MTV’s ‘Skins’ Most Offensive Show Ever?

22 Feb

The popular music oriented channel owned by Viacom, known as MTV, has received consistent backlash over the latest addition to their programming lineup,Skins.’ The series premiered back in January but continues to spark debate among adults and teenagers alike. The MTV version of  ‘Skins’ is an American adaptation of a British series of the same name. The series follows a group of high school students as they become involved in what some are calling “pornographic” situations. The series airs every Monday at 10:00, and has received a rating of TV-MA. MTV also broadcasts a disclaimer before each segment of the show. However, despite their efforts, critics believe this simply isn’t enough.

One of the most outspoken opponents to the show is the Parents Television Council which boasts over 1 million members. The PTC has described the show as a “non-stop orgy of teen sex, drugs, and alcohol.” The show is now listed on the PTC’s list of show’s seen as morally offensive. A countless amount of adults (whom of which fall outside the target demographic) have become vocal about their concern over the subject matter of the show. Many calling for the show to be pulled from the airwaves. Adults and parents feel that the show may be influencing their children to act in ways they find offensive.

Although the subject matter may be edgy and offensive to misinformed adults, the show still manages to find an audience who can see the show as entertainment, because in the end, that’s what it is. Entertainment. The debate over whether or not the show is too offensive for the airwaves is being fought with key points originating from two opposite sides of the spectrum. Adults are claiming that the show glamorizes less than satisfactory behavior, while teens fans claim that the show is true to life. Neither are valid points.

‘Skins’ is simply a television program. The show is neither true to life, or a catalyst for teenage delinquency. What the show does do is take situations average teens find themselves in and exaggerate them to points that are entertaining. This is the type of thing that happens in everyday life. For example, if you and your colleagues are sitting around the water cooler at work discussing your weekend, you may decide to tell them about your run in with a celebrity. Despite the fact that very little happened, you’d most likely exaggerate to make the story entertaining to your listeners. This is simply human nature.  ‘Skins’ was co-created by Jamie Brittain the son of Bryan Elsley. Jamie added input and helped create a show that he felt depicted teenage culture.

Although I haven’t found myself in any of the exact situations depicted in the series, I can say that I’ve been in situations similar, and with some exaggeration they would play out like an episode from the show. Parents believe the show will cause their child to find themselves in bad situations. What these parents need is a wake-up call. Teens have found themselves in bad situations for years. The media is constantly used as a scapegoat for bad parenting. In the end, the ultimate responsibility lies on adults and parents to control their homes. If their children are instilled with their families core values from birth they will be able to tell the difference between right and wrong.

In an interview with ABC News Terry Real stated, “I think you have to raise kids to be what I call media literate and sexually literate.” I cannot applaud  him enough for this. The key to raising children in an age of endless media is to make sure they are media literate. These kids must be able to decipher the messages in the media and make their own assumptions to what is entertainment and what is pure propaganda. The answer to protecting kids should not be taking the show off the air. As long as the show doesn’t violate any laws MTV should be able to air it, it is then up to families to decide whether or not their kids should watch it.

Most adults that are forming opinions against the show have never watched it firsthand. For example, in an interview with AOL News, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach stated, “The media called me to ask my opinion on MTV’s ‘Skins.’I told them I had not watched it but read all about it. My take? Simple: irresponsible and exploitative on the part of MTV.” This statement is simply irresponsible and hypocritical on Boteach’s  part. He cannot form a valid opinion on whether or not the show is offensive without actually seeing it firsthand. The problem with reading material about a show is that the material may be biased. The truly “Adult” thing to do would to have watched the show then formed an opinion from there. Adults are nothing more than big kids, that are afraid of anything that challenges their authority.

The Parents Television Council states in their FAQ that “The PTC has customarily focused on broadcast television programs — particularly during prime time, and especially during the “Family Hour.” They also state that they occasionally focus on shows outside the “Family Hour.” Another contradiction. ‘Skins’ airs at 10:00 well outside the “Family Hour.” If parents don’t want their children watching, they should take the steps responsible to limit the exposure their child has to late night programming. Tools such as a “V-Chip” can make this a very simple task.  If shows are censored for material that some may find offensive the entire industry as a whole will suffer. For now it’s ‘Skins’, then another show, and a show after that. The downward spiral of censorship could possibly change the way we view television.

The level of censorship in this country is enough. The current laws in place effectively regulate the industry and allow viewers the freedom to decide what they want to watch.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with MTV’s ‘Skins’ as the show is simply entertainment and nothing more. If teens are influenced by the show and begin acting out, the problem isn’t with the show, its with the parenting.

What is your opinion on the show? Join the discussion and leave a comment below.

Follow me on Twitter: @IndieTrent

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