By: Taylor Rigney
From the overly-bronzed cast of Jersey Shore to the always-arguing teenage parents on Teen Mom, MTV has always had a reputation for tiptoeing right up to the edge of appropriate television. With its latest too-hot-for-TV show, however, some argue that the station may have gone too far.
Skins, which is an American variation of a British series by the same name, chronicles the lives of several hedonistic teenagers who engage in all sorts of risky behavior, from substance abuse to unprotected sex, seemingly without reaping any kind of negative consequences. The pilot episode, which premiered on January 17th and attracted more than three million viewers (1.2 million of which were under the age of 18), abandoned certain unwritten rules within the television world. Instead of having the main characters learn the consequences of their actions by the end of the show, Skins wrapped up with the teens laughing about their dangerous behavior.
The show has gone under fire, not only for its lack of moral guidance, but also for the fact that some of the actors portraying these sexually-charged and morally bankrupt teenagers are actually underage themselves. The Parents’ Television Council has accused Skins of violating federal child pornography laws and excessive use of drug and alcohol references. The Council argues that the show is “the most dangerous” for teens, and I find myself agreeing.
It seems that the media has been taken over by this “do-as-you-please” attitude, and it’s nearly reached the point that I can’t even watch TV with my parents without some provocative advertisement or show coming on that embarrasses us all. Danny Flaherty, who plays Stanley on Skins, addresses this by saying that the show could be a “great conversation opener” for teens and parents. I don’t know about Flaherty’s parents, but the only conversation Skins would open up for me and mine would be about who would drive them to the hospital once they started having the heart attacks that would inevitably ensue if they watched this show.
Admittedly, drugs and sex are issues that every teen undeniably must face on a daily basis, but why can’t the show approach these matters in a more sensitive, not to mention, realistic, way? Practically, if a teen uses illegal drugs, one of two things will eventually happen: either the cops will find out, and he/she will be arrested; or his/her parents will find out, and he/her will be grounded for the rest of his/her life and forced to join the church choir and have weekly visits with the pastor (or is that just what my parents would do?).