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October 7, 2015

'Skins' Season 1, Episode 5 Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Feb 15th 2011 11:35AM
Daniel Flaherty as Stanley on Skins['Skins': 'Stanley']

This episode was more of a test than the others, because Sid -- the British version on which Stanley is based -- is widely considered the beloved underdog of the series. He's the insecure, vulnerable, genuinely sweet yang to Tony's cocky, seemingly untouchable, manipulative yin. So this episode of the MTV series just had to click, and upon second viewing, it actually did its job.

Daniel Flaherty plays Stanley well, all hunched shoulders and hiding behind that fringe of floppy hair that's too long to be trendy.

Of course, the American "Sid" doesn't have a soft build, but he overcompensates for being secretly fit with his slouch and general self-doubt, which he depicts even more believably than James Newman portrays Tony's arrogant edginess. What's secretly lovable about Stanley (and Sid), is that he's obvious. Everyone knows he fancies Michelle, likes to party, isn't really "banging" Cadie, because Stan is way too earnest to lie properly or even well (look at all that sweat when confronting his dad!).

This episode reminds viewers that, yes, Stan exists outside of Tony (the way Stan brushed by Tony on his way to school at the end of the drama is more telling than any shouty, expletive-filled confrontation) and that Tony needs Stan more than he lets on. Stan, unlike Tony, has a conscience. He knows it's wrong to crush on Michelle, whereas Tony doesn't think twice about "offering" Michelle to a smitten Stan as a gift, only to reclaim her the next day at the party.

For the first time since the Tea episode, the parent-kid relationship was top-notch. There's more to Stan's dad than the barking and cluelessness, and there's obviously more to Stan's mom than being a cheerful, loving stay-at-home mom. The conversation between Stan and his dad, both in the kitchen and later in the garage, was a high-point of the night, especially when they start riffing on everything the excuse letter to the teacher could say.

The low-point of all of this drama is the Michelle character, who is prettier but much less clever or worthy of Stan's affections in this version than in the U.K. edition. She doesn't have much to offer, and the other three girls are far more fascinating -- both because of her performance and the writing, which doesn't make her quite as desirable (other than her looks) in this one.

Random character observations:
• Love the tiny snippet when Daisy and Tea visit Stan. Daisy's always the sole sensible voice of "reason" (just like her British predecessor, Jal) and Tea continues to be, in many ways, more of the glue that keeps these friends together than Tony and his machinations. Can't wait for Daisy's dedicated episode, especially if her family is anything like Jal's mini-celebrity dad and brothers.

• Tony's continued drooling over Tea is starting to wear thin. In the original, Tony hooks up with Maxxie once, is awful at it, and then gets over it by the end of the episode, even though it has consequences. But this ongoing pining is just in bad taste, especially since Tea seems secure in her lesbianism. Not that teenagers aren't fluid with their sexuality, as this series makes obvious, but Tony's insistence there's more there is all about him.

• Cadie's mom wasn't such a shallow nothing this episode. Her brief conversation with Stanley showed at least a semblance of depth.

Memorable lines:
"You don't, I don't know, get off on stitching small animals together, do you?" -- Stan's dad to Stan

"You don't reward him for s--t he's supposed to do. Why not reward him for pissing in the toilet and not in the fridge?" -- Stan's dad to Stan's mom

"Is this dress too slutty for a private school?" -- Michelle

"Why don't you drive her home and comfort her? ... I'm giving you a gift, go open it." -- Tony to Stan

"Michelle would never, ever blow a horse!" -- Stan to Tabitha

"It's not illegal to drive a sh*tty car." -- Tony to Stan

"Chris planned it for you. Drug-fueled benders are his way of expressing his feelings." --Tea to Stan

Next week is Abbud's episode, which should be interesting, since, as we know, his dynamic with Tea is charged with a sexual curiosity that was completely lacking between the original Maxxie and Anwar.

'Skins' airs on Mondays at 10PM on MTV.

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

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Jon Carpenter

I thought this episode was pretty well done for the most part. I still can't get over how abusive Tony is to Stan and Michelle in this version. It might have something to do with the guy who plays Tony but he just comes off as the biggest *********. I really liked the scene with Daisy, Tea, and Stan. They seem like the sanest members of the group. This series really needs to go off on a tangent from the original though. Hopefully Abbud's will be fairly different.

February 15 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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