Skins Recap: “Cadie”

Cadie gets her turn this week and I honestly can’t tell you whether I really liked this episode or thought it pandered too much. Maybe I’ll decide by the end of this recap.

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.

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Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses. http://thatgirlcrystal.com

2 thoughts on “Skins Recap: “Cadie””

  1. I personally feel US Skins is far too derivative and simplistic- much more so than the original.

    I liked how Cassie’s eating disorder and issues were portrayed in the original, though people may disagree- but here, the idea that teens develop these problems only or mainly because their parents are complete monsters, or some other really pat explanation, makes me uncomfortable. It’s just a rather cheap hook on which to hang a story, especially a story of a troubled teenager.

    1. “the idea that teens develop these problems only or mainly because their parents are complete monsters, or some other really pat explanation, makes me uncomfortable.”

      I think that’s exactly what left me feeling unsure about this episode. Cassie’s ED very clearly isn’t about anyone other than Cassie (best shown by the scene where she shows Sid exactly how she manages to make it through a meal without people noticing she doesn’t eat). And yes, parents that shoot down your self-esteem can factor into a lot of mental health issues (I have lasting self-worth issues from an emotionally abuse caretaker myself), but it’s really diminishing the problems to heft the blame solely onto one external factor or another.

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