allow him to continue living a beautiful life. No matter what though there is one thing for sure…Rich and Grace are flawless.
I cannot put into words the amount of love I have for this couple. I believe that this is one of my favorite relationships ever written in any fandom. Because they had an unconditional deep admiration for one another that was built on honesty and sweetness.
With that I leave you with some of my favorite Hardlet moments.
**These amazing gifs were made by the amazing frankybluerichards **