Is ‘Skins’ kiddie porn?

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Kevin M. Lerner in Uncategorized

MTV is importing the wildly popular British TV show Skins, which is known for its unflinching depictions of sex and drugs and drinking among teenage characters. MTV has already backed off the sexuality a little bit, and has bleeped the expletives which were audible in the British version.

Now, The New York Times reports, MTV is worried that they are skirting Federal child pornography laws with the show, particularly an episode in which a 17-year-old actor is seen running down a street, naked, from behind.

So, Comm and Society bloggers, is MTV getting too close to child pornography, or is this a sign that American culture is (too? more?) prudish? What can we learn about ourselves from this controversy?

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Comments
  1. mars2thebars says:

    The idea of portraying sex, drugs, and alcohol in a television show is not as bad as society makes it out to be. In my opinion, it is actually as close to reality as can be. “Skins” is a portrayal of real-life depictions in real life situations. Sex, drugs, and alcohol, for many Americans (including teens) is a way of life. I believe the series is a depiction of reality and a statement that Americans are finally being real in showing what is really going on. A television show is on a specific channel, at a specific time, Thus, viewers have the opportunity and choice to watch the show. Even then, does the viewer have an opporunity to make his own assumptions and theories regarding the messages. The fact that The New York Times is posing a question on the morals of MTV, is a question of Agenda Setting on their parts. In a perfect world, media imagery probably wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for counter media posing it’s ideas and critique on its target. On a larger scale, the idea of “credentials” is a vaque one. The American Populous is becoming so much more intelligent, so much more computer and technology savvy, that we tend to make our own decisions anyway. The Agenda Setters only give us the topic to talk about. In Lemen’s Terms, “we’re big boys and girls, so stop telling us what to think about.” The most honest critique lies only in the eyes of it’s beholder.

    • Jon Bianchi says:

      Though I have not seen the show, “Skins,” I feel that it may be a more provocative version of other “reality” television shows. If anyone recalls the old show, “Degrassi,” it was of a similar nature by scripting drama for the young actors to display. Such drama also consisted of drugs, alcohol, sex, and teen relationships. Similarly, “Jersey Shore” is possibly a less scripted version of the exact same type of show. If you think about it, the main goal of said shows is to portray dramatic and often somewhat ridiculous “real life” situations. Though, how can you actually call “Jersey Shore” realistic? The only realistic part of the show is that if you actually go to Seaside in New Jersey, you will run into similar characters as portrayed on the show. But the situations are ridiculous. I personally feel that the directors of the show and similar shows actually script some of the dramatic situations for the characters in order to “stir things up” and make it more interesting for viewers. Otherwise, explaining how some of the situations get started is beyond me.

      Anyway, back to “Skins.” Is it really ‘kiddie porn’? I would say it is borderline. But the entertainment industry seems to turn a blind eye to it as long as it brings in viewers and brings in the money. I think it is fair to say that American society is becoming more provocative, and demanding more provocative reality television. Companies like MTV will happily supply this demand. Does this mean society is headed in the wrong direction – being fueled by large corporations or, “agenda setters”? I personally do not think so. Entertainment is entertainment and what America wants is what America gets. In terms of the borderline child pornography, this should probably be fixed. It wouldn’t make much of a difference to have an 18 year old actor portray a 17 year old character – ultimately making the entire situation legal and take away the possibility of criticism – at least in this particular area.

      • jbianchi23 says:

        Though I have not seen the show, “Skins,” I feel that it may be a more provocative version of other “reality” television shows. If anyone recalls the old show, “Degrassi,” it was of a similar nature by scripting drama for the young actors to display. Such drama also consisted of drugs, alcohol, sex, and teen relationships. Similarly, “Jersey Shore” is possibly a less scripted version of the exact same type of show. If you think about it, the main goal of said shows is to portray dramatic and often somewhat ridiculous “real life” situations. Though, how can you actually call “Jersey Shore” realistic? The only realistic part of the show is that if you actually go to Seaside in New Jersey, you will run into similar characters as portrayed on the show. But the situations are ridiculous. I personally feel that the directors of the show and similar shows actually script some of the dramatic situations for the characters in order to “stir things up” and make it more interesting for viewers. Otherwise, explaining how some of the situations get started is beyond me.

        Anyway, back to “Skins.” Is it really ‘kiddie porn’? I would say it is borderline. But the entertainment industry seems to turn a blind eye to it as long as it brings in viewers and brings in the money. I think it is fair to say that American society is becoming more provocative, and demanding more provocative reality television. Companies like MTV will happily supply this demand. Does this mean society is headed in the wrong direction – being fueled by large corporations or, “agenda setters”? I personally do not think so. Entertainment is entertainment and what America wants is what America gets. In terms of the borderline child pornography, this should probably be fixed. It wouldn’t make much of a difference to have an 18 year old actor portray a 17 year old character – ultimately making the entire situation legal and take away the possibility of criticism – at least in this particular area.

  2. KLerner says:

    Another interesting question about Skins: Is it at all realistic?

  3. kellls says:

    What happened do the day where MTV actually played music videos? That decade is long gone. They now have become completely obsessed with these new so called “reality” shows that depict teenagers in a horrible way. Since when did juice heads running around the shore getting outrageously drunk become something people want to emulate? It is outrageous that this is what children want to watch. This new show “Skins” I feel is even worse. However, MTV marketed this show almost perfectly. Last year during the commercial breaks of there most popular show, “Jersey Shore” were short clips for this new show “Skins.” They knew the audience would be the same so they wanted to peak your interest right from the start. Also putting the show right after “Jersey Shore” leaves the same audience glued in front of the TV, almost forcing them to stay tuned in.

    I have never seen this show, and I do not plan to although I have heard enough morning talk shows discuss the topic to know it is truly sad that television has come to this. Since when is putting underage kids half-naked on television considered okay? Obviously it’s not because Taco Bell has already pulled out as a sponsor, and in due time the rest of them will. MTV seriously needs to consider editing this show, in an upcoming episode they have a fifteen year old exposing his bare butt. Underage. Porn. Even if they do edit these shows, the full episodes were still filmed which means that they are available on youtube, just like everything else out there. Kids watch this show and think it is okay. Studies have shown that this generation is already way ahead of the game sexually, we don’t need something else out there promoting it!

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