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
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
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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