Cadie has Issues and this episode makes it pretty easy to see why. She’s got a dad that would rather kill and stuff forest animals than spend time with her, a former pageant queen mother who shoots her self-esteem down with every word and 3 psychiatrists trying to help her, but not really listening. Psychiatrist #1 is skeptical when Cadie says she might be happy, telling her that this won’t work if she isn’t honest. We’ll get to Cadie’s mom in a sec… the kid-centric plot kicks in when Stan calls Cadie to ask her to come to a party at Michelle’s. Thinking this is the date that she requested, Cadie agrees to come. Prompted by Abud, Stan ask Cadie to bring some of her pills. At the urging of Psychiatrist #3, Cadie chooses not to take any of the drugs she brings to the party. She wanders around the party looking for Stan, who is overcome with his obsession with Michelle, even masturbating on her bed. When Tea lets slip that Stan only invited her for her drugs, Cadie decides to try sleeping with Michelle’s mom’s creepy boyfriend. Unsurprisingly, this grabs Stan’s attention and he interrupts, revealing “You always just lose it! And I care when you lose it!” She runs off and at home, takes her pills again.
Now, Cadie’s mom… I think Cadie’s mom speaks for herself, so here’s a selection of her choice lines:
“It’s beginning to look like a madhouse in here.”
Wanting Cadie to be as “good, happy and stable as possible” for meeting some tv executives and suggests maybe taking some extra medication for it.
“You should really cover up tomorrow.”
“Smile like you’re pretty.” (Not said ironically.)
“Aw, you spoke to me, that’s so nice.”
“Cadie don’t be batty, emotions aren’t real.”
“Put this on for the television people; it’ll help with the breasts.”
“Look at you… you look terrible. This is the one thing I ask of you… what did I tell you about staying on your meds?”
“For god’s sake, Cadie, take your medication. NOW! And don’t even think about coming down unless you are stable.”
This in addition to cutting Cadie off everytime she tries to talk about herself, making comments about her looks behind her back and constantly comparing her figure to her daughter’s in a way judgmental on Cadie.
In the UK series, Cadie’s counterpart, Cassie, has one main clearly defined issue – anorexia. She has parents who, though they don’t listen to her, do seem to love and support her. Cadie’s story seems to be almost a photo-negative to Cassie. Her psychiatrists diagnose her with anxiety, depression, and ocd, it’s implied (in the first episode) that she’s previously attempted suicide and we see her exhibiting signs of attention-seeking behavior and maybe pathological lying. The deepest issue is the one thing that’s only briefly mentioned by one of the psychiatrists: low self-worth. No one around Cadie will listen to her, her friends all know she has “issues” and when people do compliment her (Creepy Jimmy), it’s with an ulterior motive.
I don’t know what we’re supposed to take away from this episode, though. We’re shown a girl who’s treated like an ugly nuisance by her family and we’re supposed to… what? Maybe that question is the crux of why Skins doesn’t seem to be catching on with an MTV audience. Rather than guiding the viewer to some feelings on the subject, Skins is almost presented like a documentary would be. We don’t genuinely care for these characters yet, so we don’t know how to feel when they struggle.