Cast Offs is a gem of British comedy/drama and Rophy quite fell in love with it. It’s a The Office-style mockumentary that centres around a group of six people with disabilities – six supposed ‘cast offs’ from mainstream society, who take part in a reality program set on a remote island. Can they band together against the elements? Will they bicker and fight in true reality TV style? Will they be adorable and hilarious and burrow their way into your hearts? Yes, yes, and yes.
We had a lot of trouble placing these scenes in order of favourite to least favourite, and so we decided to quit trying and approach things from a spoiler perspective. The scenes will be listed from least spoilery to most spoilery, so that those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this show yet can get a taste and then go away and buy the DVD without ruining all the fun for yourselves.
Having said that, any of you Skins fans out there really shouldn’t need a taste. All you should need to hear is ‘Jack Thorne’ – are we right?
(If that doesn’t convince you, we’re confident the screen caps will – this is one heck of a pretty show!)
10. The cutest game of ‘Fuck/Marry/Kill’ ever.
“I can even guess what you’d say, if it makes it easier.”
“Marry April. Easy.”
“She’s got perfect wife written all over her. I bet she’d find you really good crockery.”
“Yeah, she’s nice.”
“Then that leaves…me and Gabriella. You could always go the necrophilia route.”
“Kill us both. Shag us afterwards.”
Sophy says: The moment I started shipping it. All of the dialogue for this scene is so great, and it was hard to whittle it down to just a segment to quote. I love Dan’s naivete, how he wants it to be shag/marry/avoid, because he’s just cute as a silly little button like that. And I love what a contrast Carrie makes with her playful brazenness. The girl has guts – and okay part of that is a defense mechanism, because I think she’s pretty sensitive on the inside actually… but still… I adored that she put it out there from the get-go, all You and me, babe, how about it?
And I love how you’re thinking she’s going to go all emo and/or fish for compliments at the end there, but she totally doesn’t. One of the great things about this show is that the characters all completely defy your expectations at one point or another. Carrie was surprising me – and Dan – from day one.
Look at her little thinking-face! And look at the way he’s smiling at her! He’s all bashful and adorable! I can’t take it!
Rin says: Everyone loves a good game of FMK. Well actually, not really, a lot of the times the choices are too hard and I feel really bad and guilty afterwards.
BUT Dan and Carrie do it awesomely and with a twist. I liked how they were oh so very normal, almost mundane, in the way they got to know each other. They had very playful banter before this scene too, talking about where they’ve come from and showing genuine interest in the other. Cast Offs is very refreshing in that it never focuses on the disabilities of these characters, it’s a part of them sure, but it’s not everything. And throughout each episode we really get to see that, and it’s one of those shows where it’s almost impossible to not become invested in the characters.
Plus there’s the bonus of Carrie being from Australia. Although she describes Australia as an over-heated, mosquito-infested dump.
Sophy says: I’m sure she was just talking about Perth
09. The sing-along.
“No. You must have felt someone’s arse before! You’ve felt buttocks before, haven’t you, Tom? Okay, like feeling a big, nice, melony arse. Cup the cheeks, cup the cheeks with me!”
Sophy says: This scene was so sweet. I loved how insistent Gabby was on making Tom jump in and be a part of things, whether he can see or not. I loved all of the dialogue, especially the above line about feeling a big melony arse. And I just generally loved the sense of joy and the togetherness of it all, even if party pooper Carrie did go off to bed early.
Oh and the lighting. The lighting.
Rin says: I think the lighting in every freaking scene was gorgeous, but in this one especially. The sunset glaring over them all as they bond as a group (sans Carrie), and it made the whole scene really fresh and crisp, but warm at the same time. I was always cold while watching this show because my pants always whooshed straight off at the start of each episode as it was just too damn pretty.
I like the irony of teaching a blind man how to sign, and how at first he was a bit reluctant but by the end of it he was the one who kept going while no one else was. There was something just about the logistics of it too that I loved, in just how do you teach sign language to someone who’s blind. The way they described the signals and where to put your hands etc. was thoughtful.
I also think this is one of those moments you need to see from Gabby, in order to deal with the many flaws she shows a bit later on. Even though she does some bad things, ultimately you end up liking her because we’ve seen her be good and kind hearted, and for some reason you know that that’s more of who she is than the person who runs away.
08. The heroes get ketchupped.
“But not real blood in this case, because…”
“Carrie thinks it’s got rabies!”
Sophy says: I love this so much! I love the way they elevate killing the fox to the defeat of some grand foe, and the ladies make a show of their gratitude, and it all comes down to this adorable little ‘blooding’ ritual – except with ketchup, because… rabies. Or even if it doesn’t have rabies… ketchup is just a whole lot less gross than actual fox blood?
And I especially love the completely sincere and completely forward way that Carrie thanks Tom and kisses his cheek. Because he’s been kind of lazy and aloof with this whole thing, but he really came through on the fox front, and she makes sure he knows it. ♥
And look at the way Dan is looking at her again! I just cannot.
Rin says: This was plain wonderful in the way it just felt like such a joyous occasion between all of them. And how it was kind of silly, but nonetheless meaningful, because the fox was starting to become a real menace but Tom put a stop to all of it.
AND KETCHUP ON FACES. Skins/Cast Offs forever?
It was kind of gross how they burnt it in a box on top of the fire though.
07. Shakespeare on the beach.
“I’ll look no more. Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight… topple down headlong.”
Sophy says: This was such an amazing end to an amazing episode. Tom, the blooded hero, walking alone along a desolate beach, reciting Edgar’s lines from ‘King Lear’. It’s a perfect throwback to the earlier scene in which he has been coaching a famous actor in playing blind, for the role of Edgar’s father, Gloucester. That was a wonderfully meta moment, in that it made a commentary on excellent disabled actors so often being overlooked in favour of non-disabled actors even when the part is for a disabled character. And I think there was a certain bitterness on Tom’s part – a certain jealousy – he is an actor himself, after all, and from what we can see in this scene, he’s a damn good one, but his career has been limited to such lowlights as “blind man in lift.” I felt like it really spoke to one of the things Cast Offs is trying to do – simply give awesome disabled actors a chance to act – a chance to play actual characters, not simply aspects of their particular physicality. From what I understand that opportunity is all too rare.
And this scene on the beach… I feel like it’s kind of a meta moment too, in that it’s not just about Tom, but the actor who plays Tom – his moment, in front of the nation – the world – getting his Shakespeare on. And there’s a peace to it. A peace and a wistfulness, a melancholy and a triumph too.
Rin says: Can you tell that we really loved Tom’s episode? ‘Cause we did.
I, like Sophy, loved how we got to see him recite lines, and from memory mind you, as it spoke for both his experience on and off the island. The ketchup-ritual has seemingly given Tom the confidence to do what he wasn’t able to achieve off the island, and now here he strolls down the beach with a new found confidence and says his lines with conviction.
This was also one of those times when I was really grateful we studied King Lear in high school.
06. Worst. Nightmare. Ever.
“When your mum was pregnant…”
“Mm. With you. When she was pregnant, I used to have this dream, more or less every night. A nightmare.”
“A nightmare. Great. I was a nightmare.”
“She was having a baby, and I’d look down, and instead of you coming out of her, instead of that, there’d be a dog coming out of her. And I’d see its yappy face and I’d try to… push it back up her. Trying to push it…”
“I’m a horror film.”
“And then I realised it wasn’t a dog, as I’m pushing… I realised it’s you. That’s what my dad saw. A dog coming out of my mum.”
Sophy says: Okay, so this show is poignant and everything, and there were some pretty emotional scenes. But when we got to this one my heart just about fell out of my chest. It was simply devastating and one of the most ugly-beautiful things I’ve ever seen on TV. Will breaks my heart, his son breaks my heart… and honestly that kid who plays Will’s son? He needs to do a whole lot more acting work, please, because he’s wonderful.
And just, dear lord, the way it was shot. It was pretty impressive that this show is shot on an island and therefore full of beautiful scenery… but they managed to make this scene in a car in a dingey carpark perhaps more beautiful than anything else.
And just… that writing. How out of all the tension that has come before we’ve finally reached the climax – we’ve reached the tipping point of the day to day brutality that goes on in Will’s heart and mind. It’s too much, I don’t have words, I’ll leave the floor to Rin.
Rin says: Um. It’s a big floor. And it’s intimidating.
But I will say that this scene is hard to watch because you could feel it brewing and brewing and brewing and then it eventually bursts as Will breaks and takes it out on the car. And to make things worse, his son is still in the car, helpless and scared with nothing left to do but watch on. And it’s something that a child never wants to witness, their parents breaking down and losing it. They’re supposed to be the strong ones, the ones who hold you while you break down and cry. So I definitely felt the frustration and anger from Will, but I also felt the fear from his son. IT WAS PRETTY INTENSE. Also, I believe the young actor (Thomas Turgoose) is in other Jack Thorne productions, The Scouting Book For Boys and TIE ’86. Which I really really really have to see.
Sophy says: Omg, Scouting Book is on my amazon wishlist. Now that I’m putting it together, he might even be the kid on the cover! *peers* *adds TIE ’86 to wishlist*
05. April reminisces about her husband.
“There were a few who tried to bonk me at school. Fellow library monitors, that sort of thing. They’d say I was beautiful, and then try and put their hands down my knickers. But Andrew… he didn’t say I was beautiful. He said I was fabulous.
‘You are fabulous. You are fabulous. You are fa…'”
Sophy says: Um. I just. This is one of the sweetest, saddest little scenes ever in anything. Again, my heart nearly fell out of my chest when she put her finger through and used the photo as a kind of a puppet – her husband telling her lovely, sustaining things from beyond the grave… but it’s only her. There’s only her now. The gesture could so easily have come off as cheesy or overdone, but the actress played it with such perfect restraint, such aching awareness, that it felt completely natural – just a little bit of bittersweet whimsy.
And just… the story. It kills me. It breaks my heart that April is alone, but I love the way she defies expectations – she’s alone, but not because nobody’s ever loved her – oh no. April has had the big love story – the real love story – the one so many women only dream about. April has loved and been loved in return by one of the truly fine human beings of the world, a person for whom the body is the body and the heart and mind are what make you who you are.
She has been told she is fabulous, by someone who has made her believe it, and watching her grieve, you almost have to ask yourself if it really is better to have loved and lost.
I think that’s what April struggles with on the island… and I do think, as huge as her loss is, she shows she has the spirit to go on – and to try, every day, to see herself through her husband’s eyes.
Rin says: Guh, this broke my heart too. I liked the contrast of her life on the island and off, how she’s the nice almost-boring one of the group, but off the island she’s still living through this tragic loss, trying to find her way. And eventually it’s her time on the island that makes her find some peace with it all. Now I’m kind of upset we didn’t include the scene with her and her wedding ring, but I guess there were just too many brilliant moments that we couldn’t have them all? TOP TENS ARE HARD.
Sophy says: The show wouldn’t be worth doing a top ten about if we didn’t feel upset about leaving a whole lot of moments out!
04. Once upon a time…
“Once upon a time there was a princess… who was a witch. Who was a witch and a goblin. And she was cursed… and everything she touched broke. And so she had to run away.”
Sophy says: This scene is so small, so internal and so spectacular. There are no bells and whistles… and yet it has so much impact. And that’s the writing, which is shocking and beautiful, and the acting which is pitch perfect despair.
Gabby, again, defies expectations. You sort of expect the deaf girl who’s getting married to be… well… nice. And sort of grateful, right?
But Gabby’s not – she’s not grateful, and she’s not nice – or she’s not any nicer than the next person. I love that her conflict, isn’t about her disability causing her pain – it’s about her causing pain to someone she loves, because she has all the capriciousness, all the restlessness, all the bitchy skittishness and sweet self-loathing of any young woman who’s pretty and charming and pretty much gets everything – and everyone – she wants.
I love that Gabby is spoiled. I love that she fucks up. I love that she’s sorry for it. I love that she’s not grateful.
Rin says: This was such a gorgeous scene, in all aspects. Acting, camera work, dialogue etc. etc. I adored how it took place in the bathroom, sitting on a tub in her wedding dress because it provides such a stunning visual but also accompanies her story perfectly. I got the sense we were witnessing Gabby at her most vulnerable and intimate self, and even though I really didn’t want her to run away, I also knew that she couldn’t stay. There are so many grey areas with Gabby, and really I’m astounded by how they managed to create such rich characters in only 6 episodes.
Sophy says: That’s the dazzling thing about Cast Offs – how they achieved so much in so little time, because not a word, not a look, not a moment was wasted. And I thought Skins had a tight schedule!
03. Gabby’s baby is born.
“I’m shaking! My arms are really shaking – look. Don’t let me drop it.”
“No, no. I won’t.”
“Don’t let me drop her! Don’t let me drop her!”
Sophy says: THE DIALOGUE. I AM IN DIALOGUE HEAVEN. The way she pleads with Carrie not to let her drop “it” and Carrie reassures her, because Carrie is amazing and totally in charge, and then very quickly “it” becomes “her” and the smiles on Gabby’s face are just magic. I also love Will looking on and how it ties in with his episode – with his nightmare of birth. I think it’s actually quite a cathartic moment for Will emotionally, and definitely a big emotional moment for the viewer. Seriously, if you haven’t already seen the show, you’d better not be reading this far.
Rin says: HAHAHA. I get upset thinking about how many people we’ve spoiled by doing this but I know no other way of getting them to watch it! JUST WATCH IT OKAY YOU GUYS? SERIOUSLY. IT’S 6 EPISODES OF PURE BLISS. Well, not really, because it’s pretty heart-breaky at times, but at the end you’ll be very happy you did. OKAY? OKAY.
So. One of the best birthing scenes ever, y/y? I think my favourite thing, apart from that last cap with Gabby because FFFFFFF, was how it brought her and Carrie closer together. Previously they weren’t exactly besties but they put all of that behind them because this is real. And I can’t think of a bigger moment to bond over than helping deliver someones baby. That’s the kind of stuff you don’t come back from.
And Gabby! How you can feel and see her change the moment she holds her child. How the sun shines down on the both of them and everything feels new. This is definitely a new beginning for Gabby, and happiness has finally found her.
Sophy says: Yep. Gabby may be a lot of things, but you just know she’ll be everything that’s best in herself for her kid.
02. The gang give good spazz.
“Hey! Shall we give these townies a bit of a show? Really spazz out for them?”
Sophy says: Oh my god. How much did this make me squeal? A lot much. There was such a sense of freedom in it, as though their time on the island had really made them bond and kind of forget all their hang-ups. Except Carrie, but Carrie is a complicated woman, even if she’s the one who comes off as completely straight down the line. She presents herself as entirely liberated – the way she sees it, she doesn’t even really have a disability – she’s just different from most people, not a freak like these other five putting on their silly little show… and yet…
Rin says: HAHAAHHA. They are all kinds of amazing for doing this. Especially Gabby for spazzing out whilst holding her baby.
They are the cutest group of people and I just imagine them hanging out and having beers, catching up on the good old island days. (WHICH THEY SHOULD DO, DESPITE WHAT THEIR TALKING HEADS SUGGEST)
Except Carrie. She’s so snooty.
Sophy says: Snooty blondes Rophy loves them
Rin says: Like, fierce.
01. Happily ever after.
“Course I came.”
Sophy says: And yet. See this is why Carrie packs so much punch; this is why her episode had to come last.
She presents herself as so confident, so capable, so carefree, so happy, because why the heck wouldn’t she be happy – there’s nothing wrong with her – she’s a damn hot little person, isn’t she?
But she’s not. Happy. She’s sitting there on the side of the road in a clown costume, calling herself a freak… and that’s when we know – all the angst bubbling beneath Carrie’s bubbly surface? It has nothing to do with being a dwarf and everything to do with feeling like a fuck-up, in just exactly the same way so many young women feel like fuck-ups when they’re trying to figure their lives out.
Seriously. I’m fairly sure I have actually sat on a sidewalk at one point and called myself a freak. Or a dick. Or a loser. Or something of that nature. I may or may not have been wearing a clown costume, I’ll leave the visual up to you.
But really, could Carrie be any more relateable in this moment? Frankly, if you’ve never been where she is right now, you have disturbing levels of normal in you and I’m not sure I can be your friend, okay?
And then Dan appears and it’s all kisses and cuteness and happy endings and I’m just basking in it all and oh
Rin says: :(((((((((((((((((((((((((( COULD THERE HAVE BEEN A MORE PERFECT ENDING TO THE SERIES? NO. THE ANSWER IS NO.
The way she’s just so so so upset, right up until the moment she hears the wheels of Dan and she jumps up all excited. I love that she thought to call him, because really who was she trying to kid? And Dan is the best. He just is. And he’s Irish. So.
Sophy says: Snooty blondes and Irish dudes. Sometimes they work out.
If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you’d either already seen the show, or you stopped reading somewhere above, bought the DVDs and/or watched the show on SBS and have now come back to tell us how right we are. So, have at it. Tell us. We love nothing more than being right about TV.