Shed This ‘Skin,’ MTV

MTV’s “Skins,” which premiered earlier this year, is a sexualized, hetero-sexist, Americanized, poor imitation of an innovative British TV series. It shows no originality.

For those foreign to British television, the original 2007 “Skins” is a series written by Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain about the lives of a group of high school friends.

The fact that the American “Skins” comes up short is to be expected. America has a track record for adapting British television and doing a poor job; “The Eleventh Hour” and “Life on Mars” are both examples. The only exception to the rule that I can think of is Showtime’s “Queer as Folk.”

Advertisers don’t seem to favor the show either, mainly for its portrayal of teens engaging in sex and drug-use rather than the show’s lack of originality. Schick, Subway, H&R Block, Taco Bell, Wrigley and GM have all pulled their advertising from the show.

In the original “Skins” there is a character called Maxxie who is gay. Maxxie is treated no differently than the other characters, not even Tony, the high school “playboy.” I want to make it clear that Maxxie isn’t the “gay character.” He is a character who happens to be gay. In the American version, Maxxie is replaced with Tea, a lesbian cheerleader. A comment is made by one of the guys about “converting” her so that he could have a threesome with Tea and another girl.

There is a double standard with lesbian couples and gay couples in American society. Men don’t have (as much of) a problem with women being sexual with other girls because they find it “hot.” But if two guys start kissing in front of them, they find it disgusting. Or, in the case of “Queer as Folk,” they go out of their minds and bash a guy with a baseball bat.

This clearly says something about Americans and how they deal with modern issues in popular teen media. There needs to be a lesbian that straight men can sexualize instead of a gay man.

The original “Skins” didn’t censor words like “fuck,” nor did it treat the sexual material in the way that Hollywood does. The original showed the sexual storylines as more life-like and real. To put it simply, the British version was a drama and the American version is a soap opera for teens (and did I mention the acting
is bad?).

Remaking “Skins” with American actors was unnecessary. The original stands on its own. MTV should have just aired the original. If you are interested in watching “Skins,” please watch the British version. You will get much more enjoyment out of it than MTV’s.