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October 13, 2015

'Skins' Season 1, Episode 4 Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Feb 8th 2011 10:20AM
Stan and Cadie in MTV Skins['Skins': 'Cadie']

"You can't keep doing whatever you want, you know. Things can't always work out for you." -- Cadie

That has to be the most truthful line in the series to date. Even though Cadie said it specifically to Tony after eavesdropping on his "I know you felt it, too" conversation with Tea, it could have been what many viewers watching the series want to say to the entire cast of characters.

Of course, things aren't really working out for any of them, but that's what all the continued fuss is about, right?

With a few exceptions, these teens don't seem to care about the way they act. And to a certain extent, that's fine, because this is a fictional show about high schoolers who, as Cadie said, do whatever they want almost all of the time.

The one problem with the Cadie episode, is that once again the parents aren't just clueless or checked out, they're downright negligent. If it's OK for the teens to act like debauched rebels or misguided depressives for the sake of authenticity, why do the two sets of parents we met this week have to seem ridiculously unfit? That doesn't ring true at all.

If I'm harping on the parents, it's because their depictions affect the quality of the series. Let's start with Jim, the creepy boyfriend who nearly engages in statutory rape with his girlfriend's daughter's friend. Even Frank on 'Shameless' has the decency to flee the bathroom when his girlfriend's daughter flashes him in the tub. But not this guy, who the writers couldn't be content with making an ogler of the bikini-clad girls, so they turned him into a sleazy jerk. The scenes between him and Cadie (the doe-eyed Britne Oldford) were way more offensive than anything the kids do by -- and to -- themselves.

Cadie's mom and dad were also caricatures of bad parenting. On the plus side, and this was a highlight of the episode, her father was played by Seth Gilliam from 'The Wire.' And 'The Wire' was wonderfully set in Baltimore, which is where 'Skins' supposedly takes place, so that was a treat. For a second I thought maybe she really had killed her father while hunting with him (who takes their heavily medicated daughter hunting?!), but considering her vapid beauty-queen mother wasn't in mourning, we'll go with that being another one of her ploys to extract even more prescriptions from yet another shrink.

Oldford does a decent job with Cadie. She doesn't emote or inflect very much, but that doesn't bother me, since I've met loads of angsty teenage girls who look perpetually bored and talk with a near-monotone. Cadie's sad and lonely, and who can blame her? Her parents are clearly more into each other and preoccupied with their hobbies than they are genuinely interested in her mental health. The guy she's into (Stan) would rather get busy with his hand -- while thinking of his best friend's girlfriend! -- than get together with her. She's only included in the Tony clique because of her access to prescription drugs, and thanks to Tea, she knows it.

But Cadie is much more depressing a character than her U.K. counterpart Cassie, who as played by Hannah Murray was like a pill-popping Luna Lovegood with anorexia. The one line that was Cassie-like in this episode was the one that started the recap, because Cassie was notorious for observing and expressing hard truths. If the American writers could just make Cadie a teeny bit funnier, they'll capture what was lovable -- and not just heartbreaking -- about this character, who's the wild card of the group.

Next week is a Stan episode, and I'm keeping fingers crossed that there's more Cadie-Stan interaction, more Chris and Daisy, more believable parents, and a more charismatic performance by Tony's James Newman, who needs to stop pining over Tea (get over it, she's a lesbian and she doesn't want you!) and start convincing us he's the alpha guy for a reason.

What do you guys think of the series? Which characters do you want to see more of? Any fellow fans of the original sticking it out with this version?

'Skins' airs 10PM Mondays on MTV.

Curious to know which songs were featured in this week's episode? Watch the music recap here:

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