Another in a long line of UK shows being remade for the American public is Skins. (For my take on why some shows just need to be remade instead of aired as is, see my post on Being Human. I won’t be discussing it here.)
Skins follows a bunch of teens as they deal with sex, drugs, sexual orientation, dysfunctional families, mental illness, and more. Sounds like every other teen show really, until you get into how graphic and visual the show is. The pilot, aired this week, revolved around their attempt to de-virginize Stanley, a scruffy, somewhat dirty teen who looks like (but actually isn’t) a stoner. They go about this by setting him up with Caddie, a mentally unstable girl who was recently released from a mental institute. Naturally, they decide he needs to buy drugs to accomplish this task. He manages to buy much more than the desired amount and when they try to unload some of the weed at a party, Caddie overdoses and needs to be driven to the hospital. It turns out she just fell asleep and is fine, but they crash the car along with the weed they needed to sell into a lake.
I would be lying if I said this wasn’t somewhat enjoyable in an extremely bizarre sort of way. It’s like Jersey Shore, you don’t know why you’re watch but you can’t seem to pull yourself away. Only, in this case, there’s writing so the conversations and characters are a littler more clever and nuanced. (Sad that it takes a writing staff to make a person seem more real.)
Since the show has aired, there has been concerns voiced about the appropriateness of this show. Specifically, there have been concerns that this might depict child pornography because the actors, unlike in more primetime shows about teens, are actually the age they are portraying (the youngest is 15). It was always going to be a controversial show. It’s meant to be a no holds barred look at wild and rebellious teens. No matter how much parents want to pretend there are no teens like this, we know there are. My teenage years looked nothing like this, but we know that many people’s does.
From what I saw of the first episode, I wouldn’t want my kid acting on this show and I worry about them being more or less naked and simulating sex in front of a group of people (writers, camera crew, directors, producers, etc), but I’m not sure child pornography is the thing to argue.) It was an even more preposterous charge when they complained about the Glee cast’s racy photoshoot, since the actors were all over eighteen. Taco Bell has pulled its advertising from the show. But whether or not it’s child pornography…I don’t think so from what I’ve seen so far. The question is, how far will it go?