Monday, October 13, 2008

Skins, "Tony and Maxxie": Putting down his John Hancock

Spoilers for the start of "Skins" season two coming up just as soon as I dance with a dog...

Now what was that I was saying about the writers not really punishing Tony for all his sins of season one? Um... oops?

While the moment of Tony getting hit by the bus still makes me laugh thinking about it, the start of season two doesn't shy away from the implications of it. Though Tony doesn't have any obvious physical scars, no one would easily bounce back from an injury like that. Seeing Tony laid so low -- struggling to remember faces and names, cringing every time traffic gets too close, barely able to scrawl out his own name -- was such a shocking contrast to the Tony of season one that there wasn't even an opportunity for schadenfreude; I genuinely felt sorry for him.

As for Maxxie, this was a much more interesting showcase than the Russia trip. I'm not much of a dance fan, but Mitch Hewer has some moves; the sequence of Maxxie leaping around the roof of his apartment building was just beautiful to look at, and summed up nicely both the world Maxxie's trying to escape from and the one he's trying to escape to. In some ways, Maxxie seems to have taken up Tony's mantle as the fearless kid who can get away with anything he wants, while not being a bastard about it. The moment where he decided to scrap the morality lesson and just make out with the bully seemed very much the sort of thing Tony would do, and Maxxie in general carried himself with a grace that has as much to do with his confidence as with his dancing skills.

Since it seems the majority of people commenting have already seen the entire series, I'll remind you as usual not to talk about anything from upcoming episodes. I don't care how cleverly you feel you're hiding something; I'm going to delete any comment that so much as alludes to things down the road.

What did everybody else think?


Karen said...

I'm with you 100% on this one--seeing Tony so impaired seemed almost too harsh for his previous sins. His parents seem clearly incapable of dealing with it, as well. Is he even getting therapy?

It was clear from Dale's over-the-top description of gay sex, which made even his mates uncomfortable, that he was deep in the closet. I didn't mind Maxxie succumbing to the moment, though, because I was just so glad I wasn't going to see a gay-bashing incident that would make his hopes to be a dancer moot.

And the Dale-Maxxie conflict opened the door (so to speak) for the meeting of Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances and Manny from Black Books, which was more than worth the price of admission.

My DVR cut off as Tony finished the final "M" of his last name--did I miss anything crucial?

A great and painful episode.

AC said...

Once again, the visuals on this show totally slay me- the scenes in the woods, the rave itself, but mostly the image of Sid on his bed, smoking a joint, while Cassie looms overhead. I appreciated that the show didn't spend too much time playing catch-up, and that little things were revealed about the aftermath of the accident, but not the whole story. I still don't quite understand why Sid can't face Tony. Does he feel like he's done his part, and now it's up to everyone else? Is he too upset that Tony can't remember everything? If Tony couldn't remember Sid, that would be one thing, but I get the impression that he does remember old Sidney.

Also liked the use of Grizzly Bear's "Knife" at the beginning and end, and seeing some parents act like parents. I got the feeling that the Stonems and the Olivers were friendlier, at one time. I can't help but think that it may have taken a few takes to get through the scene with Jal, Chris and Tony running into Anwar without everyone cracking up.

Anonymous said...

one of the things i've really enjoyed on this show in the past two episodes are the parents of the kids. anwar's dad's speech to maxxie last week, and maxxie's dad plea for one more year with the son he loved so dearly this week were both great pieces of writing and acting. i even liked tony's parents this week, especially tony's mom breaking out the dirty joke.

it is for scenes like those that i watch the show, and which allow me to forgive some of the more ridiculous or forced things, like sid magically finding michelle distraught outside and tony appearing behind them, having heard their whole conversation,

Anonymous said...

As much as I like to criticze BBC America for not having the original soundtrack, I'm glad the mid-show "It's gotta get bad before it gets good" song was retained.

What really impressed me about this episode is Nicholas Hoult's acting range. I mean, look at his face? It's just so different from the confident Tony.

Anyways, next week's episode is a great one. Alan, can't wait to read your reaction to it.

Nicole said...

I think it benefits the series to watch it all at once and not break between season one and two because Tony really does suffer from being hit by the truck. A usual teen show would have had him completely recovered by the end of this episode so he could back to the way before. The reactions of the others to Tony's injury is unfortunately all too real. Although this second season takes a more somber tone, I actually like it more.

Corvus Imbrifer said...

We missed some bits, I think. I came across the hyperventilating promo for Season Two on YouTube (with Anwar in porn mode, Michelle as Magenta, and shirtless Maxxie dancing in the rain while the mirror crack'd from side to side) and with it were clips of Sid reading to Tony in the hospital, tape machines playing messages from Chris, etc. Were there web episodes?

Meanwhile. This outing had the parents not being cartoon buffoons (from the PoV of the young folk), but really lovely people. The Dads were so terrific in their own ways. Though I keep being startled by the hiccuping bits: the fact that Tony could wander off and Maxxie, who could be forgiven being distracted momentarily by his attack and then shag, never returned to the search. Effy just vanished from the stage; did she just give up and go home? And the keyhole peeping business was just bizarre.

Minor quibbles, however. Hewer at last being let off the leash to move forgives quite a bit of plot contrivance.

'He baked you a Cake of Remorse.' A new classic.

Anonymous said...

"We missed some bits, I think."

No, the episode aired nearly as it did in Britain, except for the profanity, music, etc.

The problem is that the original British version came with a LOT of Web extra video, which BBC America isn't promoting.

Each Skins episode is accompanied by an "Unseen Skins" episode that you can find on YouTube.

Before Season 2 aired, there was also a series of Skins "Lost Episodes" posted on YouTube, and a "Secret Party Special."

Though they aren't essential for following the story -- I'm not a big fan of them myself -- I'll link to them below.

(Don't search for these on YouTube, because you might come across spoilers.)

Skins Secret Party Special (10 minutes, aired between Seasons 1 and 2)

Season 2 promo (set to Radiohead):

Unseen Skins for Season 2, Episode 1:

And here are Skins, the Lost Weeks, from Episodes 1 through 10:

Anonymous said...

Oops, to clarify: The Lost Episodes linked above aired as a bunch before Season 2 began.

They DON'T correspond to any episodes from Season 2.

Corvus Imbrifer said...

Aha! I knew there must be something extra. Not vital, perhaps, to the episode itself, but contributory.

Though the circumstances of who visited and who didn't seems like something that wants addressing. What brought about the swap of the vigilant Sid for the devoted Maxxie? But perhaps that is what we're exploring in future episodes.

Welcome to the world of multiplatform media. One wants to be fully informed. (How could they deny us that surreal promo! With Mitch Hewer! Dancing! Wet! Dancing!)

Thanks for the index, you excellent nony mouse you!

Anonymous said...

Thats funny, watching it in the original UK context I didnt think I was missing anything - although perhaps i'm not as observant as you corvus. I never watched any of the online content but was aware of it existing - its part of channel 4's increasing reaching out to its youth audience that I find really interesting.

I do think all the stuff with 'new' Tony is brilliant, and NH really sells it, and I like the fear and awkwardness of dealing with a 'damaged' friend. I think all of the changes that happen between seasons will come to light later. There is some really excellent stuff in S2, i just dont like some character progressions, i'm very interested to hear everyone else's responses when it all plays out

floretbroccoli said...

Not reviewing Skins any more?

Corvus Imbrifer said...

That would be a great pity, particularly as this latest episode was a real piece of work. Talk about 'subverting the trope.' And a couple of indelible visual images that will be with me for some time. As the young people might say: "Like woah."

Jules said...

Alan -- any chance of picking this up again?