The Black & White

MTV remake gets under my ‘Skins’

By Nuria Marquez

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Drug abuse and teenage sex don’t always equal TV success. MTV’s version of the popular British show “Skins” has attracted criticism for its controversial scenes of teens doing drugs and having sex.

The original U.K. version of "Skins," introduced in 2007, is currently in its fifth consecutive season. Photo courtesy buzznet.com.

The original U.K. version of the show follows a group of eight teenagers living in lower-middle class Britain. Each episode focuses on a specific character’s problematic life, like one’s battle with anorexia and another’s psychological problems, with lots of parties and drinking mixed in.

In the U.S. pilot episode, MTV created an almost word-for-word replica of the first episode of the British “Skins.” This is its first flaw: it lacks originality. And somehow, even though the plot line is an exact copy, MTV’s version portrays the characters as extremely shallow and unlikable. In the U.K. version, main character Tony is confident and smooth, while in MTV’s version the same character comes off as fake and obnoxious.

The whole point of “Skins” is to illustrate rebellious teenagers’ lives in a realistic, honest way, but MTV’s attempt fails to deliver story lines that teenage viewers can relate to.

Because of its racy scenes, including sexually explicit scenes between two girls, the show has been labeled as child pornography by the Parents Television Council.

Because of the difference in values, the scenes in the U.K. version are more accepted in European countries. A 16-year-old boy walking naked down the street with his butt to the camera is not considered overly outrageous overseas, but in America it’s considered “the most dangerous program ever,” according to the PTC.

The U.S. adaptation of "Skins," first aired Jan. 11, has already recieved widespread criticism. Photo courtesy ketanmagazine.com.

The U.S. show is rated “mature,” so, technically, it’s only suitable for those 18 or older. Even with this rating, the show’s main audience is middle and high school students, according to the Nielsen Company, which reports the ratings and audience demographics of specific shows.

The MTV show is in danger of being cancelled because so many of its advertisers have withdrawn from sponsorship, such as Taco Bell.

If the producers are looking to keep this show on TV, they will have to lower the level of raciness to what’s considered “appropriate” in the U.S.

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