MTV, not happy with exploiting just eight young women on the Teen Mom franchise, are adding more to the roster!
On Monday, the network announced that after the fourth season of 16 & Pregnant airs (it starts March 27), Teen Mom 3 will premiere, most likely with cast members from that 16 & Pregnant (pity the poor girls from season three, who didn’t get a chance to move onto Teen Mom!).
I can see why MTV executives decided to run with the original Teen Mom. The first season of 16 & Pregnant (which was the only time I watched) was a rather compelling look at teenage pregnancy. It seemed to be fairly realistic, and while the show didn’t cover abortion, there was a couple that chose adoption for their daughter. I never found any of the girls to be glamorizing pregnancy or young motherhood, and it actually kind of made sense to continue following them, to show what happens as lives change and children grow.
But, just a few years later, I don’t know how in good conscious MTV can allow this franchise to continue. The first Teen Mom had some redeeming qualities when it started, in that it actually showed the struggles of an education getting derailed by a baby, the way young parents have to deal with raising a child together, etc. The main problem with this edition is that it also stars Amber Portwood, who was caught on camera punching her on-again, off-again boyfriend Gary, and has been facing the repercussions ever since. Recently, she’s been in rehab, and for both her sake and her young daughter, I really hope that she gets better.
Teen Mom 2 just didn’t have the same feel as Teen Mom. I’ve only watched a few episodes, but I see the girls on the covers of In Touch and OK! every time I’m at the grocery store. The focus this time around seems to be the salaciousness of their lives – Leah is cheating on her husband! Janelle is a pothead! Instead of focusing on the girls and their relationships with their children, the show is really more about their own behavior, and of course, the focus is on the negative. It might as well be called The Bad Girls Club: Teen Mom Edition. It doesn’t help that the reunion shows are moderated by Dr. Drew, who seems to point out every single thing the girls have done wrong, without ever focusing on the wrongs – and there are many! – that the men in their lives have made. It is infuriating.
Is that what they are going to do with the cast of Teen Mom 3? And if so, what is the point? We already know about the plight of eight Teen Moms, how are four more going to enlighten us? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Teen Mom 2 season premiere had the highest ratings ever for the franchise, so when it comes down to it, MTV is just betting on big ratings and revenue from condom ads to carry the show.
As far as I’m concerned, all of these incarnations need to ride off into the sunset. Any lessons that could be learned were made clear during the first season, and now it’s just about getting on magazine covers. I can only imagine seeing the stars of Middle-aged Mom on the cover of Us Weekly when I’m 50, and I don’t like it.