Skins: The Evolving Portrayl of Teenage Drug Use on Television

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As a young person, seeing the media portray the the youth “party culture” and experiencing this culture is quite different. Media portrayal of drugs is often glamorous, and though teens are educated on the dangers of drug use, they are still impressionable and as a result susceptible to mimicking such behaviors. The opportunity to see these cultures first hand in two different countries is very fascinating. At sixteen years old, I spent a summer abroad in Europe, and saw firsthand youth immersed in these situations. While at a convenience store in the college town that is Hatfield, England, I witnessed a girl who was nowhere near legal alcohol purchasing age (even for Europe) being sold alcohol without any identification. I was quite …show more content…
The pilot episode of both productions is titled “Tony,” and, in short, tells the story of five friends who attend a party to drink alcohol and buy and smoke cannabis. They later steal a car and drive it into a lake, leave the car there, and continue on with their lives as if nothing happened. The drug use within both series is deeply embedded within the show--it is considered a norm for the young teenagers of which the show surrounds. The interesting thing about these two shows is, though almost identical in content and characters, the US version was cancelled after its first season due to intense controversy over the excessive drug use and sexuality of the drama, while the UK version is on its sixth season and counting. This is the main fact that has led me to question the differences in general media representation and societal attitudes towards this representation between the United States and the United Kingdom. There are few scholars who take on the task of explicitly comparing both Skins US and Skins UK at the same time. In a review of the two shows, Mark Estes states that the Skins brand in both countries “is at a point of new beginnings” and “is under a serious storm of scrutiny in both favorable and unfavorable lights” (Estes 1), most likely meaning that new artistic choices by the writers of the show have led to positive reactions from some viewers and negative reactions from parents. Although the

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