A remix of “Lina Magic” by 3D Friends is the US Skins theme song, and it was the Effylant in the room when I watched the pilot with a a good buddy of mine over the weekend. She dropped a catastrophic amount of F-bombs; I’m not even sure she heard the whole thing — but I kind of love it. It’s apt, at least, for the s–tstorm of bitching that has followed US Skins like some kind of Charlie Brown weather lore: “Did I waste too much time? Did you make up your mind?”
A disheveled girl wanders alone on the streets of an “eastern seaboard American city.” Also known as “Toronto.” (It was originally Baltimore, I think; but you can’t have Baltimore without Baltimore.) She’s been out all night partying. Or those jack-offs at Westboro Baptist Church attacked her when they found out she was on a TV show with a lesbian character. Either way, she needs to get into her house without inciting the passions of her maniac father. She’s going to have to wait a minute, though, because her brother’s gotta hop out from under those spider covers (“surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space”) and get his early-morning Tai Chi/peep session on.
His name is Tony, which you’ll find out in exactly three seconds when he counts Eura down to the rocket launch that is their father. He flips on his stereo, amps it up to Ear-Bleedin’, and in 3-2-1, his dad is thundering into his room with steam coming out of his ears like a cartoon character. Like Yosemite Sam over here: “I’m tha’ hootinest, tootinest, shootinest bob-tailed wild cat in the west! I’m tha’ fastest gun west, east, south, aaaand north of Niagara Falls! *bang bang* TONY! TONY! TONY!”
Tony shrugs, like “What are ya gonna do?” And Eura sneaks up to her room. Because it’s a day, Tony decides to push his pops to Rage Level: Nuclear. He locks himself in the bathroom, and climbs out of the window to the kitchen to share a bowl of cereal with his sister, who has tidied up nicely for her school day. I’ll bet she didn’t do her homework, though. This show is so dangerous. Won’t anyone think of the trigonometry?
Pilot episodes are persnickety little bastards, especially when you’re talking about a ten-episode season. (Especially-especially when your entire marketing campaign has promised every MTV-watcher, subway rider, and Times Square passerby piles and piles of naked teenagers and pill-fueled riots.) You can’t dick around with exposition without pushing the narrative forward, and so how are you going to do that?
Call-waiting, of course.
Tony bounces and phones Stanley, first of all. Stanley fell asleep last night in a heap of junk food and porn, most notably a glossy mag called Wank. The first rule of branding? Be specific. Tony leaves a voicemail for Stanley — “Hey, it’s Stanley. I’m probably too bored to speak to you. Or I probably just hate you. So. Leave a message” — telling him to wake up so they can make some plans “concerning his little penis.” Sadly, it’s not as homoerotic as it sounds. It’s the age-old quest for the holy grail, wherein “grail” means “vagina.” (That’s a thing, you know. A literary motif. Men and their search for “chalices.” Makes me bananas.) (Probably could have gone with a less phallic metaphor there.)