Thursday 23 September 2010

Skins Unseen & Video Diaries

I’ve neglected to include the Season One online content while I wrote about the episodes, although the additional content has always been relevant for the plot and the character progression (the best example is Pandora’s Unseen in season 4, which made up for the lack of an own episode).

There was also a “secret” tenth episode that featured a secret party in an old mansion in the woods – the band playing is Foals (they also provided “Spanish Sahara” for the s4 finale episode trailer).

You can find the Unseen for s1 here:

101 – I Mostly Do (Cassie and Michelle)

One of my concerns about s1 is the lack of friendship scenes for the female characters. The little bits and pieces we get of Jal and Michelle are wonderful, but they don’t get even remotely as much screentime as Sid and Tony do. This Unseen covers Michelle convincing Cassie to come to Tony’s party. They steal a tuxedo and a wedding dress from a bridal shop and run off to a church. It’s lovely.

“That’s one of my new me resolutions: Nasty people don’t count”
Michelle: “I love you, you know?”
Cassie: “Yeah. I mostly do.”
It’s interesting to see them before Sid became a concern.

102 – Career’s Advice (Chris, Jal, Sid and Josie)

Oh, I hope they bring Josie back for the third generation.
“Do you think the title renaissance man sounds a bit wanky?”
This is of course terribly tragic considering what happened to Chris, but I always loved their chemistry because Josie actually bothers to listen to Chris’ wacky ideas and turn them into something useful.

It’s also interesting to have Jal go on right afterwards and have everything figured out already, the exact opposite of Chris. She is, of course, completely unenthusiastic about becoming a musician.

“Landfill waste consultant”. Which is Sid’s dad job, and plays in well with the idea that Mark and he aren’t that different.

103 - Shoot ‘Em Up Bang Bang Props to the Hood (Jal’s Brothers)
It has subtitles, which is what I would have needed for the cinematic masterpiece “Shank”. “The coffee’s gotta learn to speak milk” (We simply must try to speak correct English).

104 – A Friend in Need (Everyone)

Cassie and Michelle and Maxxie talk boys out of their clothes to help naked Chris

105 - The Careers Office, Part II (Josie and Anwar, Tony, Michelle)

Josie considers a career change after Sid helped her. Anwar is a ninja. Tony can be whatever you want, which is what I was told and that didn’t turn out so well. By the point that Michelle enters the office, Josie is under the desk hiding (a “Skins”-tradition of sorts that always reminds me of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”, dark crawl-space and all that). Josie is the first one to tell her that she might be able to go to University because she has language skills.
“Yeah, I’m quite comfortable actually. It’s cosy in here. It’s a bit like a shell.”
106 – To Russia with Love (the boys and a porn star)

Chris is a fish. The boys try to raise money so Chris can go to Russia.  “Has anybody told you shagging a porn store doesn’t count.”

107 – The Cat and the Duck

Malcolm’s weird statues make a return, only to be trashed by Michelle. Jal fails to cheer her up, but alcohol helps. Then they figure out which of the ridiculous animals are their friends.

109 - Bye

Cassie: “I love this town. When I look at it, it’s like it’s always the first time. Or the last.”
Cassie: “Do you know, if you think about something really hard it appears?” (which is of course exactly what Cassie does in “Effy”).

“The Lost Weeks”, which span the time of the hiatus, are here:


Effy tends to be this elusive creature, even after becoming a main cast member in season three, and it’s interesting how the little fragments of her in the bonus material reveal a little bit more about her character. In general I think that the Unseens and the Lost Weeks serve her best because they fit in with her character – you will never completely understand her, and the only thing you’ll ever get from her are these glimpses. Glimpses of how important Panda’s friendship is, of her relationship with Tony, of her desire to find the person again that she thinks is yet untouched by her mental illness (in the haunting s4 Unseen where she runs after herself as a child). This “Unseen” is set after Tony’s accident, and she walks through his room, picking up the things in there, remembering him.
“To be absent. Away. Elsewhere. To no longer be existent in somebody’s life. Or to live on, through memory. If your essence remains.”
I think it’s incredible how well this episode captures the strange sense of chasing a ghost when a loved one is a coma. The room becomes a museum. Every piece of writing turns into a memory, since you’re never quite sure whether the person who wakes up will still be the same. It’s a different feeling from actually losing someone, from dealing with death. There is no certainty.
She is packing a bag for Tony, and then she wears his shirt because that’s the only way to hold on to him. She’ll do the same with Freddie’s pullover after her breakdown, and Karen will wear his shirt after he’s truly gone. It’s easy to forget how much she’s been through.

Christmas Special

Every. Single. Time. Posh talks proper English. It cracks me up to no end. I am way too easily entertained.
(this is actually about Anwar and Chris, because the former’s family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and the latter doesn’t have one). The essential message is: “Family’s come in all shape and sizes”.
I have a complaint. Why didn’t we get a Christmas Special for the second gen? I want to know how Gina Campbell doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I want to see James Fitch being terribly inappropriate. Also, can you imagine something sadder than Pandora’s mum on Christmas Eve? I didn’t think so.


One of the most remarkable things the second season of “Skins” achieves is portray how differently people handle Tony’s accident. Sid stays with him but is overwhelmed once he actually does wake up. Michelle retreats completely, unable to cope. Her “Lost Week” is only a very short scene without dialogue: she is wearing funeral clothes and putting on make-up, and then breaks down. I guess “Skins” was manipulating the viewers a bit there too, since we didn’t know whether Tony was still alive or not (same goes for the very first scene of the second season in the church).

Sid’s Message to Tony

 This is the first time that we see what happened to Ton.y. He is in a hospital, connected to all these machines, in a coma. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through this how it feels to visit someone in a coma, how you learn to read the numbers on the machines and tell yourself that things are getting better, how you just grasp every little straw and convince yourself that there is an improvement. Sid has recorded a tape for him, telling him about Cassie, and it’s incredible endearing to see someone who is usually so bad at finding the right words trying so hard.

Cassie hearts Sid

Cassie’s message is from Scotland. She tells a random story about a man she sees everyday.

Posh Kenneth

Posh loves Jal, Posh loves Jal, Posh loves Jal.

Sid reads “Anna Karenina” to Tony by his hospital bed. The Tolstoy-quote of course also applies to “Skins”: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”


Anwar, meet JJ. You’ll have a lot to talk about.

Messages to Tony
I guess it’s kind of surprising that Sid is the one dealing with this well, while everybody else doesn’t really know what to do. Sid is trying. Chris and Anwar, if anything, are moving on. And then – Tony wakes up.


We find out that Angie is travelling in Bavaria, and Chris way of expressing that he misses her is… unique.

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