seven sentence reviews / television

Seven Sentence Review: 16 and Pregnant, Week 4 (Chelsea)

On this week’s episode of 16 and Pregnant, the maturity gap grew wider as Chelsea struggled to figure out how to be a teenager and a good mom (stressing over being a bad mom when she decided to go to Homecoming even though her father was in full babysitting mode) while her boyfriend Adam struggled to spell his vile text messages correctly. Chelsea – who went into labor in math class on the first day of school – appeared extremely grounded and fortunate in this episode as she had the familial resources to adjust to motherhood and have open discussions with her family and friends about how her life has changed and what personal goals (like finishing high school) she should be meeting.  While her boyfriend led her into an increasingly downward spiral of stress and sadness as he pretty much acted like himself, Chelsea’s episode didn’t have the same heaviness and sadness that some episodes do.  While editing obviously plays a role in everything on television, there was something even-tempered about Chelsea and her life that decreased my stress as a viewer and made me think she and her daughter were going to be all right.  With four episodes aired, I’ve noticed a few recurring patterns in this season of 16 and Pregnant:
1.) More attention to troubling/controlling relationship behavior especially related to the way that cell phones and technology escalate those situations
2.) Some more explicitly stated reasons for keeping babies, particularly, but not exclusively, related to family pro-life stances (though not in every case since abortion has been explicitly mentioned)
3.) A discussion of high-risk scenarios related to birth and infant health (we saw a little of this in Season 1 with Amber and Gary’s daughter’s respiratory issues, but both Valerie and Chelsea’s babies experienced unexpected health issues at birth).
Also, I wondered last week about whether or not MTV would portray the legal issues related to this type of situation (if they arose), and it’s like the television gods heard me.  This week, MTV took us inside a lawyer’s office so that Chelsea could change her baby’s last name to match her own after Adam’s (again, terribly spelled and vile) text message that alluded to him surrendering his paternal rights.


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