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Episode 2, Season 2 of Teen Mom 2 was really just four Moment of Truth film shorts that really should be turned into Lifetime movies. And the movie could center around a plucky aging blogger played by Tiffani Amber Theisson, whom I have always said would play me in the movie if the plane carrying my travelling roller derby team ever went down over the Rockies, or even over someplace boring, like Kansas. The blogger would have to figure out how to capture an hour of tears and be faced with the dramatic task of sitting in her office hoping to get a minicap done, but knowing the whole time that this episode is literally going to be hours to break down and make funny. There wasn’t much comedy in this one.
Moment of Truth: A Chance for Help. Starring Kailyn and directed by Judith Light. Based on the true strory of one young woman’s struggle to give her baby a stable home in Pennsylvania, and her will to strive to do more than survive.
Kail is Teen Mom 2 Mom 1 to cry this evening. She’s got 99 problems, and her bitchy mother is definitely one of them. Kail’s been staying with Suzy but Suzy’s got a boyfriend and he’s not as into having Suzy’s relatives around. He sounds like a real prize! He’s left a note in Kail’s room telling her that she needs to pick up her space because “we don’t live like trash.” Kail may be dramatic about this note; it goes from being asked to clean up her room in an albeit passive-aggressive way to later in the episode, “He wants me out.” Still though, she’s not comfortable and she can’t trust Suzy. She’s living with the contact threat that Suzy and/or her warm, wonderful boyfriend will snap and she’ll have to leave unexpectedly.
Kail is not an idiot and she’s longed for stability for as long as she’s been on our TVs, so she swallows her pride and that mes amies is not easy for her. She is really hesitant about accepting anything that she feels is Welfare. She does find a really cool program called Valley House, that helps young homeless women. They pay her rent, she pays them. She and Isaac go to look at a cute place with one of the (I assume) social workers and the episode ends with Isaac so excited about moving out on their own that he shits his pants. Dudes are dudes from the get, ‘yall. I swear I have 40 year old guy friends who still get so excited that they have to poo.
Kail’s story isn’t much in the minicap, but there is so much going on for her. She remains the Teen Mom I most expect to be totally happy 15 years from now with no need to draw of her Teen Mom run, working at a good job, maybe in radiology or education, and married to a decent guy who makes her laugh a lot.
Moment of Truth: Homeless Sacrifice of Truth in Lies, starring Jenelle and directed by Meredith Baxter Birney. Based on the true story of one young North Carolina woman’s realization that the love of her life is leaving her seperated from her child, from her family, and throwing her into a spiral of abuse and homelessness. She struggles to see the truth of his lies.
Jenelle’s segments were really intense. She’s living with Keiffer now, and they’ve got a pretty sweet spot on what looks like prime beach-front property in North Carolina. I vacation at Kure Beach, which is about an hour and a half from Oak Island. Jenelle’s living right near what looks like any given beach rental out there, only she’s living in her Honda. With her loser boyfriend who, she tells us, has started drinking. So sexy. I’ve had some shitty, Keiffer-esque boyfriends in my life, but I have to admit that when the one decided to be homeless, I did not move with him into my Saturn. He had a Jeep and it was Central Illinois. I couldn’t let him live in a Jeep but if he wanted to crash in my car, that was fine. I’m not even kidding.
Jenelle still sees her condition as being Barb’s fault – she’s staying away to give Barb time to cool off. What she’s also doing is taking a little bit of stock. She’s failing one of her classes, and she can’t drop it or she’ll owe back some financial aid. She also has two Internet classes that she thinks she can salvage. She’s running forward, and Keiffer is dragging in the sand. She wants to go to the library and he doesn’t see why he has to go and wait for her. He’s sick of doing what Jenelle wants to do. He’s tired, so he doesn’t want to sit at the library. He wants to go to Sweepstakes and go gambling. Hmmmm… When I’m exhausted, forget sitting in a quiet place and resting with a book – I want to hit some OTB and play some video poker!
Jenelle’s friend Amber calls it like it is – he’s got nothing. He lives off of Jenelle and he should grin and bear it if she wants to go to the library but he wants to do something else. My Keiffer-esque boyfriend was pretty good about this, actually. He knew which way the wind blew. He would do stuff like fold my laundry and clean my apartment when he didn’t want to do what I was doing. this was especially true when there was already enough beer in the fridge so he didn’t need to go with me, on the chance that we’d stop at a bar or something on the way back from whatever productive task I was accomplishing. Keiffer is a bigger loser than that dude was, by far, but Jenelle still takes him to Sweepstakes instead of leaving him in park too far for his lazy ass to walk… well, I would say ‘home’ but that wouldn’t really apply here.
He’s moody and jerky when she later tries to talk to him about stuff. She is starting to see that the only time he talks to her is about alcohol, weed, or drugs (blow, I assume). And she hates it. See? She wants more. She parties. He is an addict.
Then later, the ish hits the fan, big time. They have a double-date with Ben and Amber, Ben being the cutest blondest burner dork ever who says as they pull out to roll to the bowling alley, “Let’s bizz-ounce!” Jenelle starts baiting Keiffer in the car and taunting him, not unlike Barb taunts her, with the bitchy condescending tone and the sing-song stuff. Jenelle is pissed that Keiffer’s drinking when he knows she hates it.
I’m sure that much of the Teen Mom Nation doesn’t believe this can be the case when Jenelle parties as much as she does but honestly? Alcohol is a beast. It changes a personality faster and more radically than I’ve ever seen a drug change a personality and your little Sun-bear is no stranger to the underside of substance use and abuse. I’ve seen a lot of people do a lot of drugs; I’ve had a few moments myself. Nothing, I tell you nothing is as immediately intolerable as a drunk. And once you’ve loved one drunk, you will hopefully never love another. I buy it that Jenelle got her taste with Andrew and wants Keiffer to be different with drinking. She wants to think Keiffer is better than Andrew and that he doesn’t have to go down the same road Andrew did.
They fall into a screaming fight in Ben and Amber’s car, the two of whom are beside themselves for how volatile things escalate. Keiffer gets out, and takes a long slug of booze while Jenelle charges him and start beating on him. He then takes her and picks her up, kind of by the scruff of her neck and the back of her jeans and he throws her as violently as I’ve ever seen someone get thrown, into the back of the car. It is awful. It’s one of those moments that we’ve all seen in the previews, right, but then you see it in context and it’s even worse. It raises the question again of MTV’s complicitness in all of this. MTV, Bravo, TLC… these networks that claim to be documenting lives, and they are… but they’re also exploiting that documentation for an audience that demands to be shocked, that wants drama and craves to see people’s lives going horribly wrong.
If Nene, or Taylor, or Jill, or any Real Housewife wants to bring drama then by all means. But if a toddler in a tiara brings drama, if a confused kid who has a mother that picks on her and a really shitty boyfriend bring drama, they’re being exploited in a sense. And the sense in which I mean is that they aren’t adults capable of making the decision to have the real events in their lives edited for television. Sure, Jenelle is legally an adult but what does that really mean? That because she’s able to vote she has a better handle on her temper, that she understands her motivations for the crappy relationship choices she makes? Hardly.
This all ends with Keiffer trying to calm her down and her refusing to let him. She is freaked out to the max and it’s going to be awhile before she calms down.
Queue MTV domestic violence PSA. Can it be domestic if there is no domicile?
Moment of Truth: Against My Father’s Love, starring Chelsea and directed by Tina Yothers. Based on the true story of a young, uneducated woman in South Dakota, who defies her powerful and doting father’s favor, to pursue a family life with the black sheep father of her baby. Her journey is made complicated by her suffocating need to wear 17 layers of hoodies, and her ability to gravely injury her knee, even though she is so notoriously lazy that her mother cleans her house for her.
You’re gonna be shocked when I tell you that Chelsea is studying for the GED but is distracted by Adam. Honestly, if the Teen Mom segments were ever edited in such a way that you watched all of each mom in a row, say on the DVD release so you watch a whole season of each mom’s segments edited together, you would mostly be able to fast forward through Chelsea’s DVD because you already know all you’re going to see is 18 layers of fleece, Cousin It hair in various colors, and her telling you that she’s studying for the GED but not getting far because she’s distracted by Adam.
This time, he’s got Aubree at his parents’ house and he keep Facebooking her, finally asking if she wants to get back together. She wants him to keep making his Joe Dirt Sex Eyes at her and her alone, so she’s thinking about it.
She also really injures her leg, something about the top have moving away from the bottom half at her knee. Sweet Lord, that sounds like a nightmare! Knock on wood, there Roller Girl! She’s going to need surgery, and she’s staying at her mom’s because it’s really hard to get around and to care for Aubree with her leg in bad shape. She’s mostly drugged up enough to walk a little, and she spends some time with her sister Emily (and Emily’s <2 year old baby) as well as with Tiffany (and Tiffany’s <2 year old baby). She also calls up her old pal Megan, who I assume is busy with her own baby since she had one not too long ago. I’m going to go ahead and say that if you are a woman struggling with fertility, you may want to consider a trip to Vermillion, South Dakota. There is clearly something in the water there. Dang, that’s a lot of babies in this crew!
Also, noted, Chelsea’s mother is Mary. Mary is a certain type of Midwestern women that I love. She’s no-nonsense, but at the same time, she’s into seasonal sweaters and flair, like her dangly pumpkin earrings/Halloween kitten sweater combo. She’s a Midwestern Mama and even though she has a kind of surprised look on her face a lot of the time, she’s probably seen everything she ever needs to see. She loves having her kids at home, but she wishes she had more time to sew because Christmas is coming up, and she has the cutest Frosty the Snowman fabric to make some festive kitchen curtains.
Chelsea spends the episode telling her friends and family that Adam wants to get back together and she’s still thinking about it. Which she is not – her giggle bubble voice toward Adam gives away that she’s gonna be back in those greasy arms in no time. She’s looking for someone, anyone to give her approval on this but the closest she gets is Tiffany telling her that she’ll be there for Chelsea again, like she always is when they break up and she gets her heart broken. Again.
Also here? RANDY. Yessssssss. Randy’s back, and the break hasn’t been especially kind to our esteemed dentist. He’s starting to look a little like Tony Soprano, but with better teeth. He’s working on the girth and the gold chains are already in place. If he was just a little more Soprano, he would arrange to have Adam be in a hit and run where Adam’s hunting rifle goes off, shooting him in the head, and the car he’s driving ignites and blows up and there is nothing left of Adam. Randy’s pissed. Chelsea whines to try to get Randy to see that there are good times as well as bad ones; Randy lays it down that the things Adam does to her are the things that should be unforgiveable, like multiple cheating for example. He doesn’t say it out loud, but he should.
‘What happened to using your head instead of your heart?’ is what all of Chelsea’s consults say. ‘What happened, were you dropped on your head one too many times?’ is what I say.
Moment of Truth: Fighting for My Daughter, starring Leah and directed by Oprah. Based on a true story, a young wife and mother of twins struggles in West Virginia to find answers about her baby’s slow development.
There’s something so innately 1980s about Leah, and I can’t put my finger on it except that she’s got big sitcom hair and tons of Dynasty eye makeup. Leah’s eyes go from being 18, to being 43 and back again all night long. She’s not the most complicated Teen Mom – that goes to Jenelle, but she certainly is the one with the biggest burden. This girl really can’t get a break. She gets knocked up with twins, one of them is developmentally concerning, she got married under a bit of pressure, and she’s realizing that she may never meet her childhood goals of college and nursing school.
She’s working and she likes it, but the big thing for her is, of course Ali. They really don’t know what’s going on with her. Leah’s in Mama Bear Mode – she wants to know what’s wrong, she wants to walk into a doctor appointment for Ali, and walk out knowing what they are dealing with and Corey? Well, he just checks out until she cries and he comforts her. I guess I didn’t watch as closely in the past, or maybe I’m biased for no reason now, but I never noticed how blank and slack Corey goes when Leah’s worrying about Ali. I can’t decide if it’s that they just don’t know so he can’t let himself get upset, or if he is also upset, but has no clue how to deal with his crying young wife and the mother of his babies.
Ali’s appointment with the eye doctor is good, in the sense that her glasses are correcting her vision and she won’ need surgery, but it’s not very revealing. Ali is a little slow; she’s only now sitting up while later, we see Aleeah take her first couple of unassisted steps. Ali’s optic nerve is also a little short, which can be indicative of brain damage, or of disease. On the other hand, Ali understood “bye-bye” before Aleeah did and she uses it more often than her sister. Man. What an enormous cobweb of fear and anxiety to be caught in, waiting to find out why your baby daughter is a little slower out of the gate than her twin sister, waiting to find out if your baby daughter will ever run and play, and go to school, and grow up to have softball, and dates, and driving a beater off to college… waiting to find out if all the things you dream about for your baby daughter will be even an option for your baby daughter. Leah won’t accept that Ali has brain damage until it is inarguably, medically clear.
Corey’s mom was kind enough to consult the Internet for them, and puts on her best Doom and Gloom Face to tell them that there is a barely-pronounceable disease that Ali might have and if she does have it? There’s a chance she’s going to end up blind. “How much of a chance?” “A good chance.” Dun DUN DUNNNNNN. So helpful.
Ali is going to have to have another MRI of her brain, and Leah is really concerned about Ali being sedated for the second time in less than a year, but they do need to know what’s going on with her. They need answers, we’re reminded over and over during the episode. They have been told so many different things, from all the doctors and from the Internet, and we allllll know how reliable the Internet is! It’s about as honest as Keiffer is about changing his behavior.
The RealCap will be up hopefully on time – this was a massive episode and I have pages of notes to decipher as well as a big Tucson v Phoenix game on Saturday. Rivals to the bone, and I can’t wait. !! I also can’t wait to dive into the details of the episode because there was so much to this one. Yikes!!