MTV reality show Teen Mom 2 raising more drama than children

Jonathan Willett

Jonathan Willett

The other night I was unfortunate enough to be sitting in front of the television with The Roommate’s 18-year-old girlfriend. I say unfortunate due to the fact that MTV was broadcasting its latest example of self-aggrandizing voyeurism.

Teen Mom 2 is a despicable display of what is worst with us as entertainment consumers, namely that we salivate for others’ misfortune and failure on an almost primal level. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been victimizing the “useful idiots” of reality shows as long as anyone, in fact, I grew up with The Real World and Road Rules before the reality explosion of the new millennium. But the problem exists because these young adults seem to be oblivious to peoples’ reactions about their portrayal, whereas Richard Hatch probably had an idea of what his nudity would reflect about him onscreen.

While watching a rerun with The Roommate’s girlfriend later last week, I asked her what she felt when she was watching the show and how she related to the teen mothers that were about her age.

“Well, honestly I think they’re kind of stupid. I don’t really care about them that much at all.”

And why should she? The mothers on this show seem to be the kind of people that are always whining, never offering hard work as a solution to a problem. Their reckless and immature behavior that probably had much to do with the pregnancies in the first place has not dissipated, even with the appearance of a child.

Even Kim Kardashian, not usually known for logic and higher thinking, came to this conclusion on Twitter: “Does the show “Teen Mom’ disturb anyone else?… This should NOT be trendy!”

One of the “moms” is from my adopted hometown of Oak Island, N.C., and she is implied to be actively using illegal drugs after giving birth, physically arguing with her mother that she still lives with, and being actively confused by trivial things like money and custody hearings. Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that she was recently arrested for possession and breaking and entering, and her mother is actively taking her child from her.

The one from West Virginia allowed a child with obvious health problems go untreated far too long. With legs that looked like cooked shrimp unable to support any weight, and a mark on her head that rivals Harry Potter, the mom simply cries and frets about the baby to friends and families, but not medical professionals until a significant amount of time has passed.

The other two simply fret about guys all the time. One is still living with the baby daddy while dating a new mongoloid and the one from Vermillion wants to be Bristol Palin. While they do not ignore their children for their former boyfriends, much of the show is dedicated to their relationship drama, and not necessarily their relationship with their babies.

Another commonality you can immediately discern on the show is between the fathers of the babies. Every one of them is essentially the same guy. Remember the mouth-breathing O-lineman or smoking wall burnout that got the girl pregnant in your high school? You bet you do. And now you can see a facsimile of him every week on MTV with the low IQ, poor verbal and vocabulary skills, never making eye contact, all while wearing his best douche costume. Trust me, it comes as no surprise these guys couldn’t figure out how a condom works.

While many of the moms seem to be happy and comfortable on camera, the dads all act as though their life is over and that they would rather be anywhere else, when they’re present that is. Many friends of the dads have been quoted as saying that the dads only “do the show for the money,” and it’s because they’re all broke. When you find out that the couple’s can make $60,000-65,000 for one season, can you blame them for taking the money and then checking out?

Many people are quick to condemn this show for seeming to glorify and reward irresponsible adolescent behavior, and I am somewhat among them as I laughed at their idiocy until tears nearly ran down my face, but some reactions have been shocking, to say the least. MTV was quick to claim credit for a declining teenage pregnancy rate in 2008-2009 when the figure dropped 6 percent in the U.S., and surprising as this is, they may have a point. When people are exposed to the reality of formerly hypothetical situations, they often gain a more global, rational perspective, and I believe we may be seeing the effect of, “I don’t want to be that girl.”

Jonathan is pursuing a master’s degree in English. Reach him at [email protected].