Skins: Encouraging Banality? – UPDATED

There is a headline out there indicating that MTV’s controversial new series, “Skins” may be “in danger” of being canceled:

MTV’s controversial drama “Skins” is losing advertisers faster than some of its characters lose their clothes.

As FOX411 reported, Taco Bell was the first sponsor to withdraw advertising from “Skins,” quickly followed by Wrigley, Subway, Foot Locker, L’Oreal and Shick. General Motors and H&R Block both issued statements explaining that their ads were aired during the premiere by mistake and would have no further association with the show.

Lacking a stable of advertisers to sponsor the show, “Skins” could reportedly lose MTV up to $2 million per episode.

Oh, my. What will the world do without another insipid television program glorifying the culture of youth gone rudderless? Santiago Ramos has a good take on the show and the pathetic mindset it betrays:

There is an undercurrent of boredom and docility in our culture that makes a show like Skins possible. . . . The dreary pilot episode of Skins places a lowlife, ugly kid named Tony on a quest for marijuana and an end to his sexual virginity. It also features a McMansion house where rich kids make fun of slightly richer kids and someone tracks mud onto an expensive European rug. A girl overdoses, but then she’s fine . . .

What if I were to say to MTV: Why can’t your characters discuss Dostoyevsky, or Balzac, or Jonathan Franzen? Why couldn’t a 16-year-old student decry the excesses of his affluent suburban life and begin a Das Kapital afterschool reading group . . . only to have his father lose his job at the law firm, and be forced to work at Walmart, wherein he meets a blue-collar Republican and has a political rebirth? Why couldn’t twin brothers debate the existence of God, one become a Benedictine monk and the other a Buddhist, and start a family feud during the next Thanksgiving . . . only to join forces against the drab materialism of their parents? “But it’s not what teens are doing, it wouldn’t be realistic.”

What if I started demanding—or at least desiring, desiring loudly—more interesting stories?

Well, I suspect for one thing, that might be a challenge for the girls on “The View” who seem to have difficulty processing anything that resides outside their worldviews, or even of making not-subtle distinctions:

Joy Behar wanted to know what the distinction was between “grown-ups,” HBO viewers, and “young people,” MTV viewers, when it comes to certain sexual activities.

“I think it’s because it’s MTV, because on HBO as you pointed out, I believe ‘Oz’ was on there and they’re all doing some crazy stuff … and ‘Sex in the City’ was on HBO,” Behar said. “What’s the difference if you’re watching all these grown-ups talking about all of these — anal sex, etc., or young people? What’s the difference?”

No wonder the SOTU was dumbed down.

UPDATE: A reminder that the medium is the message

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • doc

    Another reason why I have no TV reception at the house. TV today is a sewer pipe. Who would want to drink from it on the off chance of catching something nice and clean?

  • Mandy P.

    Good Lord Almighty! That Behar quote just about makes my head explode. The difference is (1) HBO’s audience is adults and not teenagers, and (2) shows like Sex and the City, while vulgar, are about 30- and 40-something women, not teenagers. If she really can’t see the difference between intended audience and subject matter, then she’s got worse problems that I thought she had already.

    And Ramos is absolutely right, but not just about programming for teenagers. There is so much on TV right now that is just pure trash. Outside of a few unites of the news here and there, and about an hour of Thomas and Friends or Angelina Ballerina, we keep the TV OFF in my house.

  • francesca

    Banal. Totally.

  • dry valleys

    I am vindicated in not having a TV!

    No teenager I know lives something out of Skins, but then no one I know is a child of privilige. If some spoilt kid wanted a real epiphany I suggest instead of speaking to a “blue-collar Republican” he speak to me or my neighbours about public services being slashed or about neoliberalism eviscerating jobs. I guarantee no one I know in real life would act as nice as me.

    As for “the beauty of the art, music and architecture of the Middle Ages” that a commentor refers to, I don’t think that meant much to an illiterate farm labourer who toiled for 70 hours a week, only to drop dead of some disease that’s now easily treated, after burying several of his children. There was never a time when the average person led a sophisticated, gentlemanly life.

    Well, you know where I stand on all this culture war stuff. But we can unite around not tuning into this rubbish or like “minded” programmes. I wouldn’t watch “Downton Abbey” either, it’s got about as much in common with genuine pre-1914 life as I have with Michelle Bachmann.

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