Archive for the ‘Ficus Reviews’ Category

The spawn of Monty Burns and ET?

Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes now. Geez, that was bad. This was a series which felt as if it had only just begun. It was fall of undefined characters and undeveloped relationships and Franky. Oh Franky, ‘don’t label me’ Franky. The post-label, post-sexual, post-gender, pre-human Franky. It’s as if the writers remembered the joy of having an enigmatic and ambiguous talent in ‘Effy’ and decided to replicate her…but something went horribly wrong…and Franky was born!

There were a couple of standout episodes, although looking back now I like Rich’s episode less and less. Nick was the most interesting character, he underwent serious transformation and I imagine next season we’ll see him rise like a phoenix from the ashes of his former skin.

But overall it was all too familiar, all too ‘Skins-Lite’. There was too much melodrama (ficus-off wedding). The characters just seemed to hover on the edge of oblivion. Sure, previous Skins generations did a lot of drugs. But it was interspersed with meaningful connections…and…and…JJ.

Moreover, the humour at the start of the series quickly dissipated. Usually this doesn’t occur until the second series of each generation. This doesn’t bode well.

In conclusion,  the acting was fairly ordinary, the characters were deformed clones, the stories stale and seemingly inconsequential.

Skins may be dead friends.

But hey, it’s still better than the American travesty, right?

And the Brits still have Misfits.

Until next time

Keep watching your screens

A Misanthropic Ficus

 



My owners have seen fit to move me over to this location http://misanthropicficus.blogspot.com.

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I don’t ask for much from Skins. If they give me some character evolution and a few laughs, I sleep like a log…or a Ficus. Like on Pokemon when Charmander evolved too quickly and then Ash couldn’t control Charizard. I slept for 34 hours after that episode. Good times. Funny too.

Fire Pokemon aside, I think it is no coincidence that the two best episodes of this nascent generation have been the episodes where we have actually seen character growth.

First we had Rich’s episode. Nick’s episode was perhaps even better. More transformation. More emotion.

We really didn’t know who Nick was before this week’s episode.  He appeared like the cliché’ popular guy; bit of an ass, kind of mentally deficient and sexually proficient. Hmm….rhymes.

Well, not true. (Not about the sexual proficiency. I wouldn’t know…clumsy though)

It was just his skin. No big surprise really. But it was a skin that wasn’t easy to maintain. He had to try so hard to maintain a rather buoyant, upbeat and happy facade that when it broke down it was like a system failure. System failure!  System failure means riveting television.

He started the episode as rugby star, subservient to the general dickheadery of his generally dickhead dad. By the end, he has told his hilariously South African coach to bleep off, got dumped by his quasi-fake girlfriend and told his father to stop being a bleep.

Whereas Frankie just continued to have awful hair. Mini continued to pretend she was like so totally awesome and Liv was like so un-defined I couldn’t tell if she was in italics or not…or bold.

So why do the girls’ episodes pale in comparison?  The girls are fairly static. They may internally recognise their problems but so far they don’t seem to do much about it.

Why is this? Misogyny by the writers? Misogyny by the Ficus? I think not. I am female after all….well I think I am, the sex of ficus is rather ambiguous…like Frankie. (Oh no he/she di’nt!). Seriously though, she annoys me. Are the writers trying to make her the sexually ambiguous compass of this gen.? She appears out of nowhere. Says some stuff and then wanders off…back to Neverland. She did the same in Mini’s episode. Maybe she’s like the gatekeeper to the secrets of the gang? She’s at least the gatekeeper to hell.

On Mini though, it was to see her finally drop the pretense and flip Nick’s ass to the curb…Though I’m not really sure she did.

Next up. Allo. Aloe-vera? Hallo? Whatever his name. The ranga one.

It’s a male episode so it’s going to be great.

Until next time

Here’s hoping Frankie does something with her fracking horrible hair

Ficus

 

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN COARSE LANGUAGE

As underwhelmed I was at Frankie’s episode last week, I was as impressed and indeed blown away by this instalment. I dare say this was one my favourite Skins episodes of all time. I don’t think I can articulate how much I loved this episode. Except to say I cried. Tears of joy.

Ficus Recap

I really hate recaps. I have to remember what happened and then summarise it and make it succinct. It’s truly a painful experience. What makes it worse is that I tend to think it is redundant given my belief that if you are reading this review you have surely seen the episode. Right?

Anyway. This episode focused on Rich, a metal-head dedicated to music. He also hangs out with his ranga friend (brother?) and calls his dad by his first name. He sees a girl that looks like a female version of himself in the library and requires help talking to her. Enter Grace, aspiring ballet dancer. The two form a close bond. Rich initially refuses to ‘compromise’ by entertaining the possibility of any form of relationship growing between the two. He asks the library girl out. She annihilates him. He Temporary loses his hearing. He watches Grace dancing ballet. He cries. It was beautiful. They connect. He tries to ask her out before she is whisked away be her pretentious friends. End Recap.

One of the things I really loved about this episode was the character development. Rich seemed to undergo real and transformative change. He began the episode as I guy wearing the ‘Skin’ (see what I did there?) of a metal-head. That’s who he thought he was. But as the episode progressed he seemed to realise that a ‘metal-head’ was merely the template by which he was living. It wasn’t ‘him’ so much as a part of him. He embraced other parts of himself he didn’t know existed. I seem to think the Rich we saw at

the end of the episode was the ‘real’ Rich, if you know what I mean.

This contrasts starkly with Frankie’s episode. She started as whatever she is and ended that way. Her change was mainly a psychological one in which she confirmed her existing persona. That’s fine. But I still don’t think she understands who she is, or I don’t at least. (I don’t like her hair)

I loved the potential relationship between Graceful Grace and Louty Rich. Grace’s friends will be a barrier to this possibility but I’m sure in ‘Episode Grace’ (episode 7) she’ll make a choice, find her skin. Plus she looked pretty awesome as a metal-head.

Another thing I loved about this episode was the humour. I found the first episode to be sadly lacking in humour, one of the essential components in the success of the series. I laughed a lot in this episode. The scene where Rich approached metal-girl in the library was a classic. “I’d rather rim the shit-smeared asshole of a horse with AIDS then…” essentially get with Rich.

On that rather vile note I’ll end this review. Next week we have Mini’s episode. I’m sure we’ll discover there’s more to her than the crazy cutthroat bitch we have seen so far. Or there will at least be an explanation behind her exterior self. Perhaps she did what the librarian told Rich she’d rather do…ewwww…oops this isn’t Dan-Blair Watch.

Rating: This is the first episode I bestow the ‘Five-Leaf Ficus’ rating.

Until next time

Keep Watching Your Screens

A Rejuvenated and sorry he ever questioned Skins…Ficus

Does Choice Determine Identity?


Judging from the conclusion of episode 1 of the new Skins, the answer is undoubtedly in the affirmative. Frankie, generation 3’s resident lesbian (at least in spirit), was the focal point of this episode.  I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed. I suppose it’s asking too much for an original character in Skins now, but Jane Doe’s portrayal of a confused, insecure teen wasn’t very convincing. It lacked sufficient emotion and any gravitas. In this episode we see Frankie toy with the idea of trying to fit in before letting her inner freak flourish in her new home. On the other end of the scale is Mini, resident crazy cutthroat bitch, I suppose the female counterpart to generation 1’s Tony (sans charisma, looks, charm etc.) She’s popular, cruel and highly manipulative. A couple of louts, Mini’s boyfriend, his sidekick and two of Mini’s devotees (one who joins the dark-side) complete the Skins cast. Oh and some weird guy that reminded me alot of Angel…a really crap Angel. These characters face a stark choice between embracing one’s inner self and hiding this self behind a veneer of materialism and ritual aggrandising superficiality. To wear your bathers or to skinny dip in the public pool (totally disgusting by the way)? In other words, do you want to let your freak flag fly? Paper or Plastic? Who adorns your walls- The Boy who Lived or the Boy who Sparkled? This is an interesting starting point for the 3rd generation of the Skins franchise. One could argue that both previous sets of Skins characters faced this dilemma. I mean the show is about the Skins we wear…But here the question is posed in a very unsubtle juxtaposition. There seems to be two opposing camps, set on a collision course for the sun…or the local pub. Regardless, it creates some interest and I think the show needs it. From what I saw of the characters and the cast there isn’t much to get excited about. One disappointing part of this episode was the total lack of humour. Sure, Skins can be dark but there must be laughter. For without laughter there is no Skins. Also, there is no standout character. No Tony. No Cassie. No Sid. No JJ. No hope. That’s perhaps a bit harsh. Where there is conflict, identity crises, philosophical arguments concerning life and sex there’ll be viewers. And where there’s Skins, there will be Ficus. For at least another episode…

P.S. Just to clarify: where there is Skins (UK), Ficus will be there. Where there is Skins (US), Ficus will be concentrating on photosynthesis.

Keep Watching Your Screens

A Slightly underwhelmed yet still hopeful Ficus