Music, Books and Psycho Space Robots: How Low Can It Go?
***”Music, Books and Psycho Space Robots” is a regular column published on Primary Ignition by Kevin Kenealy, staff writer and Nightmare Fuel Provider. The views expressed here are his, and do not reflect the views of the staff of Primary Ignition.***
“Stanley, are you still a virgin after everything I did for you?”
These were the last words said in the first episode of MTV’s new show Skins, which started this season.
After writing about Jersey Shore late last year, I thought American pop television reached a new low. That was before I saw Skins, which has now taken its place. Based on a nearly-identical British drama that debuted in 2007, it’s what you get when you take teenagers, sex and narcotics and put them in a blender. You get three things that should never be mixed in a TV show targeted at adolescents.
The main character in the first episode, Tony (played by James Newman), was concerned with getting his friend laid, so much that he said he couldn’t be friends with him anymore if he was still a virgin by the time he was 17. Tony coordinated with his friend Stanley (Daniel Flaherty) to pick up drugs and the woman who he would have sex with and indulge in drugs with at a party.
When Stanley went to pick the drugs up at the dealer’s house, he was met by two prostitutes. We see Stanley meet this drug dealer, who gives him four ounces of weed, valued at $900. The dealer allows him to walk away with the bag and pay him back later, with his balls as collateral. Later at the party, Stanley and this girl he’s supposed to hook up with don’t exactly hook up.
Instead, she overdoses on some pills and while they lay next to each other on a trampoline outside, she says to Stanley, “If we’re gonna do it, we better do it quick.” “Why?” Stanley asks. “Because I just took a bus load of pills.”
At least when I was in junior high, entering high school, the shows I recall from MTV were scandalous and funny. South Park was the Jersey Shore of its day perhaps in terms of popularity. Not to say it’s still not popular, but today it competes with altered-reality shows like Jersey Shore and Skins.
If you’re going to send a message to a demographic—MTV’s is primarily younger people—you should do so in a very sensitive way that shows these kids that what is being shown is not how things are or should be. It’s obvious watching South Park, or older shows like Beavis and Butthead for instance, that even though the themes in these shows reflect reality, they are done so by poking fun at it.
While Beavis and Butthead would poke fun at the music videos of the 90s, Snooki and The Situation will try to tell you how to live the good life in the new millennium. While Cartman would scream “Oh my God, they killed Kenny!,” Stanley would wonder if the girl on the trampoline killed herself.
Granted, shows have been losing morals and values for years and MTV sort of sets the limbo bar in this category—how low can it go?—but how low should we? Junior high and high schoolers are at a very impressionable age, and it’s hard to educate students away from the lure of what they learn in pop culture. It’s up to us to help set good examples for the younger generation so they don’t think that the only thing that is important is finding drugs and having sex.
Front page photo from cbsnews.com.