Debate of the Day: Does Skins Go Too Far with Its Underage Cast?

I finally gave in to all the hype and sat down and watched the pilot for MTV’s Skins, which has drawn large amounts of fire not only for showing underage high schoolers doing drugs and having sex, but having underage ACTORS play those parts.

The latest development is that nearly all of the show’s advertisers fled the program the minute someone started saying the show was “child pornography.” But is it?

I seem to remember a show called Degrassi: The Next Generation where underage high schoolers (and actors) did every single dirty deed imaginable for children their age, but never once did I hear similar claims. I guess the difference in Skins is that more skin is shown, though to call it “pornography” would offend legitimate porn stars everywhere, as it’s decidedly PG-13 in terms of what’s shown.

I honestly don’t really care if it gets cancelled. The pilot was shocking just to be shocking, and there isn’t much more to the show than that. It paints a stupidly absurd picture of high school where, yes, kids do have sex and do drugs, but they’re hardly kindling affairs with 45 year olds across the street or driving stolen Escalades into rivers. I get it’s supposed to be the public school answer to Gossip Girl, but its characters are annoying, and the show just isn’t very good.

Has MTV gone too far with this underage cast? Is Skins “child pornography”?

  • freakoreko

    Just another example of Americans screwing up a great British show. You can watch the original on netflix instant and actually enjoy a show

  • MajorTool

    I’ve been saying this about Degrassi: The Next Generation… and others have too. This kind of entertainment is degrading our society. MTV just took it far enough that it set off people’s radars.
    The sad truth is this will pass and then Skins will become the norm and then something that pushes the envelope even more will come out.

  • JZ

    the real question is if its wrong to watch with a boner. Kidding. who gives a flying poo about this show? The media should just ignore garbage like this so it goes away.

  • It’s been said countless times before, but people are getting up in arms about this when shows like CSI are full of violence, gore, sexual abuse and violence, and all kinds of other crimes, depicted in rather graphic detail? Does not compute.

    You’re totally right that Skins is just shocking for the sake of being shocking. But child porn? I don’t really think so.

  • Nick

    Well I’m from the UK so I think y’all are just making a big deal out of nothing.

  • Rob J

    Its shitty american trash….

    Like most good british shows it had to get an “americanised” version and its terrible…

    I have a lot of friends who watched the original skins and thought it was very good for the first two seasons until they replaced the entire cast with boring people.

  • Josh

    The british version is top notch and one of my favorite shows, if the kids can’t take it then they cannot watch, they’re brains are too retarded and as for the american version, unnecessary, I really hate the cast of that show. I hope it gets canceled for the sake of the british version. THE BRITISH VERSION IS FOR ADULTS, IT AIRS ON A ADULT TIMESLOT AND CHANNEL. America is stupid. nuff said.

  • Drester

    I haven’t seen it but does it go further then “Kids” That movie was kind of on the edge.

  • Nick D Pags

    I try to only watch original TV.

    America is so funny how they constantly remake stuff.
    Because their writers go on strike for more pay almost once a year, and what the hell are they doing?
    Nothing original, that’s for sure.

  • Vala

    I just think it’s hysterical that after one episode aired on american television everyone went crazy, while it has 4 seasons in the UK and it’s really popular and praised for being a realistic teen dramedy show.

    The whole purpose of skins is that it’s for teens. It’s about them, the characters are played by (mostly) unknown actors who are playing their own age, and a lot of the music is by new artists, and actually a lot of the show writers are young adults, not middle aged men and women.
    The show is for young people to discover their talents.

    You should really watch the original series. I disagree with the people that say that season 3 and 4 are bad because they replaced the original cast, but that’s also the point, the series isn’t supposed to turn into One tree hill. It’s just supposed to follow them trough that period in their life. The 2nd generation is really good, but of course nothing can replace 1st gen. Tonight series 5 is starting and I have to say that i’m really excited.

    Watch the first season of the original and then say it’s a public school answer to Gossip Girl… it’s like saying Misfits is a copy of Heroes.

  • i think they need some sun more than clothes.

  • I’m pretty surprised the cast is underage but is shown getting naked, too.

  • J5

    hahaha @ all the “Stupid Americans” comments. What a bunch of pretentious douchebags. Most TV is trash, no matter where it’s from. (With FEW exceptions)

    Oh and to stay on topic, eff this show and it’s British counterpart. A show about high school kids doing drugs and having sex?

    How original.

    High School melodramas are for Middle School kids, only because they haven’t experienced it yet.

    Oh and I agree with illeaturfamily, those kids look like they were trying out for a part in Twilight and stumbled on to the wrong set.

  • JohnC

    J5, I doubt you’ve seen the original. And for the most part, the Americanization of British shows isn’t a problem because the writers in America are all horrible, but due to the precedent set by it’s counterpart. This sets the bar up far too high for any of these retooled shows.

    Look at the British Office and the American one. I personally can’t stand the American one and I find Ricky Gervais to be a horse’s ass (the guy is mediocre at best). Still, I do recognize that is much more well produced in terms of a cohesive story, with better developed characters.

    One thing that American writers cannot pull off as convincing as writers from virtually any other nationality is subtly.
    A characters actions must be buffoonish(ly) obvious or the masses will get confused.
    This is probably why the American Skins is the godawful tripe that it appears to be.

  • anon

    Speaking as a non-Brit and non-American, the problem with “American remakes” is not the lack of talent or bad writers(See: The Wire, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Friday Night Lights, Walking Dead etc etc) but more to do with the “must appeal to everyone focus groups” from the shitty networks, like Fox and NBC.

    Smug Brits are just as annoying as smug Americans.

    Both countries have immense talent and great shows on the whole.

  • Crash

    I really enjoyed the original Skins series from Britain and I’m not interested in watching this new version. From what I’ve heard all the actors are horrible.

  • Joanne

    I like skins. Parents need to get over it. What’s happening skins is what is actually happening to teens. Granted I never did most of the stuff that the kids in skins are doing, but I do no some of my classmates did.

  • Dereck

    I agree with Anon, Both countries have very talented writers. But I would say the only good thing about the american skins is Tea. The reason why the show isn’t that good is because MTV made it, and they have too many asses to kiss. So they end up making soft garbage instead. By the way, for all the anti american TV show people: Lost, the Original Twilight Zone, The recent Battle Star Galactica, The Wire, Six feet Under, The Sopranos, Sex in the city, 24…I could go on for days about good american TV. But sad to say we have crap too. So at the end of the day it’s 50/50. But that’s probably the same for any other country as well.