I finally did it. I broke down and watched the premiere episode of Skins US.I did my best to stay away from it based solely on the reaction from my Twitter time line. The general reaction was a negative one and I had no desire to see why.
Instead of watching the premiere I re-watched the first episode of Skins Vol. 1 ‘Tony’ on Instant Netflix. I was instantly reminded why I loved this show so much; the kids are ‘bad’, the content is ‘edgy’ and the situations are ‘ridiculous’. It’s everything one could want in a teen drama, uncensored.
Huge mistake. My curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to watch the US version to compare notes.
What I saw was pretty much the exact same story line from the first episode of the BBC America series (also titled ‘Tony’) with several key differences.
- Less swearing
- Less nudity
- Less drug use
After 45 minutes of deja vu I sat in silence. That’s it? That’s it?! I felt cheated! All this hype and controversy over something I’ve seen before (and done better)? I expected more, considering the original series. People are upset because of something that we have seen before? Really America?
Taco Bell pulled their ads from the series because it was too racy; the parent company of MTV asked the show to ‘tone it down’; there is even a debate about future episodes breaking child pornography statutes.
Is America really that shocked to see teenagers acting like, get this, teenagers! You may not have experimented with sex and drugs, listened to terrible R & B music and used preposterous slang when you were in high school, but that doesn’t mean no one else did, either.
As a culture we are bombarded with sexual messages. The average teenager is exposed to hundreds of sexual images daily. What older generations find racy and offensive (such as Skins) is now normal. What, you expected us not to notice? Silly rabbit.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 75 percent of prime-time programs contain sexual content. Only 14 percent of those incidents mention any risks or responsibilities that go along with sexual activity.
We use sex to sell cars and cleaning supplies but featuring it on a cable network’s (copy cat) show is unthinkable! Teenagers could get the wrong idea from a show they have (probably) already seen.
I’m not saying I am for or against Skins US, but I will say this: our society’s completely dis-ownership of sexual identity is no longer acceptable. We leave the most important ‘talks’ to school’s with not-so-hidden agendas and television programming that doesn’t reflect reality (remember that 14 percent from earlier?) and consequences. How lazy are we going to allow ourselves to get?
Talk to teens about the reality of the themes discussed on Skins.
’16 and Pregnant’ lowered the US teen birthrate. What will an honest conversation with the youth of our nation prevent? What will it inspire?
Puritanism is so 2010, y’all. Knowledge is power.
If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, you can view it on MTV.com. You’ll have to enter your birth date, though. This is intended for a MATURE AUDIENCE only. The BBC America series can be viewed here.