Below, you’ll find a statement from Brian Elsley in response to the crippling and ongoing fallout to his new MTV teen show “Skins,” a program about the sordid, drug-fueled, loveless sex lives of young teens. The photos and videos embedded in-between each paragraph were added by us. We feel they provide a necessary context as they were created by MTV to advertise the show they’re now defending as “old-fashioned.”
Also, while our contributors are always free to disagree, the editors of Big Hollywood are not normally concerned with content in the arena of the sex and violence found on television and in movies. Our main focus is of a political nature. “Skins” is something entirely different, however, because it involves children — underage children on screen and as the target audience. Just as we shy away from the business of reporting on the personal lives of celebrities regardless of their political persuasion, the Polanski matter also met this standard.
We’re not always and won’t always be perfect in this regard, but this is where we try to draw a line.
Skins is a very simple and in fact rather old fashioned television series. It’s about the lives and loves of teenagers, how they get through high school, how they deal with their friends, and also how they circumnavigate some of the complications of sex, relationships, educations, parents, drugs and alcohol. The show is written from the perspective of teenagers, reflects their world view, and this has caused a degree of controversy both in the UK and the USA.
In the UK, viewers and commentators very quickly realized that although there are some sensational aspects to the show, Skins is actually a very serious attempt to get to the roots of young people’s lives. It deals with relationships, parents, death, illness, mental health issues, the consequences of drug use and sexual activity. It is just that these are characterized from the point of view of the many young people who write the show and has a very straightforward approach to their experiences; it tries to tell the truth. Sometimes that truth can be a little painful to adults and parents.
[youtube 0c49xBRU9dM nolink]
Consequences do flow from incorrect or selfish behavior but in the show, these are shown to be unexpected, hard to predict, and more to do with the loss of friendship than anything else, which in any context, is a disastrous outcome.
[Ed. Note: We had to enter a birthdate to prove we were of a certain age to watch the above video, and yet anyone can watch the whole show on MTV. Interesting, no?]
We proceed from the idea, not that teenagers are inherently likely to misbehave, but rather that they are intensely moral and disposed to make judgments on their own and others’ behaviour. Sometimes, but not always, they get things wrong. In this teenagers are remarkably similar to adults. Their morals may not be the same as those of their parents and teachers, but they are nevertheless, highly developed and active in their world.
When viewers have taken the time to watch the show in a little more depth, they are less concerned about the behavior of the characters. Teenagers can be loyal, supportive, dedicated, focused, and capable of making informed value judgments about their lives. In the pilot episode of Skins, it’s possibly easy to overlook the story wherein a young boy sets off to a party to sell drugs and have sex, but in fact, does neither of these things, because, he senses that he has been manipulated by friends and does not feel ready to have sex with someone he does not know properly.
Read the full thing here.