The Parents Television Council recently called MTV’s “Skins” the “most dangerous program ever for children,” but series co-creator Bryan Elsley says it’s just a simple, old-fashioned show.
One week after the PTC blasted the “Skins” premiere and called for a advertiser boycott, the man partly responsible for both the British and American versions of the show has spoken out in defense of the polarizing primetime offering.
“‘Skins’ is a very simple and in fact rather old-fashioned television series,” Elsley said in a statement issued to MTV. “It's about the lives and loves of teenagers, how they get through high school, how they deal with their friends, and also how they circumnavigate some of the complications of sex, relationships, educations, parents, drugs and alcohol. The show is written from the perspective of teenagers, reflects their world view, and this has caused a degree of controversy both in the UK and the USA.”
This difference, according to Elsley, is that viewers on the other side of the Atlantic see that “‘Skins’ is actually a very serious attempt to get to the roots of young people's lives.” It’s a point the writer hopes American audiences come to understand.
“When viewers have taken the time to watch the show in a little more depth, they are less concerned about the behavior of the characters," Elsley explained. "Teenagers can be loyal, supportive, dedicated, focused, and capable of making informed value judgments about their lives. In the pilot episode of 'Skins,' it's possibly easy to overlook the story wherein a young boy sets off to a party to sell drugs and have sex, but in fact, does neither of these things, because he senses that he has been manipulated by friends and does not feel ready to have sex with someone he does not know properly."
In the statement, Elsley went on to address concerns some potential viewers, or perhaps parents of potential viewers, might have in the wake of the show’s advertiser exodus and the PTC’s criticism.
“Our approach is not careless,” Elsley said. “We've created a supportive and protective environment for everyone working on the show. And of course abide by the law, and give respect to our work colleagues who in this case, are young energetic and exciting people with so much to offer to an imperfect world.”