Welcome to MTV’s The Challenge, Battle of the Stupid Reasons Not to Use Birth Control. Tonight’s challenge is named Katie. She’s from the open spaces of Wyoming, where she gets good grades and four-wheels with babydaddy Joey. She also lives with him, as well as his mom, stepdad and siblings. Which is apparently a good way to get pregnant.
Park. A not-really-very-pregnant-looking Katie, who claims in voiceover to be six months along, walks with Joey to make bologna sandwiches more romantic by putting them on the ground. You know what’s even more romantic? Getting your impregnator to spring for burgers. Or getting MTV to find a local corporate sponsor who will give you some free if you can include a long, lingering shot of their sign. Katie reminds Joey they’ve known each other for a long time, and when she met him he wore girly pants. Always a turn-on.
At least he puts his hat on all the way. You’d hope this would be analogous to his skill in condom use, but you’d be disappointed.
Everybody in this ep seems to be uncomfortably conscious of the cameras. And I’m not saying they’re being fed lines, but possibly they’ve been topic-coached and they’re not very imaginative. Someone needs to give them an improv class.
In the next scene, entitled Hey Friends, Remember When I Told You I Was Pregnant? That Was Nuts, Right? I realize the kids pull their hats down all the way ‘cause it’s Wyoming and probably cold. I was probably too rough on Random Friend Guy’s hat in the minicap. I would probably wear it. Outside. It looks warm.
To Katie’s credit (which I’m desperately trying to build) she notes that she’s lucky that Joey was sort of glad about the pregnancy. Not glad in a getting a new car way, but more like a, “well, at least it’s not two people who hate each other… yet” way.
And then I was like… I hope it doesn’t take 18 years for me to learn this valuable lesson.
Katie’s best friend Veronica is leaving for college in Denver next month, where they were supposed to go together and be roomies. Veronica doesn’t say it out loud, but she’s sort of relieved to have the opportunity to be known as something other than “that Katie girl’s grenade friend.” Katie reassures Veronica and herself that she’ll get to Denver eventually, just not the way she originally wanted to.
Dinner with Katie’s family. Her mom reminds her that babies don’t just stop crying because you’re doing your homework. Here we see a rather unpleasant dynamic between mother and daughter, wherein Mom tries to impart a fact to Katie, Katie tries to say she’ll make the best of it, and mom (possibly correctly) interprets this as Katie not being serious and foolishly expecting everything to go her way. The situation quickly devolves – and the emotion here is pretty genuine – with Katie’s mom losing patience and Katie feeling hurt and disapproved-of by her mom.
I’m totally proud of you. Isn’t it obvious?
This seems like a good place for a commercial. Now those Titanic kids, they had problems.
Here we begin the “Let’s get our own place” saga. Katie voice-overs that Joey doesn’t think they can afford their own place. Because Joey can add zero to zero. They sit in his parents’ living room. “How long are you guys staying here?” asks his stepdad. “Not that I’m gonna kick you out,” he backtracks.
Joey assumes his default position.
Katie doesn’t want to impose her child on them. Joey’s trying to get a job in the mines and make a shit-ton of money. Maybe even a fuck-ton. His parents explain about applying for an apartment, and how income-based housing could be a helpful thing. Katie and Joey gaze longingly at the floor.
Since it’s the end of senior year, Katie’s going with her friends to Prom. They’re making it a girls’ night. But first they have to get Katie, who’s still slender for six months (I know, each woman carries differently) into a dress. I’m guessing everyone brought over every dress they ever bought, and maybe some from some friends and sisters. There is failed zippering and you’re-not-fat-ing. She picks a black sparkly one and proceeds to ruin her hair with some crimping. The limo picks them up. Prom gets the animated-drawing treatment, with Katie saying she got a lot of stares and her cartoon feet throbbing, as they do. I feel you on the exhaustion, girl. I’ma need a nap after this recap.
Did I stutter just now about wanting to put on my PJs?
Joey and Katie start filling out their application for income-based housing. They get kind of stuck on the first question: Are you a citizen by birth of the United States? She can’t just let his “yes” go, she has to ask him if he’s sure, at which point he gets confused. She talks about “getting out of here” as if their current situation is unbearable for any reason other than her making it so. Then they argue about whether it’s gonna be all right and when, and who believes it more.
Katie voice-overs that Joey’s “negative” attitude isn’t helping things. Cut the guy some slack, he’s positive enough to land a full-time job. She notes that he’s pulling away, and they show him playing a video game while she watches. Eh, that’s what they do. Some keep it up past 40… um, I’ve heard. Best for both of you if you find your own amusement. Somebody get this girl a laptop. She needs to make a mom blog. There aren’t enough of those. Katie makes some phone calls about apartments. They cost too much. Katie tells Veronica on the phone that she’s alone all the time and it sucks. Veronica repeats it back to her. She asks Joey what he’s doing that night. He’s going to see his dad. She wants to know if he has to do that, or if he could maybe stay home and enjoy her charming company.
Also maybe install some hooks on the walls or a rod across the ceiling.
She decides to move out. Oh, come on, it’s his dad he’s going to see. It’s not the guys and there’s no drinking or women involved. Where’s your relentlessly positive attitude now? Katie goes to stay at her mom’s. Mom says she doesn’t understand this. Neither do I. Mom says things will go Katie’s way eventually, just not in Katie time.
Bridge scene. This is my favorite scene in the episode… all relative of course. It’s got some real emotion, and Joey gets in a good comeback or two. Katie appears less pregnant here. Maybe this whole story is more complex than they’re letting on.
I think the best thing to do here is accuse you of a bunch of stuff you can’t really help. Look at me. I’m a mess. I can’t even wear my ear gauges.
She says there’s not enough room in his folks’ house. “Well where are you gonna put the baby, the trunk of your car?” he asks. Point Babydaddy. She cries because Joey’s folks do everything for them and they can’t repay it. Two words, kid. House. Work. He reminds her that it’s their grandchild. She says it would be perfect if they got their own house. As her de facto therapist, my first assignment is that she should avoid the word perfect from now on. Try to avoid even thinking it. Nothing gets solved by their argument, and they retreat to opposite sides of the bridge. She goes to live with her mom for a few weeks, and she and Joey text angry words to each other.
Labor time! The midwife says she “wants to see some changes.” So that’s natural childbirth, huh? They talk and your cervix complies? Looks like propaganda. Katie dutifully dilates. Joey shows up and is supportive after some initial awkwardness.
As supportive as an 18-year-old can be when you just forced him to think about girl parts stretching.
Lots of footage of medical professionals sticking their hands up and feeling her cervix, and Katie whimpering. Then little Molli is here, all pink. Joey holds her and talks to her while Katie arranges the Boppy pillow for feeding. Yeah, I’m product placing. Send me free stuff. Veronica shows up from Denver. Katie gets out of the hospital quickly because she didn’t have an epidural. Watching her leave the hospital, I’m wondering if they filmed some of the “pregnant” scenes after she had the baby. Hmm. Sorry MTV, you’re gonna need to call it fiction if you want me to suspend my disbelief.
Katie decides to go back and live with Joey’s folks so they can try to be a family. Shot of the brand new baby with her chin on her chest in the car seat, which I flove.
Welcome to a lifetime of saving your family, kid.
Joey has rearranged the room for the baby, so she at least has her own nursery area. And everyone has more pressing priorities anyway. Joey’s little sister likes the baby, who likes her pacifier with the elephant on the end. She’s got a few complaints though.
Don’t worry, nobody’s taking you to church. They just dressed you like it.
Joey’s brother and sister are very cute with the baby. One of them explains about soft spots. “When are you gonna go to a real college?” asks his brother. “You should be getting an education from real teachers and not computers.” Somebody smack whoever told him to say that. Katie explains that she was going to go to a real college but then she had a baby.
A couple of weeks later, Joey gets that coal mining job he wanted, so they look for an apartment. I like how he holds the baby and talks to her, asking her if she wants to check out the kitchen.
Seems he prefers her company to Katie’s.
They find a place with a little room for the baby, some closet space, and a pull-down ironing board, or “kitchen table.” They move in their giant TV and their microwave, “where the majority of [Molli’s] meals are going to be cooked.” She is definitely quieter than she could be. Joey has to work the night shift at the mine and sleep all day.
The new family goes to dinner with Katie’s mom. Katie maturely announces that in two years, they’re all gonna move away and Mom’s never gonna see them again. This is apparently news to Joey, who would be less than practical if he left his lucrative job at the mines. The convo goes like this: If she’s putting the kid first, it’s best for her to stay in Wyoming. If she’s putting herself first, she can go to Denver, but he’ll still be putting Molli first and keeping his job at the mine to provide for her. And that will make Katie kind of a single parent who’s also got college classes to worry about. She’s making her choices a bit too narrow. I mean, there have to be colleges in Wyoming that would give her the education she needs. Hang on friends… we’re almost to the end.
Molli is six weeks old and growing into her face. Katie is bristling at the prospect of being a housewife. Which makes sense, as she’s the kind of cook who burns eggs to a blackened crisp.
Katie goes and sees her friends. She tells them her life has changed and she’s alone a lot and missing a lot of interaction, and they repeat it back to her. Katie says she thought having a baby would mean she wouldn’t be alone, but it’s not turning out that way. Molli starts crying ‘cause she’s fed up with this shit.
Katie and Joey’s apartment. She’s gone days without talking to a “real person.” Well, try talking grownup talk to the kid – she’ll get used to it. And you might learn something about yourself by hearing yourself say stuff. Katie and Joey talk about the things they’ve both sacrificed. Katie tells the camera that it’s hard and it’s lonely and it’s especially difficult when the kid cries in the middle of a timed exam. She makes some dinner and a tired and dirty-faced Joey tries to eat it. She says he’s an amazing dad, but only to the camera. They do some family things. She tells us she went straight from being a child to being an adult. This has been a public service announcement from the Unglamorous Baby Network. Condoms: If you’re not gonna sack it, then go home and whack it.