“Skins”? Make that “Sins”!

Full disclosure here, folks.  Jim and I tossed for the privilege of writing about this show.  Guess who lost?  So, here goes.

This show, “Skins” is execrable.  It defies any other description.  So I ask myself, who to blame?  Hollywood executives, producers, directors, ad executives?  Society, loss of civility, or perhaps the evil of capitalism? Liberal/progressive moral relevancy?  The constant attack on traditional family values?

Let’s look at the facts.  This show originated in the U.K.  It was adapted for American audiences.


MTV says it will continue the original show’s production model using teenagers to help write the series and unknown age-appropriate actors to star. Co-creator Brian Elsley will be writing and executive producing the U.S. version. The producers intend to set the show in Baltimore, Maryland.

At least we know who to blame for this abomination.

Liz Gateley, senior VP, MTV Series Development said, “Having personally pursued the U.K. project for almost two years, I am beyond thrilled to bring it to MTV in the U.S. We intend to preserve the authenticity of the British version and are excited to collaborate with the original team to develop stories that will speak to American youth.”

So they ‘adapt’ the show to their satisfaction and we’re off to the races.  Except there are one or two problems, namely their advertisers. Advertisers have this pesky tendency to run from controversy.  GM even went so far as to claim that their ads ran during Monday’s airing of “Skins” without their consent!  This has led to a bit of a conundrum.  On one hand we have TV Ad Executives who believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity (except your own obituary).  On the other hand we have companies eager to access the under-20 market but leery of offending their older customers.

Here’s a brief description of the first episode:

In the first episode, which premiered last night, a girl sneaks home after a debauched night of partying. A boy has decorated his bedroom with porno magazines (and not Playboy, the hardcore kind). Another girl is willing to trade sexual favors for drugs. Later, that same girl pops too many pills and has to be rushed to the hospital. In a later episode, another boy takes sexual performance pills and spends the entire hour with a visible erection.

What’s more, as many reviewers have pointed out, on “Skins,” unlike typical teen shows, there’s seemingly no negative consequences to all this reckless behavior. At one point, the “Skins” gang drives a luxury SUV into a lake — and laughs about it. As the Parents Television Council said in one of the advocacy group’s famously tsk-tsking statements: ““Skins may well be the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen.”

See what I mean?  Money and short-term fame versus money and the destruction of an existing market for short-term gain.  I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that they’ll go for the money.

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