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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this British series focuses on the lives of a group of upper middle-class teens, the show's content is controversial and decidedly adult. Both teens and adults engage in various simulated sexual acts, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and deal and use prescription drugs and marijuana; most don't suffer too many consequences for their iffy behavior. Expect plenty of talk about sex and virginity, partial male and female nudity (some is blurred out), and lots of profanity (words like "t-ts" and "s--t" are audible, while "f--k" is muted). The series also touches on some serious subjects, like anorexia and peer pressure.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
SKINS is a controversial British dramedy about eight teen friends growing up in Bristol, England. Mike Bailey stars as Sid, a nerdy-but-fun guy who looks up to his rather arrogant friend Tony (Nicholas Hoult). He's dating the more experienced Michelle (April Pearson), who introduces them both to her troubled friend Cassie (Hannah Murray). The rest of the ensemble is rounded out by their friend Chris (Joe Dempsie), over-achiever Jal (Larissa Wilson), tap-dancing Maxxie (Mitch Hewer), and the semi-religious Anwar (Dev Patel); occasionally Abigail (Georgina Moffat) and Sid's rebellious younger sister Effy (Kaya Scodelario) join the fray as well. Together the teens are forging through their final years of adolescence, having all kinds of (mis)adventures along the way.
Is it any good?
Skins is an unflinching look at the complicated world of an upper-middle class British teenager's life. Each episode focuses on a single character and explores some of the issues that teens face as they approach adulthood -- like coping with intense peer pressure and dealing with feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, and betrayal. But in order to appreciate these themes, viewers must be able to look beyond the risky behavior that some of the young characters engage in. From sex to drug use, these activities are presented as both expected and accepted parts of their daily lives -- and most of them have few consequences. As a result, it's sometimes hard to tell whether the teens' actions complement the deeper and more meaningful storylines or are included gratuitously to entice would-be audiences. It also leaves you wondering whether you should be rooting for them or wishing that they'd get caught and ultimately learn some important lessons about growing up
Obviously, the show's mature content rules it out for kids and makes it pretty iffy even for teens. But for mature viewers, the series does offer well-written, often funny entertainment. Though not always likable, the characters are well developed and emotionally genuine. The storylines also cleverly blend the lives of various adult characters into the ongoing teen narratives, which often makes what some of these teens are going through more poignant, funny, and/or disturbing. And throughout it all, the teens characters remain close and loyal. If you're comfortable with (or can look beyond) the stronger content, this British import's focus on friendship certainly has something to say.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's OK to show teen sex, drinking, and drug use on television. Do shows like this present a realistic view of teen life, or is anything exaggerated for entertainment? What would the real-life consequences of the characters' behavior be?
Aside from the accent, what sets British series apart from their American counterparts? Why is some content (swearing, nudity, smoking) more accepted in other countries?
For kids who love quirky characters
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