New ‘Skins’ pushes limits of teenage life
Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011 15:01
In case you changed the channel after last week's special Monday episode of Jersey Shore, I figured I'd fill you in on all the hype and drama surrounding MTV's new series Skins.
I guess it wouldn't be fair to call it a "new series," the show is actually an adaptation of a British series by the same name.
Nearly a month before it aired, MTV started advertising incessantly during its prime time shows and it definitely got them some conservatives' panties in a bunch.
A week before its release date, Skins had the honor of being named the "most dangerous television show ever" by the Parents Television Council.
If not a blatant example of puffery, that statement is at least a bit of a stretch.
The series focuses on a group of teens whose lives are all about drinking, doing drugs and having sex; all without any serious or permanent consequences.
I'll take a moment to say here that I've seen every single episode of the British version which airs on Channel 4, and when MTV's advertising campaign began for the series I started screaming profanities at the television set.
Some things just shouldn't be tampered with, and at least to me, Skins is one of them.
Anyone who's seen it will tell you that the show's best quality, besides its slapstick humor, is its extreme raunchiness, an aspect I knew MTV wouldn't be able to match, mostly thanks to all the silly censorship laws we have in the States.
Even though MTV's adaptation is clearly cleaned up, people are still going crazy on the pseudo-sexual scenes in nearly every episode.
When it comes to sex it seems we're total prudes here in the States, especially in comparison to those nymphos in the UK. We'd rather have our TV screens bombarded with violence than witness the simple act of fellatio.
Most of what MTV is receiving is criticism and sponsors pulling out, but now it seems they may actually find themselves in legal trouble.
The third episode, set to air Jan. 31, features a back view of Chris walking down the street naked after being locked out of his own house.
That's right, network executives are worried that one innocent bum could put them in jeopardy of violating child pornography laws.
Not because the scene is meant to be sexual in any way, but because the actor playing Chris is under 18.
If they're that concerned they should just cast someone older than 18 to serve as a butt double.
I'm all for sex, drugs and nudity on TV, and having seen the original version, I really found nothing vulgar or extremely offensive in the remake thus far, although only one episode has aired.
My biggest concern is that MTV's version just doesn't hit the mark as far as quality goes.
I'll give them props for keeping the plot line accurate, but they changed the character names and personas of several cast members as well as several smaller details like the comforter on Tony's bed.
The biggest change I noticed was that they totally cut out Maxxie, the attractive blonde homosexual and replaced him with a lesbian cheerleader named Tea.
Americans really don't like sex on TV, but it seems gay male sex is where they draw the line.
Skins' fate at this point is uncertain especially considering the first episode is tame compared to later episodes of the series.
Basically, Skins is Degrassi on steroids minus the life lesson.
I think what parents are really worried about is that these kids experience no consequences for their extreme actions and they don't want their children to develop the same rebellious attitude.
Although I really don't have much faith in today's youth, I'd like to believe they're not stupid enough to think that they can reenact one of the many exaggerated scenarios in the series, like driving a stolen car into a pond or dropping a baby.
I'd be lying if I said that I found the MTV version entertaining or funny in any way, because I didn't enjoy it in the slightest bit, to be honest.
I'm really indifferent toward whether their experiment on scripted teen sexuality succeeds or fails because I don't plan on watching it as religiously as I did the original.
I just want critics and organizations to be more accepting of the series and stop crying foul over every French kiss or bong hit.
Teenagers are going to have sex, do drugs and all that other fun stuff, and showing it on TV via paid actors won't change that in any way.