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Too hot for America: the TV show Skins

Guy Adams

And so to the latest addition to the long, long list of things which aralg mtv skins1 300x225 Too hot for America: the TV show Skinse apparently considered too fruity for American television: the TV show Skins.

The first edition of an American remake of the award-winning and extremely popular British programme debuted on MTV last week. They bleeped out all the naughty language, but there was a bit of fairly vanilla nudity, some recreational drug-taking, and one or two scenes involving teenagers groping each other (see PR pic on this page). As a result the most almighty shit-storm has now erupted.

A few days back, the Parents Television Council (PTC), which is a transatlantic version of that organisation Mary Whitehouse used to run, issued a press release branding it: “the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen.”

Yesterday, executives at Viacom, the conglomerate which owns MTV, instructed producers to “tone down” explicit content. Apparently, they were particularly concerned at a scene where (wait for it) a 17-year-old boys pale bottom was shown as he ran naked down a street.

Today, the junk food retailer Taco Bell threw its oar into the controversy by pulling its adverts from the show, saying that it: “does not match with its vision” of what television should be.

Finally, this afternoon, the US Senate AND House Judiciary committees were  formally asked by the PTC to launch an investigation whether the show is “sufficiently sexually suggestive” to “knowingly violates anti child-pornography laws.” Amazingly, the writer of this New York Times piece seems to think that it is.

I hope to dig into this jolly affair in proper detail in Saturday’s paper.

In the meantime, it’s worth noting that, as ever, the prudish complaints are working wonders for the show’s TV ratings: Skins got 3.3 million viewers last week, setting a record for a new show in the all-important 18-35 demographic.

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  • Zimbalist

    It seems though, the author of this piece is not minded to give any serious attention to the allegations raised…..just the (usual) implicit (often explicit) assumption adopted by the Left that “anyone who doesn’t agree with me is obviously a moron.”

    Why is it good for a TV show to show young people having sexual relationships? Do you think this is actually good for society? If so, how exactly? By implicitly promoting this crap do you share some responsibility for the fatherless hordes now occupying the Council estates of the UK? Have you even thought about this?

    The simple point is this: our society cannot go on as it currently is; it is impossible to have a “normal” society where family (and yes, that means a mum, dad and kids) are not at the heart of it. Some big changes are coming.

  • http://twitter.com/Broxted Ciaran Rehill

    The Americans had a similar problem with “Shameless”. Funny how a nation is threatened by a nipple but will show stuff like “American History X” with graphic violence. Nobody ever died of a tit.

  • pricek4

    I get the feeling you’re missing the point of the show, Skins depicts in an admittedly exaggerated way the lives that many teenagers are living but it far from glorifies these situations, the characters are affected by every choice they make often in a negative way which is what eventually leads to the shows drama.

    Young people have sexual relationships, that’s a sheer fact of modern life and with access to the internet being what it is these same people can get hold of that content regardless of whether or not it’s being broadcast. Although I agree with you that young people shouldn’t become sexualised as early as they are I don’t feel that TV is responsible for this, I’m more likely to lay a large portion of the blame on the pop industry with it’s overly sexual themes deliberately aimed at children in their early teens and below.

    But before I leave i’d just like to point out the irony in something you said
    “…just the (usual) implicit (often explicit) assumption adopted by the Left that “anyone who doesn’t agree with me is obviously a moron.”

    The implication being that people on the political right never imply the exact same thing. The fact that you’re attributing arrogance to a political stance is truly pretty baffling.

  • FrankLe

    I never have any trouble understanding the Americans puritan streak. Pilgrim fathers. . . Puritans. . . anyone? Getting shot of them was one of Britain’s better ideas, unfortunately they are coming back!

  • julianzzz

    Perhaps, they should screen some of that Calfornian internet porn they seem so fond of. A dose of reality is seemingly missing from some American’s lives. Their “denial” ability is off the planet!!


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