Skins on MTV
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
In article after article, interview after interview, MTV constantly claims that
its new show Skins (Mondays, 10:00 p.m. ET) is “realistic” – that it
accurately reflects “what’s really happening” with teenagers today. This premise
is demonstrably false; but with the episode of January 31st, the
program has moved beyond being merely troublesome and inaccurate to being
ridiculous. For promoting its totally unrealistic vision of teen life as being
“realistic,” MTV’s Skins is again the Worst Cable TV Show of the
This week’s episode focused on Chris, a teen with a crush on his social studies
teacher. Nothing unrealistic there – save that he and other students berate the
teacher, in class, mocking her for having a failed affair with a gym teacher.
The episode opens with the camera lovingly focusing on Chris’ massive store of
erectile medication. Then the viewer is treated to multiple scenes of Chris’
erection tenting out his shorts; Chris staggering to the bathroom and urinating
on his own face due to his erection; and finally, Chris relieving himself
against a shower curtain. Downstairs, Chris finds his mother has left him an
envelope with $1000 in cash, but is nowhere to be found.
Hmm. Erection due to pills, urinating on his own face, and his mother leaving
him a thousand dollars. Sounds exactly like the typical, everyday life of the
typical, everyday teen, doesn’t it? What? You mean, actual teens really DON’T
experience this? Why, how can that be, if Skins is “realistic?”
Unsurprisingly, the disgusting Tony cons Chris into throwing a huge party,
complete with music, liquor, drugs, and random sex occurring everywhere. Tony
laughs mockingly at Chris, telling Michelle, “He doesn’t know how many boner
pills he took. He’s had one for 15 hours. He duct-taped it to his stomach, or
his balls.” Tony also takes the opportunity to once again humiliate Michelle; as
she undresses to have sex with him, Tony tells her, “Y’know what I love about
your body? One boob is bigger than another.”
Finding that he has gone through the thousand dollars, Chris and Stan try to
sell Chris’ sound system, eventually winding up at a hippie junk dealer who
gives Chris more pills. After a (lame) psychedelic sequence, Chris awakens –
only to be thrown out of his own home totally naked by a homeless man. In
another of the show’s attempts at pathos (which prove to be merely pathetic),
Chris goes to his estranged father’s home, and reveals that his brother is dead.
In between times, Tea flashes her breasts at the entire cast and mocks Abbud,
saying, “jizz your pants, brown-eyed boy?” The episode ends with Chris moving in
with his Tina, who is clearly tempted to have sex with him.
There is almost no point in attempting to persuade anyone that Skins is
far from the “realistic” portray of teens it purports to be. If it is not
immediately apparent from the above description that Skins is a
ridiculously overblown distortion of reality, then it never will be.
But it is a distortion which could be tragic. While simultaneously claiming to
be “realistic” and to “show teens how it is,” MTV disingenuously claims that its
programming has absolutely no influence on anyone whatsoever. But what if it
does? What if some teen – even just one – is influenced by the program to try
its program of massive drug use and sex? The results could be tragic for such an
individual…but MTV pursues its agenda anyway. How blind and clueless must MTV’s
programmers be, for the network to show commercials claiming that “words wound”
and discouraging bullying, while constantly barraging the same viewers with
scenes of drug use?
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