I don’t know why this has been on my mind lately but it has and I can’t shake it, so you get to read some of my ranting and raving about it. It started earlier this week during one of my trips to Wal-Mart where I saw an US Magazine featuring a story and pictures from the wedding of one of the stars of MTV’s sensation Teen Mom/16 and pregnant. Now I have to admit, I have watched the show several times, I’ve even cried watching it, but as more and more realities about the operation come to light I find myself absolutely disgusted by MTV and the show’s producers.
I started out as one of the people who thought the premise of the show was a good idea. It would show how bad it is for a teenager to get pregnant, show them sick, and their boyfriends abandoning them, their parents screaming and yelling at them and the horrible decisions to make regarding keeping the babies, aborting them, and giving them up for adoption. I thought it was a great method of pregnancy awareness, and I still think that maybe the first season and the initial motive behind it was just that. The problem, though, was that the show was a huge success as far as ratings go. America loved it as they do most all reality television, yours truly (sadly) included. MTV started pumping out more and more seasons and even created a spin off show for the original cast. This is when it got bad. Oh so bad. The girls on the show got trashier, the parents on the show got more lenient, drama ensued. They made it good, and packed it full of romantic issues, the couples breaking up and getting back together, getting engaged and breaking engagements, moving in together, parents taking care of the babies while the kids were able to stay in school, or go out partying….nothing like reality. But America watched on, and MTV kept pushing out multiple seasons a year of the original show, 16 and Pregnant, and the spinoff Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 as well as featuring several reunion shows.
The teen moms became very recognizable faces to Americans and American teens, they were featured on news shows, talk shows, all over the internet and magazine covers. They were famous. They were also getting paid an insane sum of money for their participation on the show! I’m sure if anyone ever thought about it they realized these girls were getting a paycheck, but I know I never imagined it to be the staggering sum that it is. We first got solid evidence of the salaries these chicks were raking in when during a BATTERY and ASSAULT case that teen mom Amber was involved in, when she announced in court that she made $280,000 a year from MTV. Classy. This is sure to make teenagers stay celibate and practice safe sex! Also, how wonderful to know that a woman charged with a felony for abusing her baby’s father is able to keep her child because of the salary she’s getting from MTV. That’s what real life is like, no? Amber's Court Case
There is also the case of Farrah, one of the originals who if you ever watched struggled with money in every episode, moved out of her parent’s home to try and be independent and couldn’t pay rent. Here she is sporting a nice new pair of breasts. I’m sure her child appreciated that, and now all of the under-developed 14 and 15 year olds out there watching the show and reading the magazines know that if they get themselves knocked-up they might be able to afford breast implants one day courtesy of MTV. Farrah's Boob Job I’m at the point now, as I said before, where I can’t get this trash out of my head. I am so outraged and disgusted by the entire thing that I’ve contemplated not watching MTV at all anymore (which probably isn’t a bad idea). These girls are making more than Chad and I will make in the next 2 years combined, maybe even three years. $60,000 per season (about 3-4 seasons a year)?!? A college graduate with a Masters degree has trouble making that in this economy. What sucks more than the atrocious salary they’re being given (notice I don’t say ‘earning’) is that it’s enabling them to be acting worse than they were when they were 15 and couldn’t keep their legs shut! Teen mom Janelle has been arrested twice in the last six months, her mom is keeping her baby away from her legally, thank goodness (I hope). There are a few cases, however, where I think the “parents” (a term I use loosely) have shown some sort of maturity. For example, one couple gave their baby up for adoption. In a very emotional episode that had me bawling my eyes out the high school aged mom and dad held each other in the hospital as they decided together (despite their white trash families trying to talk them out of it) to give their baby up for adoption. I think I may have applauded for that episode. One of the couples, who had twins- one with health issues, has now gotten married; this was the article that I saw earlier in the week- I guess kudos to them for trying to make an honest family out of their situation. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but since I know what a challenge marriage is when you’re actually ready and don’t have kids in the picture to make it more of a challenge, I can say I’m doubtful at best. One bff of a girl from the show is now pregnant but she said not to worry because “she’s 18 not 16”. Phew, what a relief. I want to personally go out to Hollywood which is where a lot of these girls have moved to and take their babies from them in a seriously dramatic fashion. I think they’d be better off in the system than with these train wrecks. I guess it’s my hormones and the child I’m carrying that make me feel this way, but none of those girls should be raising a child, those babies don’t deserve the life that’s ahead of them because of what MTV has helped do to their parents. They’ll all try to ride the fame train as long as they can, and when they are no-longer relevant and pulling in a 6-figure salary do you think they’ll still love being single moms? I don’t. What will happen to the innocent babies then?
It's things like this that put into perspective for me, just how bad the media and entertainment industry has become. I do love reality shows, but not like this, not anymore. I love Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance, but I've realized I need to carefully pay attention to the line that is the difference between entertainment and crap. I hate to think of what will be available for Noah to watch in 10-15 years if it's this bad now and getting worse every day. We have to be open minded and aware of what we watch and put in our brain and what it is really doing to us. Even if I can say Teen Mom is a bunch of smut, if I watched it all the time I'd form some sort of bond with the girls, just as we do with any show (who wasn't emotionally involved with Ross and Rachel, or Chuck and Blair) and I dont want to become desensitized to how bad I can right now say it really is. This may be the super-conservative coming out in me, but with so many bad things in the world today it's important to take your stance and protect yourself, even against the small things like TV shows. That way your life can stay lovely.