I’ve never understood why people use the phrase “guilty pleasure” to describe the TV shows they watch. You watch something because you enjoy it, so why feel guilty about it? However, I’ve recently realized that I have a “guilty pleasure” of my own. I watch the show, but I don’t really enjoy it. Actually, I usually feel mad at myself for continuing to watch it week after week. I know I’m not the only one, as I’ve recently discussed with many of my friends how much we all hate to love the same show: “Teen Mom 2.”
“Teen Mom 2,” now airing its fifth season on MTV, is the second re-creation of the “Teen Mom” format in which cameras follow four girls who were featured on MTV’s popular “16 and Pregnant.” The moms are all now between 21 and 22 years old, and if you’ve been watching them from the beginning, you have literally seen their children’s entire lives.
Sometimes I tell myself I only watch because the kids are so adorable and I have to see what happens to them. They’re growing up though, and they’re no longer the precious little children they used to be. In a recent episode, Jenelle’s 4-year-old son Jace repeatedly said “fuck” for no reason at all. It’s getting harder to deny that we’re not watching little monsters grow up.
This season has also had the terribly sad storyline of one of Leah’s twin daughters being diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Frustratingly, Leah often seems to worry more about how the diagnosis will ruin her life, rather than her daughter’s life.
I not only feel guilty for watching the show and wasting my own time, but I also feel bad for giving these girls the attention they so desire. None of them seem to have any sort of ambitions or desire to go anywhere with their lives. The fact that they’re getting paid thousands of dollars to complain about things people have to go through every day is the reason why I should stop watching the show. The fact that I’m somehow weirdly invested in these girls’ lives and seeing if things will ever get better for them is the reason that I can’t.
This is, of course, the same show that brought us the undeniably terrible Farrah Abraham, who continues to be in the news for more and more ridiculous things, most of which have nothing to do with being a mother. Amber Portwood, another original teen mom, spent more than a year in prison for assaulting her baby daddy, a scene MTV often replayed.
The show’s most troubled mom, Jenelle Evans, started off this most recent season by getting an abortion. She announced it bluntly to the viewers and her friends and family. She even took her son with her to have the procedure done. While it was somewhat “shocking,” it was probably the best for everyone involved, as Jenelle herself said. I don’t know how to feel about the fact that I agree with Jenelle on that. It’s sad, upsetting and real – a story MTV knows all too well. But after more than five years of following these teen moms, what else do we have to learn from their continuing tragedies?
“Teen Mom 2” airs on MTV Tuesdays nights at 9 p.m.