This past Tuesday, MTV's "16 & Pregnant" started its second season with a bang. The premiere centered around Jenelle, a North Carolina teen with a temper. Her love for partying, alcoholic boyfriend, and daily fights with her mother created a very intense beginning to the season.
The show, with its shockingly realistic portrayal of teen pregnancy and parenting, has gained quite a following already. Season one was so popular that it birthed another show, "Teen Mom". But with all the reality shows aimed at this age group, why is it so popular? Most local teens agree that the show is simple and real. It follows young mothers through the good, the bad, and the birth. They aren't thrown into a luxury house for six months, or sent to an island with attractive costars. They are trying to survive what could be the hardest battle of their lives, and it shows. Plus, adds one local 20-something, "I could go on for hours about that one. That girl is a hot mess!" Another local viewer agrees, "I could go on for HOURS. I was SO MAD at [Jenelle] that whole episode!"
In Tuesday's premiere, pregnant teen Jenelle never seems to grasp the concept of becoming a mother. At about 8 months pregnant, she fights nightly with her mother about how often she parties, and about her troubled boyfriend, Andrew. He lives four hours away, has no job or car, and has a drinking problem. As she describes however, "Everyone better get used to him, since we're in it forever now... because I'm pregnant."
What "16 & Pregnant" lacks in subtleness, it makes up for in its promotion of safe sex and the realities of parenting. Does the show make young adults think twice about their sexual practices? "Heck yes," said one enthusiastic viewer. Jenelle herself describes the first few months after the birth of her son Jace as like, "being in prison".
MTV basically created and perfected the reality show recipe. "16 & Pregnant" is no different. It gives viewers an inside look into the scary responsibilities of parenting. It shows the fights, the births, the tears, the depression. In a few cases, it shows the change that can occur in a young adult who takes on this challenge. But for many, as in the case of Jenelle, it simply chronicles the progression of immature behavior during and after becoming a parent.
"16 & Pregnant" airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm on MTV.