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Transcript of Skins
EDSC 320 Final By Kaitlyn Humphrey Skins UK Version Original Creators: Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain
Writers: The writing team is made up of a group of young adults with the average age of 25.
Pilot Episode: Jan 25, 2007
Run time: 46 minuites an episode
History: Created by father-and-son writers Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain. Skins Synopsis Skins is a British teen drama that follows the lives of teenagers in Bristol. The show is unique in that it is written by a team of adolescents (average age is 21) and also in that the cast changes every two years (it follows the group through their two years of sixth form).
Skins is known for controversial story lines including drug abuse, death, mental illnesses (including eating disorders), dysfunctional families, dysfunctional teachers, pregnancy and casual sex. Although the story lines are exaggerated for entertainment, the creators of the show wanted the story lines to be believable (which is why they have teens writing and acting in the show instead of young 20 year olds like many American teen dramas).
The show started in 2007 and it's final season airs 2013. Introduction to Cassie Ainsworth Cassie is a late teenager living in Bristol with her Mom, Dad, and baby brother. She is supposed to have a few different types of mental illnesses, including a very extreme eating disorder. All mixed together, they give her an "other wordly" type of personality.
Cassie is, for the most part, an outsider. She creates her own world in her head, and therefore is known to over react to emotional situations. Cassie is almost entirely ignored by all of the other characters in the show. This includes her family and her best friends. Since she is in the hospital so often for her eating disorder and/or most recent suicide attempts, the rest of the "group" doesn't always include her. Other characters also often hurt her feelings without realizing it. The only time they really pay attention is when she attempts suicide and they have to rush her to the hospital. Out of all the other characters, Cassie has the most experience with substance abuse and casual sex. Intro to Cassie continued Context: Family 1. Sexuality 2. Psychosocial Problems Psychosocial Developments: Context: Family Sexuality Psychosocial Problems Pressing Issues: Rearranging food
Find out who is telling her to eat via secret messages
Getting her parents to notice her
Being in love with a boy who is lusting after someone else
Long distance relationship
Dealing with a best friends death (Cassie tries to solve these issues by not eating, attempting suicide, or just ignoring them and engaging in substance abuse and casual sex with anyone) While Cassie lives with both of her parents, and her baby brother, her family is one of the more dysfunctional families on the show. Cassie's father is an artist and spends all of his time either doing nude paintings of her mother, or simply having (very loud, in your face) sex with her mother. When they do have their clothes on, her parents are fully engaged with themselves or their baby boy. They hardly pay any attention to Cassie's suicide attempts, eating disorders, or her trips to the hospital.
At the start of the second season, Cassie is away getting treatment again. When she returns her parents are gone, leaving her homeless. "Indifferent parents try to do whatever is necessary to minimize the time and energy they mus devote to interacting with their child... know little about their child's activities and whereabouts, show little interest in their child's experiences at school or with friends, rarely converse with their child, and rarely consider their child's opinion when making decisions." Steinberg, page 129
Cassie's parents are indifferent parents. They tell her about their own lives but rarely ask about her life, school work, friends, eating disorders, or struggles with suicidal thoughts.
When asked about the "hospital" or "how she is doing" Cassie answers "I'm fine", which is what her parents want to hear. Cassie then begins to tell worried friends and teachers the same line of "I'm fine" or "it's fine" when shes not. Leading to trouble or hurt/unexpressed feelings. Context: Family continued Cassie's character development is not typical in regards to a child with two middle class white parents.
For example, Steinberg states that "adolescents tend to be closer to their mother, and feel more comfortable talking to their mother about problems and other emotional matters." Steinberg, pg 127
Cassie's mother however has very little interest in her daughter, and doesn't make any time for them to talk despite her daughter's obvious attempts at getting any type of attention. Her father seems to try to appear interested in Cassie, but both parents are too consumed with themselves to have time for her.
This continues to point out how indifferent her parents really are, for "...indifferent parents structure their home life primarily around their own needs and interests." Steinberg, pg 129.
Cassie's father is obsessed with making nude paintings of his wife, and having sex with her. The two parents are so into themselves they have no time for Cassie.
When Cassie comes back from an Eating Disorder camp in Scottland, her parents either don't know, or don't care, and have moved without telling her leaving her homeless. Cassie is unable to make strong social skills within the context of her family, unlike the average adolescent. She doesn't have a parent to talk to about physical changes, emotions, school, sex, drugs etc. and therefore develops dysfunctional senses of her self-worth, body image, sex, caring, and love.
Cassie's relationship with her baby brother is also not typical. While Cassie's parents seem to like the brother more than Cassie, they still ignore the baby constantly leaving Cassie to be his caregiver (when she is actually home)
"Young adolescents often have emotionally charged relationships with siblings that are marked by conflict and rivalry, but also by nurturance and support." Stienberg, pg 133.
While Cassie is nuturing, it's not in the way most adolescents are with siblings. Instead she takes on more of a motherly role (again, when she is home, which is rare). Cassie does not seem to have a healthy understanding of love and therefore has a unbalanced sex life. Before the audience even meets her she is known as the easy girl that will sleep with Sid (since no one else will). It may be because her parents are constantly engaged in intercourse, or because she has difficulty connecting other human beings. Cassie falls in love hard and fast, and is easily hurt by rejection. When she is in an emotionally unstable time she always falls back on lots, and lots of casual sex to forget the pain (or to attempt to hurt someone). Cassie's sexual activities often also involve drugs or alcohol. Above all else, Cassie is known for having psychosocial problems. She steals, she's antisocial, she's depressed, she attempts suicide (multiple times), she has an eating disorder, she has a dangerous amount of casual sex, and abuses drugs and alcohol. This is all because Cassie is unable to connect with "the real world", is often ignored and mistreated or misunderstood, and because she has difficulty handling stressful situations and any difficult emotions. Psychosocial Problems Suicide "Adolescents who attempt to kill themselves usually have made appeals for help and have tried but failed to get emotional support from family or friends. They report feeling trapped, lonely, worthless, and hopeless." Steinberg, pg 430.
On the subject of suicide Cassie's character development is typical of other adolescents who attempt suicide. Cassie struggles to get attention from her family and friends, who all seem to be content to hear "I'm fine" and "I'm totally better now".
"...in any given year, close to 10% of American female high school students...attempt suicide; nearly one third of these attempts are serious enough to require treatment by a physician or nurse." Steinberg, pg 430.
Cassie has to be treated for some of her suicide attempts but not every single one.
The two suicide attempts she makes are both shown below. The first time Cassie has just gotten out of recovery from her last suicide attempt and has agreed to have sex with someone who is in love with her best friend. The second time, Cassie is hurt that Sid can't make it to the date that he wasn't really aware of. He has no idea her feelings are hurt until someone tells him why she's in the hospital. Cassie has a wide range of psychosocial problems, but her main two are substance abuse and suicide.
Cassie's character development in regards to substance abuse is not typical of the average American Adolescent (or British)
"...only a very small proportion of young people have serious drug dependency problems or use hard drugs at all." Steiberb, page 409.
Cassie on the other hand is constantly taking pills, giving out pills to friends, smoking pot with her friends, doing coke lines (alone or with people), all while drinking large amounts of hard alcohol.
"Certain drugs make users feel good primarily becasue they affect the same receptors that are sensitive to the dopamine that is in the brain naturally." Steinberg, pg 410
Cassie is seen taking drugs and drinking a lot when she is emotionally unstable and trying to find a way to feel happy.
She tries to replace her failing dopamine levels with drugs, and replaces her failed love life with casual sex. Cassie's sexuality is very unstable. She is often seen having sex with multiple partners in a day (or even at the same party), while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and while under a lot of emotional stress.
"...the more individual risk factors there are ... drug and alcohol use, poor parental monitoring, ...disengagement from school.. the more likely the adolescent is to be sexually active." Steinberg, pg 352.
Cassie's sexuality development is typical in this sense then because she is one of the first characters to have sex and has a very long list of risk factors in her life.
It is also typical because "Girls are more likely than boys to engage in sex in order to enhance an emotional connection." Steinberg, pg 353. Cassie may have an unbalanced sex life, but she has sex in an attempt to form an emotional connection with another human being. Even when she has many casual partners, it is in a response to loosing her boy friend and needing to feel a connection with someone else fast.
"(Sex education...must also teach adolescents how to refuse unwanted sex and avoid unintended sex, increase adolescents' motivation to engage in safe sex, and change perceptions about peer norms and attitudes." Steinberg, pg 368-369
Cassie, like other adolescents, needs a sex education program that goes beyond teaching about abstenincce, birth control, and STDs. She needs a sex education that covers the emotional sides of sex, how to love yourself and respect your body, and how to stop having unintended sex (while on drugs or alcohol). Is Cassie a typical adolescent? No. Is she typical of other female adolescents with an eating disorder? Yes. Works Cited Skins IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0840196/
All episodes and clips can be found on youtube.com
All images came from a Tumblr search of "Cassie"
Article "Eating Disorders, Substance Abuse Linked": http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/nutrition/a/blcasa040128.htm
Website: Treatment Solutions: http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/the-connection-between-eating-disorders-and-substance-abuse/
Article: "Just How Strong is the Link Between Anorexia and Suicide?": http://counsellingresource.com/features/2008/03/10/anorexia-suicide/ From the article: Eating Disorders, Substance Abuse Linked
"...reveals that up to one-half of individuals with eating disorders abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, compared to nine percent of the general population."
"Conversely, up to 35 percent of alcohol or illicit drug abusers have eating disorders compared to three percent of the general population."
"Middle school girls (10 – 14 year olds) who diet more than once a week are nearly four times likelier to become smokers."
"Girls with eating disorder symptoms are almost four times likelier to use inhalants and cocaine."
"12.6 percent of female high school students take diet pills, powders or liquids to control their weight without a doctor's advice."
"Bulimic women who are alcohol dependent report a higher rate of suicide attempts, anxiety, personality and conduct disorders and other drug dependence than bulimic women who are not alcohol dependent."
From the website "Treatment Solutions"
"Others have found that those that have an eating disorder self-medicate with drugs or alcohol when they have negative emotions, or are feeling low about their body image. Still other researchers are trying to find out a third disorder that causes the other two, or underlying risk factors and characteristics that are the same for both. Both types of disorders are found in individuals that are suffering from stress, that have a family history of the disorders, that may be impulsive, and that have low self esteem or depression."
From the Article "Just How Strong is the Link between Anorexia and Suicide"
"These people, usually women, cannot stand their existences anymore and want to put an end to them quickly and forcefully. There seems to be active self hatred at work".
"There is a certain prevalent image of the character type of a young woman suffering from anorexia which stresses her perfectionism, desire to fulfill expectations, to be a good girl.." While it is unclear if her eating disorder or substance abuse started first, it is clear that Cassie struggles with both issues. Both issues could have easily come from her dysfunctional family life and her inability to fully understand and make strong connections with her peers. The self hatred and need to be accepted or loved by other human beings that leads to Anorexia also quickly leads to substance abuse and suicide attempts. In this regard Cassie is a typical female adolescent with an eating disorder.