Saturday, January 22, 2011

Too Hot for Tots?

As an author of young adult, cross-over fiction that is currently writing a novel with teens that have sex (lots of it), I find the discussion over MTV's show Skins very interesting. After reading the online posts, it seems the argument comes down to--primarily--whether this is an accurate representation of the way kids behave and if it encourages teens to act like these kids. This, of course, is idiotic at best.

This, like all works of fiction, is a representation of how THESE teens act. To say that it's not like this in real schools is ignorant. There ARE teens that act like this, and that's the story the writers are telling. Nobody says, "Don't watch Fringe because real FBI agents don't investigate people from parallel universes," do they? Did ER represent what it was like to work in a real ER? Is any show an accurate depiction of what is going on in the real segment of the population it depicts? Not often. I think Skins may actually be coming closer to presenting a certain counter-culture in today's schools than most of those other shows.

Furthermore, sex and drugs are a huge problem. In fact, where I'm from, the number of kids that smoke pot WITH their parents' permission is astounding. I think a significant population of even good kids smoke weed. It's becoming as common as smoking cigarettes in the 20s. Some governments are decriminalizing it and fully legalizing it. The hippies didn't just put down the pipe. As far as hard drugs, that's a much smaller group, but it's still there. The show doesn't say THE WHOLE SCHOOL is doing it, but this group of kids the show follows does.

If you're upset with the show, it's because you recognize it's reality and don't want to deal with it. Do something to fix it. It's out there. Watch with your kids and talk to them about it. MTV is actually doing you a favor. Now you don't have to find a way to bring up these discussions. MTV has done it for you. And Taco Bell? Do you know how many sex-crazed, pot-smoking teens LOVE late night runs to Taco Bell for "4th meal?" There's a reason so many young people are hungry at 2 a.m. It's hypocritical to sell them a cheesy crunch wrap supreme to cure their marijuana induced munchies and then not advertise to them on a show that shows kids gone wild. You think this is bad, you should watch the movie Kids and see what Chloe Sevigne was doing years before she ever did that hard core oral sex scene in Brown Bunny. I remember being a baseball banquet in Darien, CT where my wife commented on Darien High grad Sevigne probably sleeping her way into roles. A mother there said, "I can't believe that for a second. Not a nice, clean Darien girl." Can you say ignorance...or was it intentional blinder time for that lady? IT'S OUT THERE.

As for the sexy nudity by 17 year old actors? Depends on the rules of the state doesn't it? Some states have age-of-consent laws as low as 12. Which is another issue that deserves to be discussed. But the average teen girl loses her virginity at 16. I don't think that's some kind of epidemic. High school girls were putting out back in the 50's, too. Let's stop being hypocrites. We adults lost our virginity in high school (or at least tried very hard to do so). Our parents lost their virginity in high school. Their parents...on and on. This is a very small percentage of religious extremists trying to dictate their morals to all of us.

I know students at my school (where I teach) whose parents have had "the talk" with them and taken them to their family doctor to start them on birth control knowing what's going on with their kids and their boyfriends. But are there cracked out kids having dangerous sex with multiple partners. Yes. In most cases they have absentee parents who do drugs and screw everyone they know. The point? If you're a good, concerned parent, your kids will probably watch Skins and be upset just like you. If you're not, you're kids are probably doing what you're seeing on that wide-screen, HD, plasma television screen, and you should shut it off and get involved. Period. What you're really saying is having this show on TV makes you actually have to parent and deal with something you've been ignoring for years. They can see the same thing with their friends at school if they aren't already making their own real-life version of Skins in YOUR bedroom while your at you business meeting or dating yourself. And before you roll your eyes and gasp about today's youth, think back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s high school scene and remember all the sex and drugs happening then. YOU ARE ALL HYPOCRITES.

My final message--don't blame the messenger. Thanks.


  1. I see where you're coming from, but I am still wondering whether Skins is more PSA or exploitation.

  2. I guess we'd have to ask the actors and actresses how they feel about. And their parents.

  3. I had no idea what this show even was until I saw a link about it on the MSN homepage. Maybe living in a teeny weeny midwest town I'm totally out of touch with what kids are watching on TV in the rest of the country. But my oldest son (a senior in a graduating class this year of 40) says he's one of a handful of kids in the whole school who doesn't drink to excess or smoke pot like it's going out of style. And he hasn't even dated at all since he's been in high school because he claims the selection of girls here is a bunch of "skanky whores" and he's not interested in them.

    But at least we've made an effort to talk to our kids and be involved in their lives and know what's happening with their peers. I'm sure there are loads of parents who don't give a hoot.

    Oh, and btw, I have an award for you at my blog...if you're interested in that kind of thing.

  4. Thanks, MARA, for the plug. I think I got a follower out of that. Imagine that. Now I have like expectations to live up to. Good Lord. I see on tv about all these small towns with little schools where either the thirds of the graduation class is pregnant or the whole school has the same VD because of the orgies in corn fields or something like that. What else is there to do besides tweeking and screwing? Well, there's bowling, of course. =)

  5. Wow, Frisk, you sure know how to throw salt on a wound...and then rub it in nice and deep, dontcha? I guess there'll be more pregnant seniors here this year because of the absence of a bowling facility. (p.s., there is an epidemic of mono going around the school now, so see? they're paying the price for their shunning ways)

  6. "Thought I had mono once for an entire year. Turns out I was just really bored." Wisdom through the movies.

    And please believe that my insensitivity was not an intentional dig, but just plain 'ole ignorant insensitivity.

  7. Ha ha. I just nearly spat my tea on the keyboard! That's a way to get the juices flowing. I do love your writing, too, Friskey. It's intelligent without being pretentious, and just damn fun to read!