(This post has been brewing inside me for a while and it’s about damn time I spit out the words.)
Week after week, I sit there and watch the trainwreck that is MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.” And each week I find myself asking the same question: Are we somehow glorifying teenage motherhood?
While I both believe and hope the show’s creators didn’t aim for young girls to watch this show with awe, wishing that they could become next season’s stars, that exact thought continually crosses my mind.
Despite the producers/editors likely best efforts to depict the hardships of teen pregnancy and thus optimistically prevent it for countless other girls out there, I imagine there are dozens of high schoolers who tune in each week and begin longing for a baby of their own. They watch the struggles of teens and instead of thinking, “I never want to be in those shoes,” they begin plotting their road to stardom as a character on Season 3.
As teenagers, we’re all impressionable. You tell us not to hang out with George* and ten minutes later, we’re in his bedroom doing who-knows-what. You beg us not to drink and we’re so sloshed that Friday night that we can’t even spell our name. That’s how it goes, and yet someone out there decides to toss 20 episodes of prego-teens on the tube and seriously expects girls not to quickly jump on that bandwagon? Why do I find this all hard to believe?
It’s easy for me to look at each episode and critique the passing moments, which are nearly the same every week:
- Naive girl meets “nice” boy.
- They fall in love.
- They do the dirty.
- Uh oh, someone’s pregnant.
- Boy is a jackass.
- Heartbreak hotel. Girl cries A LOT.
- Push. Push. Happy birthday baby.
- Teen parents are poor.
- Life sucks.
Season 1 practically followed this as if it were a script, and yet somehow, we still had Season 2. And I undoubtedly believe a Season 3 will soon debut. Why? Because teens don’t always see the negative in these scenarios and learn from their peers. Rather, many share the same mistakes as their skewed eyes see the good outshine bad. They watch something on TV and duplicate it in their own lives, which is why this show may last for more seasons than I can count on my fingers and toes.
When comes the time to step back and realize that maybe, just maybe, this one show – albeit popular – could be causing more harm than good? Sharing a few Web site addresses each week does little to prevent pregnancy. Shit, if telling teenagers that unprotected sex could produce a baby doesn’t scare them enough to choose abstinence or find birth control, then what makes anyone think for even a moment that slight warnings squeezed between “I can’t wait to be a mommy” or smiling faces will do the trick? I’m not fooled, that’s for sure. And I bet you aren’t either.
Yes, I will admit any day that I watch the show. But I’m 24 years old and I didn’t have sex in high school because I knew its dangers. I didn’t want a baby. I was not about to mess around with anything that would’ve caused one.
Not everyone is me though and I’m quite aware of the naivete that exists when you’re in high school, assuming no wrong will ever occur in your own life. “It won’t happen to me,” and then BAM, nine months later the legs are in the air as a bowling-ball-sized human comes flying out. Why any young girl would want that is besides me, but some do, and I fervently believe that at least a handful of teens in this world are looking at “16 and Pregnant” saying, “I wish that was me.” Doesn’t that mean it’s time to hit cancel and move on to the next reality series?
Perhaps it’s time for “16 with HIV.”
* Yes, George. Don’t ask questions.
Warning: If you don’t care about “One Tree Hill” or you have yet to watch the season seven premiere, leave now. This post will not interest you whatsoever. But, as a fan, it had to be written. You have been appropriately warned. Read on at your own risk.
Six years ago, the former Warner Bros. TV-station and I formed a strong bond thanks to “One Tree Hill.” With that series premiere, I was quickly engulfed in the lives of the Scott brothers – Nathan and Lucas – as well as the ever-changing love triangles that often arose. It didn’t take long before my ass was firmly planted in front of the television for one hour each week as a new episode aired. And that tradition has continued on, throughout all four of my college years even, ’til this moment.
Today, less than 24 hours after the season seven premiere, I’m feeling a strong disconnect from the love I once possessed for this teenage-esque drama.
Not only have my two favorite characters seemingly disappeared with little to no explanation – au revoir Peyton et Lucas* – but a few new faces have taken their places, also without adequate reasoning thus far. This disappoints me to the core. Likewise, the season has progressed 14 months ahead into the future – after a four year jump heading into season five – and much has changed in the mean time aside from the character lineup. I’m simply hoping the next several episodes will swiftly bring us loyal followers up to speed.
And need I mention the lackluster premiere as a whole? I hate to say this, especially as a six-year fan, but ::yawwwwwn:: I truly expected much more. These writers – if they are the same, as I assume – set the bar pretty damn high with some of the seasons past, and the onset of number seven has clearly not risen to the same heights yet. I see a long way to go before they even come close.
Sadly, before this premiere, I foresaw a very brief future for my favorite television show. Not only was its time slot (here on the East Coast) changed, nudged back an hour to 8 p.m., but two of its original and most popular actors reported their departure months ago, prior to the last season’s finale. I saw the demise coming, but fervently hoped the powers-that-be behind One Tree Hill – or 1th, as I affectionately call it – would step up their game and prove me wrong. I unfortunately have a strong feeling that they simply won’t be able to and this season may be the last for my beloved Monday-night venture.
— As a side note, my best friend ironically just texted me (she must be watching last night’s premiere now) with, “This is crap beyond crap.” She is also a loyal viewer and another left disappointed. —
So what did the rest of you 1th fans – you must be if you kept reading to this point – think of last night’s premiere? Did it meet your expectations? Or did it fall quite a bit short, as it did for myself? What kind of future do you predict for the now-CW show? How do you feel about the complete and utter removal of Lucas and Peyton**? Let me know. I’m dying to find out the reaction of others.
* I was trying to keep the post both broad and somewhat vague, rather than specific, but I have to mention this one key point (which I thought about after reading my post in its entirety): Can a show that was created surrounding the relationship of two half-brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, exist on the same premises if one of those brothers departs? Perhaps. But as someone who has regularly and repeatedly watched every episode, that brotherly bond, or lack thereof in the early seasons, remained a key factor in the show. Now that it’s gone, can One Tree Hill truly be the same? I’m sorry, but I think not.
** Another note, after the fact of writing, but the relationship between Lucas and Peyton and its formation has always been central to the plot of the show as a whole. Whether it was a love triangle between Peyton, Lucas and Brooke or simply the discovery of feelings for one another – or hell, the several times Lucas saved Peyton from disaster, such as the school shooting – that blossoming love was a vital element. Now it seems that they are trying to push viewers onto a new love between Brooke and Julian. I, for one, am resistant to this change and don’t think the same kind of dazzle will happen with “Brulian” or “Jooke” (who knows what it is) as did with “Leyton.”
Filed under: A TV show review (of sorts), I watch too much TV, Way too much thought went into this
From an early age, we are told by our mothers, grandmothers, teachers and countless others that “it’s what’s inside that counts” and “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, one new dating reality show on ABC is pushing those idealistic concepts one step further by proving that looks truly do matter regardless of what people may want to believe.
“Dating in the Dark” premiered two weeks ago on Monday nights and, if you’ve yet to see it, I suggest tuning in for at least one episode* if you have an hour of your life to spare for non-thought-provoking television.
So what’s the general gist** here? Three male and three female contestants move into opposite wings of a house for several days, never having a single opportunity to see each other until the very last moments of the dating scenario. Rather, they meet in “the dark room” on one group date then single dates to decide if chemistry exists sans appearance.
Through the use of infrared/night-vision cameras, viewers are able to watch each awkward moment the contestants experience in the darkness. Yep, we see everything from the sad attempts to eat food in the pitch black room to the ass grabbing and haphazard kissing they engage in. Personally, I find this both amusing and somewhat intrusive, all which keep my eyes glued to the television.
Outwardly, one might think the reality show proves that you can fall for someone without having a clue what he or she looks like. Whether the contestants discover that through fun activities – eating an assortment of fruits or dancing, for example – conversation or simply making out, they are able to judge each other based on personality alone.
… That is, until the big moment where each individual’s appearance is revealed to their “match” and both persons have to decide whether or not to continuing dating now that physical attraction is a factor.
The final ten minutes of each episode I’ve watched – three total, in case you were curious – have been more superficial than anything I’ve yet to see in my life***.
The majority of these men and women seriously grapple with the decision to “stay with the person they fell for in the dark, or leave them behind,” as the ABC Web site states. The viewer actually witnesses people experiencing a strange yet real struggle to decide how important the other individual’s appearance is. Some daters choose to depart while others stick around because the connection formed in the blackness prevailed. But did it?
I haven’t exactly watched enough episodes to completely judge, but, thus far, it seems as though the men and women who claim not to be entirely attracted to their date (yet choose to “meet them on the balcony” and continue dating) have this self-righteous attitude that they, unlike others, were able to put personality above appearance. As if they are doing their dates this huge favor by sticking around, and that part certainly disgusts me a bit****.
Either way, I find it all quite intriguing because the show, to some extent, does ask the “is love blind?” question, forcing us all to somewhat think about how important appearance is to a relationship. If in their shoes, would we be able to continue seeing someone we aren’t exactly lusting for just because of an emotional connection? Or would we, too, depart the house, never to see that person again? It’s something viewers likely cannot help but consider while watching.
If you’ve seen “Dating in the Dark,” I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, good or bad. And if you haven’t watched yet, do you think it’s something worth checking out? Lastly, what do you guys think about a reality show trying to answer relatively deep questions about the role of physical attraction?
* Unless you hate reality TV and/or dating shows. Then go watch CSI.
** Until this very moment, I thought “gist” was spelled with a J. Oops.
*** That’s likely a bit hyperbolic, but it fit well into my sentence.
**** Although, perhaps I’m simply reading into this television program a bit more than necessary, which is always a possibility.
…You HAVE to watch this. It’s a brand-spanking-new commercial from Wendy’s promoting their Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty, and it’s seriously a riot.
Backstreet Boys, anyone?
The marketing strategy surrounding the “Frosty Posse” is not only hilarious, but absolutely brilliant. And for a company that often seemingly relies on advertising their product quality above all else, it’s definitely straying from the norm. However, I think it just might pay off.
Now, am I going to run out immediately and purchase a Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty? Probably not, but hey, I’m not a coffee drinker – and quite possibly the only journalist who isn’t. But I have spent two days searching through YouTube to find this video before doing so this morning, and I’ve likely watched it ten three times already. Obviously there’s some sort of appeal there.
And to add to the hilarity of the “Frosty Posse,” I found the following video on YouTube to accompany the commercial. Apparently it’s a “behind the scenes” look at the making of their “music video.”
Personally, I think this was a great market ploy for Wendy’s and a nice change from their typical advertising, but what do you guys think? Was it a bit ridiculous? A little laughable? An excellent ad campaign? Or did the folks at Wendy’s fall a little short in their attempts? Let me know!
There’s a good possibility I’m addicted to reality TV. I may not watch every show within the genre – such as From G’s to Gents, American Idol and anything on CBS – but my television wanders to reality shows more often than not, and I can’t always pinpoint why.
Sure, the drama isn’t staged and overly melodramatic like scripted television. That’s most certainly part of the appeal. But I think the other part is … well, screw it. There’s no point to today’s blog. I really just wanted some banter before posting this picture:
Landon Lueck – the fine hunk of man you see above* – is back!!!!!!! And yes, a picture that large was necessary, thank you very much.
As a Real World Season 15 (Philadelphia) alumni, he’s graced my television a few times in various MTV challenges before disappearing in 2005 following The Gauntlet II. But now, I could not be more excited that this nearly-30 year old is flaunting his hotness again on a weekly basis with the Duel II.
Would I probably watch the show even if his gorgeous self wasn’t there? That’s a strong possibility. But that body, oh that body, and his smile keep my ass firmly planted on the couch and in front of my 32-inch flatscreen TV at least one night per week.
So okay ladies – and fellas, of course – what reality TV stars make you swoon? …Oh, and you aren’t allowed to pick Landon. I called dibs.
* That is, if you even waited to look at the sexiness before reading. $10 says you didn’t. I wouldn’t have read a single word without staring looking at that picture first.
Move over Jon and Kate Gosselin. See you later Duggars. There’s a new family in TLC-town.
Following in the footsteps of some fairly-successful reality-TV households will not be an easy task, but the Hayes family and their soon-to-be-debuted show, “Table for 12,” seem ready for the undertaking. After all, three sets of multiples – Eric and Betty Hayes have two sets of twins and sextuplets – practically guarantees you one season in the TLC spotlight these days. Before you blink your eyes, the defamed Nadya Suleman and her 14 children, including a set of octuplets, will grace your HD-TV sets one hour per week (this is not on the agenda yet for TLC, but it’ll happen sooner or later, guaranteed!).
Whenever or however this fascination with outrageously large families started is beyond me, but it’s become fairly obvious over the last few years that it’s not disappearing. In fact, the charm and attraction just might be multiplying … by a lot.
If I wander over to TLC and “Jon & Kate Plus 8” while my boyfriend lounges with me on the couch, he quickly refers to it as “the scariest show ever” before asking me to try another television option. Eight kids? In a country where the average family consists of approximately two children, four times as many can be a bit daunting, to say the least.
But that’s part of the appeal; the fact that the majority of us will never have the same number of mouths to feed as a typical set of dinnerware China. So it becomes fairly interesting to watch another family react to that amount of stress and responsibility.
However, when the Duggars emerged with their small country-sized litter, I was a bit dismayed. Their family did not carry the same allure. Clearly with a dozen and a half children – their show was originally “17 Kids and Counting,” but then Mama Duggar gave birth and now they’re “18 Kids and Counting” – one becomes somewhat curious how any parents can cope. But after watching one episode and realizing that this family grew to 20 individuals (including parents) on purpose, the excitement swiftly fizzles.
Need I even mention the fact that they have a MASSIVE house and clearly enough money to adequately support their ginormus family? I thought not.
I will note, however, that what makes this family different than the others is their strict Christian values, their modest dress (they all dress alike though, and that is strange) and their willingness to continue having children until God takes away that ability (so bizarre!). This is one family that clearly sways away from the norm other than procreating repeatedly for 21 years.
Seeing the obvious success of these two families and their lives prominently displayed on cable television, TLC apparently decided another larger-than-usual family was just what their programming needed. Cue the Hayes horde.
I completely grasp the concept of taking something profitable and running with it, but a company can still attain repeated hits while remaining unique. Take “Little People, Big World” for example. How much airtime do little people truly get? Not much, and that’s what draws an audience into this specific show. But the Hayes? I’m sorry, but TLC’s preview of “Table for 12” looks exactly like “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” except two extra kids are hanging out, waiting for supper time, and they all have red hair.
One show about a large family? Fabulous. Two? Still pretty decent since the families are quite different. Three? Well, it just might be too much of a good thing. I guess we’ll find out when the Hayes premiere later this month.