Being part of a fandom is kind of like being in a relationship.
Twilight and I had a codependent thing going there for a while, where you know the relationship is unhealthy and as bad for you as a Twinkie but like a masochist you just want MOAR.
Me and Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Dawson’s Creek go way back. We’re old friends, very close. Then there was that period of estrangement when I discovered other dramas like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood, where we grew apart and changed as people. But lately I find myself watching old school stuff, just like old times. I’m quite moved.
Misfits? This is my newest, shiniest relationship, but one where I’m likely to have unprotected sex and catch an STD.
What do I mean? Well, let me kick off my first ever Misfits recap, going back right to the start of the series, and show you the crazy, sexy, gritty funny show that this British dramedy is!
Misfits is about a motley crew of five British teens doing community service who are the last group of people you would want to have superpowers, and what’s more would probably flip off anyone who told them something like, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Yet, suddenly they become anti-superheroes of sorts, endowed with powers that can be both a curse and a blessing and are rooted in a dominant personality trait/insecurity they possess and their emotions at the time of the freak storm that brings about their metamorphosis.
I fell in love with the series because it shows you how ordinary people would REALLY react if through some weird twist of fate they got superpowers. Being a British dramedy, everything is gritty and unsanitized, with the only real colour on the screen often the garish orange overalls that are the uniform of our group of misfits. Beats wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants.
You can YouTube the entire episode:
As the episode opens, we’re introduced to the various members of our Breakfast Club delinquents.
Obviously, they are all the criminal, but the other stereotypes are there.
We’ve got Alisha, the princess.
The opening shot of the camera trailing up her near naked body as she gets into her orange jump suit makes it obvious that her sexuality is her defining trait. She pushes her boobs together in this sequence and I have a moment of jealousy, because I am the type of girl who has had one of my guy friends say, “Cherie, you are the only chick I know who guys actually look in the eyes when they’re talking to you.”
We’ve got Curtis, the jock.
Curtis doesn’t need a head shot to introduce him, because really, when you have abs like that who needs a useless bodily appendage like a head?
Ok, fine, be that way. I won’t completely objectify him. Here he is in all his glory:
We’ve got Simon, who is a mix of the brain and the weirdo.
Just in case you are curious to see what he looks like outside of the orange jumpsuit…
But that’s a story for another season!
We’ve got Kelly, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, or in this British context, “the chav”.
And then we’ve got Nathan.
I’m not really sure how to categorise this little bugger.
Oh, Nathan. You are such a prick, but you do it with such conviction, and my love for you knows no bounds.
Always ready with a smart word or three and a tendency to push things just that little too far, Nathan is basically a Leprechaun in heat who is somehow knicker-wettingly charming. Oh yeah, did I mention that he is Irish and has a kickass accent, particularly when he says words with “ar” in them? I could hear him talk about stealing cars all day long, no joke.
He isn’t ripped. In fact, he has a pathetically skinny body, but in this little gem of a scene…
…which happens later down the track (believe me when I say there is MUCH more to this little striptease than this GIF shows) he had my girly senses pinging. He also has this bouffant-y, curly hair, all the better for us ladies to hang onto.
Prepare yourself for him. He’s like a dirty, uncouth Seth Cohen.
Oh yeah, and there is a sixth guy. Don’t get too attached to him.
You just know once you see this white guy trying to be a black rapper with his oversized cap and bling necklace that he’s a goner. He does smoke a cigarette in a cool way though, before he gets killed, so there’s that in his favour. He puffs it out and then “fu-fu-foofs” the smoke back into his mouth in a way that made me want to reach for a cigarette.
The probation worker looking after their community service tries to deliver an inspirational speech.
Probation worker: People out there think you’re scum. This is your opportunity to show them that they’re wrong.
Nathan: Yeah, but what if they’re right?
That is the line where I fell madly, deeply, passionately in love this character. He is such a jackass!
Also, I don’t know if it’s a British thing, but loads of the characters punctuate their sentences throughout the series with a mini kiss, like Nathan does here.
Curtis, who is obviously the least fucked up of the group and later kind of becomes the moral compass (and the bearer of the most hilarious WTF expressions on his face when Nathan is Nathan), says “I shouldn’t be here, man. Can I move to a different group? This isn’t gonna work for me.”
Kelly: Erm, what makes you think you’re better than us?
Kelly has this thick accent that is basically like white noise and gives the most awesome attitude to everything she says. I have to rewind her scenes at least five times just to decipher what the f she is saying half the time. Also, the actress playing her makes the best reaction faces ever, for reals. ❤ her!
Nathan: That’s just a noise, am we supposed to understand that?
Kelly: [flips him off] Do you understand that?
Nathan: I think she likes me!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that is the beginning of my joint OTP for this series.
Yes, I have two OTPs for Misfits. I don’t give a damn if that goes against the rules, Misfits basically picks up the rules book and tears it up anyway, so why can’t I?
Nathan, who is clearly a gentleman and a scholar of the book How to Annoy People and Get Them to Threaten to Stab You, gets into a fight with Random Sixth Dude. They push and shove, playfully from Nathan’s end and pseudo-angry Gangsta-ery from RSD’s end, with the other misfits looking on in delight, as we enter the credits.
It’s kind of hilarious because these guys are so skinny and un-buff that testerone-filled posturing is in no way convincing on either one of them, so if they did get down and dirty and one of them was hurt it would be like twig, snapped.
Also the credit song, Echoes by dance-punk band The Rapture, is AWESOME. I’ve been blaring the song and rocking out to it every morning ever since downloading it after watching my first Misfits ep.
I don’t want to give it away at this point of the recap, but there are clues in the credits about each of the powers the misfits will end up getting.
We jump into the next scene, which is just pure, mindless exposition (don’t worry, you’ll get the reference later on ;)) about what a bunch of the characters did to end up with ASBOs (Anti Social Behaviour Orders).
Nathan approaches the situation from a “when life hands you melons, you screw them” philosophy to convince Kelly to tell him what she did.
Nathan: This is a chance to network with other young offenders. We should be swapping tips. Brainstorming!
Curtis was an Olympic-level runner who made one stupid mistake, getting caught with drugs on him, which means he is banned from athletics for two years. Ordinarily someone in his position might get let off with a warning, but because of his high profile status, he’s being used as an example to other youths.
Kelly got into a public fight with a girl who called her a slag. This is our first real hint that as much as she has a tough exterior, exemplified by a chav-like appearance of scraped-back hair and dark eyeliner, she is incredibly sensitive to the way others view her. The impact others’ perceptions have on her becomes manifest in her superpower.
Nathan pesters Simon, who he calls “Weird Kid”, about what he did. Aww, poor Simon, I just want to hug him, even though I love Nathan. He’s so awkward and uncomfortable.
He tells Simon that he looks like a panty-sniffer then fellates a poor, innocent paintbrush, getting treated to an Angry Spock look from Simon, who finally relents and says that he isn’t a pervert, he tried to burn down a house.
Nathan makes the squeak of a guy finishing prematurely in bed and mimicks a flaccid penis with his paintbrush. I question why I love him as dearly as I already do when he is SUCH. A. JACKASS. It just can’t be said enough!
Nathan claims to have gotten done for eating some Pick N Mix, which Kelly brands “bollocks”, but it is so stupid you just know it is probably the truth. Plus, people like Nathan aren’t necessarily arrested for the crime, but for being Nathan – an insufferable idiot who just doesn’t know how to back down in a situation, even when it is necessary to save his skin. And god bless him for being that way, because hilarity ensues whenever he is on my screen.
Random Sixth Dude also storms off after getting paint on his cap, lending credence to my theory that men are just as precious about their favourite item of clothing/accessory as women are, if not more so.
The probation worker comes to check on them just as some freaky stormy weather comes rolling in.
The “Track and Field” emblem on the probation worker’s t-shirt is totally foreshadowing, people! Because very soon, he is running for his life with the others as massive hailstones start falling from the sky.
They make a run for the community centre, which the probation worker fumbles to unlock it all the madness.
Out of nowhere, they are struck by lighting and thrown into the air. The screen goes all black, and we are treated to Misfits’ answer to interpretive dance.
There’s a really cool cut back to reality when the screen returns to normal after they hit the ground HARD.
Kelly is the first to have her power kick in.
What’s interesting about a lot of the misfits’ powers is how little control they have over them initially, and in some cases they never get a handle on them fully. We discover that Kelly is telepathic, a skill that is activated when Alisha is thinking about her appearance in a derogatory way. It’s no accident that the first thought she hears is nasty and something she really doesn’t want to know. Kelly’s sensitivity about others’ perception of her, and also her deep empathy for others being bullied and judged, which we see throughout the course of the series, underpins her power.
Random Sixth Dude is chilling in the community centre bathroom when the probation officer walks in and gives us a, “Hereeeeeeeeee’s Johnny!” moment by axing his way through the door of the stall he is in and cutting him up into bloody pulp.
Apparently the probation workers’ power is to go absolutely mental with rage because he was angry at the mouthy little idiots he was being forced to oversee when the storm hit. At first it is intermittent rage where he seems to black out what he has done, but later he just goes completely and totally psycho.
Nathan heads home to discover that he has been kicked out of the house by his mother because he drives away each and every man she tries to have a relationship with after his father left.
Nathan’s Mum: Nothing anyone says ever hurts you. Not everyone’s like that.
This is a pretty telling quote about the nature of the power he develops, which we don’t discover this episode. Any guesses what it might be?
It would be easy to demonise his mother, but she clearly feels guilty about her decision. As much as Nathan is a fictional character I adore to pieces, I could understand people getting fed up with someone like him in real life.
It’s heartbreaking that when he tries to find a place to crash and calls everyone in his little black book, it emerges he doesn’t have single friend willing to take him in. This is his hometown, so the fact that he has people who obviously are happy to party with him but aren’t real friends is so sad.
Later, Kelly is making out with her fiancee when she overhears him wondering if she has had sex with loads more people than him and if she is cheating on him.
She has a violent reaction to his thoughts, yelling “I’m not a slag” and punching him in the face and earning a Spidey cheer.
Obviously, she is hyperaware of the stereotypes other people have about “chavs” or from the lower socio-economic group that she is in, like them being sexually promiscuous, and responds strongly when someone thinks she is living them out.
Needless to say, the couple won’t be going to the chapel and getting married anymore after this little exchange.
Nathan ends up crashing in the community centre. The next morning he stumbles down to the bathroom, and, bleary eyed, he completely misses the carnage and blood around him, and it barely registers with him how odd it is that half of the door of the stall he has gone into is missing. That is pretty much me before my morning caffeine hit.
He sneaks out a side door and joins the others as they file in for the day’s work.
When they go into the locker room to change into their overalls, Simon discovers Random Sixth Dude’s bloody cap. He tries to bring it to the attention of everyone else, but they completely ignore him.
Nathan also takes off his shirt in this scene, in case you were wondering
Just like Kelly can’t control her telepathy at first, Simon is suddenly rendered invisible completely involuntarily – and invisibility in this mythology means he becomes inaudible to the others as well. Invisibility always seemed like one of the coolest powers you could ever have to me, but like oh so sage Angel once said on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, looking at no reflection in a mirror is an overrated pleasure. Invisibility in this case isn’t something he has chosen, but is done to him. Also, if the proverbial tree in the forest arguably doesn’t exist if there is no one to hear it fall, does a person exist if you can’t hear their voice, like when Simon calls out to the others to no avail?
Just in case you think I’m getting all deep on you, here is a nice shot of Curtis’ arms in a wifebeater to remove any suspicions of that.
Kelly asks the others if anything weird has happened to them.
Nathan claims to have felt a faint tingling in his anus, which surprisingly no one is interested in hearing more about.
Simon thinks to himself that he should mention what happened to him, but doesn’t want to sound like a freak.
Kelly overhears his thoughts and gently probes further.
Simon: “Something happened to me.”
Nathan: “Are you a virgin? [sings in deep baritone-esque voice].
Kelly: “Shut up! What, what was it?”
Simon: “It’s nothing.”
Nathan, naturally, is turned on by a woman telling him to shut it and starts thinking to himself, “Would I? I think I would. Oh my God, I’m thinking about shagging the chav. Get a grip!”
I’ve decided that British slang is the best. Innit, bollocks, chav, shagging, snogging, proper [insert word here] – these words and phrases are all golden!
Kelly gives Nathan a good, hard box around the ears, and he is of course mystified about why she is slapping him out of the blue. Hitting is basically foreplay to these two (well, Kelly hitting Nathan), so fon’t feel too sorry for him. In fact, it may be the only OTP I’ve ever had that could be measured in smacks or body blows (not THOSE kinds of body blows ;))
Kelly storms off and is confronted by the probation officer about not being allowed to walk off. She mouths off, he gets MAAAAAAAADDDD, she head butts him, and suddenly he turns into a zombie.
Regular Spidey readers will know that the way to my heart is with a good schlocky zombie plotline, so I loved this little development.
Back at the community centre, Nathan’s playing a little foosball with Curtis and gives us some insight into his personal boundaries, or lack thereof. Curtis’ reactions are LOLarious.
Nathan: So how’re we gonna do this man?
Curtis: Do what?
Nathan: Divide them up. Cause I gotta tell you, the one with all the frizzy hair, I don’t see me and her getting it on.
Curtis: Because she’s beautiful?
Nathan: No. Because she’d be way too much effort. She looks seriously high maintenance man. You’d have to treat her really well. Psht. But that other one-
Nathan: Whatever. A couple of Bacardi Breezers man, and I reckon she’d be good to go. I might need more than a couple myself, but, who’s counting?
Curtis: And the girls, do they have a say in this?
Nathan: A group of young people doing mindless shit all day. Face it man, it’s gonna happen. It always does, it’s biology or physics, one of those.
Now, the thing about Nathan is that I love him, but he isn’t a character I view with rose coloured glasses. He doesn’t have a heart of gold. He really is just a jerk with a softer side that comes out occasionally and abandonment issues that help you understand though not justify why he is the attention seeking jackass that he is.
He’s not above being dubious about sober consent when it comes to sex, and in all likelihood his braggery about his experience is probably puff and wind (backed up later by some of his sex scenes later in the series).
The fact that you can love a character like this and ship him with anyone at all is a testament to actor Robert Sheehan’s charisma and the character’s sheer, winning, infectious confidence and sense of fun.
The group, minus Kelly, gather again, and Alisha starts telling the others why she got her ASBO.
It turns out she was caught in a car four times over the limit driving home from a party and was completely disrespectful to the cop who tested her blood alcohol, asking him if she should suck or blow.
She starts simulating the blowjob she gave the blood alcohol tester on a water bottle while the Curtis, Simon and Nathan look on with expressions of permanently frustrated erections on their faces.Alisha isn’t afraid to wield her sexuality like a weapon, and takes obvious mischievous pleasure in taking hold of their attention so absolutely in this way. This is all about to get turned on its head though.
I also love Alisha’s non-earth logic about why her ASBO is bullshit – she thinks that the cop not falling for her routine must mean he is gay or something, and that it is unfair she is in this position anyway because she never wanted to go to the party in the first place. Love!
While Alisha plays suck and blow, Kelly is chased by the now rabid probation worker, and she skids in a total wreck and yelling not to go outside because the probation worker will kill them. No one believes her story about hearing voices in her head and weird stuff happening (“have you been sniffing glue?” Alisha asks derisively).
Nathan is sitting in a wheelchair and claims his legs have stopped working after the tingling in his anus spread. Kelly, totally frustrated with him, kicks his leg HARD. It really is like an inversion of the old schoolyard principle of a boy liking you if he pulls your hair.
Simon squeaks up about his power of invisibility, but is completely emasculated when he is unable to proactively show this power when the others are watching. It’s like a weird form of performance anxiety.
Nathan makes a motion to open the door and Kelly stops him.
Kelly: Don’t go out there, he will kill you!
Nathan: Course he would, because he’s such a badass.
Nathan: [eyes her seductively and thinks to himself] I would, I would definitely shag her.
Curtis proclaims all of this bullshit and opens the door. Kelly, who had sprinted up and tried to stop him, gets bashed in the head by the zombified probation worker.
Time suddenly stops and we discover that Curtis, the athlete who has such deep regrets about his past actions, can turn back time. I love how they show this by reflecting the sequence of recent actions shifting backwards in his eye.
It’s interesting to note that his ability to re-wind time is involuntary too and triggered by him feeling guilt about something that has just happened. All too often time travel can be used as a cure all in sci fi series, so it’s nice to know that his power won’t work in all situations. Otherwise, there would be no consequences to any of their actions.
He also gets this hilarious “Wah!” look on his face when he stops at a certain point back in time.
They realise Kelly is telling the truth about the probation worker and try to get away through the community centre back entrance, discovering Random Sixth Dude’s body in the process.
Along the way, Curtis grabs Alisha’s arm reassuringly and suddenly goes into a sexual frenzy saying, “I’ve got to have sex with you right now. You’re so beautiful. Let’s do it right now.”
I thought that that vampire dude in Eclipse being able to sense the intensity of Bella and Edward’s relationship has the worst power ever, but this one takes the cake.
A lot of people think that Alisha’s ability, whereby someone becomes completely overcome with lust at her touch, is linked to her belief prior to the storm that she was irresistible – in other words now she is literally irresistible. I think it also feeds into the insecurity a lot of pretty girls would have of wondering whether they are only thought of as an object of lust.
Simon realises that her power only works when she is touching someone. It apparently prevents them controlling their most sexually deviant thoughts, because when Alisha tests it on him he says, “I want to piss on your tits.”
Nathan hilariously tells him later this is something he might want to keep between him and his internet service provider.
The probation worker suddenly bursts in, and Kelly comes to the rescue, banging him over the head with a bucket and then stomping on his head to kill him. I love that it isn’t a manly man of the group that saves their asses.
The misfits think about coming clean to the police but realise that as young offenders it’s unlikely that anyone will believe them. So they bury the bodies of both the probation officer and the Random Sixth Dude.
Nathan realises he is the only one yet to discover his power, which I ADORE because being the only one in the group without a superpower yet evident is a great way to humble this cocky little bastard. Of course, as Simon points out, “maybe you do have one, but you just haven’t discovered it yet.”
The next morning at the community centre, when a fill in probation worker confronts them about whether they know anything about the disappearance of the two men, Nathan secures his status as a fictional legend.
He concocts an elaborate scenario, completely with over-the-top gesticulations to illustrate what he claims happened.
Nathan: A few days ago, I go into the toilets. Tony and Gary were in there. They’re butt naked, Tony has Gary by his hair- like this- He’s just doin’ him… Doggy style… And Tony’s like, “Ooo who’s your daddy?! I’m your daddy! I’m BIG daddy! Oh! Oh yeah, you like that? Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, I’m daddy cooool!”
The little hip jut and hands-on-his-hips flourish he does at the end of this speech is hilarious and wrong on too many levels for me to humanly fathom.
The other characters obviously agree with me.
We finish the episode with Nathan trying to discover what his power is. He unsuccessfully tests out whether he can fly, leading to bruises to his pride and butt.
Simon ponder whether they are superheroes now.
Nathan: You lot, superheroes? No offence, but in what kind of fucked up world would that be allowed to happen?
I liked this little on the nose acknowledgement of the genre they are working within, and the fact that Misfits won’t be sticking by all the normal conventions.
The intentionally cheesy “superhero” shot at the end, where the camera dramatically pans up off their orange jumpsuits was the perfect finish to what is definitely my favourite new series.