Conclusion: Skins may sensationally reflect the reality of some wild teens' lives. And, as the Parents Television Council has suggested, the show no doubt glorifies that bad behavior and reinforces the "reality" that the show's producers insist they're trying to depict. The end result, as Falsani rightly suggests, is a soul-deadening show that objectifies and dehumanizes its young cast, nine adolescents who may be too young to understand just how deeply they're being taken advantage of.
Not everyone is so dispassionately philosophical, however, about Skins' glorification of teen vices. New York Times reviewer David Carr contrasted Skins with MTV's racy reality offerings, noting that even on the worst of reality TV there are consequences. "Even in the most scripted reality programming, the waterfall of poor personal choices is interrupted by comeuppance. People get painful hangovers, the heartbreaks are real if overly dramatic and the cast members have to live with their decisions," he says. He continues:
"Not so on Skins, where a girl who overdoses and is rushed to the hospital wakes up to laughter when the stolen SUV taking her there slams to a halt. Teenagers show children how to roll blunts, bottles of vodka are traded on merry go-rounds, and youngsters shrug off being molested and threatened by a drug dealer. And when the driver of the stolen SUV gets distracted and half a dozen adolescents go rolling into a river, the car is lost but everyone bobs to the surface with a smile at the wonder of it all. … MTV leaves it to real-life parents to explain that sometimes, when a car goes underwater, nobody survives and that a quick hookup with cute boy at the party may deliver a sexually transmitted disease along with a momentary thrill."
No wonder no advertisers want to get within a hundred miles of this trash!
The real issue here is whether or not Skins will have a negative influence on the young audience who is watching it. The answer is "Yes.". Sure, there are plenty of teens out there who's lifestyle is already wild and out of control. But, most of the kids who will tune into Skins are not to that point yet and will tune in out of curiosity and because it's human nature to watch what you shouldn't be watching. Watching other teens do bad things will only make it more acceptable in the minds of impressionable young viewers like these. When a show spotlights bad behavior, sensationalizes it, and then minimalizes the negative consequenses, the power to influence is magnified. MTV knows this. They're not looking out for anyone's own good but their own. They're building their audience and increasing their ratings.