US “Skins” recap (1.04): I want to stab you!

WASN’T CADIE SO GOOD? Cadie was the first episode of US Skins that really felt like Skins to me, and because of that, it was the first time I got a little nervous at the prospect of the show getting canceled. Because it could be like this! It could be this good! It could be this Skins-y! It could look like Skins and it could sound like Skins and it could feel like Skins and at the end of the episode we could turn off the telly and feel like better people! Am I right?

I think I’m most surprised because Cassie is my favorite gen one character (and one of my all-time favorite characters ever) and a verbatim remake would have been the worst idea. But the episode was different enough to make it feel fresh and Britne Oldford‘s performance was inspired. She wasn’t channeling Hannah Murray channeling Cassie; she was inhabiting Cadie. The best way I can ever think to describe Cassie is “ethereal” and Cadie is that a little bit, but there’s a different kind of raw darkness happening with her.

Skins, as you know, has a way with parents and mental health care professionals. “Cadie” could be a guide book to Skins‘ whole adult philosophy. In one corner, you’ve got her parents: Her dad is an eccentric artist whom she adores (and maybe also fantasizes about killing), and her mom is a former pageant queen whose number one goal is to cash in on America’s shark bait reality TV mentality before it literally causes society to crumble. (And make no mistake, that day is coming! The apocalypse will be heralded in by the Real Housewives riding astride the steeds of the four horsemen!)

Cadie’s papa loves her, but doesn’t really have much time for her, what with the hunting and crafting and taxidermy. Cadie’s mom doesn’t so much love her or, you know, tolerate her. Her number one priority is Pageant Rematch, and even though Cadie is “a little bit kooky and a little bit flat-chested” she’s hoping she’ll be medicated enough to smile for the camera crew when they arrive. (Spoiler Alert: She won’t!)

In the other corner, you’ve got at least three shrinks treating her for various things that don’t really ping any particular DSM-IV criteria. Cadie’s main thing is her compulsion/revulsion surrounding birds, which: a) Poe feels ya on the terror, girl. [Nevermore! Nevermore!] And b) Frost feels ya on the whole roads/paths/travelers waylaid by indecision thing, girl. [A small bird flew before me. He was careful / To put a tree between us when he lighted / And say no word to tell me who he was.]

Shrink the first responds to Cadie’s deceleration of happiness by saying, “My vagina has the look and feel of turkey jerky.” Shrink the second is happy to prescribe a shit ton of pills in a cacophony of colors because America doesn’t have that cure-all pill called STUN like the UK Skins shrinks do. Also, Oldford’s delivery of “I want to stab you” is the best US Skins moment so far. Shrink the third may know a little something; he suggests that Cadie stop taking drugs: “Everyone is going to disappoint you, Cadie. They won’t mean to, but they will. Drugs won’t change that.” That’s a really Marley-esque thing to say, guy. I like that. (“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”)

And may I just say: I don’t think Stanley is one of the ones worth suffering for. OK, because the other Skins thing is urban families, right? The families we create when our own families are batshit crazy. Unfortunately, Tony is at the head of this table and his brand of arrogance and menace and apathy has just about pushed me over the edge. Stanley invites Cadie to Michelle’s party, promising a date, but really just meaning: Can you bring your drugs? Cadie is so (inexplicably) into him that she’s all over it. At the party, he totally blows her off and then beats off on Michelle’s bed while smoking a joint.

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