It’s no secret that I don’t like children. They’re loud and smelly and demand attention, not to mention my ongoing bitter rivalry. Stupid babies, stealing my three defining traits. They also take all the footed onesie pajamas… grrr.
So here’s a message for my rivals: Don’t you go steppin’ on my turf, toddlers. I know your game, and if I need to whine and throw biscuits across the Red Lobster to compete with you, dammit that’s what I’ll do.
But regardless of my rivalry, I have a heart. So when I see a teen mother place her 3-month-old on the kitchen counter, leave the room, forget about it and wander around the house muttering about misplacing the baby, something in me just wants to scream,
“CAMERAMAN!!! WHY ARE YOU NOT SAYING, “BABY ON COUNTERTOP!”?!? THIS ISN’T PLANET EARTH, MAN! JUST POINT AT THE KITCHEN!”
Ahem. Sorry about that… I think the snot bubble broke my temperance…
Anyway, I recently sat through some episodes of Teen Mom in a similarly unhinged fashion. My most accurate, eloquent review of the show can be summarized thusly: errferrblurrbulllsnort.
To be fair, I watched the old Teen Mom, not the new Teen Mom 2. So if you become confused by my analyses, blame MTV for failing television.
However, I can pretty much determine that every episode features about four young mothers leaving babies on countertops, failing to complete high school and constantly asking their “teen dads” for help. Seriously, the “teen dads” are far more grating and irritating than any of the moms I’ve seen. Then again, they’re being paid for doing next to nothing and are, quantifiably, jerks. Why would I expect otherwise?
To be fair, it seems that every season has a young couple that gives up their child for adoption. For instance, Catelynn and Tyler in season 1, who’d have a fine story if not for the fact that they’re step-siblings. As an aside, ew.
At first, I thought I could defend Teen Mom’s general acceptance of adoption. In the show, it’s portrayed as a hard choice (mostly for their parents for some strange reason), but they were the “smart” couple who thought of their baby first. Maybe my defense lies there?
Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.
First of all, they are step-siblings. Did I mention that? They also look like they’re both twelve years old. It’s weird and gross. Also, almost immediately after Catelynn gives birth, they once again have unprotected sex. Oh, and they frequently tell each other, “I just fricken’ love you.” It’s the stupid sentence that broke this camel’s back.
I wanted to believe they were making a mature decision. They were not. They gave up their baby because they wanted to, and they continue in the same bad decisions that led to the initial mama drama. I’m not even sure they felt bad about the adoption, and it makes me want to throw biscuits at the TV.
They’re on a downward spiral and I’m watching it happen. I’m forced to ask why this show is popular. For this reason, I approached Student Life writer Hannah Schwartz’s defense article with apprehension. When she started talking about the “most endearing” story of the season, I almost closed the tab in fury. But I read on, just for you.
“In the season finale, (Catelynn and Tyler) visited their daughter and her adoptive parents, and instead of emotionally breaking down and doubting their decision, they simply took joy in the fact that they made the right decision in giving her up—making it one of the more poignant scenes I’ve seen on television… and adding some much-needed hope and optimism to these stories.”
Eh. If I had watched the entire series, I could argue. But I don’t believe these teens could be poignant or optimistic (although that baby should sigh in relief). I just think this conclusion shows kids being kids / careless / mongoloids.
I can’t find it in me to defend the show or the characters. So I trekked into the tricky world of theme and intent, which means I need to think like an MTV executive. Lord help me here we go.
I guess this show could be schadenfreude like some new-age Jerry Springer, but it doesn’t seem to embody the same trailer-trash vibe as that particular slum bucket (Jerry Springer is worlds beyond this show). Maybe Teen Mom is just about the drama we normals don’t get in our comparatively boring lives. After all, I’ve never vacuum-cleaned a child. Or maybe, just maybe, this is the best contraceptive advertisement ever invented.
Blogger Peter Hoare puts Teen Mom’s ethos in perspective. I feel weird saying Teen Mom has an ethos, but here we are.
“These shows are NOT the televised glorification of underage sex and teenage pregnancy, quite the contrary. These shows, plain and simple, are birth control, and are intended to be taken as such. If I were in high school and watching one of these shows, I would beg my parents to let me be the first 14 year old with a vasectomy.”
For people claiming that Teen Mom glamorizes teen pregnancy, I must ask: What show are you watching?
Teen Mom goes out of it’s way to depict the many challenges of teen parenthood. For instance, almost none of the relationships between the moms and baby-daddies pan out. Not even Catelynn and Tyler have remained together, which must make for very awkward family reunions. This show is anything but glamorizing. I think Teen Mom may actually be trying to teach us something.
Which makes it better than most of MTV’s lineup, actually. Isn’t saying much, but it’s something, right?
Teen Mom (and by assumed extension, Teen Mom 2) are really trashy. But life as a young parent is trashy, so I guess it works. And if it keeps a few kids from being mongoloidial, I guess it’s worth it. Teen Mom isn’t a good show, but I believe it may be an effective show. I guess it doesn’t deserve my angry flying biscuits.