From Benny Hill to Doctor Who British television has been making its way to the American networks. Almost every game show or reality show now has at least one British cast member. Recently Skins a popular BBC and BBCA show was picked up by MTV. The show made its BBC premier in 2007. It involves teenage behavior with heavy sexual overtones. American television viewers as well as the news media are in debate questioning whether the content is too explicit for teen viewers and should it be tone down for general viewing.
Skins is the story of a group of British teens from Bristol who are trying to grow up and find love and happiness despite questionable parenting and teachers who more want to be friends (and lovers) rather than authority figures.
Which brings me to my lead question: Is America ready for uncensored British television shows? It’s a fact that European television is more liberal than its American counterpart. Full frontal nudity of men and women and explicit sexual language is common abroad and in the UK. My husband who is British thinks it quite humorous that we place big blue dots over human body part and bleep out common obscenities like hell and damn. He said he was more offended watching America’s Funniest Video of dogs dragging their butts across a carpeted floor, but I digress.
Will MTV censor and/or cut scenes, tone down the language for the American viewer? Yahoo News posted an article via the Atlantic Wire in Washington, DC of viewer opinions about MTV airing Skins. I’ve watched Skins and have found it to be provocative and suggestive however relatively accurate when it comes to depicting teenaged sexual angst; desperately trying to find a pecking order in their adolescent clique.
Good Morning America recently featured a story asking whether Skins has gone too far. Some go as far as calling it child pornography. I find it duplicitous that we raise our eyebrow at Skins when it is the same or less suggestive as some sexual situations I’ve viewed on late afternoon soap operas.
My opinion, I’m neither for nor against MTV’s decision to air or not air Skins. Nor do I support excessive and explicit sexual content for the sake of ratings. As a parent and visual artist it is up to me what I expose to my children. If I don’t want them to watch it – I turn it off. This gets tougher as our t’weens become teens. I am 100% in support of both teenage girls and boys embracing individual self-esteem, using good judgement and developing personal empowerment. However, what I DO NOT support [and this is an old debate for me] is the network’s endorsement of arbitrary censorship of programming, be it local or cable BBC or ABC, and what they deem suitable for American viewers. What’s your opinion?