When word of “Skins” started to hit the rumor mill, outrage and potential protests became the standard response of conservatives, evangelicals, parents groups, and so on. Why?
Well, because “Skins” is a program that, in a way, glorifies teenage promiscuity, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, and disrespect for authority of any kind.
Due to the fact that I had heard so much outrage over this new show, I decided to watch an episode. Truth be told, I was more offended by the poor acting and weak dialogue than any of the actions.
Reporters have said that the show has “crossed the line” in ways that no other program has…in history.
Yet, as I watched, I found that it wasn’t any worse than “Gossip Girl”, “90210”, or any of the crime dramas that air on a nightly basis.
I believe that the drama created prior to the airing of the first episode actually generated more interest in the program (maybe that’s what they were going for). Viewership dropped drastically after the first episode (again, most likely due to the poor acting, poor dialogue, etc).
Do I think it is an appropriate show for teenagers to be watching? No. But, I also believe that most of the programming on MTV is inappropriate for teenagers. I believe there are far more offensive programs airing on MTV than “Skins” (don’t even get me started on “The Real World” or “Jersey Shore” or any of the “reality” programming on any network).
Rob Sheffield, in his Rolling Stone article on the program, put it much better than I ever could:
“…the really shameful exploitation on MTV is the thriving ’16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom’ franchise, which has become a ‘Star Search’ for aspiring knocked-up teenagers. The whole point of ‘Teen Mom’ is to promise the jackpot of celebrity to the underage girl who gets pregnant in the most colorfully sordid circumstances. ‘Teen Mom’ is just sadistic, especially when you consider that the true casualties are the screwed-for-life babies who can’t sign the consent forms. ‘Teen Mom’ victimizes real-life kids and glamorizes their victimization; ‘Skins’ has fictional kids with fictional problems. It’s beyond idiotic not to see which is more ‘offensive’.”
So, those “sounding the alarm” on a program like “Skins” are not entirely wrong. It’s an awful program.
Here’s my suggestion…parents- pay attention to what your kids are watching. Talk to them about what you allow them and do not allow them to watch. Talk to them about the differences between fiction and nonfiction, reality and what television producers call “reality”. And, you might want to rethink allowing your kids to have a TV with cable (or computers or cell phones for that matter) in their bedrooms…it’s hard to monitor what goes on behind closed doors. Now, I’m not saying “burn the TV” or “only let your kids watch Christian television or listen to Christian music” (some of that is just as offensive, in slightly different ways). I’m just suggesting that we all think about what we watch and what our children watch. I’m suggesting that we have open dialogues with our families on how we engage with the culture around us.
So, will I be watching “Skins”? Nope. But, not because of the “offensive” content…but because it’s just a bad show.