‘Skins’ Is Giving Everyone The Clap

Rachel Thevenard as Michelle on MTV's "Skins."

This show is really going to be the death of me.

Last week’s episode bothered me so much that I was practically hoping for MTV to cancel Skins. This week’s episode was the strongest the show has ever been. Skins, what do you want from me? I just ask you to be consistent.

For all my whining about inconsistency, bad acting, and boredom in previous weeks, this episode was wildly better than its predecessors. Until this point, I have hated Michelle as a character because she has been one-dimensional in the worst way. She was a girl who accepted a boy who treated her like crap as a god. Getting lost in a relationship is one thing–getting lost in a relationship that is actively hurting your life makes an audience feel like the character is just stupid and desperate.

It turns out Michelle is not stupid. Pretty girls pretending to be stupid to get boys to like them is not a new concept, but it works on Michelle. Here I thought Tea was the one with brains on this show, but it turns out Michelle has them too. She has been a static character for so long that finally seeing her in action was refreshing.

Her relationship with her Mom is a nice break from the normal too–her mother honestly thinks she is setting a good example for her daughter. She is not desperate for men (her greatest fear for herself and her daughter), just wildly promiscuous. Michelle tries to balance the two most influential forces in her life–Tony and her mom–to no effect because they can’t see her. The only one who does see her is Stanley, and maybe now she’s realizing that’s what matters to her.

Her episode ends with her breaking down on a Chinatown bus. She cries on the shoulder of a girl she barely knows, faced with the reality that everyone in her life sees her as someone she isn’t and didn’t have the decency to do the right thing for her. What she does next has the potential to turn her life around. It is just a question of whether or not she actually has the strength to step away from what she knows.

To think, if she had just shown her smarts from the beginning, maybe Tony would have found the challenge in her that he sought from Tea.


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