I watched a lot of television last week, but wrote very little about it. I’d like to say I was digesting what I had seen and mulling it over in order to craft intelligent and interesting responses, but that would be a lie. I’d also like to blame my tardiness on my intensive Easter preparations, but since the holiday was less than 24 hours ago, it seems too soon to make up lies about it. But now that I’m back, here are my reviews of the reality shows I watched and learned from this week.
16 and Pregnant: Week 7 (Nicole)
New week, new Nicole, whose friends are forcing me to issue the following public service announcement: If I am ever pregnant and at your slumber party and am experiencing discomfort, PLEASE CALL THE HOSPITAL or, at least, LOOK CONCERNED, because I might be watching your ass on MTV someday. Oh, and if I am like, two seconds away from being someone’s mom, please make sure I’m not caught on camera prank-calling prostitutes. This week, we defied the standard 16 and Pregnant formula of immature father/rapidly maturing mother and went with an immature/immature dynamic with mixed results. Everything was sort of strange, with both Nicole and Tyler appearing to be both ready for parenthood and far too young to understand what it meant, Nicole’s mom being oddly supportive, and Tyler’s mom being the only voice of reason (things were getting a little strange with no one having a problem with those two reproducing). In contrast to last week’s pregnant-child-of-a-teenage-parent dynamic that came off as supportive and helpful, this week Tyler’s mom Farrah, who had him at 17, was rightfully and fully pissed at her son for most of the episode. She softened when he went back to school, but the episode made it clear that unlike Nicole’s mom, Farrah would not be giving herself over to the baby party and would be the one who was unafraid to set the kids straight on some of the finer points of baby-raising (like how all the adults were sick of having a baby foisted on them in a relatively predictable rotation). After a hour long game of musical baby, we seemed to realize that babies have bedtimes, need stable homes, and that in this instance, the kids might not be okay.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Week 3 (“Jamie cooks for Huntington High School”)
I am pleased to announce that no British chefs were harmed in the filming of this episode’s critical french fry-removal scene. While continuing to sow the seeds of discontent with Alice over at the elementary school (while also making some very positive changes), Jamie headed off to Huntington High school to see if he could build a rag-tag group of junior chefs who could help him change the food culture for the bigger kids. After a quick cooking lesson and a few scenes of Jamie listening to the teenagers tell their stories, Jamie asked the Bad News Bears of cooking to help him prepare a fundraising dinner for local dignitaries, a senator, and their parents. And the kids rose to the occasion, even though there were bumps along the way, which made the show seem far sunnier than it actually is. While Jamie made significant inroads with the group of kids he surrounded himself with at the high school, it seems as though there’s plenty to still be done and that the food guidelines by which he must comply are absolutely ridiculous (not enough veggies in that pasta? are you kidding me?). Like I said during the premiere, this show is setting up clear heroes and villains, even though some of those villains are reluctant bureaucrats and workers who are actually just trying to do the jobs they’re good at. The main silver lining to everything, though, was that it was genuinely nice to see teenagers on prime-time television voice valid opinions and be accepted by their community as having something of value to contribute.