For some reason people always ask me if I watch the MTV show Teen Mom. Full disclosure I’m neither a teen nor a mom. I have however on occasion watched the show. Okay, more than on occasion. During my manternity leave I somehow became hooked on Teen Mom. I watched a season in its entirety. I also spent the better part of a week watching a Hoarders marathon. Make your own conclusions.
MTV’s Teen Mom is a spin-off of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant in the same manner that having a baby is a spin-off of unprotected sex.
The season I watched was the second season, following the lives of Farrah, Macy, Amber, Catellynn and their accidental offspring. Whenever I questioned my skills as a parent, I could always look to the exploits of these girls and breathe a sigh of relief. Of course it’s not a fair comparison.
Teen Mom like all MTV programming is enjoyable on a surface level but if you give it any deeper thought it’s absolutely terrible. Like any of the music MTV would be playing instead of Teen Mom, if MTV actually played music.
Teen Mom is the worst kind of guilty programming. MTV’s Jersey Shore is guilty television because your brain slowly liquefies as you watch the inanity of very orange people drink and fight and fight and drink. Teen Mom is guilty television because you realize that you’re contributing to the fame monster infecting these moms and making them pimply little Kate Gosselins. And that’s not the worst of it.
The worst comes when you realize that they use real babies in Teen Mom. Not stunt babies or prop babies or really short actors looking for a break. Actual real babies. Unlike Snooki these poor babies didn’t decide to let us watch their lives, no, they were born into reality television.
“Born into reality television” that could be the saddest sentence ever, after “musical performance by Heidi Montag.”
MTV denies culpability in what they’ve created by ending every episode of the show with a sternly voiced warning that teen pregnancy is preventable. It’s not asterisked with the implied MTV consequences of pseudo-celebrity and cover appearances on US Weekly.
Warning: Teen pregnancy is preventable. But if you do get pregnant send us an audition tape and maybe you can make it on next season.
And there is a next season: Teen Mom 2. I haven’t watched Teen Mom 2 for all the reasons above and because most sequels never live up to the original.