Skins, “The Most Dangerous Show For Children…”

It’s apparent the folks over at MTV are going to keep testing the boundaries of their contentious programming. They’ve enjoyed virtually no consequences by walking the fence of inappropriate teenage content, and have been successful at luring desperate advertises wanting to target this particular demographic . Or so it seemed until producers decided to copy a racy British show called Skins and broadcast the MTV version (rated TV-MA) in the USA.


Companies like Taco Bell have been willing to fork over big bucks to buy precious minutes between scenes of the drunken orgies on the Jersey Shore, and those costly 30 seconds in the show which glamorizes teen moms having illegitimate kids. Taco Bell was also on board for the latest MTV show which dug up the worst examples of rebellious teenagers to throw at the current shoddy adolescent television programming schedule in the form of Skins.

If you’re not familiar with the format of this show, it follows the antics of, what seems to me, the worst troubled teenagers in America. Sex, drugs, alcohol, and more sex are the focus of a cast in which the youngest is currently 15 years old. Parties, sexual recklessness, and behavior bordering on criminal activity (like taking an SUV and driving it into a lake while laughing it off) are certainly not the behavior representative of the teen population of this country. Or is it?

Why is MTV bent on using reverse psychology on their teenage viewers by deliberately showing the worst of society, and then hiding behind the claim that if you see the crude reality of the wrong-doing, a lesson might be learned and not repeated?

This doesn't work with teens. If you glamorize the stupidity these wayward kids are involved in, then it might legitimize these obscene behaviors for those who also engage in illegal activities as minors. “Dude, they're doing the same stuff we do. Ha, ha. Guess it's Okay 'cuz we're not the only ones. Cool!!”

While many don’t agree with what TMZ calls a ‘powerful parents group’, the Parents Television Council  (PTC) has again stepped in to safeguard our kids from the greedy big wigs at the pop channel. Well before the show was scheduled to air, the PTC warned of the racy content and tried to alert viewers about the potentially harmful material exposed on Skins.

I know many mock the PTC and outwardly despise its spiritual base while they try to remain a watchdog of appropriate television programming for families, especially kids.  However, it looks like the PTC finally has some support in its effort to have what the organization calls “possibly the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen” tone down the explicit sexual content.

Steven Kurutz of the Wall Street Journal‘s Speakeasy, qualified his opinion by saying “you have no idea how depressing it feels to actually agree with the Parents Television Council.” Then asks, “even if you don’t have kids, the depiction of teen life in MTV’s new drama Skins will make you worry, Boomer-like, what’s going on with the 20-under set today?

MTV is precisely what’s going on.  Does anyone over there have teenagers? If they do, are they part of the focus group that approves this trash before it airs? Wait. Don’t answer that.

In a small victory for our teens, the PTC called for a federal investigation into child porn violations, and a court ordered the risqué show to tone down the soft-porn scenes involving the show’s minors (which is practically all of them!).    

Advertisers are also taking precautions. GM and Taco Bell are the first companies to pull their ads from the show due to the boycott urged by the Parents Television Council. A spokesperson for Taco Bell said the show was not a fit for their brand and moved their advertising to other MTV shows. GM claims Skins was on their “do not buy” list and removed ads which MTV admitted had wrongly aired during the show.

Jeannie Kedas, a spokesperson for MTV stated: “Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

Choosing to depict the worst behavior of the teenage set in the United States is not the standard any community seeks, and to do so is irresponsible and a disservice not only to your viewers but to our society as a whole. I don’t agree that simply because some disturbed adolescents behave like this it justifies MTV glamorizing the debased behavior for all to watch on national TV.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post Suzette! I am in the middle of writing a post on this same subject. And I agree with Kurutz in that I don't like being “that” mom associating and agreeing with the PTC but I have to say that MTV has gone too far with this!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think MTV has gone too far with Skins. In general though, I believe in discussing these shows/issues with my kids.
    I watch Jersey Shore and so does my 17-year-old. We talk about what we see. We also watch and discuss shows like: If You Really Knew Me, which is about bullying, Made, and True Life.
    Do I wish young people didn't do the stuff that is shown on these shows? Yes. But I know they do. So I have the option of burying my head in sand, or forbidding someone who is almost legally an adult not to watch. I choose to watch with her and discuss instead.
    Having said that, they did cross a line with Skins and they should be reeled back in.
    I hope you will get a chance to watch If You Really Knew Me. I think if MTV received positive attention for programming shows like that one, they be might encouraged to do so more often.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Mary. Having two teens myself, I certanly hate to have this teen debauchery broadcast across an almost- valuless society, and calling out to those kinds of kids to watch and endorse their dangerous tricks.
    The entertainment industry needs to be reeled way in.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Jennifer! I too discuss certain shows with my kids, and am so fortunate they have no interest in watching Jersey Shore or any other crap MTV is producing lately. I know what kids do, and most kids relate to what they see on TV, but I wish TV would focus on something more positve. Skins is just another dissapointing representation of the lowest common denominator of our society. Ugh.
    I have yet to catch that show If You Really Knew Me. Gonna make a point of watching it!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    It's hard to believe the MTV bigwigs have kids. If they did, I'd assume it would be second nature to question themselves on whether they'd want their kid watching this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Vanita,
    Thanks for sharing you supportive thoughts here. I also have to wonder if the MTV execs sit their kids down and ask them what they think of the shows like “Skins”. And worse, if they say they like them then they air. I certainly would not want my teens hanging out with those kids either.

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