MTV’s Skins criticized for racy teen sex and Canadianness

MTV’s Skins criticized for racy teen sex and Canadianness

For teens tired of the Prada-sporting, beach house–dwelling Gossip Girl set, MTV’s upcoming Skins—a spinoff of the controversial BBC program of the same name—may offer some much-needed realism and relief. The North American version was shot here in Toronto, and though it debuts tonight, many American parenting groups are already crying foul.

In “the most urgent alert the PTC has ever sent to parents,” the American Parents Television Council doesn’t pull any punches:

Skins is filled with graphic content involving high-school children, including depictions of teens drinking, smoking marijuana, and using massive quantities of drugs, engaging in violent acts, and having irresponsible sex with each other, with their schoolteachers, and with other adults.

Hmm, when you put it that way… Though an executive producer of the American version claims it is considerably tamer than its British inspiration, the show has received a rating of TV-MA, which is reserved for the most objectionable television.

MTV’s Skins been getting mixed reviews from the critics, as well, both for its explicit content and its dystopian storyline, but Hank Stuever from the Washington Post found fault with another of the show’s qualities:

You would think a show such as Skins, which brags about its realism, wouldn’t feel so fake and . . . Canadian. Originally set for Baltimore, “Skins” was instead filmed in urban Toronto, using mostly Canadian kids, and the producers seem to think Americans won’t notice. So much of our cheap and limitless programming now, seen everywhere from NBC to MTV to HGTV, has a telltale and even aggravating Canadianness about it; the only way Skins could possibly feel more Ottawan is if Alanis Morissette popped up wearing a Mountie uniform and sang a new song called “Oot ‘n’ Aboot” while helping some “Property Virgins” find a renovated two-bedroom condo.

Wow. We had no idea that “Canadianness” was as deeply offensive as rampant teenage sex and drug use. In the future, we’ll try to tone it down with our talented film industry, our favourable economic policies and our infamously lovely manners. Yeesh.

Skins premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on the Movie Network.

Under the Skins, it’s Toronto [Toronto Star]
In ‘Skins,’ teens’ good times are a grown-up’s nightmare [Washington Post]
Kids Inc.: Degrassi’s Raymond Ablack and Skins’ Camille Cresencia-Mills discuss post-millennial TV teenagedom [Toronto Life]