Ladies and ladies! Girls and girls! Today I am going to attempt a trick that has never been done before! I am going to write a television recap with both hands tied behind my back! Yes, folks, in the middle of this three-ring circus known as US Skins, I will choose neither side of the unwinnable argument that is exploding all around me! Fizz! Bang! Pop! Watch in wonder as I type with my nose and try to appease every person on the queer sexuality spectrum! Unimpressed? Then stick around after the show and see me get bludgeoned to death in the comments!
(If this were a real circus, I’d also buy you a snow cone and one of those light-up swords to wave around in the dark.)
I think it’s safe to say that I am PhD-levels of well-versed in the Skins controversy surrounding Tea Marvelli. I’ve read every comment, every PM, every email and every #TeaGate Tweet that has come my way. I have listened and I have pondered and I have researched and I have chatted and I have interviewed and I have pondered some more and more and more, and I’m going to keep doing all of those things because I refuse to land on a conclusion until the season is over. But you know what’s cool? Abbud voiced a lot of people’s frustration last night when he screamed at Tea, “What don’t you get about being a lesbian?” And Tea voiced a lot of other people’s frustration when she sadly replied, “Aren’t I allowed to be confused?”
I will say that MTV didn’t help its case when the first words out of a dude’s mouth during the first commercial break last night were, “I like girls. So I like girls who sleep with girls.” Gross, bro.
These original episodes are so much better than the adaptations. They look more Skins-y and they sound more Skins-y and they feel more Skins-y, and I don’t know all the lines of dialogue by heart so I don’t get pulled out of the story every five seconds thinking about how much better Nicholas Hoult said it, and how American slang really is wanting. This week, the gang is headed for a school camping trip in Canada — because they’ve never watched UK Skins and so they don’t know how one or all of them are going to be murdered in the woods.
At the border, Stanley has the brilliant idea to stick the gang’s drugs up his ass so he can get them through customs. But no one’s really interested in Stanley, per the usual. Betty is interested in Tea. Abbud is interested in Tea. Tony is interested in Tea. Michelle is interested in Tony. Who really knows what Daisy is interested in; we hardly know her. And I think it’s safe to say that Tea is also interested in Tea. (I can’t blame her; she’s easily the most engaging character on this show, in large part because Sofia Black D’Elia is the best actress on this show.)
One thing I really, really liked about this episode is seeing Tea outside of the whole gay thing. She has a magnetic personality, a magical laugh; she’s an artist. It makes sense that everyone is drawn to/in love with her. Abbud gets a full-on erection on the bus just chatting her up, and she plays it off with a laugh.
Tea chats up Betty at camp and the camera watches them through the camp fire, and so does Tony. (Tony, the symbolism police called. They watched this scene and then your scene with Tea in the cold, dark cabin. They just wanted me to let you know you’re the inevitable loser in this game.) There are some standard high school camping trip shenanigans: Dave hits a moose with the bus then falls from an obstacle course 40 stories high; Michelle and Daisy happen upon some gay woodsmen who offer them drugs; Chris hooks up with his teacher; Abbud tries to kiss Tea, but she tells him she wasn’t programmed that way; the boys make out with a frog to try to get high; and naked teenage Tony can’t get it up for his naked teenage girlfriend because of his obsession with Tea. (More unrealistic than the impending chainsaw massacre, that.)
After their fireside chat, Betty tracks down Tea in her tent, and even though Tea is so obviously into her, she won’t let Betty kiss her because she doesn’t “do relationships.” Betty’s like, “Yeah, I don’t get you.” And Tea’s like, “Good ’cause that’s what all these smokescreens are about.” And Betty leaves, kind of pissed and kind of dejected. I mean, you follow a girl to another country, you hope there’s more than Stanley’s ass-drugs to keep you company.
Abbud goes out for a midnight stroll and finds himself in the back of a pickup truck with a bloody animal carcass. And it disgusts him a helluva a lot less than the next thing he stumbles upon, which is Tea and Tony naked in a cabin. He’s like, “But you wouldn’t be with me because you’re …” And she’s like, “Please go.” And he runs screaming from the cabin feeling maybe as nauseous Betty/Tea shippers, but probably not. Awesomely, though, Tony goes, “Was it better for you this time?” And Tea goes, “NO!” 0 for 2, champ. Time to pack it up. But don’t worry; you’ve got plenty of stuff to keep you occupied. You haven’t thought about Stanley’s virginity in — what? 15 minutes?
Tea finds Abbud and he is shaking with rage and confusion and insecurity. Tea explains that she slept with Tony for a lot of reasons: She’s scared of committing to a girl, she’s confused because Tony plays so well off of her, she heard one time that a story without conflict is not a story, etc. Abbud rails at her about, “What don’t you understand about being a lesbian?!” And she’s like, “Aren’t I allowed to be confused?” Neither of them are wrong. That’s what I know. Neither of them are wrong. They can both be hurt and confused and angry and scared, and they can both be right.
Abbud falls the same fall that Dave fell in the beginning of the episode.
As he’s getting backboarded to go to the hospital, Tea kisses him on the forehead and tells him she loves him. And Stanley, for his part, finally gets the drugs out of his bum.
Next week: Michelle is going nutso-bananas!
Save the hate, spread the love. (Or at least the civil discourse.) And have some circus cotton candy on me.