Just this week, Dr. Drew wrapped up this year's season of Teen Mom OG with a big cake and a lot of confetti. The show just completed its tenth year of filming, which is pretty momentous for a reality show that's focused on one group of people. As everyone sipped on champagne and celebrated, Dr. Drew commented that he'd be there to oversee the next decade, as well. But, there are plenty of reasons why ten more years of MTV exposure is a bad idea for this group.
Teen Mom OG is a spin-off of the popular series 16 and Pregnant. And it was actually intended to be nothing more than filler in MTV's schedule. What was first known as just Teen Mom centered around the first year after the 16 and Pregnant babies were born. As a series, it made sense. Not only is that first year crucial for kids, but the audience had already formed a bond with them. Back then, cameras were allowed in the hospital for a majority of the births, so 16 and Pregnant viewers felt even more invested in these subjects.
In the process, MTV accidentally created a hit. People wanted to know about Maci Bookout, Amber Portwood, Catelynn Lowell and Farrah Abraham, and they quickly became stars (and tabloid fodder). Eventually Teen Mom 2 debuted with 16 And Pregnant girls from season two. They even tried to press their luck with a Teen Mom 3, but it was unsuccessful. Perhaps because so much time and energy was already devoted to the first two seasons, the franchise started to wear thin.
While the series is still enjoyable, it's also reached fearful new levels. Abraham was terminated from the show after her celebrity status caused her to be irritable with the cast and crew, and her side business in porn was clashing with her work on Teen Mom. Jenelle Evans from Teen Mom 2 was also reportedly let go when fans were outraged after husband David Eason shot and killed their family dog, Nugget. Eason was removed from the series even earlier after homophobic comments showed up on his social media accounts. It's hard to know whether these events would have happened if the girls weren't elevated to this level of celebrity.
So with questions rising anew about the value of keeping these shows on the air, here are six reasons why the Teen Mom franchise should call it quits — at least, for now.
The original offspring of Teen Mom are at an age where filming may be embarrassing. While Maci Bookout is one of the most beloved moms of the franchise, her son, Bentley, is going through some issues that shouldn't be filmed. For one, his father — Ryan Edwards — has been in and out of jail for drug possession. The show often talks about ways for Bentley to process the news, when it's something that everyone watching the show already knows about. These kids are at a vulnerable age and have literally lived their lives in front of MTV's cameras since birth. It's time to give them a rest, just so they can deal with private matters privately — and not have their therapy sessions discussed on screen.
They're also able to Google themselves. Even if they were blissfully unaware of the show for the first years of their lives, fans of the franchise will never let people forget. Sophia, Farrah Abraham's daughter, may have the worst of it. During early filmings, Abraham was seen leaving Sophia in the sink and at the top of a staircase. Dangerous situations for sure, but something that a flustered and tired mother might easily do. For Abraham, those moments live on forever — and Sophia will know about every negative interaction and event that her family experienced. Abraham also initially wanted an abortion, which is understandable, but an awful thing for a child to one day look back on.
The fame is starting to get to some of the castmates. In particular, Amber Portwood, who made headlines this July after charging at her boyfriend with a machete. Her boyfriend, Andrew Glennon, was holding their young child, James. Portwood has been open about her battle with mental health issues before, but being in the spotlight can't be helping. She's commented several times that she's let the negativity on social media get to her. Since some viewers make of trying point to push the buttons of these MTV reality stars, comments can get quite cruel.
The girls are no longer teenagers. The show has undergone some title changes, but the franchise remains. One of the moms brought in recently, Cheyenne Floyd, wasn't a teen when she had baby Ryder — she was actually in her mid-20's. Prior to gaining celebrity status, it was interesting to see the girls try to work out the financial aspects of having a baby so young, but these girls have all bought cars and houses — many have purchased more than one — using their hefty MTV paychecks. They, in no way, resemble the typical teen mother.
Taking a break would lead to more interesting personal development. Many of the girls have been smart enough to think up side businesses for when the show eventually stops. Some, like Teen Mom 2's Kail Lowry, went ahead with a college degree (Lowry also started up a podcast,). But since these other brands aren't discussed much on the show, plots often get stale. Some episodes have revolved around realtively mundane developments — like buying a new house, or discussing the possibility of a partner's vasectomy — just to have something to discuss on air. Other episodes air without anything happening, which is at least true-to-life, as real adult lives tend to lack drama, especially if you're financially well off.
Sooner or later, MTV is going to get footage that's too disturbing to air. Portwood's recent assault attempt wasn't captured on camera, but other near-disasters have been. For one, Evans found herself in a road rage incident where she pulled a gun on another vehicle with her son in the car. Fans of Teen Mom OG also had to sit through footage of Edwards nodding off on drugs while driving his now-wife Mackenzie to their first wedding. Both Evans and Edwards got lucky. Eventually something even worse might happen.
Teen Mom did end once — right after Portwood was arrested in 2012 for domestic violence and drug charges. Portwood completed her time, and the show was revived, but fans are speculating that that might not be the case this time around if Portwood heads back to jail, since MTV has been quite open to replacing cast members in more recent years.
Even if it'sjust a temporary break, that too would be good for everyone involved. The cast can move forward and have some privacy. It may not be beneficial for them, but it would definitely help the kids who made this series what it is. And if MTV is dead set on keeping the cast involved with the network, maybe they could take a few years to rebrand the franchise to better represent the current stories, and give the multiple children of Teen Mom an option to sit this one out.
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Karen Belz has contributed to sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, and So Yummy. Follow her on Twitter at @KarenEBelz.