The new MTV hit series Skins has come under fire for showing too much skin and for dealing with underage sex, drinking, gay/lesbian themes and illegal drug use.  One group, Parents Television Council, in particular,  has asked for a Congressional investigation of the series. 

One advertiser, Taco Bell, has already pulled its advertising because of pressure from the conservative group, Parents Television Council.  According to Crain’s New York Business:

Taco Bell has pulled its advertising from MTV’s controversial new hit series following pressure from conservative advocacy group Parents Television Council. The company informed MTV of its decision on Tuesday.

The Council had been calling Skins “the most dangerous program ever foisted on your children,” citing its graphic depictions of sex and drug use, even before the show premiered on Jan. 17.

MTV had the following to say:

Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

The targeted audience is 12 to 34 years.  That could be a problem right there.  There is a huge difference in maturity between most 12 and 34 year olds.  Congress is certain to complicate matters.  By the time they finish, everyone from 2 to 92 will be glued to their TV set, watching the next episode of 15 years olds being the horn dogs they generally are, all whilst shouting obscenities at the top of their lungs.

Appealing to advertisers usually has the greatest impact on these types of shows.   Targeting advertisers certainly toned down Glenn Beck.  Parent Television Council is  urging Schick Hydro, H&R Block, L’Oreal, Subway, Foot Locker, Orbit chewing gum and Extra chewing gum to stop advertising on Skins.

H & R Block?  Good time of year to give them a 1-2 punch.  Chewing gum companies, not so much.  That’s a pissing contest parents won’t be able to win. 

I haven’t seen Skins and I don’t think there is much that could make me watch it.   Kids and teens already watch things on Saturday morning that my mother would have banned from the house.  My grandchildren now warn each other that ‘Moon won’t like the words in that show.’  Darn right!  Most of what they watch is vulgar.  Even their grandfather has been horrified a time or 2.  It isn’t sexually vulgar, it is just gross.  I don’t find non-stop bathroom and nasal ‘humor’  funny or appropriate topics for kids.  

So, the good folks of Parents Television Council can have at it.  It they say a show is over the top, they can speak for me.  Just please, dear Lord, don’t make me watch it.  Just let me chime in as an old fogy.

Meanwhile, what do we do about Congress?  Should they be involved in a TV show?  Do parents have any control over what happens on cable?  Should Congress be deciding what happens on cable?  Where does parental responsibility begin and end?  Is it possible to not even subscribe to MTV?  Can it be blocked from the package or must parental controls be used?  Is a conservative group asking Congress to get involved in something that should clearly be the role of parents?  Just askin’.

15 Thoughts to “Too much Skin on MTV?”

  1. You know I am going to say there is way too much skin even if I have not seen the show. Why? Because there always has been too much skin on MTV. I’m not into media censorship, so I say turn the channel. Better yet, get Netflix. Then you at least have some inkling of what your kids are watching, and you might even enjoy the movies together as a family.

    Why would I want my kids to learn the facts of life from MTV? If anyone is going to teach my kids about sex, gay lifestyles, drugs, etc. it’s going to be my husband and me, not some for-profit glitzmongers. Besides that, just going to school and searching the internet will teach kids what others do or don’t do. We don’t need television to augment that education.

  2. What can parents do? How is MTV blocked?

  3. @Moon-howler
    Well, we don’t get extended cable, so we don’t have to worry about that. But, there is something to be said about building trust. We have to do that with the Internet. Even though there are net nannies, kids are smart. They can get around filters and the like.

    Part of it is open communication, teaching. reasonable monitoring and patience, IMO. Being a parent of tech-savvy kids who love online multi-player games and browsing, I’ve had to learn this difficult lesson. My knee-jerk reaction (i.e. “That’s it. You can’t use the computer unless we are in the room!”) isn’t one that works. I suppose in the end, kids sometimes have to learn the hard way, which means we as parents have to as well.

  4. Emma

    LOL, Netflix is great until you find out your college freshman knows your password and is logging in from school in the wee hours of the night. And you’re on travel with a 3-hour time difference and can’t figure out why you can’t log in to it (because she’s on already). Or you come home and find your kids engrossed in an episode of “Weeds”–about the pot-dealing single mother. The nice thing about Netflix is that I can see what they’ve been watching, tell them I don’t like it and why, and know that they’re obeying. It’s hard to keep up with the vast amount of entertainment now. My kids are level-headed, turning out OK from all appearances, and I don’t need Congress to tell me how to parent.

  5. I have that going on also…in another house. And Emma is right, I know not only what my kid is watching but also what the gkids are watching. I like to blind side them with that information.

    I believe Congress needs to stay out of this one also. That statement is not an endorsement of Skins, just that I don’t think it is in Congress’s purview.

  6. @Emma
    LOL! Well, at least your kids are in college. I figure once they hit 18, I don’t have as much authority–though I do hope I still have the illusion of influence.

    MH, I agree. Unless there is some FCC problem, government in general has nothing to say about this. We’ve got enough problems to deal with, IMO. Go ahead and lobby the FCC, but please don’t bug Congress about this.

  7. So where are the conservatives on this issue? Should congress be involved? Marin? Cargo? Wolverine? Weigh in, por favor.

  8. Cato the Elder

    No. If there are child porn concerns then address them on that basis. Otherwise, you either believe in free speech and expression or you do not. If you don’t like it, don’t watch.

    Frankly this is one aspect that irritates me about certain fellow conservatives. They want to enshrine the Constitution, until of course it offends their sensibilities, then all of a sudden “there oughtta be a law…”

  9. There is strong argument for what Cato is saying. Of course, I am having my conservative fit over the Supreme Court on a different thread.

    There is also strong argument for sponsors and networks acting responsibly. I heard wrigley, GM, and H & R block have bailed on the show.

    Is this were money talks and BS walks comes into play?

  10. MTV is still on? Who knew?

    If you don’t want your child to watch it, don’t let them watch it. If they watch it elsewhere and get caught, reprimand or punish them. I have my daughter’s friends over all the time and they tell me when something comes on that their parents find inappropriate. And if you’re worried about teens watching it against your will, then deal with it. Personally, I’d be more worried about teens DOING IT, than Watching it.

    Those same teens know WAY more about the internet than the parents. And the parents are worried about MTV? Hello? Bueller? Anyone home?

    Also, this program isn’t new. Its not like the “authorities” were blindsided. If MTV airs it and they lose advertising, it will quickly go away.

    1. @Cargo,

      Skins is new to America. Last week was its first week.

      Where else has it aired in this country?

  11. DB

    I don’t forbid my sixteen year old from watching shows such as Skins or 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom. I in fact watch them with her and we have discussions about what we are watching. We only watched Skins once, and I found it to be over the top reality-wise as did she. She doesn’t know anyone who parties like the characters in the show (thank God), and even though I may have partied in college even I never knew people who were that crazy into drugs and sex. The show is like Studio 54 meets teenagers with high dollar duds and absentee parents. It’s a Jackie Collins novel come to life on TV.

    The big deal in the media about the show is the age of the actors and whether or not they are too young to be acting in such a manner, though I suspect their parents had to give the okay. It reminds me of the same arguments that surrounded Brooke Shields when she made Endless Love and Blue Lagoon, and the hoopla years back when certain stores featured minors posed in compromising (semi nude) positions for print ads. I don’t particularly care for Skins and so probably will choose not to watch it again. And if advertisers don’t like the message they can pull their ads which some have done. But I don’t think Congress needs to be involved.

  12. Wolverine

    Congress has far more important issues than MTV. If the parents themselves and the advertisers who seek their custom cannot take care of this media equivalent of dog poop without congressional intervention, then we deserve what we get. You are the master or mistress of your castle or a combo thereof. Act the part. Keep the remote in your pocket. Introduce the kids to the classics. Take ’em to church. Get them involved in sports, Scouts, church activities, charitable work, hobbies, anything clean and productive. Recalcitrants get punished. No money for gas this week, son. Sorry. And that new Ipod you’ve been wanting? Can’t handle it financially yet. Congress — balderdash. Parents want to be spoon-fed on everything?

  13. I don’t think Congress needs to be involved. However, I don’t think parenting is that easy for all parents. Single parents often have to work during hours that their kids need supervision. Its difficult to force older kids into doing things.

    Getting a 15 year old kid involved in church, scouts, or even sports is easier said than done. I am not trying to let parents off the hook–just saying it isn’t always a cake walk in the park.

  14. @Moon-howler
    I meant that it wasn’t new to the industry. BBC America would mention it. I knew about it and knew what it was. I figured that those that actually care about such things, ie, advertisers, censors, TV people, etc, would know about it.

    “Congress has far more important issues than MTV”

    which is why you are going to see Congress jump all over this so that they don’t have to do any real work and can still say, “Hey! Look! We saved your kids! Again!”

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