Before I begin this recap, here are two things. First, I am going to avoid comparing this Skins to the British version. It is my attempt to give this show a fair assessment. This will be easiest in this episode because Tea, played by Sofia Black D’Elia, is very much an original character. Second, the Parents Television Council should tread very carefully. The more attention they give Skins will only benefit the show. Not that is necessarily a bad thing. The ups and downs of the premiere episode were (mostly) made up for in this episode.
How do Tony, Michelle, Stanley, Cadie, Chris, Tea, Daisy, Abbud, and Eura compare to the original cast? The general consensus is not at all. The originals, led by Nicholas Hoult as Tony, have an unmatchable charm and distinction from their American counterparts. The casting in the original E4 series was spot on. (This is the show, after all, that discovered Dev Patel before he starred in Slumdog Millionaire.)
MTV spent a great deal of time and effort promoting Skins by showing off how edgy a teen drama could be. The promos were exactly what we saw in this episode: teens partying, drinking, and staying out all night. It is also almost a carbon-copy of the British episode, causing myself and countless other fans to shake our heads in protest.
Did anyone else watch Skins last night and just sigh, longing for the original?
I have to wonder: Do executive producer Bryan Elsley and MTV really believe that American viewers had not seen the original series? Skins may have a cult-like following here, but it is a passionate cult.
The episode begins with Tony covering for his younger sister, Eura’s whereabouts. It’s a routine that they have down perfectly; Tony distracts his father and help mascara-heavy Eura sneak into the house. Eura may not have the effortless cool of Effy Stonem but I can see her growing on me.
Tony then calls his posse. There is the beautiful Michelle, his girlfriend (I don’t know what high school student takes a bath before school); talented trumpet player Daisy; party boy Chris; and the Muslim who loves to party, Abbud. They all have one goal tonight: get lovable virgin Stanley laid.
The only character remotely different from her UK counterpart is Tea, a lesbian cheerleader. Already the writers are having fun with her character; her segment in the opening sequence stood out from the others.
Then there is Cadie. She’s just be released from the hospital. She just needs to stay away from knives. She agrees to sleep with Stanley, which is honorable since, as Daisy so eloquently put it, not even a hobo would do that.
Once we finally get to school, we meet Tina, the gang’s psychology teacher. She’s unstable after the P.E. teacher dumped her. Chris takes charge, acts chivalrous, and tells the P.E. teacher off. Sort of. It is a set up for how their relationship will develop.
We learn throughout episode that Tony is manipulative and gets what exactly he wants. Whether it is pressuring Stanley to buy drugs or using Tabitha from Edith Damp Collegiate to get to a party and what he really wants (sex). Who’s Tabitha by the way? She’s Tony’s other potential squeeze. She’s in the choir that Tony auditions by performing Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love.” Tabitha makes it no secret that she wants Tony and that only works in his favor. I don’t know where this actress came from but she stole the episode more than once from the main characters.
Stanley causes a huge problem when he buys not an ounce of weed, but four. And he is really just borrowing it. It is no problem though. They can try selling the drugs at Tabitha’s rich kids party. Tabitha’s party is attended by none other than “Shannon, Zeek, Zach, Chad, Summer, Shannon, Summer, Chad, Brad, Randy, Candy, Brandy, Sandy, Mandy, Summer, Zach and Chad.” Got that? She’s also invited Tony, who brings Michelle, Stanley, and Cadie. This is where Stanley is going to lose his virginity. The others are at a Big Gay Night Out with Tea. (I was highly disappointed we didn’t see some scenes at Tea’s Lezzarama.)
The Lezzarama was a bust, much to Abbud’s chagrin. He’s hoping some lesbians will be at Tabitha’s party. So does Tea, for that matter. When the rest of the “too urban” ground joins the party, all hell breaks loose. Chris starts a fight and everyone joins in. Now that is a Skins party!
Meanwhile, Cadie has taken a bunch of pills and passes out. Not before she jumps on a trampoline with Stanley, they kiss and she tells him that he loves Michelle. The gang rushes into action to get Cadie to a hospital. They steal a car and drive like mad to get her there in time. Silly Cadie, she really was just sleeping. They wind up at a lake so that Cadie can pee. There is a scuffle over skins and the car winds up in the lake.
There you have it. Stanley is still a virgin and now there is a minor missing drugs problem. All will be dealt with in due time.
As disappointing the premiere episode was (even when you don’t compare it to the original, parts were just not there), I am not going to give up on Skins yet. The first episodes, maybe even the first season, could strenuous to watch for us die hard Skins fans. The young actors have a lot to learn. But I see potential. Mostly from Stanley (Daniel Flaherty), Chris (Jesse Carere), Tea (Sofia Black D’elia), Abbud (Ron Mustafaa), and Daisy (Camille Crescencia-Mills).
If you watch the first Skins webisode, “Right Hook, Left Hook,” you can see that these actors do have what it takes to make their Skins characters their own.
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What did you think? Did I miss any crucial moments that solidified how you feel about Skins?
Well, it is probably about time that I posted this recap. Sorry it is late. But can you really blame me though? It’s Cook. It is nearly impossible to find his character redeemable, which is what this episode was aimed at–reminding us that Cook can be a caring guy when he wants to be.