Skins series 5 episode 2 review

Skins finds its funnybone, as the new direction the show's taking with its current series continues to pay off...

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Stood at a party, filled with people we don’t know nor will ever see again, feeling out of place as we sip from a warm can of beer on our own, wishing we could either get lucky, or at the very least, change the awful music. Metalhead Rich has the right idea. Plug in the iPod and unleash some Slayer!

Our long haired hero has only one direction in life, the path of true metal! Although no self-respecting metalhead should ever wear a Trivium t-shirt like he did in the first episode. If it ain’t loud and angry, then Richard doesn’t want to know. He’s so hardcore, he wakes up to Bodies by Drowning Pool every morning before he goes through his brutal routine of moisturising. It’s not easy being such a rebel in the suburbs y’know.

His long suffering companion, Alo, is fed up of Rich’s ‘no compromises’ attitude getting in the way of him popping his cherry. So, he issues a challenge to Rich to walk up to the beautiful ‘Angel of Death’ who stalks the library and ask her out to the Napalm Death gig he’s got tickets for. Richard naturally fluffs it. Epic fail.

Help, however, comes from the unlikely source of Mini’s BFF, Grace, who offers to tutor Rich in talking to girls in whole sentences. But is there something more between them?

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If there’s one thing that Skins never managed to get right before, it was the comedic tone. Previously, broad moments of comedy would stick out amongst the angst and make you wonder if you were even watching the same episode, never mind series. This episode, though, pitches the tone as a slightly whimsical The Inbetweeners and is laugh out loud funny.

Alexander Arnold, the easiest initials ever to enter on a high score table, portrays Rich’s facade of detached aloofness well. The rest of the episode is crammed with great little details, such as his middleclass lifestyle and music snobbery.

This episode also has the honour of having the one, and only ever, mention of Godflesh in a teen drama series. It’s ok. You can go off and google them now. Come back when you’re done!

If last week’s opener was Mean Girls starring La Roux, then this week is Pretty In Pink with Ozzy Osbourne. When Rich is rejected by his ‘Angel of Death’, only then does he start to realise what he has in Grace. As she says, “Opposites attract.” “That’s magnets. We’re people,” Rich responds.

If you’re well versed in teen movies, then this is all pretty predictable stuff, really. But when it’s this enjoyable, it doesn’t matter. It’s also not every day you hear lines like, “Like Cilla Black, but with a dick” either. This is undemanding stuff, but it’s fun, it’s believable and it’s actually sweet. Something I thought I’d never say about Skins.

Read our review of the series opener here.

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