Too hot for America: 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.Tagged in: hollywood, how america works
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