Skins: The British O.C.

Skins Cast PartyFirst off…the title of this post is sort of a misnomer. This show is only like the O.C. in that its main focus is on a group of teenage friends. Also, they get into a lot of trouble. The comparisons pretty much end there. Hell…if anything (as is somewhat apparent from the picture on the left there) this show is the O.C. done for HBO or Showtime. Nudity, swearing, underage everything is available in spades. In other words…Skins is real-life…or as close as real life you can get while still having an interesting show.

I want this post to serve as a introduction to the series so I’ll be running through each of the characters and identifying their traits. If luck holds out this post will be up while there is still one episode of the first series to go (or ‘season’ 1) and people will catch up on the series on DVD or through torrents…whatever. So, let’s start off with the character that the show used as an entry point for the audience: Tony.

Ok, for those of you wondering where you’ve seen this guy before. He’s the kid from About a Boy. It’s Nicholas Hoult all grown up folks. He plays the alleged ‘lead’ of the series. The way Skins works is that each episode looks at the ongoing storylines through the eyes of one of the people in the group of friends. The first episode was ‘Tony’ and we got to see how he spends his day and learn some things that have great bearing on things that happen later on. Anyway, Tony is your average know-it-all who thinks he’s God’s gift to everyone. He’s bored with his life and to spice it up he uses his friends like playthings and tries to manipulate them (to varying degrees of success). He looks down on his best friend, Sid, but at the same time seems to be genuinely fond of him. He loves his sister and considers her to be almost as smart he considers himself. He hates the mediocrity of his father and screws with his head every chance he gets. And he likes to experiment…

Basically, Tony is an asshole and I know very few people who actually like the character. Some feel sorry for him…some feel that he’s misrepresented. But pretty much everyone agrees that if this how has a villain, then he’s it. The only one who appear to be immune to his charms are Jal and Cassie…

Cassie

Played by Hannah Murray, Cassie is probably my favourite character of the series. Her spotlight was in the second episode. She is this anorexic girl who feels that fainting from hunger is the only way to get attention from the people around her. Her parents don’t help and seem to reinforce this notion. They’re too busy with the new baby, and a ‘healthy’ (read: over-the-top insane!) sex life. She discovers that Sid, being the perennial underdog, appears to care about her. She develops a fixation with him despite knowing that he’s completely in love with Michelle, Tony’s on-off girlfriend.

Murray is one of the best actors on this show. She plays the ditzy, yet incredibly sweet character of Cassie with more heart and care than anyone else. She manages to make you feel sorry for Cassie while at the same time making you hate anyone who doesn’t appear to understand her (read: infuriatingly slow Sid) When Sid breaks a date with her to go out with Michelle, she takes pills and has to have her stomach pumped. It’s then that we discover that the only one who keeps up with her is Jal…

Jal

Jal, portrayed by Larissa Wilson, is, I feel, the character we probably know the least about. Even though she has had her own episode, I think it was used more for resolving the issues Sid had with a drug-dealer than resolving anything involving her. Jal is the daughter of a once-famous hip-hop singer. This may seem…strange…since we’ve had no inclintation that she has access to any kind of money in the previous 2 episodes, but ok. She has two brothers who are aspiring to be rappers…and she apparently looks like the mother who either died or left (it isn’t exactly made clear). Either way…Jal is probably the most boring  character but definitely one with the most potential. She is also the den-mother of the group…the responsible one…especially when it comes to Chris…

Chris

Chris, or Joseph Dempsie, is the resident crazy. He’s the guy who’s obsessed about getting into the world records. The guy who has a crush on his psychology teacher. The guy who is drugged out of his mind. The guy, in other words, who you would love to hang out with at a party, but would definitely not want to be watching your back if you were in trouble. Chris’ story is pretty touching in that he is apparently the result of a broken home which, it is implied, broke apart once his older brother died (of causes unknown at the moment). His father has a new family and wants nothing to do with him and his mother is just gone. Interesting possibilities for this character but the cliche teacher-student affair situation does turn me off. Cool character, but not as cool as Sid…

Sid

Probably my second-favourite character in the entire series by virtue of his presence in Cassie’s life alone. Also…I kind of identify with him (thank God I’m not that pathetic…but I’m plenty pathetic and I can see myself in certain things he does). The chronic masturbator, the guy who’s in love with his best friend’s girlfriend, the guy who is everybody’s buddy but is ignored by almost all. Sid is awesome. Brought to life by Mike Bailey, Sid is just fun to watch. Also, he has some of the best one-liners ever. I especially love his interaction with Maxxie…

Maxxie

The obligatory gay friend that is vital to any group of friends in this day and age. Maxxie is very underutilised so I really can’t say much about him beyond how sad it is the way his story progresses in reference to Anwar. I find Anwar’s take on the issue a bit weird and more than a little extremist, but that’s beside the point. Maxxie is the guy who thinks its fun to take his straight friends out for a “Big Gay Night Out” and expects them to enjoy it just as much as he does. He is…or was…the best friend of Anwar…

Anwar

The most stereotypical character in the series I think. A Muslim who had strayed and is trying to find his way back. He thinks it’s sad how so many people are disappointed that he’s not a terrorist. Another character who we know very little about…and well I just don’t the character.

Michelle

Finally, we have Michelle. Tony’s girlfriend who is willing to forgive him almost  any transgression. (The gay experimentation was a bit much I thought) She’s the ‘hot’ chick. The one everyone is dying to be with. The object of Sid’s lust until she actually is in his arms. She is the one that all of them want to be with. And she loves Tony. And she knows it can’t be helped.

There are of course other characters in the series but none of them are really part of the ‘group’ and are not really important to the functioning of the series I think. There’s the ‘mute’ sister (Effy), there’s the girl who doesn’t care about cheating (Abigail), there’s her brother who is also somewhat mental (Josh), and there’s the tool Cassie uses to make Sid jealous (Simon). Overall good series…and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

SOUNDTRACK: Every Little Thing by Dishwalla, Flesh and Bone by Brendan Benson

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2 responses to “Skins: The British O.C.

  1. It was cool of you to do this but I think that it was unfair, unbalanced and too opinionated. If someone hadn’t seen the series they wouldn’t get a fair idea of the characters. For instance, Jal is not boring, Tony can be nice and Anwar isn’t trying to crawl his way back into being a good Muslim.
    Skins is awesome 🙂

    Thank yoooou

  2. True…but you have to understand that this was based on Season 1 only. I plan on posting a second bit on the second series with the relevant character arcs noted. I just haven’t had time to update the blog in a while because of my job…Just give me some time. Hopefully I’ll be able to provide a further look into the show. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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