Saturday, June 13, 2009

"16 and pregnant" the premiere

Meet Ryan and Bentley. Ryan, left, is a big baby. Maci is the mom and she has to take care of two babies. Her fiance and her son. Photo by

Confession: I used to be addicted to MTV. When the station first debuted, it was tons of music videos and VJs and fun. Now, until recently, I can't remember the last time I watched MTV. That may change because MTV actually has a GOOD reality show on called "16 and Pregnant." Unlike the sporadically airing "True Life" this show takes one subject and follows it: Teen pregnancy.

The show traces the last few months of the teen's pregnancy and how it affects her and her family. And then they follow the teen after the baby is here and shows how hard it is to be a parent.

The premiere episode featured 16-year-old Maci and her fiance Ryan ( who may be in the 19-21 year age range). At first, it's all smiles and giggles as the two set up a household for themselves and the baby but then as the due date draws closer, things change and it's not for the better.

Folks, Ryan is a douche. I hate to use that language but that's just the truth. He basically leaves all the caregiving to Maci and goes out to work, to workout and to hang out with his friends. Meanwhile, Laci and the baby sit at home or they are at her mom's house.

Maci will ask Ryan to change diapers or hold the baby and it's like THE. WORST. THING. EVER. for Ryan because he can't be bothered. Yet, he runs out and gets a HUGE tattoo of the baby's name Bentley Cadence on his body. I think Ryan likes the idea of being a dad but doesn't want to do the work that comes with it.

Maci, however, seemed to be going places. She was a cheerleader and was headed off to college and then she got pregnant. Now it's too late to do anything, but she seems to be embracing the mom role as she gets the baby ready and manages to go to school at the same time. However, I thought when she joined the dance team, that was a bit much because that was time she could have spent with the baby or working so that they wouldn't have to struggle financially.

The most telling scene of the episode was after a fight Ryan says to Maci "If it weren't for the baby, I wouldn't be here." The episode ends with her telling the audience that they were trying to work things out. Personally, I understand why she would because she wants the baby to have a father, but does it have to come at the expense of YOUR self esteem? I think that's too high of a price to pay.

The one thing that wasn't addressed is how she got pregnant. (I know the birds and the bees people so don't go there). Did birth control fail? Was this something they talked about and she went for it? Was it her not knowing she could get pregnant? I think that needs to be clearly stated. What's good about this show is that it gives an unflinching look at what it means to be a teen parent. I'm a 40-year-old man, and I can barely take care of myself. So taking care of a baby is out of the question for me, but I was amazed at how Maci managed to keep it together. However, I know I and practically every mom out there who watched was a little annoyed at how they let the baby cry for no good reason on occasion. I'm not a parent but it was horrible to hear Bentley sit there and cry and cry.

We also learned that daycare in Tennessee costs $650 a MONTH at the school that Maci attends. That's a LOT Of money and I'm glad they showed the financial aspect of why it costs so much to have a baby.

The show airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. and since there's NOTHING else on, you should give it a try. And I hope that this will make kids think twice before running out and having a baby.