Saturday, October 9, 2010
Glory to Pregnant Teenagers, As Simple as M-T-V
It is with eager anticipation and a thready pulse that America awaits Season Three of 16 and Pregnant. Wow, what a show. It has captured Obama's USA like a scrotum in a too narrow chimney flue. The red, white and bluers are in deep on this one.
The MTV network, ya know the station that made history popularizing music videos, hit a homer with Lauren Dolgen's documentary style creation. Who would of thought a reality show about pregnant 16 year olds would be gut wrenching? The show premiered on June 11, 2009 with the Maci Bookout story.
Each segment or show features a teener, pregnant somewhere between 4-8 months. The saga of the mom-to-be is followed until the baby is a few months old. In essence, the viewer gets to vicariously ride along as the conceptus and the brooding pregger develop. The drama of the whole human experience is parsed; the reactions and interactions of the gravid one with her impregnator and her/his family and friends is at times riveting.
Season One showcased six girls, Maci, Farah Abraham, Amber Portwood,
Ebony Jackson, Whitney Purvis, and Catelynn Lowell. Only Catelynn offered her child for adoption, the others all "kept" their babies. The final episode featured Dr. Drew (Pinsky) as he met with all of the families from the season to discuss their experiences. What a way to learn and to sum up.
The second season began on February 16, 2010. Expanded, ten girls step up to gain their shot at fame. In turn, Jenelle Evans,
Nikkole Paulun, Valerie Fairman, Chelsea Houska, Lori Wickelhaus, Samantha Hernandez, Nicole Fokos, Leah Messer, Lizzie Waller and Kailyn Lowry follow and complete their respective biologic mandates. Only one, Lori, follows Catelynn and relinquishes her child to adoption. Again, in the final installment, the all knowing Dr. Drew meets with the Season Two crowd to make it all make sense.
While each story is unique, the underlying same theme is that an unwed teenager is confronted with an unplanned pregnancy. The pregnancies, while possibly unwanted, are not terminated. Abortion is not a consideration for these girls (women). Producer Morgan Freeman's successful show does leave the viewer with the sense of gravitas raising a child engenders. Social, emotional, economic and psychological hurdles typify each episode. The extension of these traumas to the extended families and friend networks of each woman is also highlighted.
So, does 16 and Pregnant encourage teen pregnancy? Are these MTV "stars"
people to be emulated? The New York Times,, says,
"The implicit message at the center of the series’s class prejudice tell us that if you’re not setting out for Berkeley or Wesleyan, then raising a child when you ought to be working on the yearbook is as good a road to character development as any."
Some teenagers find the show not only entertaining and amusing, but instructive. Sometimes, you can learn how much a burned hand hurts watching someone else touch a hot stove top. Also, teens say, they more easily enter into "sex" talks with their parents, particularly if they both watch 16 and Pregnant.(not necessarily at the same time)
On October 26, 2010, Season Three will introduce new girls, new issues, new babies, new male progenitors, new, new, new and fresh, too. And for those who want to live on with the past stars there's Teen Mom.
This show premiered on December 8, 2009 and it followed the lives of 4 of Season One's stars of "16" including Maci, Farrah, Amber and Catelynn. Excellent! America can't wait. And so it goes...