MTV’s Skins, which features “lurid and explicit” teenage sex, teaches teens some valuable lessons, writes Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post. Other teens-gone-wild shows make adolescent sex and drug use “seem glamorous and exciting,” she writes.
CW’s “Gossip Girl” . . . portrays the “scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite,” as the anonymous narrator says at the start of every episode.
By contrast, the kids on “Skins” seem sad, lonely and disturbed, each in his or her own distinctively troubled way. Cadie is a strung-out pill-popper with a stable of inept, pill-dispensing shrinks and parents who are too self-absorbed to pay her much attention beyond suggesting that she take her meds. Chris is a strung-out pill-popper – he’s taken an excess of Erectagra – whose mother abandons him with a scrawled note and $1,000 in cash in an envelope.
They manage to make sex seem like a dreary, transactional chore – a sex-for-pills exchange is arranged to engineer a loss of virginity – and drugs and alcohol seem like, well, drugs and alcohol, unpleasantly disorienting and prone to induce vomiting.
Marcus thinks teens will appreciate their own nagging parents after watching the checked-out, boozed-up parents on Skins.
Will teens watch Skins as a cautionary tale of the downside of sex, drugs and lax parenting? Or will they take the show as a sign that promiscuity and drug abuse are normal?