Skins (US) Recap: Remember, smile like you’re pretty

We’ve reached the fourth episode of MTV’s Skins experiment. Slowly it is coming together. The more you watch each episode, the better they get. In the case of Cadie Campbell, Britne Oldford shined.

Cadie is trying to find some purpose in her life. Her parents and her therapists don’t know how to deal with her emotions. Her friends just use her for her drugs. Her life is insane. Here is what happens when one therapist convinces her to go off her meds

Cadie has problems. Having drugs isn't one of them.

Before I really get into the recap I have to ask: When did Cadie become a popular name? I blame Mean Girls. Okay, back to Skins.

During a therapy session, Cadie tells her doctor that she is getting happier but her therapist disagrees. She sees Cadie as exhibiting signs of depression, low self-worth, and anxiety. Her doctor tells her to enjoy being 17 and to have fun. Cadie just wants more drugs.

Cadie may be happy. Does she even know what that mean?

Cadie lives with her parents in a stately (obscene) mansion. (The song that introduces her home life is The Uniques’ “My Conversation”. It’s a nice homage to the use of reggae in the British show.) Her mom is a former beauty queen and her dad is weirdly into hunting and taxidermy. (Sorry, taxidermists, but Norman Bates has given you a bad name.) They don’t know how to handle Cadie so they, especially her mother, ignore her issues and care more about their hobbies. Her mother is fixated on appearances and an upcoming profile in a magazine; she calls her daughter cooky and flat-chested to a friend and constantly asks Cadie to behave normally. No wonder she is clinging to her new friends and her “boyfriend” Stanley, even though they exist on false pretenses.

Speaking of that boyfriend, Stanley calls and invites Cadie to a hot tub party at Michelle’s house. “Is this our date?” she asks. He says yes, but not before asking her to bring drugs to the party. Cadie is a walking pharmacy, after all.

Cadie goes to more doctors, who prescribe her more medication. (She definitely knows how to manipulate her doctors.) At one she makes a touching revelation about pigeons, her biggest fear. “They travel in flocks and you never know what they are gonna do and they’re filthy and full of disease. And they’re not scared of me. They look at me.” Cadie wants someone to notice her and treat her as an equal. Pigeons do and it frightens her. They become a metaphor for Cadie throughout the episode.

Cadie tries to manipulate another doctor with a story about her father’s death. In her story, he was crushed to death at the circus and her mom was the fourth-fattest woman in the world. This doctor sees through it. Realizing that Cadie is horribly over-medicated, he suggests she goes off her meds. He also gives her some real guidance: “Everyone’s gonna disappoint you, Cadie. They won’t mean to but they will. Drugs won’t change that.” It’s the best advice she’s gotten compared to what her mother tells her, while wearing a pink bikini, modeling how fit she is at 41: “Cadie, don’t be batty. Emotions aren’t real.” The void between Cadie and her mom becomes clear; Cadie never amounted into the pageant queen her mother wanted. And Cadie doesn’t know how to smile like she’s pretty.

It’s party time at Michelle’s house and her mom knows how to throw good parties.

Mother of the year

The gang goes crazy for Cadie’s drugs. It’s shame the other characters – Abbud, Daisy, Chris, and Tea – weren’t utilized more in this episode. Her “friends” abuse the fact that she has access to drugs and Cadie starts to realize that she doesn’t fit in with them. Although that may be a good thing. Cadie is the only person who sees Tony’s manipulative side, which will only intensify the Cadie-Stanley-Michelle-Tony-Tea pentagon. Tony still can’t accept that Tea just isn’t interested in him. Stanley is still pining for Michelle, even when she says she’s not interested. And Cadie is the loneliest person is the room.

Cadie is all alone

Cadie reaches out to Tony’s still-silent sister Eura, the only person more alone than Cadie. “Are you crazy too?” she asks Eura. “I decided not to be crazy. I stopped taking drugs for my boyfriend.” Cadie continues to lie to herself about her relationship with Stanley even though she knows it isn’t real.

There are some major confessions and confrontations at this party too. Stanley admits to Michelle that his relationship with Cadie is a lie. Tea admits that she felt something during their date to Tony, a conversation that Cadie overhears. Cadie stands up Tony in this exchange:

Cadie: You can’t keep doing whatever you want you know. Things can’t aways work out for you
Tony: Listen Cadie. You let me worry about me. You focus on your own problems. You’ve got enough. Maybe start with that boyfriend of yours.

Tony is a jerk; he’ll get what he deserves soon. The most heartfelt confession comes from Tea, admitting she hasn’t been good and apologizing to Cadie for how the group takes advantage of her. This causes Cadie to reach a breaking point and seek attention from the wrong person: Michelle’s mother’s boyfriend. Thank god for Stanley and his sense of right and wrong. He barges in on Cadie before she has sex with this creep. Cadie and Stanley finally have a confrontation. “It’s not all about you, Stanley,” she tells him. Stanley tells her that does he care.

She races away only to encounter her worst nightmare: pigeons. At home, it is no better. Her mother is upset that she is not stable and won’t listen to Cadie talk about the pigeons. Cadie goes back on her meds so that she can feel normal again. “See. I’m happy,” she tells herself as “Mice” by My Toys Like Me plays and she slowly medicates herself, one pill at a time.

"See, I am happy."

That’s where we end things this week. Here are some other highlights:

Cadie eating bananas during her first doctor’s appointment.

The way Cadie’s face lights up when Stanley calls. Britne Oldford can act.

Cadie goes hunting with her dad. Do people really hang from trees?

Chris to Cadie: “Hey, Cadie shack!”

Abbud talking to Tea’s make out buddy and acting like he knows all about lesbians.

Did I miss anything? What did you think of this week’s episode? Did Cadie’s issue strike a chord with you? Britne Oldford did an amazing job and she has the most natural screen presence of anyone else in the Skins cast. Sound off below.

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5 thoughts on “Skins (US) Recap: Remember, smile like you’re pretty”

  1. I love that you included that quote from the therapist about people disappointing you. I thought it was a real highlight of this episode.

    I wish they wouldn’t have stayed so solely on Cadie–they should show from her perspective but not just her. Tony’s episode did a good job of this. I’m actually really anxious for Michelle’s episode.

    The rest of my thoughts on this week’s episode here: http://imagemoved.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/moms-want-to-show-skins-too/

  2. This episode was such a psychological exploration of a character that the focus on Cadie was perfect. Tony’s episode needed more points-of-view because it introduced the show and the characters to a (mostly) new audience.

    In Michelle’s episode the shit will hit the fan, so it will be good. I’m more intrigued that the teacher is getting an episode. That will interesting.

    Thanks for your comment!

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