I admit it. I yielded to the hype and the ‘sturm und drang’ and decided to catch an episode of the MTV series, “Skins”.
It was not at all what I expected. It’s actually much deeper than perhaps it has a right to be.
I’ve read of this show being called “pornographic” by some critics, and that’s just flat-out ridiculous. There’s lots of cursing and swearing and moaning and snogging and suggestive-looking skin and orgasmic-looking faces, but it’s no more pornographic than “The Hard Times of R.J. Berger”, another MTV series which is crude and lewd, but also funny, sweet and — in its way — thought-provoking.
“Skins” is probably about on the mark in the ways it depicts high school kids today. Oh, it’s probably a ‘condensate’ of high school kids, the way soap operas are a condensed version of all the horrible things that can happen to adults concentrated into an hour’s worth of improbable characters and situations. I suspect, though, that it’s true in the general sense of what kids are, do and experience on a regular basis, in school and out of school.
The kids on “Skins” are nerdy, dopey, horny, sexy, cruel, sad, drugged and — above all — lost trying to be adults way too soon. Probably a lot like your kids, when you’re not looking.
And that’s the core of it. I suspect that the people who object the most to this series are the people most in denial about who their kids are when they’re out of the house, and the limits of parental control over those kids.
There is a legitimate argument to be made about whether this show simply entertains its audience (teens and young adults) by trying to reflect their lives, or it validates the behavior it depicts. I honestly don’t have an answer to that. It’s probably a bit of both.
I will, however, make this assertion: Parents should watch it and try to learn from it. Learn to see your kids as the independent souls they are. I have a saying: “You have exactly as much authority over your kids as they let you have.” There’s nothing you can legally do to enforce your will above the moral authority they permit you.
Parents should watch this show so that they can appraise their kids more honestly, help them in ways the kids don’t know to ask and the parents don’t know they need, learn to discuss things openly which are horribly uncomfortable to talk about, and be more understanding of the genuine and, to adults, unfathomable world that their kids live in.