Title: Skins S1.E03 “Jal”
Released: 2007
Series:  Skins (2007)

Previous episode: “Cassie”

Before we get into what’s going on with our girl Jal, I totally forgot what a huge bummer Skins actually is! I mean, as a human woman who has seen EVERY EPISODE, I knew that a majority of the plotlines can be very upsetting. But as I went into this rewatch, I guess I only remembered the rave-y, high on E while dancing to Britney parts. It’s gonna get bleak y’all!

While Jal’s episode isn’t super dark, it’s certainly not a lighthearted romp either. It’s focused around Jal preparing for her finalist position as Young Musician of the Year—playing the clarinet. As any shy, type-A baggy clothing wearing teenage girl—there’s lots of side eye, makeover revelations and daddy issues! Here’s what we’ve learned about Jal.

1. She serves up real talk

Jal #realtalks everyone. She starts with Michelle while her and Tony are making out. Jal’s right—Tony and Michelle are totally disgusting and it’s even worse when they go to bone. But that leads to Jal making Sid help her shop for a dress which may be the greatest shopping expedition ever! Mostly because Sid’s super uncomfortable around anything having to do with women. But Jal takes the opportunity to talk to Sid about his unrequited love for Michelle. She patiently listens to his bullshit story about Michelle getting drunk and thinking Sid’s Tony as his “seduction technique.”

She #realtalks her dad (a former rapper/current producer) about his new SUPER young girlfriend, Alicia, a bland blonde pop star. But she also tells him, heartbreakingly, that just because Jal’s looking more like her mother doesn’t mean he should push her away or waste his talent.

However, the one thing Jal may not be able to #realtalk is seeing Tony kissing another girl.

2. She’s supremely dependable

Unlike other teenagers, Jal is prepared. We see her actually practice the clarinet, pick out a dress and make it to the competition. When we see Jal and Sid get attacked by Mad Twatter (ugh this guy again) and his creepy associate, they terrify both of them and break Jal’s clarinet to smithereens. I honestly don’t think any other character on this show (except for maybe Tony) would make it to the competition after a hangover let alone getting robbed, threatened and groped. Jal’s a tough lady.

3. She’s clearly talented and smarter than everyone around her

I think it’s obvious whenever Jal’s around her friends but it’s wildly apparent when she goes toe-to-toe with that racist bitch director of the school. This woman wants Jal to do interviews about her amazing achievement for a “girl of her background”

“Are you fucking serious?”

UM WHAT BITCH?! She further insults her by passing her talking points on how the school has helped her with overcoming her “handicaps.” If it was me, I’d rage. But Jal quietly protests by throwing the interview and not mentioning any of the “points”—she just says “no” to everything.

4. She’s gorgeous but doesn’t realize it

Homegirl doesn’t know how to dress herself at all. When Michelle has decided to remove herself from Tony’s D—she focuses on “making over” Jal. And her wide eyed reaction to the first tiny shiny little black dress Michelle pulls out is hilarious. We all know Jal’s gorgeous. So the dumb boy reactions to her sparkly, cleavage baring dress are all too real. We’ve all been there when a dude friend back in the day realized you had boobs. The reaction is always astounding. And for me, my first 8th grade foray into an unpleasurable 60 second boob grasp.

Necessary Jal Judgment

“I feel you.”

Random Observations

  • Jal’s dad makes me sad when he talks about the mother in very vague, very sad terms.

  • I’d like a buddy comedy spin-off with Jal and Sid.

  • Jal’s rapper brothers are super annoying but they’re sweet so shante they stay.

  • I’m in love with Jal’s foulmouthed music instructor. She’s clearly a boss in the classroom and the bedroom because she totally pushed Doug’s (the principal dude) face back down where it needed to be. Respect.

  • Effy’s silent BJ observation is perfect. Also, it reminded me that Effy’s weirdly silent for a really long time.

  • All the adult figures on this show are AWFUL. I’m pretty sure what they said to the youths on Skins is a #dark version of the “waw waw waw” of the Peanuts teachers.

  • Michelle’s observation that “looking shagable” is all she does is super depressing. Michelle you have much more to offer! We know it!

  • The boys trying to get into the studio party is just embarrassing. That bouncer (who has a SNAKE WITH HIM) was not having it.

  • I totally forgot about the Mad Twatter twist in this episode. I assumed the creepy older dude hitting on Jal was just that. But praise be for Jal’s dad taking care of Twatter—I’m praying he doesn’t come back.

  • Teen sociopath Tony Stonem continues his path of destruction by flirting with a girl who is Michelle’s opposite in front of her. Michelle does what any high school girl (or woman really) would and goes to protect her territory. Of course Tony ends up making out with the blonde girl and taking her home while Michelle drunkenly dances in the other room. Standup guy that one!

  • The conversation between Sid and Michelle bums me out especially when she kisses him because we’ve all been that person. And now, it appears, that Cassie’s that person for Sid.

  • Jal and her father give each other the same exasperated look to each other all the time—it’s adorable.

Next week: Chris’s mom disappears! We’re watching a super fun and light show about teens!

About the Contributor:

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She grew up on binge reading Sweet Valley High and watching Saved by the Bell at a very young age. Hence, she is now unable to grow out of this life-long phase. She loves terrible teen television, young adult novels and probably listens to One Direction more than she should. She also enjoys more adult things like margaritas on patios and dance parties. A Marcus Flutie/Nate Archibald man-hybrid remains her ideal.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.