Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Skins Too Risque For TV?

In the U.S. a whole lot of sponsors are pulling out of MTV's new series Skins which is all about teenagers hooked on sex and drugs.
Subway is the latest ccompany to pull its ads after Taco Bell and Wrigley gum also left.
The American based Parent Television Council had urged members to contact the series' sponsors and asking the federal U.S. government to investigate the show for child pornography.
But in Canada?
Well, Skins debuted last week --but up here it runs on the advertising free cable channel The Movie Network Mondays at 10 p.m..
I checked out the preview episode and I can see why the shouting has started.
First of all Skins isn't the only TV series dealing with adolescents and sex. Think Gossip Girl. Think One Tree Hill. The difference is that on these glossy prime time soaps the actors playing high schoolers are all over 20 and some are nearer to 30.
Skins doesn't use actors --it recruited real teens and let them behave as same as the raucous teens we often spot on the subway. It's this dash of reality that is truly shocking.
There's nothing pretty about Skins. In Gossip Girl the wealthy youngsters prance around in coutourier duds. The gals are freshly made up with every blemish hidden.
These special adolescents make out but without any consequences --no sexual diseases or unwanted pregnancies.
So which series is more real?
On Skins we're getting an eyeful of bad behavior. These are suburban teens out of control (the series was actually filmed in Toronto).
The New York Times calls it a flagrant display of child pornography.
It seems to be the very youth of these participants that is causing some degree of mental anguish. Some of these "actors" really are only 15.
I'm told that the premiere episode was almost a scene for scene remake of the original British show -- if that's true it explains some odd social behavior that might be more appropriate in British society.
I'll grant the show is racy. But it's not sexy at all. These kids are completely mixed up --one of the girls gets stoned and then tries to cut people around her.
One of the lads spends his time trying to get laid and falls afoul of a dangerous drug dealer.
Tony is the lead teen and he deliberately keeps his dad from using the one bathroom in the house every morning. At school he's especially solicitous about pal Stanley, a blondie with a virginity problem.
Maybe the series worked better in Britain. The antics of these kids seem somewhat dispirited. The suburban streets they inhanit are always deserted as if in a dream.
But the series wasn't made for me.
MTV on both sides of the border is selling a life style. And it plainly is too realistic for younger viewers hooked on the glam of Gossip Girl to truly care.
The teens on Skins need professional help. So whatever Skins is peddling it's not child pornography.
MY RATING: **1/2.

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