S1E10: Well, the great controversy as to whether or not it was okay to watch our children do drugs, have sex and drink alcohol is over. We made it everyone. We made it. Now let's have a drink and smoke a joint with our kids to celebrate!
Skins wrapped up last night with "Eura," an episode focusing on Tony's younger sister, who's a self-imposed mute. And, well, in the same vein as the rest of the show, the episode warrants one great big "Meh." It was incredibly average. Seriously. I'm amazed at just how average it was. But, I guess since this was the season finale (and potentially the series finale), it should show everything that the show does best. And what does Skins do best? It's the best at being really, really average.
"Looks like you should've looked a little closer, kid. This isn't for me." -Michelle
Everybody's still pissed off at Tony, but who can blame them? He's a jerk to his girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend). He's a jerk to his best friend. He's a jerk to anyone else he meets. In short, the dude is just a big jerk. Eura, as his little sister, loves him dearly in spite of all his jerkiness. She tries to convince everyone else that "Tony, hey, he's not such a bad guy!" She shows Michelle a letter that he wrote for her, except one vital thing is incorrect -- it wasn't for her. It was for Tea. So instead of helping the situation, she only hurts it. Then, Tony finds out. He's upset with her, telling her that she "shouldn't have done that."
"Took ur lil sista." -An anonymous text
Tea calls Tony to talk about her feelings and all of that crap, and Tony tells her that he loves her. She decides to be all like Han Solo and says, "I know." Honestly, it was disgusting. Two of the reasons Skins is so average is because a: the acting is really terrible at times (I'm looking at you, James Newman aka Tony aka man without emotion). And b: it wallows in melodrama. Don't get me wrong. I know Skins is a teenage drama, and with that territory comes some melodrama, but when the every scene is melodramatic, it just gets old. Combine that with the bad acting: yuck.
Anyway, after Tony hangs up with Star Wars-era Tea, he receives an anonymous text message that says someone "got his sister." He freaks out, which seems odd. Yeah, I know it's his sister, but who knew that Tony cared for anyone? I'll let it slide, because family connections are very strong, but so far, Skins hasn't given the audience anything regarding Tony's character that makes me think, "Oh, yeah, he's a good guy who cares for other people." In fact, it's done everything to make me thing exactly the opposite of that.
"It's up to you to figure out the ending. Go figure." -Cadie
Meanwhile, in the storyline that no one cares about, Stanley is trying to figure out if he likes Cadie or if he likes Michelle. He was on the computer looking at Facebook photos of Michelle, then suddenly, Cadie messages him! (Technology these days, I tell you.) He goes outside and he and Cadie talk about, well, something (honestly I'm not really sure what -- it was something with feelings, though) and then they kiss.
Oddly enough, in spite of all of this, Stanley is one of my favorite characters. I think it's because Daniel Flaherty is probably the best actor on the show. But regardless, I just could not find myself caring about the love triangle that's quietly emerged between these three over the past few weeks. There just doesn't seem to be anything genuine about their feelings. Sure, Stan likes Michelle because, um, she's hot? And he likes Cadie because, um, she's weird? And they like Stan because he's, um, awkward? I pose these questions because I don't have the answer. The show never even bothered to hint at the cause or reasoning.
"Is he here?" -Eura
So anyway, the group gets together -- despite being pissed at each other -- and goes to look for Eura. Chris magically knows where she is, so they head over to a rave/concert to look. Stanley finds her backstage and Eura speaks! She admits that she faked the kidnapping herself as a way to teach Tony a lesson about his selfishness. And, um, I guess that works? And then the episode ends, right? They all go home and live happily ever after? Well, almost. But not before Stan sings a song.
Yup. You read that right. Stan ends up on stage after removing Eura and, well, because Cadie told him that he needs to express himself, Stan does the logical thing and starts to sing. He busts out a rendition of the Tears for Fears classic, "Shout." Oh yeah, then Cadie jumps in, because, you know, Cadie is weird. And weird people -- they are good singers!
This scene was abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous. But in hindsight, "Shout" was more than just a bad scene. It is the perfect example of everything that's wrong with this version of the Skins. At its heart, Skins wanted to demonstrate the realities and emotions of teenage life. It wanted to show us how someone feels when they brush their arm against the arm of their crush. It wanted to capture the nervous butterfly feeling in your stomach after you get that first kiss. It wanted to reveal what that first hit of marijuana tastes like. It wanted to show us these things. And to a certain extent, it did. But it did it without any heart.
Despite focusing each episode on a single character, Skins never gave its the audience a chance to invest in its characters. It relied too heavily on big, dramatic and over-the-top scenes (like "Shout") to show us the smallest of emotions. Sure, it's slightly interesting to see Stanley look back and forth at the two women he loves as he sings, but it would have been much more effective if it'd happened in a quieter, more intimate setting. Instead, we're presented with an onslaught of melodrama that focuses so much on trying to look cool -- with flashy lights, indie-rock songs and clothes from American Apparel -- that nothing feels genuine. And once that authenticity is lost, there's nothing left but empty characters and an empty plot, and as a result, an empty show.