seven sentence reviews / television

Six Sentence Review: 16 and Pregnant, Week 3 (Valerie)

I’m a few days behind on my TV viewing, but when I was watching this particular episode I couldn’t help but wonder if a certain participant was advertising his many talents – general fertility and an ability to beatbox (call me, music industry!).  I’m probably too jaded, since I tend to think that most periphery figures on reality shows have ulterior motives that have nothing to do with the actual story being told, especially when the media exposure for a teenager comes in the form of an MTV camera crew.  I’ve also noticed what seems to be a stronger presence of the otherwise unseen producers in this season of 16 and Pregnant with family members and friends in obviously scripted moments designed to reveal information about how the pregnancy occurred, the status of inter-personal relationships, and thoughts about impending parenthood.  This technique might work better on both 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom (where I first noticed it) if someone either 1.) figured out how teenagers actually ask questions or just allowed them to put the questions in their own words, or 2.) did some slightly slicker editing, or 3.) acknowledged the role of outsiders in the process, or 4.) gave the “interviewers” a little more prepping.  I do have one burning question about 16 and Pregnant, though, that’s been bothering me for a while: This season especially, but even in the past, many of the girls featured on the show are 15ish with significantly older boyfriends.  While I don’t know exactly what I want to say about it, in many of those relationships there seems to be age of consent issues that MTV does not address – possibly because the participants are not making an issue about it or because it’s a very tricky matter in general – but I am surprised that with all the honesty seemingly involved in the show, there are gaping holes about legal issues, particularly this one (child support, custody, and paternity, which we saw a little of in this episode, are a couple of others off the top of my head).

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