Friday, December 31, 2010

Report States that 16 and Pregnant Helps Prevent Teen Births

Can the controversial MTV reality show actually be good for America's teens?

According to Reality Blurred, a report has come out that states that the MTV show 16 and Pregnant is partially responsible for the current decreased teen pregnancy rate.

Reportedly, teen pregnancy dropped significantly in 2009, the year that 16 and Pregnant premiered. Additionally, a survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that a high percentage of teens stated that the show helps them understand the challenges of teen pregnancy. It also noted that teens are better able to understand what it would be like if they got pregnant, based on seeing what the teens on the show go through.

While I can see how this information could be reported (if you survey teens who watch and enjoy the show 16 and Pregnant), I am absolutely not ready to credit it with significantly reducing the teen pregnancy rate. Here's why:

- Word came out that Amber Portwood, a star of 16 and Pregnant and the sequel Teen Mom, makes $280,000 a year. So, let me get this straight. A girl who gets knocked up and hits her boyfriend is awarded with fame and fortune? If that's not glorifying teen pregnancy, I don't know what to think.

- Being a pregnant teen gives teens something to aspire to: television stardom. I am absolutely not saying that 16 and Pregnant encourages teen pregnancy, but I wouldn't flip this the other way and say it prevents it, either. (This is similar to how I feel about the Forever 21 maternity clothing line.)

- Other factors have also been reported to positively affect teen pregnancy. For example, the economy has also been cited as a reason for the reduction. A decrease in the overall fertility rate has also been noted as a factor.

I'm not saying that 16 and Pregnant doesn't scare teens out of pregnancy. I'm sure it does. I'm also sure that it has convinced some teens to be more careful about pregnancy. However, I don't think we can truly attribute a significant reduction in US teen pregnancies to the MTV reality show.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reality Star Brittanya O'Campo Sent to Jail

Fame may have helped Amber Portwood out of jail (although it also put here there), but it can't do the same for Brittanya O'Campo, the promiscuous participant from VH1's Rock of Love, Charm School and I Love Money.

Brittanya, who has a bit of a shady past, was sentenced to six months in jail for attacking a woman in 2008 with a pimp cup. Yes, a pimp cup. Classy, right?

Brittanya was kind enough to let us know via Twitter that she's only allowed to receive postcards in jail - no letters or packages. You know, just in case you want to send her love notes. (Although I bet a lot of people probably do.)

I would be lying if I said I'm not a Brittanya fan, because I definitely am. That doesn't mean I condone her behavior. I think she's kind of a mess, and that's why I love watching her on television. But that doesn't mean her actual decisions are any good. For example, hooking up with Mindy's man on I Love Money wasn't cool, but it made excellent television. However, this was a terrible incident, and I feel for the victim and Brittanya's son, who will be without her for six months.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amber Portwood: Teen Tragedy or Trainwreck?

Amber Portwood's had a tough few years. Ever since her appearance on Teen Mom, and maybe even before, she's been a drama magnet.

First, she and fiance Gary got engaged...and broke up...and got engaged...and broke up.

Next, she and Gary broke up 'for good' and Amber met a boyfriend...who just got out of jail.

Then, she was convinced for hitting fiance Gary Shirley in front of daughter Leah on camera. That caused her to get her daughter taken away into state custody, then get charged with a felony. She went as far as to claim that producers told her to hit Gary because she was boring and needed better ratings, but producers denied the charges. Besides, that claim didn't work when a woman on Bridezillas claimed that the producers made her act like a fool, which in turn violated her probation. She has pleaded not guilty.

Somewhere mixed in with this, Amber failed her GED, lost her job and a multitude of other things.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that Amber's the most dramatic Teen Mom - Farrah certainly brings her share of the madness. However, I feel bad for Amber in a way that I don't for Farrah. Amber seems seriously misguided, whereas Farrah's just a brat. Amber goes wrong in so many ways, but she really tries to get her head above water.

So, this brings up the question: Is Amber Portwood a teen tragedy whose life went terribly wrong, or is she just a trainwreck who let us enter her messy world when we watched Teen Mom?

Update: Perez Hilton recently announced that Amber earns a salary of $280,000 for being on Teen Mom. I'm not sure her life is so tragic...this may have pushed her towards trainwreck status.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Finally Watched an Episode of Bridalplasty

I finally watched an episode of Bridalplasty, and I must admit that I am both horrified and addicted.

The most notable thing about Bridalplasty is that you don't need to watch the full season to understand what's going on. The episode came on TV, and without even missing a beat, I completely understood the plot (compete in challenges to win plastic surgery before your wedding), the structure and the personalities.

Here's what I got out of the episode:
* Most of the girls on the show are not ugly. Not in the least. Are they insecure? Obviously. But most of them are pretty enough to be on TV...which means they genuinely are pretty. Most of the problem for some of them is being overweight, not ugly.

* Kristen is nice, but is slightly misguided. I feel bad for her getting into a fight with Jenessa, who is a major manipulator. Kristen wins major points for apologizing, even though Jenessa didn't deserve it.

* Janessa is a major manipulator...but actually believes what she says. When she turned everybody against Alexandra in an act of master manipulation, she acted like she was actually doing something good by 'getting rid of the manipulator.' But between those phrases, she admitted to being a manipulator herself!

* Some of the girls were amazingly nice. When the girls gave up their chance for surgery so Allyson could have liposuction on her arms, that was really nice, and clearly meant a lot to Allyson.

* Girls put together in a large group will be catty and bitchy. But you already knew that.

On another note, is it really safe to have so much plastic surgery in a short amount of time?

I highly doubt that it's healthy to have all of this lipo and other stuff done - and what will happen to the lipo-ed girls if they gain weight again? Will their faces and toes get super fat or something?

The whole show is a raging mess, and I'm so opposed to the concept. Your fiance and families love you as you are - why risk your life before your wedding? I get it - the winner gets loads of surgery and is "perfect" at the end, but she's also showing the world the problem with shallowness is society.

Hugh Hefner is Engaged to Crystal Harris!

I bet Holly Madison is having a very angry Christmas season.

Why? Hugh Hefner, the man Holly wanted to marry and procreate with, is engaged to current girlfriend Crystal Harris. Not only does Crystal share Holly’s look (although Crystal will deny it), she stepped in as the number one girlfriend after Holly was given the boot from the Playboy Mansion.

So what does Crystal have that Holly doesn’t? She seemed to be less marriage and baby obsessed…and she’s a bit younger. She was also a bit more relaxed – she seems like she pretty much goes along with whatever Hef wants…not because she has to, but because she wants to.

All the best to Crystal and Hef – their age difference is huge but I hope they have some good years together. On the morbid (but good for Crystal) side of things, Crystal stands to inherit a whole bunch of money from this marriage. I believe she does love Hef, but she also probably realizes that she’s got plenty of youthful life to live after he bites the dust. She could feasibly be single again in her mid-thirties and start having babies then. Then again, she’s not Holly, so maybe she doesn’t even want kids. What matters is that Crystal and Hef are happy, and I believe they genuinely are. After all, she didn’t jump ship when her season of The Girls Next Door failed miserably, so she’s in it for real, not just for the fame (ahem, Shannon twins!).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jersey Shore: They Get More and More

I wonder if the cast of Jersey Shore had any idea of their future when they signed on for the first season of the series.

Did Snooki, Pauly D, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Angelina, J-Woww, Ronnie and Sammie know that they'd skyrocket into fame, fashion lines and multiple spin-off series? Not to mention the phrases they coined, like my personal favorite, GTL. (I can't keep up with it, though. I've only got the occasional G, no T, and lots of L, but whatever.)

First, we heard that Angelina was getting a spin-off show. This makes sense, because we can't send her back with the Jersey Shore cast when she keeps walking out every season.

Then, Mike "The Situation" graced (or at least showed up on) our television sets with his moves on Dancing With the Stars.

Now, Pauly D has an MTV spin-off in the works. The topic of the show is a secret, but reports note that it's probably about his deejaying.

Between the clothing, the books (J-Woww's writing one and Mike has one already),and the appearances, the Jersey Shore cast has surely brought revenue to MTV Networks and to their own pockets.

Of course, the original Jersey Shore stars and MTV networks aren't the only groups benefiting from the Jersey Shore fame. New cast member Deena Nicole Cortese, the newest cast member of Jersey Shore (taking Angelina's place), is walking into ready-made fame. Also, the stars of spin-off shows such as "The Persian Version," another MTV creation, will be benefiting when they eat their slice of reality pie.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teen Mom 2: Has MTV Gone Too Far?

Teen Mom 2 is premiering Monday, January 11, 2011 on MTV. On this version of Teen Mom, we’ll see a new set of girls from Sixteen and Pregnant battle their way through teenage motherhood.

From what I’ve heard, this show was in the works way before the first season of Teen Mom hit its later round of controversy (Amber’s loss of custody), so it had been planned for some time.

I’m unconvinced that Teen Mom 2 is a great idea. I’d rather continue watching Maci, Amber, Farrah and Catelynn in their struggles. We, as viewers, have connected to these girls, and they got involved in the Sixteen and Pregnant / Teen Mom franchise before they knew what the public response would be. The girls now are facing the same struggle, but they know what to expect from the television exposure. It just seems less real.

Here's the thing - I understand that MTV is a business, and the 16 and Pregnant / Teen Mom franchise brings in major cash. So why would they stop? Television isn't about morals - it's about money. Advertising dollars. Revenue. Cold hard cash. So I get why MTV is keeping up with this inexpensive programming. That doesn't mean that I have to agree with it, though. (Not that the participants are upset, I'm sure - their payments for appearing on TV are great for helping them raise their kids.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Amber Portwood Regains Custody of Daughter Leah

Remember when Amber Portwood lost custody of daughter Leah Shirley?

Amber regained custody of her daughter.

Apparently, Amber's new apartment was determined to be suitable for Leah, and she was allowed to regain custody of her daughter.

Good luck, Amber and Leah!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Downsized: Still Not Feeling It

For some reason, I keep watching Downsized on WE TV, despite the fact that I can't stand the show.

I feel like the show just keeps getting more and more obnoxious. It's not the kids - they're fun to watch and seem like well adjusted young adults. It just drives me nuts that Todd forces the kids to hand out fliers to the neighborhood houses, even though it's hot out. And the fact that Laura forced her kids to clean houses with her. Wouldn't it be more profitable to have the kids get jobs of their own?

I get it - this is all for TV, which is why it drives me so crazy. Would the family really have the kids handing out fliers in the heat if not for the show? Maybe not. Would the kids be cleaning houses? Also, maybe not. I still feel as if the television show (which will ultimately save the family financially) is forcing the kids to be more involved in the financial situation than they need to be.

On this week's Downsized, we watched...well...nothing. Laura found out her MS is under control (which is fantastic; even though I think the show is a mess I do hope she remains healthy) and we watched the kids be bored. I still wonder - wouldn't it be healthier for all of the kids (except Danielle, of course) to get jobs and then do their summer activities? In the current scenario, the kids are sitting at home and wasting their time all summer. How is that productive?

This week, we watched the kids explore the world of dating, which seemed about as real as the movie Shrek. I can practically hear the producers saying, "Okay, Whitney, pretend your brother's into your friend Shania!"

In any case, I think the show is ridiculous and is unfair to the kids, but whatever. I keep watching it, so what can I really say?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On the Final Episode of I Love Money 4...

Brooklyn won the role of Paymaster in the I Love Money finale, winning him a spot in the finals.

It was actually touching when Brooklyn gave Mindy her check - he told her she plays with her heart. He admitted that if Mindy wins, she deserves it. Also heartfelt was the moment when Brooklyn let one of his competitors leave the game. That player was Punisher. I am glad Punisher was sent home because he's been playing people throughout the whole game. He's been manipulative and evil. That being said, I think Hot Wings has been acting like a child lately, and she might have deserved it more.

I think Brooklyn's move was strategic. While he said that Hot Wings could beat him in the game, he probably knows that Punisher could beat him, whereas he might be able to beat Hot Wings. However, he said that Hot Wings needs the money more than Punisher, and I do believe that.

Punisher, proving why he should go home, had a total hissy fit when Brooklyn sent him home. It was pretty brutal, but Brooklyn did what he had to do.

The final competitors had to come through an obstacle course like challenge where they had to find coins in order to get to the next step. At the end, the competitors had to put together a puzzle, and Mindy completed it first. Her victory was announced, and Brooklyn gave her a huge hug. It was amazing that Brooklyn was so happy for Mindy.

Meanwhile, Hot Wings went off about how much she hates Mindy and Mindy stole the game from her. She cried and acted like a spoiled brat. It was disgusting.

I am so glad Mindy won. I've been Team Mindy the whole way, and she totally deserved this.

Note: We learned that Mindy has a twin sister Cindy. Wow, matchy names!


Real Housewives of New Jersey Spinoff: Chris and Albie Manzo

Albie and Chris, Caroline Manzo's sons, are getting a television show spinoff.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey kids made a splash on The Millionaire Matchmaker, and television producers took notice.

I'm not sure how exciting a show about Albie and Chris Manzo will be, but I'm about a zillion more times likely to watch this than I will be to watch Danielle Staub's television shows.