Monday, August 25, 2008

Skins: Rhapsody in Blue (or Brown, or is it Green?)

It's another strong episode for the UK import Skins, as this time we follow the talented Jal as she gets ready for her big music competition. If the first episode was about narcissism ("Tony") and the second one about an eating disorder ("Cassie"), this one might very well be about racism. Sure, in the end, it's about family, but even Jal's family is looked at through the lens of race. While Jal's other family members define themselves by their race, Jal herself, seems to move through life without (outwardly) giving race too much thought.

Jal's friends are primarily white, she's a talented classical clarinetist ... and... well... she can't see the color brown (at least it appears green to her). That makes her both literally and metaphorically colorblind. It doesn't help her win the affection of her rapper/producer father, who calls her music "rooty-tooty music for whitey." He sees her mother (his ex-wife) in her, and it's too painful for him. Meanwhile, her brothers Ace and Lynton, a comical highlight of the episode, are trying to make it in the hip-hop world like their pops, but instead of forging their own ground, they're copping the street grime ala Dizzee Rascal. They even have their own Mike Skinner (The Streets) they call Milky Man (real name: Donald). The boys fall in and out of grime speak, and the use of close captions for interpretation just adds to the comedy.

Taking the grime comedy further, the web-only extra scene ("Unseen Skins" series) follows Ace and Lynton trying to impress a radio DJ, resulting in the expected outcome:

Unseen Skins 103: 'Shoot 'Em Up Bang Bang Props To The Hood'

Back to Jal's music, it's telling that they have her playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," as not only does it highlight the clarinet, but it also is as close to you get to "street" music with classical music. Elsewhere, the only place where the music was cut out was again in the closing credits, which in the original broadcast, was "Prince Charming" from Adam and the Ants, which you'd think would be better music in association with Tony, if it weren't for the lyric they focus on: "Don't you ever (don't you ever) lower yourself, forgetting all your standards." That and it works as a lead-in for the previews to next week's "Chris" episode. But, again, it's dropped here.

Playlist: Skins - Episode 1.03
1. "Rhapsody In Blue," George Gershwin -- Jal plays with school orchestra.
2. "Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622 - Adagio," Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- Jal's competition music.
3. "Original Nuttah," UK Apachi & Shy FX -- club music after Ace & Lynton's failed rap show.
4. "Prince Charming," Adam and the Ants -- closing credits in the original version.

Previously: Where's the music? (Episodes 1.01-1.02)

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