In the past, I have given MTV a bit of a hard time on this blog. Maybe I’m still shipping for Lauren and Stephen, maybe I just still expect music videos, or maybe I’m still incredibly bitter that “Daria” is no longer in my life. Despite all of my gripes about MTV, I still watch it. I should really give them some kudos here and there. I love that “Beavis and Butthead” are back, and the teen show addict in me loves “Awkward.” There are definitely a few gems sandwiched in between all of the vapid trash on this network. However, last night with the premiere of one of MTV’s biggest shows, “Teen Mom 2,” I forgot about all of those gems.
“Teen Mom 2” is the follow-up to MTV’s self-proclaimed groundbreaking show, “Teen Mom.” In it’s second season, it documents the struggles and life choices going on in the lives of MTV’s second batch of young mothers. I believe that the show started out as a vehicle to show how difficult it is to raise a child when you’re still growing up yourself, but it has slowly turned into a train wreck, as do most reality shows on television.
However, when I watch “Jersey Shore” and I see a hot mess of people, I have no problem rolling my eyes and shutting it off. Oh, look. Snooki is drunk again. No big deal. When “Teen Mom 2” is a train wreck, my heart aches. It’s painful to watch. I don’t want to see a young girl’s life spiral out of control while a baby suffers the real consequences. I don’t want to see young couples’ relationships fall apart when they need to be strong right now for their sick child. I don’t want to see a naïve girl continuously go back to a destructive and abusive relationship in hopes that she will be able to provide her child with a father. These are the kind of troubling story lines that we don’t want to just sit back and watch; we want to step in and help. And we don’t want to help by bringing Dr. Drew on board.
While “Teen Mom 2” star Chelsea, seems to be a sucker for her child’s father and his abuse, and while star Kailyn has a turbulent relationship with baby Isaac’s father; it is Teen Moms Jenelle and Leah that my heart really breaks for.
Teen parents Leah and Corey have had their struggles in the past, but none greater than the struggle of their slow developing daughter Alianna. Alianna is a twin to sister Aleeah who is developing at a healthy rate. Alianna is having problems and the doctors can’t pinpoint the source. Since Leah and Corey married and moved in together, Leah has found herself staying at home with both babies day in and day out. She is slowly loosing her mind and getting bored. It’s stressful enough being a young mother of multiples, I can’t even imagine what it must be like having one that needs extra care. Throw in becoming bored and stir-crazy to the mix, I’m becoming drained just thinking about it. Leah is actually a lot stronger than editing implies; a lot of young mothers in her situation would not handle it as well as she does. Some even snap.
You may recognize Teen Mom Jenelle from her mug shots that are repeatedly showing up on TMZ. Jenelle is the rebellious mother of the bunch, so much so that her mother now has full custody of baby Jayce. Jenelle’s goal for the new season of the show is to simply not get in trouble. That means no drugs, no alcohol, no stealing, no fighting and no breaking and entering (all of which we have seen her do in the last season.) The key to Jenelle staying clean is avoiding ex-boyfriend and bad influence, Keifer. Jenelle’s mother thinks that Jenelle has been doing well while Keifer is away at jail. Unfortunately, her mother soon finds out that not only is Keifer out of jail, but it was Jenelle who bailed him out. Jenelle’s friends think that he is a bad influence (and since he doesn’t have a job and is homeless, which is also a negative) but the heart wants what it wants. While this is true, watching a teenage girl date a bad boy is no fun when there is a baby watching. The fights Jenelle has with her mom are intense, loud, abusive and downright cold. It’s a toxic environment for poor baby Jayce and it seems never ending.
A show that initially started out as a great way to shed a light on a topical subject and problem in today’s society, has turned into a very sad story. I found last night’s season premiere particularly difficult to watch. Not because I’m tired of seeing a bunch of drunk idiots in a Jacuzzi (although that is true), but because I don’t want to see young families that need help exploited for my entertainment. I’d rather just help them.
I think when Teen Mom first started it was groundbreaking. I think the first group of girls were an interesting batch of young ladies and we formed an attachment with their stories. After a few seasons, it was time to wrap that story up and let them get back to being families without cameras constantly surrounding them. There is no need for another group of girls. The mission of shedding a light on a topical subject has been accomplished, now is a good time to start looking for other issues and stories to tackle.
I like MTV. There, I said it. I liked it when it was music television and I liked it when it was the Lauren Conrad network. But, I definitely think that there is a certain amount of programming that deserves a second opinion. My opinion? Time to pull the plug. Not just for the audience, for the stars.