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Skins on MTV

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Skins on MTV

Skins creator Bryan Elsley has consistently defended his program as simply reflecting the realities of teenage life. Newsweek columnist Jessica Bennett proclaimed the program “the most realistic show on television,” while legions of fans agree.

These statements are not new. British fans said the same about the UK version of Skins.  But just as they were demonstrably wrong, so too are the defenders of MTV’s version, as was proven by “Cadie,” the February 7th  (10:00 p.m. ET) episode of MTV’s Skins, the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

Here are a few examples of the show’s “realistic” portrayal of teenagers’ lives:

·         Cadie attends therapy. Her therapist tells Cadie, “My vagina has the look and feel of turkey turkey,” and urges Cadie to be promiscuous.

·         Cadie’s father, whose hobby is apparently taxidermy, has stuffed and displayed dozens of mutilated animal corpses around the well-appointed house, including hanging stuffed pigeons from the ceiling. He is totally oblivious when Cadie tries to tell him about her therapy.

·         Cadie’s mother, a former beauty pageant winner, boasts to phone callers that “my nipples still point at the wall,” but condemns Cadie – who is standing right in front of her – as “kooky and flat-chested.” She later orders Cadie to take more drugs, and to wear an outfit that will “help with the breasts.”

·         Cadie visits another therapist, who confronts Cadie’s fear of birds by pushing a caged pigeon at her, telling Cadie to “confront that thought! Defeat it!” When Cadie confesses feeling angry at the therapist, she tells Cadie she “needs more drugs.”

·         Cadie goes hunting with her father. She is seen dangling from a tree on a harness in the forest while holding a shotgun, as her father yells at her to be quiet.  

·         Cadie goes to a party at Michelle’s house. Michelle’s mother gleefully provides all the teens with liquor.

·         Stanley goes into Michelle’s room, where he openly masturbates on her bed, using her teddy bear. Later, Michelle finds him, and voices only the mildest disapproval in a bored monotone.

Any one of these incidents, were it to occur in real life, would be bizarre. All of them together show the Skins universe into a freakishly unreal nightmare world. If this is what the defenders of Skins consider “realistic,” what would they consider depraved and fictional? 


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