There has been a lot of talk about MTV’s new show “Skins,” a show that follows a group of teens through the crazy ups and downs of adolescence. While this may seem like every other teen show, the show is under fire from various parent groups such as the Parents Television Council (PTC) for “glorifying teen drug and alcohol abuse” and “baseless sexual content” (Fox News). To be exact, the PTC has found 42 references to drugs and alcohol and is even alluding to violations of child pornography. Money is power and now the show is beginning to feel the heat, with advertisers Taco Bell, Wrigley, General Motors and Subway all pulling advertising.
Now, MTV execs are responding. Below is a snippet of what MTV has to say:
“Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way…We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers. We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate.” (MSN)
True, they have taken steps to alerting viewers about what they may see. In fact, I signed onto MTV.com to catch an episode of the show myself and before I could even view “Skins”, a prompt appears alerting me that is mature content and I had to enter my birth date to view. Now, it doesn’t state what the minimum age is to view, but if the show is catered to teens, then I’m guessing the cut off age is not 18. In a society where movies, television music and entertainment are all over-sexed, you have to wonder: Do we really need another show full of teens running around recklessly experimenting with drugs and their sexuality?
The clique “sex sells” bit is way overdone so there really isn’t much shock value left in watching people parade around in lewd scenes. The show reminds me of a weird hybrid of Degrassi meets (the original) 90210 meets The ‘L’ Word. However, I will say, even I clutched my pearls a few times at what I watched, mainly because I was surprised that 14-17 yr old kids know how to do HALF of that stuff on the show and also because my high school years were NOTHING like that. Granted, yes, I know, it’s TV, but still.
I heard a quote somewhere that reminds me of this controversy: It’s not sex that sells; it’s the feeling the image gives you that gives you an emotional reaction. So if there isn’t much reaction, then there won’t be much selling of the sex.
What do you think? Is the PTC being too sensitive or has MTV gone way past the boundaries of decency?