MTV has begun airing a racy new teenage drama called “Skins,” inspired by the BBC series of the same name. The show premiered Monday and brought in 3.3 million viewers, but despite strong numbers, the series looks to be headed for trouble. The show’s graphic nature has upset not only the Parents Television Council, but also advertisers. Taco Bell decided yesterday to pull their ads from the show.
According to The New York Times, the Parents Television Council “called on Congress and the Justice Department to open an investigation regarding child pornography and exploitation. The group asserted in a letter on Thursday that the program may be in violation of federal statutes pertaining to portrayals of child sexual abuse and sexual behavior.”
Several actors in the cast of “Skins” are under 18, and execs at MTV are already frantically trying to tone down nudity and sexual content in upcoming epsides. The Wall Street Journal‘s Speakeasy blog recapped the first episode thusly: “A girl sneaks home after a debauched night of partying. A boy has decorated his bedroom with porno magazines (and not Playboy, the hardcore kind). Another girl is willing to trade sexual favors for drugs. Later, that same girl pops too many pills and has to be rushed to the hospital.”
MTV is particularly worried about the third installment of the series, to air January 31, wherein one of the male characters takes, uh, performance enhancing drugs and is left with a visible erection throughout the episode. The same character is filmed from behind running down the street naked, a la Will Ferrell in “Old School.”
Steven Kurutz of the WSJ writes, “Unlike typical teen shows, there’s seemingly no negative consequences to all this reckless behavior. At one point, the “Skins” gang drives a luxury SUV into a lake — and laughs about it.” I’ve got footage of that and other “reckless behavior” behavior below. Take a look and let me know what you think: