'Skins:' Are Our Teens Really Doing This Stuff?

By now you've probably heard about the new over-the-top MTV show, Skins. Not only are parents outraged by its racy scenes and extreme storylines that make it seem rare to be a virgin at 16, some are calling it child pornography. Recent reports say the Parents Television Council (PTC) wants a federal investigation into whether the MTV series violates child pornography laws, since some of the actors are under 18 and doing highly sexual scenes. I can’t say that I disagree -- we'll have to see what happens with that case. In the meantime, I've got to wonder how much of this racy stuff is realistic -- and how much of it is amped up for TV.

The producers are touting this show as a true-to-life representation of high schoolers -- supposedly a concept co-creator Brian Elsley developed with his 19-year-old son. In other words, they're saying that suggesting your girlfriend help your best friend lose his virginity is the norm; buying 4 ounces of pot at your local dealer/whorehouse is a run-of-the-mill after-school activity; and popping pills until you’re unconscious and your friends drive a stolen Escalade into a lake is your average Saturday night. Wow, if that's the case, things have certainly changed since I was in high school.

Look, I don’t mean to sound like a stodgy, unaware mom with blinders on, but this show has got to be a look at the extremes, not the norms, right? Sure, high school kids have sex, drink and do drugs, but it seems like the show has over-glamorized and unrealistically portrayed these students, who seem to be almost completly unsupervised by teachers or parents. They may as well give the adults the “wa waha wah” voice you hear on a Charlie Brown special. It always seems like there's another teen show that gets press for "pushing the envelope," like Gossip Girl and (remember when?) Beverly Hills 90210. This one has gone to the next level.

I get that Skins wants to use shock value to get viewers, while claiming to reflect reality by being frank and honest. I can only hope that’s not the truth. If so, I may need to consider homeschooling.

What do you think -- is 'Skins' realistic or gratuitous? Chime in below!

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