Sex, Drugs and 'Skins': How "True" to Life Is It?

Is the new scripted MTV show a depiction of "real" life, as its teen characters say -- or just over the top?

"Skins is real. Skins is true. Skins is life."

So say the teen actors in the promo for Skins, MTV's new scripted show about the lives of teenagers, which premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET. So is Skins as real and true to life as it claims? Heaven help us all if it is.

The characters of Skins, which is based on a British show of the same name, are sex-obsessed, drug-addled party people. These teens have no use for their parents (some of whom are rotten) though they are, of course, living off them. Basically, the teen characters act like adults -- irresponsible, immoral, hedonistic adults.

And boy, MTV is proud. "I think that Skins is the perfect scripted show for MTV," the network's executive vice president, David Janollari, told the New York Daily News. "It's kind of the perfect scripted show for the millennial generation." And in an interview with the New York Post, Janollari said, "Our young audience doesn't tolerate fakery, and this show speaks to them."

Really? Is your teenage son out stealing cars and having sex in the back of them? Does your teenage daughter complain to her senile grandma that "the girls I sleep with bore me"? If a teen drama didn't show substance abuse and mental illness as a natural part of everyday life, that would be fakery? Sorry, dude. I'm not buying it.

Here's the real deal on Skins: It's not a depiction of real life. It's an over-the-top look at how edgy, unstable teens would behave if their parents were in a coma. The main character Tony (James Newman) is a hotshot party boy with a gorgeous girlfriend Michelle (Rachel Thevenard) and way too much confidence. His friend Stanley (Daniel Flaherty) is a stereotypically nerdy virgin (every teen show has one) and in the first episode, Tony goes about helping him lose his virginity with a girl named Tea (Sofia Black-D'Elia). The overall effect is quite sad though, because Stanley actually longs to be with Michelle. In this way, this unrealistic show hits upon a basic truth of all humans, teenaged and beyond: Love is hard.

No doubt Skins will bring many truths to light as it examines issues like anorexia, absentee parents and homosexuality. In that respect, Janollari is right. His network's young audience will be bright enough to spot the nuggets of honesty in Skins. But they'll be sifting through a lot of shocking, off-kilter teen fantasy to see them.

Do you think any teen show represents real life? Chime in below!

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