guilty television continued

Alright, so this little obsession started with a special on Discovery Health. I’m pretty sure one of my sisters just happened to see the title run by on the DVR and simply HAD to hit that little red button.

I mean, a show called I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant? How could you possibly resist.

And with our repeat viewings, I’m fairly sure our family single-handedly boosted ratings enough to warrant a TLC series.

There are some wonderful things about this show, but let me call particular attention to The Reenactments. Not only will you meet these ladies who were just oblivious/dumb/unlucky enough to make it through 9 months of pregnancy without knowing, and hear all about their suprise labors, you will SEE IT as if it was really happening. TLC has hired a set  actors and actresses to visually display various scenes during the Non-Pregnancies.

These actors are bad.

And they look nothing like the people they are portraying.

And there is one episode where there are no actors – just the Real “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” people reenacting themselves. Much younger. With wigs.

But yes, the show does get a little repetitive. That’s when you start playing the

I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant Drinking Game!

  • Take a drink every time you hear the phrase: “My periods have always been irregular.”
  • Take a drink every time you hear the phrase: “I didn’t feel a thing!”
  • Take a drink every time a Reenacting Mom is shown in the midst of risky behavior (drinking, smoking, snorting crack). Take two drinks if there’s ominous music in the background.
  • Take a drink every time the narrator ups the suspense by showing the Reenacting Mom lifting boxes or doing something normal and saying it was potentially hazardous to the baby.
  • Take a shot every time a Reenacting Dad has more hair than the Real Dad.
  • Take a shot every time a Reenacting Mom weighs 20 pounds less than the Real Mom.
  • Take a shot if, when asked to rate the pain of labor, the Real Mom chooses a number outside of the rating scale.
  • Take a shot if the baby is born in a bathroom.
  • Finish your drink if you actually believe the Real Mom could have known she wasn’t pregnant.

And then when you’re good and drunk, it’s time to switch over to MTV for the Feature Presentation….

16 and Pregnant

And if you’re looking at that logo for the first time and thinking “Huh. What a big fat Juno rip-off,” then you are officially a little bit smarter than I.

Anywho, this show is an awesome mix of True Life (my all-time favorite MTV series) and Super Sweet 16 (not my favorite, but I’d be lying if I said I’d never sat through a marathon willingly). Again with the Overly Literal TV Titles, I think you can guess what this show is about – underage pregnancies. There are 6 episodes and an “After The Labor” special, but I’ll just give you the highs and the lows real quick.

First, the lows.

Farrah.

Oh, Farrah Farrah Farrah.

This is an example of what kind of teenager should NOT be raising a child.

The kind of teenager who is kind of irresponsible – unprotected sex with a guy who wasn’t even worth mentioning once she found out she was knocked up.

The kind of teenager who is spoiled – used to having nice things and parents who bend to her every whim.

The kind of teenager who is caught up in high school drama – spending more screen time in her cheerleading uniform, complaining about who told who she was pregnant than talking critically about her impending child.

The kind of teenager who is immune to reason – completely shutting down her mom when she suggests options other than Keeping and Raising A Child On Her Own At 17.

The kind of teenager who is self-centered – who continues to date while she’s pregnant, who won’t consider breastfeeding for fear of saggy boobs, who’s primary concern for post-pregnancy is looking slim enough for her senior pictures.

The kind of teenager who has never held an infant before becoming a single mother.

(that one really bugs me, I don’t know why)

THE KIND OF TEENAGER WHO NAMES THEIR CHILD SOFIA LAURENT??!?!?

I’m sure there was a lot of creative editing – I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, and her story did have it’s sad points, like when she couldn’t find a single soul to join her in the labor room. But it’s still impossible for me to watch Farrah without cringing, especially when I’ve known plenty of girls in her same situation who behaved the same way. And while having enthusiasm for every rough turn in your life is usually a good thing, there’s a line between “Okay, this what life’s handing to me, let’s consider my options and my responsibilities” and “I am totally capable of handling this, this is what I want, I don’t need your input, I’m gonna be a great mom, goddammit!” And MTV does a sorry job of portraying her post-baby hardships. Oh! She has to wake up in the night and her mom won’t help out? She does her homework on her bed, next to the crib, instead of going out with her friends.

The other girls, Whitney, Maci, Ebony, and Amber, are a little more likeable, and all have older boyfriends who struggle with stepping up to be fathers.

But then we have Catelynn and Tyler.

A lot of these 16 and Pregnant girls are actually 17 or 18 and Pregnant. However, Catelynn and her boyfriend Tyler are legitimately 16, and are probably the most mature of the whole lot.

Catelynn and Tyler are from not-so-great homes. Actually, their parents got married, so they’re from the same not-so-great home. But anyway, when they get pregnant, it becomes obvious to both parties that they are 16, they don’t have any money, their parents don’t have any money, and if they have a kid it will grow up in just as messed up a household as they did.

So they decide on adoption.

At the adoption agency (and in my house), they are heralded as saints, making a very, very hard decision to give the gift of a baby to a couple who cannot have one on their own. The adoptive parents are successful, smart, and are willing to send pictures and arrange visits. They are grateful and supportive and pay for her medical expenses.

But their parents are completely incredulous. The mother throws curses at the adoptive family, the father accuses Tyler of “Not Being a Man.” It’s ugly and sickening. The hospital (in Port Huron) doesn’t comprehend what’s going on during Caitlynn’s labor, and the nurses and doctors insist she look at her beautiful baby, hold the child, even though she’s begging them to take it away. She relents, which maybe was for the better, but makes the whole process more complicated, especially because Caitlynn’s mother goes AWOL and Caitlynn and Tyler have to go off hospital grounds to hand off the baby sans parental permission.

The whole mess is heartbreaking, and brings up some of my rage about teenaged sexuality in the USA. You can’t give teens condoms because that would encourage them to have sex. Nobody likes abortion, so they are difficult and expensive to procure, as well as incredibly stigmatized. And when you look at two pregnant 16 year olds, the girl who decides to buck the odds and have the baby is praised and supported, while the girl making the Absolutely Impossible Decision to abort or adopt is shunned for her lack of responsibility. Where the heck were these parents preaching “Responsibility!” when their kids were having unprotected sex!

GASdfelrjalsekrj0892rsdf!!!

Can’t wait for season 2!

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8 Responses to “guilty television continued”

  1. They should run the “16 and Pregnant” right after their other show “My Super Sweet 16” or whatever it is called. Nothing like the juxtaposition of someone spending thousands of dollars for a one night party and someone giving birth from their irresponsible unprotected sex.

    • They really should, for emphasis. Or perhaps a Super Sweet 16 and Pregnant special? Maternity Party Dresses?

      Hey, you’re an NJ librarian! That’s cool. My mom worked at Hunterdon County for 10 years 🙂

  2. Don’t forget, on “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant”, the line:
    “I only gained about ten pounds, so I didn’t pay attention.” Usually followed by some comment about clothes fitting tighter, but that’s it. And then the dad always mentions that he noticed she gains weight.

    Just a sip of your drink for that one, it’s so frequent. I’ve only seen two episodes, and heard that more than I can count.

  3. I just had to comment, and say thank you for making me feel better about my obsession with these shows. ;o)

    • you are very welcome! you are in very good company. me and my sisters are obviously hooked, but some of my coworkers have admitted to it as well, and as I learned today, my hairdresser.

  4. I started watching 16 and Pregnant last weekend and I 100% agree with you about Caitlynn and Tyler. While I would cringe through most of the other episodes, their maturity and ability to follow through with the adoption despite their horrible, unsupportive parents was astounding. Your TV posts are great…I am so addicted to bad television, too.

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