Sunday, February 21, 2010

MTV's Teen Mom

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So I covered the first season of 16 and Pregnant pretty thoroughly when it was on last year. I tried not to watch Teen Mom initially, mostly because my favorite mother (Ebony) wasn't on the spin-off. But, I ended up watching a few episodes one afternoon when nothing else was on, and with my DVR it was easy to catch up on the other episodes, since MTV replays their stuff a lot.

I'm talking about the entire season in one entry, since I didn't watch the episodes in order, anyway.

Maci, Ryan, & Bentley. The season started on a happy note with an engagement and wedding planning. But by the end, they were separated with no hope for reconciliation. Maci went from college courses to online courses to dropping out to planning to return to courses this semester. Ryan is having a lot of issues in life, and doesn't seem to care a whole lot about not spending time with Bentley. I think that it was really weird at the football tailgating that Ryan and Maci joke about getting married and divorcing at the same time.

Catelynn & Tyler. At first I wasn't sure about the choice to put them on the spin-off, since they did give up their daughter, Carly, for adoption. Therefore, the issues surrounding them mostly dealt with their parents (remember, technically they were stepsiblings) disapproving of their choice to give up Carly to parents better suited to care for her. They got engaged at the end of the season, and I think it's time to officially kick them off the show (it did get renewed for another season), they don't fit in with the project, I don't think. I thought it was interesting that Tyler's mom collects his and Catelynn's cell phones at 10pm.But I also don't understand how they have no shame in their affection toward one another in front of Tyler's mom. Catelynn's random call to Teresa was also strange... and I think that definitely should have been shown during the regular season, since the throughline of her still being on the show is the whole "mothering at a distance" crap. Oh, and last thing... they should have showed her kidney stones/pregnancy scare in the regular season as well. Especially since at the season wrap-up, Dr. Drew talks to Amber about her potential second pregnancy being a unique issue, when, in fact, it is not. Why ignore Catelynn in favor of Amber? And, more interestingly, since Catelynn and Tyler have pointed out that they think they could have taken care of Carly, if she got pregnant again, just a year after her first child's birth, would they keep that baby??

Farrah & Sophia. Farrah went through some maturity issues, and her parents were really lenient as she began birth control and also wanted to go clubbing until 2am. Farrah's still really looking for a man in her life, and isn't getting far. She does have a future laid out, and she seems to be doing okay in culinary management from the way the season ended. Sophia seems to be one of the more docile children out of the remaining four, which is amusing since she's the one who probably gets the most attention, still having grandparents around all the time and all. I was surprised in Farrah's pessimism toward finding a life partner at all. OMG, grow up and get out of IOWA!! I also think that her goal of moving out on her own this year is a little unrealistic considering she mentions that even after she finishes this program, she wanted to go for a Bachelor's in Business. That one boy she was dating, Cole, was wearing an FSU shirt, which was of interest perhaps only to me, LoL. Oh, and Farrah didn't seem that surprised at all that her parents were divorcing. And shed doesn't seem to care that Michael's leaving, despite the fact that it seemed like she got along with him better than the mom for a long time. I think that the scene where Farrah is acting responsibly in front of her friend Amberly was left off the regular season because it doesn't fit in with Farrah's "character." The show wanted to keep showing her as playful and inconsiderate until the end of the season, and the idea that she wasn't going to party at the college and leave Sophia behind just didn't fit the image.

Amber, Gary, & Leah. I think this family became my favorite out of this season. They went from engaged and living together to being separated to being back together. Amber still doesn't have her GED and got a job very late in the season, as a receptionist at a spa or something similar. I do want to point out that Amber was one of the girls who could have continued her schooling while pregnant because of the timing but she chose to quit then... and now is pissed she can't have a real high school diploma. And, Amber's on depression medication. Her father's dying. She and Gary had gotten to the physical abuse level. Oh, but wait... she MIGHT be pregnant again. Yep. Her and the 25% of the other teenage moms who get pregnant a second time within two years of their first child. So, Amber "lost" her engagement ring, bought another, then made Gary propose a second time??!? But, her first one was from WalMart, and her second one is from KMart, so at least it's a half-step up, haha. AND, Amber's dreams of beauty school being put on hold because she hasn't finished her GED yet should have been in the regular season... it would have helped viewers to understand her freakouts and depression over the GED thing.

What exactly is a "potential teen mom" ?? is that someone who is already pregnant and trying to decide if she should keep it? Is it someone who might become pregnant, purposely or unintentionally? I thought it was a strange turn of phrase that "Dr. Drew" used when referring to some of the viewers of the program.

And now that a second season of 16 and Pregnant is starting, when that ends, how will Teen Mom continue? The current idea is that the second season of Teen Mom will focus on the original girls on their second year of motherhood, so does that mean they'll come up with another show to follow the new 16 and Pregnant girls in their first year of motherhood?
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