It's no surprise that most reality shows don't have too much reality in them. Many have been rumored to be scripted, to use lighting, music and camera effects to create drama, or even to edit scenes together to create characters. "Teen Mom", MTV's newest reality show however, has gained popularity for it's real-life portrayal of four teenage mothers. It's premiere was the highest rated on MTV in over a year.
The show debuted this year after a series of specials on the network called "16 & Pregnant" aired last summer. MTV viewers quickly fell deep into the difficult stories of the girls on "16 & Pregnant". "Teen Mom" continues with the same moms, Maci, Amber, Catelynn, Farrah, after the birth of their children. The show moves from one girl to another, following their unique story and problems they face.
Maci became pregnant with boyfriend Ryan and has struggled with their relationship since giving birth to their son Bentley. She gave up moving away to college with her friends, and instead goes to school online while Ryan works. In the last few episodes, problems with Ryan have escalated and Maci has moved back home with her parents.
The father of Farrah's daughter however isn't in the picture. This high school student struggles most with juggling being a mother and still wanting to be young and go out. Her parents and older sister constantly ask her to spend less time with new boys and more time with her daughter, but Amber doesn't seem to know how to handle it all.
Then there's Catelynn. She's the only one of the four girls in the show who chose to give her baby up for adoption. I applaud the show for still following Catelynn and her story after the birth. Catelynn has the most stable boyfriend, Tyler. Her parents however are a different story. She has moved in with Tyler's mom since having intense arguments with her mom and stepdad. Catelynn and Tyler plan on staying together, getting married, and having children when they are older and can support them. They don't want to raise children in the way they were raised.
Amber and her fiance Gary live together with their daugther, but things haven't been going well. Amber dropped out of high school and wants to get a job, but doesn't know what to do with the baby. Gary works and supports them financially, but is also lazy around the house. Their relationship has reached a boiling point many times, and even become physically abusive.
Each of these teenage mothers struggle with similar problems: finances, daycare, relationships, lack of sleep, high emotions and trying to be a "normal" teenager. While many shows share the joys of motherhood, not many realistically portray the difficulties. "Teen Mom" is funny and jovial at times, but in its base is a gritty, unapologetic view of what raising a child as a young mother is about. The show helps young mothers realize they are not the only ones going through certain issues, and it helps teenagers realize that becoming a mom isn't as picture perfect as they may think.
"Teen Mom" airs Tuesdays on MTV at 10PM. Reruns are on often, and full episodes are available online.