6.5

Skins Review: "Michelle" (Episode 1.07)

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<em>Skins</em> Review: "Michelle" (Episode 1.07)

Every time it seems like Skins is down for the count, the show manages get up for another round. However, the series is just barely hanging in there. In this week’s episode, Michelle finally realizes what a piece of shit Tony actually is.

Michelle is a pretty smart girl, but unfortunately she is blinded by her feelings for Tony.
After a visit to the gynecologist reveals she has Chlamydia, Michelle discovers what everyone else already knew—Tony has been cheating on her.

The issue of sexually transmitted diseases is new to the Skins franchise, and one that fits in well among other issues the show depicts. Tony not only hurts Michelle emotionally, but he physically makes her sick due to his philandering. He hurts Stanley as well when he confronts Tony about what he’s done. You upset everyone, don’t you?” Betty asks him after her guilt-ridden lover, Tea, runs off following Michelle’s blow up.

This episode was a little more interesting plot-wise because we finally see Tony get what’s coming to him. Slowly, but surely, all of Tony’s friends start to realize how rotten he really is, and that they don’t need him. Unfortunately, Michelle is too busy simultaneously being in love with Tony and hating him that she doesn’t realize her friends are actually on her side. She takes all of her anger out on Daisy who gets the lousy job of delivering the bad news about what a creep Tony is. “That girl Raina,” Daisy says when Michelle asks who Tony has been with, “Double-Jointed Monica, Mandy Overbite, Tracy with Braces, Black Tracy, that rich girl from the choir…”

Feeling betrayed by her friends for not telling her about Tony sooner, Michelle seeks advice from her mother. BAD PARENT ALERT: Michelle’s mom is of absolutely no help. When Michelle tells her about the STD, her mom compares it to the common cold and acts as if it’s no big deal. Michelle explains that the reason she is so hurt is because she loved Tony. “Well that’s a big fat mistake right there,” her mother responds. Her mother says she’s not in love, just overdependent, which to her mother’s credit is probably true. “Don’t let men get to you like that,” she says, but as we can tell, her mother’s way of not letting men get to her is to use them as sex toys. Ultimately, she’s no better than Tony and certainly not fit to be a mother.

By the end of the episode, Michelle finds out about Tony and Tea after a box of Chlamydia meds spills out of Tea’s purse. She finally stands up to Tony, and orders him out of her life (but not before sleeping with him one last time. “We’re STD compatible,” she explains.) As the episode closes, Michelle and Betty leave town on the bus as the two hold hands and Michelle sobs into Betty’s shoulder in the episode’s most touching moment.

While this week’s episode was decent, it still wasn’t one of the series’ best and probably not even as good as the U.K. version’s worst. The show is still staggering, but if it could just use this week’s episode as leverage up to even a slightly above-average finish, it might carry what little interest we have left over to another season. This’s highly unlikely, but not altogether impossible. Good luck, Skins. As much as I should give up, I can’t help but root for you.

Stray Observations:
• I’m still astounded at how little I care for Cadie. In the British version of Skins, I felt sorry for Sid when Cassie found a new man. But this time around, I was rooting for Stan and Michelle to get together.

• The STD aspect of the episode was an element not featured in the original series, and I thought it fit rather well. It’s a realistic possibility in an sexually active lifestyle and an terrible side-effect suffered by sexually under-educated (or naive) teenagers.

• The acting in this series is still fairly atrocious.