MTV’s ‘Skins’ Casts Teenagers in Racy Scenes, and Raises Doubts – NYTimes.com

One of my strongest prejudices is the exploitation of kids for entertainment. Reality TV is one of my favorite elliptical-machine distractions but I refuse to even glance at Toddlers and Tiaras for fear of giving off a whiff of support for it. Same with any of those shows about families with a zillion kids. I couldn’t even watch the Duggar family on Say Yes to the Dress, and I love Say Yes to the Dress.  I ignored the family edition of Amazing Race, although I LOVE Amazing Race. Don’t get me started on those Housewives shows.

I include teens wholeheartedly in that. It’s not about what teenage actors do on their own time — that’s their parents’ responsibility, not mine — it’s about making mature judgments about what we do and how publicly we do it, and it’s about how we as a society protect childhood, to the feeble extent we still can. Our media is rampant and crazy and completely caveat emptor. It’s no surprise that MTv is responding to the reality craze and its need to push boundaries with a teen show featuring teen actors doing the kinds of teen things that give kids those dreams. Picture it: you take a pair of 17-year-olds, the attention-starved kind, tell them they’re pretty and you’ll respect them in the morning, pay them money and invite them to go for it, and of course they’re going to go for it.

It’s elementary, really: someone’s parents are away, they have a basement and a liquor cabinet and couches and music, turn out the lights and fill it with teenagers and what the hell do you think is going to happen? Now add some cameras and broadcast it and capture it permanently on tape. Brilliant.

I’ll get to the point. We determined long ago, as a culture, that people under 18 should not make certain decisions on their own; ergo, those of us over 18 are charged with guiding them, helping them learn how to do that. If these child actors’ parents or guardians or whatever won’t do that, then we as a culture have empowered ourselves to step in, at the very least by not creating the situation for these kids to jump into.

MTV’s ‘Skins’ Casts Teenagers in Racy Scenes, and Raises Doubts – NYTimes.com.

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Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 6:59 AM  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] But, Bryan, you’re still treading on thin ice with your under-18 actors. […]


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