“Skins” – an adolescent abomination


MTV, I have always supported you and backed you up when people said you play to much garbage and not enough music.

I supported you when people said “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” would influence young women to have sex and get pregnant, pointing out that those shows reveal the hardships and regrets among those young parents.

I supported you when people complained that “Jersey Shore” was insulting to Italian Americans by arguing that it should be considered insulting to all Americans (since it makes all 20 something year old Americans look bad), yet was entertaining.

But “Skins” is terrible. The kids in this scripted show make Snooki look like a prude. I watched the first episode as it aired on Jan. 17, curious to see if there would be a deeper meaning to this show, since the commercial’s made it out to be a superficial series about teenagers who have sex and get drunk and high all the time.

This show is just that. After the first commercial break I wanted to cry. What is this show going to tell teenagers? I never was the kind of person to be close-minded about the discussion of sex or drugs or the portrayal of sex and drugs on television, but this seems to be too much.

I know teenagers/kids aren’t always going to follow everything they see in the media, but knowing that the media does have a major affect on most young people, you’d think a show like this would be frowned upon.  And perhaps it will be by other critics.

The first episode was about the main cast trying to get 16 -year – old Stanley to lose his virginity. His friend in the show, Tony, told him it was embarrassing that he was almost 17 and still hasn’t had sex. I know teenagers have sex, but the way this show portrayed it could give teens the impression that being a virgin is something to be embarrassed about. That is already an issue that needs to be fixed and this show is exacerbating that.

The one character that made me want to become a guidance counselor for high school students was Cadie. She was portrayed as this empty girl addicted to pills. Tony (who was the “cool” guy in the show) suggested that Stanley has sex with her, and Cadie said that he could narc her up and “bang her brains out.” Watching a scripted show with a girl who would objectify herself like that for drugs made me sad since I know there are girls (and people in general) like that, and I wished the show would make it look like a problem and not simply a personality trait.

I only finished watching the show to see if any moral value would shine through, any message to teens that sex should be special, that being a virgin doesn’t mean you’re a social pariah, and that alcohol/drug use (especially with the under-aged) can lead to serious consequences.

Cadie did stop breathing because of taking too many pills, which caused the group of friends to steal an SUV from a rich girl’s party and drive “Grand Theft Auto” style to a hospital. But, Cadie woke up just as they got to the hospital, and comically said she had to pee. The fact that she pretty much overdosed was taken lightly since she supposedly does it often.

Teenagers aren’t stupid, they don’t always mimic everything they see on television and know the difference between reality and fantasy. But a show that normalizes drug use and sex among teenagers without showing pros and cons is stupid.

At least “Teen Mom” shows that many of these teens who are having sex end up having to change their lives completely. Some of them end up missing out on having fun with friends or even graduating high school. And “Jersey Shore” shows the negative repercussions of alcohol use when the cast members end up fighting, hooking up with grenades and going to jail.

Sex, alcohol and drug use doesn’t have to be kept a secret, especially with teenagers since more than half are experimenting with at least one of the three anyway. Perhaps “Skins” will have a moral lesson in other episodes, or maybe it’s a creative form of edgy, raw media-rebellion from keeping the matters of sex, drugs and teenagers PG-13.

I hate to write this, but I really think this time MTV has gone too far.


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