You’ve no doubt heard about MTV’s new show Skins, based on a popular show from across the pond. Well I’ve watched an episode, and it’s everything you’ve heard—and more.
This third episode is named “Chris,” after one of the teenagers the show centers around. The opening shot shows Chris—with a visible erection—waking up after a night of smoking pot and popping pills, including those little blue ones.
This opening scene ends when Chris finds an envelope with $1,000, and a note that says “Be gone a few days. Be good! Mom.”
Then the show launches into 40 minutes of enough parties, sex, drugs, and alcohol to make Charlie Sheen blush.
Mom’s away, so Chris throws a big party, and as so often happens, it’s full of strangers and hangers-on—he admits, “I know maybe 10% of the people here.”
The next morning the cash is spent, and the only people left behind are his friends. They’ve fallen asleep in various states of undress. The girls are in bras, and don’t seem to care. One girl shows her naked breasts to one of the friends, and it’s no big deal—to her or her boyfriend. And another has lost a bet, so she has to flash the group. Again…no big deal. And Chris’ erection, which is there for most of the show, becomes a source of jokes. I was stunned.
Surely things will get back to normal when Mom shows up, right? Well…when Chris finds that his mom’s clothes are all gone, he starts to suspect she’s gone for good.
The show seems to lack any kind of adult figure—in fact there are only three adults shown during the entire show. One is Chris’ dad’s new wife, who acts as though nothing is wrong in Chris’ life—even though it’s obvious something’s very wrong. The second adult is a weirdo from the junkyard who sells Chris some new pills.
And the third adult is a young teacher whom Chris tricks into coming to the party in hopes he can sleep with her. When she realizes his intentions, she leaves. “Finally!” I think. “A responsible adult!” Alas no. By the end of the episode, she’s taken pity on Chris’ plight, and she’s putting him up in a spare bedroom until he can find something else. And the tension between these two leads me to believe this will lead somewhere it shouldn’t.
I’m still trying to decide what MTV is saying with this show. Is it supposed to be a glimpse into the life of teenagers? I could be incredibly naïve, but I don’t know any teenagers who live like these kids do. Do they have problems? Sure. Do they do things they shouldn’t? Of course. But this seems like an insane alternate reality.
Maybe there are parts of the country where this is more of a reality, but what about the other 99.8% of the teenage population? Are they supposed to see this as some sort of Promised Land? Something to aspire to? God help us all, if so.
Chris doesn’t seem happy—he seems incredibly sad, in fact. The drugs and alcohol are his way of numbing the pain. But there’s no one to speak Truth—or even truth—into his life. So sad…right?
But he ends the episode in the house of the teacher he’s trying to sleep with, popping a pill and smiling. So do this show’s writers see this as a happy ending? Do they think his drugged-up, oversexed friends are happy? I don’t know. And there’s no way I’ll watch the next episode to find out.