Skins: 5.01 “Franky”

The episode starts with the camera zooming out on a person’s face, similar to the very first scene of the entire show when Tony was introduced. I think they wanted to remind people that it’s still the same show but have largely failed due to the fact that most of the people who watch Skins are complete morons and bitch and whine every time the cast is changed even though they know it happens every two seasons like clockwork. This is the first series without a tie-in to the very beginning since Effy is now gone and the fans have flipped their fucking lids and abandoned ship en masse. Anyway, this is our first introduction to Franky Fitzgerald. She’s quirky because her hair is cut short and she dresses like a boy.

We watch her put on layers of clothing to really drive home the boy-attire thing. Her shoes are really awesome.

Before she leaves her room she goes over to a really kickass little town she’s made and picks up one of those wooden manikins you can find at art stores. She says “Come on” as she does this, and the first time I saw this episode I thought she was talking to herself but as I continued to watch realized she sometimes has conversations with the manikin. So maybe first sign she isn’t 100% sane. I am already in love with this crazy bitch.

She leaves her house and is stopped by her two gay dads. They seem to be a real May-December romance. One of them has made some sort of gourmet food for Frankys first day of school, reinforcing the stereotype about gays and cooking. Also it doesn’t help that Franky appears at this point to have been raised by two gay dads and dresses like a lesbian. This is basically perfect fuel for conservative religious types about gays not adopting kids.

Wifebeater tanks seem popular in this family.

Her dads tell her not to take any shit this time at school, implying that something happened at her old one. This seems like an odd statement to me to a victim of bullying but whatever. Franky leaves for school. She drew a map on her hands to help her find her way, which shows how creative she is but also seems impractical. What if her hands get sweaty and she looses part of the map? I bet she’s hoping this will happen so she can say she got lost and skip.

She gets to a bus stop and is immediately zeroed in on by some boys who ask if she’s a “batty or a lezzer”. I had to look up the meaning for the first one but basically they were speculating she was either a gay boy or a lesbian. Then the boys walk up to her and knock her book out of her hands. I have honestly never heard of strange boys walking up to someone in a public area and deciding to attack them. Maybe I come from a peaceful area or some shit but if you’re weird you’re either ignored or laughed at, not actually approached and mocked. Franky accidentally headbutts the leader and they decide to beat her up.

In that second shot one of the boys is totally smiling at her. I guess he doesn’t like that boy that much.

Franky steals a Hoveround from in front of a salon and scooters away from the boys. This scene really confuses me. Because she was waiting at a bus stop to go to school but then gets there pretty quickly on the scooter. So she either ran a long way, scootered a long way or was going to ride the bus for about one stop.

She loses control of the scooter and crashes into a bike rack. No one seems especially pissed at her, they just use it as an opportunity to stare at the new freak and some laugh. She skedaddles, but not before main character Mini McGuinness makes a comment about the circus coming to town and then leers after her.

And that’s when Mini got a crush.

Franky gets in some sort of new kid line and meets Dougie, a veteran character from all the past series. He tells her her first class is ‘sports foundation’, which I’m assuming is like PE. Franky says she hasn’t got a uniform and Doug fishes out some lost and found clothing and sends her on her way. Honestly at this point I would have left school. This is not your day Franky.

She goes to the girls changing room and walks in awkwardly as other girls run around her half naked. They don’t seem to have changing rooms. I would feel awkward too. Franky starts to change near Mini and Mini immediately starts to lay in on her for wearing boys clothes and her undergarments being a wife beater and boxer shorts. I knew girls who wore boxers, it’s not the weirdest thing. Mini calls her a stud and says she’ll see her on the field.

They play field hockey and Mini makes fun of Franky for not being aggressive enough so Franky trips her and she lands in a puddle of mud. Mini pulls her down with her and mud wrestling ensues. I am getting a strong gay vibe from Mini that just keeps getting stronger.

At lunch two boys come and sit down at Franky’s table. Previously they almost ran over her when she was on the scooter, so one calls her “scooter girl!” and seems to get a kick out of that. Their names are Alo and Rich. Alo is the chipper one and Rich has long hair, a leather jacket and suggests that if they were in the middle ages they would kill Mini because she’s a witch. But as soon as Mini and her two followers come to the table and tell the boys to fuck off they run with tails between their legs.

The girls finally introduce themselves. To distinguish between the two black girls their clothing is radically different, but some people who watch the show still get one of them mixed up with a girl from a past cast of characters. The one who is perky and dreamy and wears floral is Grace. The vaguely dirty one with bling is Liv.

Mini tells Franky to avoid the boys even though they’re the only people who have been nice to her so far at school. Franky, understandably suspicious, tells them if they’re going to start shit they better get it over with. The girls act confused and Mini asks Franky to come shopping with them. Franky says no and runs out.

Franky goes to have a conversation with her manikin in a bathroom stall. She takes out her phone and scrolls through what looks like a Facebook page of nasty comments. I don’t understand half of them because they are British insults but they must be nasty because Franky looks upset. She decides to take the girls up on their offer after a bit of consulting with the doll.

She finds the girls after school. I don’t know how she found them, it doesn’t look like they’re in front of the school. She runs up to them and agrees to go shopping. Before they go to the mall they take some drugs. I don’t know why, it seems like a pointless time to get high.

Franky, Liv and Grace start dancing to a song by a street performer. For some reason Mini gets all butthurt and goes up the escalator to throw fries at people on the floor below. The other three girls find her and Mini invites Franky to a party the next day, but says that Franky can’t go dressed as she is. So they take her shopping for a new outfit.

At the makeup counter Franky watches the girls try on makeup and Mini realizes Franky has never worn makeup before. Gracie draws a lipstick smile on the mirror in front of Franky. Mini tries to put some lipstick on her but Franky ducks away. Liv puts some eyeshadow on her. Mini sees a dress and tells Franky it would be perfect. Franky gets changed into it but hates it. Grace calls her a punky butterfly in the dress and for some reason Mini strokes Franky’s hair out of her face. My gaydar is going crazy. Mini buys her the dress.

Liv steals Franky some eyeshadow. Grace sets off alarms when she steals her a necklace. Such criminals. The four girls run from the mall cops and outstrip them even though Mini is wearing very high heels.

They walk Franky home and her gay dads come out in a hurry to make sure the girls aren’t harassing Franky. Her dads invite them in for food. We find out that Franky has only been their adopted daughter for two years. That’s not very long at all. Franky freaks out and rudely leaves the room without a word, ditching her new friends with her dads. Old dad follows her and young dad awkwardly tells the girls that Franky is “a bit fragile”. Mini remembers that Franky mentioned something about grief and her old school and asks if that’s why. Her dad is surprised that Franky told them about that and Mini lies that she told them all about it to try and get him to say more. He doesn’t and leaves the room. So now all the Fitzgeralds have left their guests in the living room.

Mini decides to explore and goes to their computer. She clicks on the bookmarks and one of the bookmarked pages is a website called Franky Ain’t Got A Fanny. It’s a “fraped” Friendlook page consisting of insults and pictures of Franky being assaulted by bullies. Wow. Kids are fucking intense. In one of those pictures Franky is only in her under clothes and is covered in flour and has a dildo tied around her waist. They went to a lot of fucking work to do that one. There are two different wigs used to humiliate her. Who has time for these things? Who even thinks of these things? Franky went to school with some sociopaths.

I also have to wonder why Franky’s dads have her bullying page bookmarked. They moved from Oxford to Bristol, so I don’t think they’re pressing charges on the bullies. And even if they were, having their daughters abuse page as one of their first bookmarks is weird and probably traumatizing for Franky. Maybe she doesn’t use that computer.

When Grace tells Mini to stop looking at the page and that it’s horrible Mini says, “Yeah, but look at that one!” with a laugh. It is now well established that Mini is a bitch.

Franky ran to hide in the bathroom with her manikin and is sitting in the tub and sulking. Her dad tells her that they don’t lock doors in their house and Franky replies, “It’s the toilet!” to which her dad says basically, “I haven’t heard you pooping, come out now.”

Franky hears her other dad yelling at the girls for looking at the website and Franky angrily makes them promise not to tell. They swear it and leave. Franky is mad at her dads because they left the girls alone to find the page and calls her dad a dickspash. Her other dad says ,”Only I can call him that!”

Franky looks at all the stuff the girls stole and bought for her and she gets a text from Grace with a lot of xxxxxs on it. X’s are kisses. I guess it would be weird to sign a text with “oooooooo”. But at this point I was convinced that now two girls were in love with Franky. I was very happy with this because lesbians are the best.

The next morning Franky wakes up and works on a stop motion movie. Stop. Motion. That is the shit. Fuck Franky, you are already the best.

She decides to dress in what I think might be a wife beater with a tie over a wife beater and capris. She cakes on the makeup and her dads tease her, then the one who bakes fixes it for her because he knows how.

She gets to school and everyone stares because she looks like a cute girl instead of like a twelve year old boy. Liv and Grace want to have sex with her. Mini doesn’t like that she’s getting compliments and isn’t wearing the dress that she bought her and says Franky looks like she was gangraped by clowns. That is a graphic image Mini and I find it strange that you said it. Franky says she isn’t a bulimic fucking Barbie and Mini looks like she’s about to cry, so she goes to her boyfriend and decides to make Franky miserable.

Franky has to give a speech in class about if you can choose your identity. Franky stutters through a speech, ultimately ending with “I want to just, like, just be.” and not have to change who she feels she is to fit in with what people want her to be. Grace helps end it with a shout of , “Yes we can!” which is both parts adorable and completely strange. She’s channelling her brotha Obama. Mini’s boyfriend Nick and another boy come in late and the teacher asked if one of them had to pick up the soap in the showers today. Haha, anal rape jokes.

They go out into the hallway to see that Nick has decorated the walls with Franky’s humiliating pictures. Mini pretends to be sorry and completely flabbergasted but Franky sees through it and runs out of school swearing.

Franky has a gun. Oh shit. She’s shooting it at some garbage and yelling “Fuck you, you bitches!” in a murderous rage. I guess it’s only a bb gun but those things hurt. You could shoot your eye out! Franky is interrupted by a creepy guy with rape eyes. He’s nice to her but it doesn’t really override the fact that he looks like if she didn’t have that gun he would be all over her. He agrees she shouldn’t have to take this shit anymore. After the episode a lot of people were calling this scene sweet. And yeah it was nice of some stranger to come and tell Franky that she’s beautiful when she was feeling like shit, but I got the heebie jeebies from him. Also he calls her a glorious fucking headfuck and I don’t know how that’s a compliment.

Franky comes home to Grace in her room. She broke in and is now staring at Franky’s mini town. Criminals, all of them. Grace sorta apologizes for Mini which Franky doesn’t accept obviously and Grace leaves. She sits down and pulls out the invite to Mini’s party and her manikin. She has a little conversation with him that goes “What do you think?” “…” “Yeah, me too.” She gets dressed up in a suit and puts her gun in her pocket.

Franky’s manikin just told her to kill a bunch of people.

Franky burns the dress Mini bought her and leaves for the party.

There’s a side scene of Alo and Rich trying to get into the party. They’re beaten up by the security woman. Neither of them are adequate.

Franky goes in and goes up to Mini. Mini is pissed that she’s there. She never formally revoked the invitation, but if the public humiliation is anything to go by Franky was uninvited. Mini starts to insult her and then Franky angrily recites all the names she’s been called, she’s heard it all before. She tells Liv and Grace she thinks they’d be great friends but they’re both cowards and don’t say anything. Franky decides not to shoot up the place and leaves.

Grace follows her with some champagne bottles and sees Rich and Alo. Franky sticks her gun in a mailbox, and then is kidnapped by Grace, Rich and Alo. I like that they do this when she’s obviously been traumatized by being isolated before by bullies and she has no idea that these guys aren’t going to rip off her clothing and cut off her hair.

They take her to a pool and go swimming. Alo gets into the pool naked. I would not have gotten into the pool after that. The two boys and Grace beckon her in and Franky strips down and dives. Franky is now friends with these three and is happy. Yay!

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