Episode Three: Jal.
Time to get to know the girl behind the clarinet. Whereas the rest of her family make their mark by spitting out rhymes to booming base beats, Jal seeks solace from the chaos all around her in the classical tunes flowing over her single reed. Although seemingly trying to keep a controllable distance from the adolescent conundrum that the 21st century teenagers have created around her, it is not long before she is sucked into the whirlwind of her surroundings. But can the resulting destruction create something better?
“Deal with it.”
OK, this week’s episode is about Jal. Unlike the other characters, Jal has been in the background but now the spotlight is on her. How will she handle the scrutiny of the SNS girls, eh?
She’s reached the finals of Young Musician of the Year and she just wants peace and quiet. But how can she when her brothers are playing their ridiculous hip-hop 24/7, she’s struggling to find a dress that she can breathe in never mind play in, her dad doesn’t care for her music and doesn’’t mind telling her so and she’s just discovered that she’s colour blind?
OK… well, not officially. But that dress is definitely brown.
Jal’s not like the other Skins girls. She’s not found straddling boys or drinking herself stupid. She gets on with things with plenty of eye-rolls, sarcastic comments and “fucks”. But is she completely happy with this roll she’s given herself?
Elsewhere, Sid is still hopelessly devoted to Michelle, but what about Cassie?
Also, Tony is still getting a bit too close for comfort to ‘the posh bitch’ and Michelle isn’t impressed.
Also, Chris is still brilliant.
And has Mad Twatter finally, finally gone?
We can only hope.
So Jal divides the Saturday Night Skins ladies good and proper. What did you think?
Flann-I guess I do find Jal a little bit boring.
Jo-OK, I’m going to be a dickhead and completely disagree with what you just said. I don’t think Jal is boring at all. I think she is the poster child for most girls who would be watching this programme (and reading YA contemp, actually.) I think a lot of critics of Skins will be like “Oh, so all kids want to do is run out and take drunks…
Rey– “take drunks” – LOL Jo. That’s as good as my “He is Manchester too!” shouting the other night.
J-[LOL. I was probably drunk when I wrote this. That’ll learn me for being serious….. ]…. drink too much and have sex? Yeah, that’s realistic.” I think Jal is overlooked because she isn’t like that… she’s not controversial. She’s down to earth and she’s blunt. Her focus is on her passions and her hobbies and the fact that she doesn’t want to get involved in that kind of thing. Why do you have to shag loads of boys to make a name for yourself? Out of the girls, Jal is the girl who I associate with the most. I really relate to her. Maybe it’s because I always root for the underdog… but I just think she’s such a great character. My opinion may be biased because I know what is coming up for her… But I think she’s so well developed.
F-It’s not that I don’t like her. I just think that for the purposes of a television show, she doesn’t add a lot of drama, which is your point as well. She’s just totally normal, and while that is honest and relatable, it also gives viewers less of a reason to feel riveted by her personality and storyline, you know? I do like her a lot more as the season goes on–this episode does a good job of setting up her life and character.
R-I like Jal. I think she’s a point of balance in the group. There are so many extreme personalities and life situations in the show – which is realistic – but Jal sort of anchors it all. She has her own issues too, but they’re presented in a more understated way. Even when she bumps into Sid at Tony’s front door, the amount of venom she packs into saying: “Michelle” is incredible. It’s subtle, but powerful. She doesn’t exactly wear her heart on her sleeve (well, maybe she wears that frown on her sleeve), but I kind of love how undemonstrative she is in amongst all the others.
Maggie–I agree with you, Jo. I would probably be the Jal in that group. I think even if people didn’t love her, a huge accomplishment in high school is also not being hated. Michelle, you know she had the classmates who hated her whereas I think Jal is just cool with everyone.
Anna– My problem with Jal – she is ALWAYS frowning.
M-Poor Jal. She should be friends with Cassie! I love this disconnect that different people are feeling, even in the same group. I think people assume that someone with a big group of friends is never lonely.
A– Checked shirt and long-sleeved top – she stole my look
Trin-I agree with Jo, I love Jal (almost wrote Jo but eh love her too) I think she is relatable but also a bit of a breather between some intense episodes. Plus am also a bit biased for what’s coming up *spoilery wink*
J-I love it when they all perve at Jal. Chris’ face.
“For Christ’s sake! Stop looking at them!”
“And you’re supposed to respect women’s bodies, Muslim boy.”
“I’m respectin’. Believe me, I’m respectin’
I would punch Michelle and Tony if I were their friend. SO HARD. Urgh, they’re so gross. It’s funny that, out of all of them, Tony and Michelle are my least favourite characters in this series.
F– Nah, it makes sense. When we talk about who our favorite characters are on the show, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say Tony and/or Michelle. Frankly, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember Michelle’s episode and I’ve got nothing. Sometimes they do a great job of making a less intriguing character just phenomenal once you know their backstory. (To Anna: I’m thinking of Alo from Gen 3–his episode just broke my heart)
A– OMG I LOVE ALO! He is one of my favourite characters from all the series. JO – HE IS GINGE YOU WILL LOVE HIM. I’ll stop giving away stuff now, sorry.
F-The fact that I can’t remember anything at all about Michelle is…just is.
T-I cannot muster an ounce of anything for Michelle she just a big blank. Also Chris wears the hell out of that cardigan!
The Sid and Cassie exchanges here make me so sad, also Cassie’s cookie monster bag :D
R-I find Sid completely adorable in this episode, especially shopping with Jal. Is it odd that I find that change-room scene really endearing? The poor guy.. “It’s Lynx!” “I want a cookie!” I love him.
The “hot” girl.
F-I never really understood why everyone thinks Michelle is so hot. Her nose is really weird and a bunch of the characters are better looking than her.
J– I hear she has weird nipples too.
M– Ha, Jo! Isn’t that always the case in high school though? The hot girl was never really that hot. She was just thin, outgoing, well dressed, etc.
T– So true! I remember my mum commenting on the ‘hot’ girl in my year and she was all that poor girl has a skin condition, and no one ever noticed!
M-God, Michelle is THAT girl. Such a horrible friend.
J-I was the hot girl in my school…..Totally kidding.
R– I bet you were ;) Honestly, I think being the “hot girl” has so much more to do with confidence and attitude than actual looks. A lot of the girls I went to school with who were considered “hot” were not necessarily “conventionally” pretty. It had more to do with the way they projected themselves, so to speak. And I think that’s what Michelle’s all about, more so than her physical appearance. If she believes she’s the hot girl, then she is the hot girl, if that makes sense. Much as I’m loathe to say it, I think even being Tony’s girlfriend contributes to her social status.
The colour of Jal’s dress… seriously, Jal… go to the opticians.
A-No, it’s a brown dress Jal. It’s BROWN. It’s not green, it’s BROWN. For fuck’s sake Jal
M- I thought she was being sarcastic at first, but then when she talks to Michelle later, she really does think it’s green.
R– I seriously wondered if there was something wrong with the settings on my TV for a second there..
A-Why on earth would she be carrying her clarinet around with her? Did I miss something?
F-Didn’t you ever watch American Pie? Band geeks like to carry around their instruments so they can take care of business anytime, any place.
Parents, teachers and other ridiculous people.
F– Ahahaha, I love the teacher and adult side characters in this.
J-I really like Jal’s dad and his posse.
A-Her dad is achingly cool. But not a very good dad :( Why does all the dialogue with her dad remind me of watching a play – ‘she didn’t like my sound’ all really loaded.
J– The ending is so cute though. TIDY IT. <3
M-Fuck my donkey, I like the orchestra teacher. :) Worst principal ever. It makes me miss Mr. Belding.
J– Most things make me miss Mr Belding..
T-I adore the orchestra teacher! I’ll get to the bottom of that swearing, yes.
R-Ridiculous people? Mad Twatter. Enough said. And that woman, the principal? I want to smack her. Her condescension is crazy. “People like you.” Ugh.
“Go Jal. Kick it. Let’s rock.” — That teacher = so awkward.
Does sleazy bar guy look like Bear Grylls?
A-Sleazy bar guy looks like Bear Grylls.
Ok, maybe he doesn’t look that much like Bear Grylls
R-He looks like a greasy Bear Grylls. You could throw something at his head and it would just slide right off..
Why isn’t Mike Bailey in more things?
J-I just love Sid so much. I wish Mike Bailey was more famous. He’s such a great actor…. and cute.
A-HE IS. I’m fancying him more and more with each episode.
J– I like his glasses/hat combo.
R– Huzzah! I’m not the only Sid-fancier!! He’s so grotty, but there’s just something about him..
For British Eyes Only.
“We could be like a Welsh brother and sister? Y’know, locked up in the farm house with nothing but the sheep and our abusive father”
F-HAHAHA about the Welsh brother and sister comment.
M– Are Welsh people considered the rednecks of Britain?
J– LOLOL. Not sure about rednecks but… well, there are rumours that some of the people in the valleys get up to nefarious deeds.
F-Don’t you Brits have magnet schools there? Like music schools?
A-Umm, there are private music schools that you can get scholarships for, I think.
J-There’s a huge music school in Manchester which you go from aged 8-18. A guy from my primary school (where we go from 4-11) went there and apparently he’s in…. um… I want to say a symphony but that’s probably ridiculous. He’s extremely good anyway. I’m not sure if you have to pay or not but you. Also, I walk by the Royal Northern College of Music every morning on my way to work. I’ve not worked out how old you have to be but I THINK you’d go there instead of uni? I’m not sure.
M-“Fucking mezzo for fuck’s sake.” LMAO! I feel like “for fuck’s sake” is an underused idiom in the States. Flann?
F-Let’s make it happen! (“for fuck’s sake,” not fetch. Fetch is never going to happen.)
J– Hahaha, I say ‘for fuck’s sake’ far too often. It’s brilliant. Just says everything you need to, doesn’t it?
R-FFS is big in Australia :)
T-I have no idea what her brothers and that white dude are saying ever, do you know Anna & Jo? Jo is this like the time I showed you that hilarious NZ commercial? FYI.
J-How can I forget my favourite broo? A complicated situation in my head. Leeeeeyyygend.
F- Lay’er down an’ smack ’em yack ’em, Jo.
The United States of… Huh?
(Added in because sometimes the Yanks start talking about things I don’t understand)
F-These rappers are so great. Orlando? What the hell is his jersey? No one is a fan of Orlando. (Sorry, Noelle!!)
M-They were just eliminated from the playoffs tonight. Sad.
J-I love when she slaps the white boy rapper. LOLOL. “Everyone’s hitting me and ting” Too funny. I have no idea who Orlando are.
R-DROP A BEAT, DON! LOLOL
Skins as YA.
J-I kept thinking about If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman because of the music connection.
T-I guess there’s the music but I felt it was more strongly Jal feeling disconnected, from her family, friends etc Maybe something about father/daughter relationships? The music is her thing though, it’s her thing in her effed up life.
F-The only musical YA book I can think of right now (that aren’t guitar because so many are in a band as singers or guitarist) is Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez.
R-I agree that the disconnection between Jal and her father is pretty topical as far as YA goes. It’s based around a different issue, but Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr is a fantastic book about a difficult father/daughter relationship, the father holding something against the daughter and not able to move past it. Jal’s situation is definitely more hopeful, though.
M- Okay, even though her dad didn’t show up to her competition, I liked that he was taking care of her, having her back in his own way. (I look forward to the RETURN OF MAD TWATTER episode.) Even though his way makes him a shit father most of the time. How are these actors so young and so good? Like, you believe Jal is in high school and she has braces for fuck’s sake (ha!) yet she’s such a natural actress but in a different way than Cassie. She seems so disaffected but obviously she’s not. I like that Jal has a natural rapport with the rest of the group, and I loved that she hung out with Sid.
A-Right, hmmm. Well, I agree with some points from both Flan and Jo, but I have to say, on the whole, I still can’t warm to Jal. Maybe it’s just that she seems to react against everything. And the FROWNING. Although she does give a hint of a smile at one point. Nice touch. I get what you’re saying, Jo, about her being more relatable, but I think all her negativity gets in the way of the good points about her character. In the context of the show, she is just outshone by more dynamic, engaging characters. There is a character in one of the other generations that they try I similar thing with, and I think a bit more successfully – a more normal teenager who might be overlooked, but still manages to win people over. The episode as a whole, I have mixed feelings about – it reveals stuff about Jal’s character, yes, but not a huge amount. She doesn’t really grow or change her perceptions about anything, but maybe it’s a bit early for that. I did really like the exchanges with her dad. Like I said before, they were very theatrical and sparse, but loaded with metaphor and meaning. Very impressive. Plot wise, it moves it along a bit – we now know for sure that Tony is a cheating scumbag, that Michelle is either extremely gullible, or shows ‘wilful blindness’ (topical). Is this the last we see of the Twatter fellow? I can’t remember.
But that’s about it. I agree with you about Jal’s anger being off-putting. She is just never in a good mood.
F– I know people like this and never want to hang out with them. She’s a fucking negative Nancy/Debbie Downer-type of girl and it is hard to get into her character when she isn’t even happy when she’s doing her music. At least, it doesn’t look like she is.
the entire episode is about her music and she doesn’t like anyone or have many substantive conversations. The only other part is about how Michelle ditches her for Tony all the time. Her father is an okay character but he sucks until about the last five minutes of the episode when he does his spoken word and Jal actually talks to him about why he’s such a shit to her.
J-I’m trying not to spoil anything but I find it really difficult to watch this episode without thinking of future storylines. I think I’m getting biased. I really liked this episode (forever a Jal Kinda Gal) but I can understand why people aren’t completely smitten with it. It’s a much slower pace, isn’t it? I just love Jal’s commentary, it’s so dry and observant and cynical. I want more air time between her and Sid, they’re brilliant together.
T-Agreed her and Sid are brilliant. This episode has a different feel than the other two, it’s almost comedic with the way her brothers and whitey end up in hospital but other times very poignant. I wonder if this was an episode that they maybe tried a bit different, to just feel the show out a bit more and decide where they were going.
R-This really is a more subtle episode than the others have been. I think it sets up Jal’s personality really well, and shows that there’s more going on under the surface than the blunt, taciturn stuff she projects. I really did not see the Mad Twatter stuff coming. I think I actually yelped during the scene with the clarinet. There are a lot of small moments in this I really like, especially with Sid and Cassie (she’s so beautiful in this episode, and I wanted to shake Sid), but I agree that it’s not the most compelling episode yet. Anwar and Chris definitely steal most of the lols this time – “Oh I’m respectin’” hehe..
Show Us Some Skin.
“Jal’s a Badass” Quote of the Week.
“Ring me back when you’re not actually being penetrated, ok?”
Hilarious ID Pic of the Week.
J-Chris’ ID. Seriously, how can you not love this guy? Dr Mapplethwaite. MY PERFECT GUY. Seriously, I love him so much.
T-Oh gosh I laughed so hard at the moustache! “Takes years off me”
R-I lol’ed so hard here :)
Chris’ Best Quote.
“It kept getting caught in my girlfriend’s piercing.”
Maxxie’s Hair Watch Update.
A-MAXXIE HAIR WATCH UPDATE – STILL CUTE, Shame about the hat.
M-Twat count: 1, but bonus points because it came from the teacher.
R-Boom! First twat in under 2 minutes!
J-JESUS CHRIST KEVIN! LOOSE THE SODDING CHEWING GUM YOU TWAT. What a useless friggin’ tosser.
F-Poooour sweeet creaaam on my straaaawberries yeaaaaah ooooooooh.
A-Punch her, go on. PUNCH HER.
M– CASS!! Cass :(
Will Jal become the Young Musician of the Year? Will she ever feel comfortable in her own skin? Has Mad Twatter gone for good? Will Sid ever get the hell over Michelle and snog Cassie? Will Bear Grylls have a cameo in future episodes (IMAGINE)? Will the white boy rapper ever pronounce words properly? Will Chris keep that cardigan on forever? And, most importantly, will Jal ever be able to tell the difference between brown and green?
This has been Saturday Night Skins and we have been your hosts.
Until next week…..
…. Sorry, I know I wanted to leave this post shrouded in MYSTERY to keep you all excited and intrigued but next week’s episode is CHRIS’ and it’s going to be glorious. Chances are it’s mostly going to be pictures…. of Chris…. naked. For… um… research.