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October 4, 2015

'Skins' Season 1, Episode 6 Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Feb 22nd 2011 10:40AM
Ron Mustafaa as Abbud on Skins['Skins,' 'Abbud']

Just when the show seemed to be on a upswing, this episode proved a disappointment -- part of which stems from how similar the storyline was, but instead of providing you with a more likable, lovesick Abbud (Ron Mustafaa), the snoozy Tony-Tea show (am I the only one who finds them an utter bore together?) took over and managed to eclipse the very character the episode was supposed to explore.

Although Tea (Sofia Black-D'Elia) is the most interesting character of the lot, the fact that she's a gorgeous lesbian and not a hunky gay guy like the UK version's Maxxie changes the character's dynamic with Abbud and Tony far too much for the writers to keep the plot so faithful to the British original.

In the British series, Tony hooks up with Maxxie to be edgy and experiment with his sexual magnetism -- to see if he's as irresistible to Maxxie as he is to all the ladies. So when Maxxie tells him, afterward, that they've finally found something Tony's not good at, it's a stab at Tony and in no way tests Maxxie's sexuality.

It makes me wonder if the producers created Tea because of the charismatic actress, or if they thought a hetero guy fooling around with a gay friend would be too much for American audiences. Unlike Maxxie, Tea is out and proud and kisses girls in front of her friends, so at least there's that.

But getting back to Abbud (but who wants to talk about Abbud when we can discuss Tea?), the relationship between Abbud and Tea is inherently flawed, because he's not-so-secretly in love with her. When he shouts "It's not that you won't sleep with other guys, it's just me ..." at the end, it's painful but predictable (she's hot and the fact that she's a lesbian only makes her more desirable to guys).

Meanwhile, the British Abbud, "Anwar," struggled with Maxxie coming out to him because of his personal, religious beliefs as a Muslim. Again, maybe the writers decided American audiences couldn't handle a semi-observant Muslim (who still parties like a sex-starved, toked up teenager) having a crisis of faith versus friendship over a gay best friend. So what we get is this sad-sack Abbud who is very, very supportive of his beautiful best friend's homosexuality but still harbors a crush on her. The reveal becomes not that she is gay but that she sometimes isn't, or at least tries heterosexuality on with Tony (even though it's awful for her both times).

The Abbud-Tea friendship is therefore much less compelling here than the Anwar-Maxxie relationship. There's not all that much at stake here except for Abbud's feelings, which Tea smooths over quite sweetly at the end, despite being lectured at for not behaving like a proper gay girl. That's not exactly dramatic tension; that's sitcom-level resolution. There's even a comic fall to lighten the mood.

Again, Tea is a fascinating character, so it's not that I think she shouldn't exist. But by changing the character's gender, the writers should not have stuck so closely to the original story arcs (or in this case, a conflation of the first season's class trip abroad and the third season's trippy camping trip). The overarching issue with this episode is also that for an Abbud show, we got to know him least of all the other characters who've had dedicated episodes so far. We still don't know anything about his family life, or what he's like when he's not around the 'Skins' clique. OK, Abbud vs. Anwar/Maxxie vs. Tea tirade over... for this week.

At least the locations didn't have to "pretend" to be Baltimore for once, not that it ever in any way feels like Baltimore when it is pretending to be set there. And the geeky professor was good for a couple of Benny Hill-like physical comedy bits with the nakedness (how are these teachers not immediately fired?), the horrible come-ons to hot-teacher Tina, and the falling flat on his back.

Ultimately this episode felt like the second installment in a trilogy -- necessary but anti-climactic. But despite all of the whining, I'm cautiously optimistic about the 'Michelle' episode. That's the real fallout of this class trip, when (spoiler alert!) Michelle realizes what a cad Tony is and seek comfort in the arms of Stanley. No, I haven't seen it, but the teaser (and the original) give it all away.

'Skins' airs at 10PM Sundays on MTV.

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

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what was the song from the part where the boys ditched to go shroom

March 04 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melissa Kauffman

I agree 100%. I was very disappointed in this episode... And of course after talking skins up to everyone this is the one they finally watched. Needless to say no one agreed with me.

February 24 2011 at 7:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the show def lacks the edginess of the original, but thats probably because british humor, and views on sex, nudity and drugs just cant translate for us audiences to accept.
the original skins was entertaining because it wasnt meant to shock and awe, and thats all we seem to be getting from the us version.
some things just dont translate well, even 'the office' had to be changed drastically and became sitcom rather than edgy humor, but both work in their own way, the original couldnt survive for 3 seasons let alone 7-8-9.
they should completely drift away of the original stories, make some completely new ones and go in a totally different direction for this to work, creating a modified facsimile of the original is pointless and stupid.

February 24 2011 at 3:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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