MRIs to IUDs is the lead-in to this one, and ya know I honestly thought maybe Dr. Drew looked a little less tan and was a little less fake until he got to Kailyn and essentially got her to say to Jo, “I’m sorry I ruined your life by letting myself get pregnant and choosing to raise your child.”
It’s a reunion show, and I can barely stand to think about it, let alone take pictures of it, so just imagine a lot of over-processed hair, a lot of tarantula mascara, a lot of tears, and a spray-tanned ‘authority’ figure hosting it all.
What’s my problem with Dr. Drew anyway? Well, he has to try way too hard to muster up something that looks genuine on camera, and he also is a misogynist. MTV followed this reunion special with It Gets Better, Dan Savage’s project to inspire young people to embrace their sexuality and their circumstances, and to be strong being themselves, to give connections to young people who may feel isolated or alone. They shoulda brought Dan Savage in about an hour before they did, and had him do the Finale Special, as we seem to be calling it now, rather than a Reunion.
Dan Savage is sex-positive. And he has a teenager. And he’s younger, more relatable to the current generation of kids. Dr. Drew would be relatable for me, or for Heidi Fliess, but with the kids today,and especially with the girls at this point in the evolution of the show? He never changes the approach with the girls, and always treats them with the implication that they screwed up and now life is really effing messed up. Which is so not the point anymore. At the time of 16 & Pregnant, then sure maybe there’s room to throw on some guilt or to remind them that their lives are changing forever.
But at this point, they have two year old babies. He likes to impress upon them how they are up a creek, ostensibly I presume, to send the message to young viewers that teenaged motherhood is not ideal. But let it go, Pinksy. The way it comes across is that because they had sex (ohhh, baaaad) and got pregnant (whaaaaaatttt?????), they are marked forever and are open to patronization by a Twitter Shrink.
The contrast between Dr. Drew Pinsky and Dan Savage is astounding, and if a sex-positive host were to take on the teen moms here, they would all be so much better off. They would be told, “Hey look, yeah you got pregs and you have a kid but move on already. This is your life. Do your best and be yourself.” The tone would be direct, and there’d be that little wink that communicates you’re in on the joke, dialoging, not being lectured or grilled. Dr. Drew?
Stop lecturing, stop grilling, and actually give these girls a relatable set of tools if you care so freaking much. “Sons born to teen mothers are more likely to go to prison, so Jenelle, are you worried that Jace will go to prison?”
Fuck you, Pinsky. She must have taken some extra anti-anxiety meds because she doesn’t even side-eye him, whereas I want to throw my drink at my TV. On the other hand, Jenelle is awfully delusional and thinks that she has cleaned up a lot, that she is breaking the cycle. Dr. Drew never asks her or Barb about therapy. Why work on yourself when you can take a pill and make it all better, after all?
Almost in the same breath she tells us that she relapsed on pot and is now facing jail time. She and Keiffer are off and on still, because it’s so hard to break up with your best friend. A note about best friends. I’ve had the same one for 15 years, and sure at times we probably drive each other nuts but I can say for sure that we’ve never filed domestic violence charges against each other, that’s for sure. We even lived together for thee years in our early twenties while we were both heavy drinkers and had very little regard for anything but charging clothes at Express. DTMFA.
I looked around to try to find when this was filmed, but I think it was awhile back, to be honest. I’m basing this on hair colors and styles, natch. Also, there was a lot more recent effing up by Jenelle that wasn’t mentioned by Dr. Drew. Mainly, at the time of this taping, Jenelle relapsed on pot and dropped dirty, so she is facing jail time. She wasn’t sure what would she was going to do – take the plea and go to jail, or wait for a court date and see what happens.
Dr. Drew asked her what she’s going to do next time, and she breaks my heart when she says she doesn’t know, implying that yes, there will be a next time. She’s already accepted that there will be a next time, and that’s so very sad because this is a girl who seems to be doing so much better with a good structure and her meds. She says that she loves school – she loves to focus on what she’s doing and she’s doing well, working toward her Associates so she can transfer to a full University and finish her film editing degree.
Please let Jenelle finish that degree and become an editor, because goodness knows she has the unique experience of having been on a poorly edited and popular show. She’s already got years of experience!
The big news though, is that Grandpa Mike moved out, AND MOVED IN WITH A HOOTERS WAITRESS!!!! I officially hate MTV for not showing us any of that drama. Barbara has joined us onstage, and she feels great, like a weight has been lifted. I gotta say, she looks terrific and sounds hilarious. I sometimes wonder if Jenelle’s bipolar symptoms are not really disease, but on a spectrum. I would imagine that Barb is on a spectrum, too. Her hilarity is over-the-top and we’ve seen her anger be extreme as well. They do exaggerated emoting really well, but I’m not sure that indicates disease.
I heard a This American Life bit recently talking about an Autism therapist who one day looked at her husband and decided to give her husband a test for Aspbergers Syndrome. He came up with strong characteristics, and it changed their marriage because from that point on, he began to keep a Journal of Best Practices. But was he really truly diagnosable? Who knows. That was the gist – don’t quote me on this one. I was at work and the lady in the office next to me was being really super loud that day. She’s drawer-slammer
What I’m saying is that people are broad and humanity, it is huge. Why we are so tuned in to what should be normal, what we should be feeling as opposed to what we are feeling and what the normal setting might be for our own selves is something I’ve started to think about. I blame the Internet. We all feel so much more connected and informed, so we assume that if something looks eccentric or feels weird, it must be treatable.
In reality, it’s totally possible that Jenelle is just a run-of-the-mill sociopathic teenager, who needs to land herself in jail, meet a born-again guru-type, wind up big into AA, meet an older guy who is strong in the Lord, and settle down.
Instead, she’s only facing jail time, and Barbara is really honest about how Keiffer is using her and bringing her down. She was a sweeter person before Keiffer and she didn’t get in trouble like this before Keiffer. Also, he sucks away her money, according to Barbara, and I have a feeling that this is the biggest clearest issue Barb has with the whole thing. He’s not just leading Jenelle into making dumb choices – that’s on her – he’s wasting her MTV money and that money needs to be used for the end-game, not for Keiffer to get a room so he can take a shower.
Their healthier interaction starts to cave as Barb gets a little preachy, a little teary. Jenelle shuts down, so Dr. Drew intervenes. He brings up how the last two times they’ve been together, he’s asked Barb to name three things about Jenelle that she admires, so this is a good time as any to go there again. Far be it from Dr, Drew to be bothered to find a new convention here. Maybe someone could Tweet some ideas to him for next time?
Barb says that Jenelle is generous, independent, and organized. Dr. Drew asks Barb if Jenelle is lovable now, and Barb says she is more lovable (than she was last time). For real, Pinsky? You call yourself a THERAPIST, and you couldn’t sense that it’s still too tense for Barb to be able to just say, “Jenelle is a gawd-damn Cay-he Beah” Translated: “Jenelle is a g*ddamn Care Bear,” fyi.
Dr. Drew tries to clean up his mess there and gently reprimand Barb that it’s not funny just yet, but it’s his fault for pushing Barb through that window, so I call shenanigans. Probably because of what a joke I think Dr. Drew Pinsky is. Oh, haha, joke’s on Jenelle – she’s still not that lovable… way to go, Pinsky…
And look, I get it that I am going the distance and reaching pretty far for this stuff , but listen to the way he talks to these girls. It’s disgusting. He treats them like he is a shrink, and he’s not. He has an honorary psych degree from USC, but he’s a doctor of internal medicine and a specialist in addiction. The show we’re taking about here is Teen Mom. Sure, Jenelle is addicted to pot (commence eye rolling) but where does an internist and addictionologist fit in when discussing and pulling messages from teen mothers? Where? Are they addicted to sex? Is he doing this from the goodness of his heart, because don’t. He is a jerk to these girls.
Dr. Drew doesn’t take into account that this isn’t Tawny Kittan or Steven Adler. These are barely young women, on a reality show, and they have children. Children x children, and note that these are some of the first kids to have grown up with rality television. The ages of our teen moms are right about where reality TV was not new for them – it was always there. Now they have their children literally being borns and raised on reality television and that’s all new, it really is. But he really truly doesn’t get it.
I’ll stop, I guess but my point is that there is no qualification that he has to take on this gig with the teen moms. Because he really doesn’t have the right expertise for their issues, he comes off as patronizing and removed from really understanding how to reach them. He leaves us feeling a little dirty for having watched the reunions, and it’s frustrating because the show is, ultimately, kind of important. It’s kind of ground-breaking, or it used to be before it fell victim to editing and to the fact that teenagers grow up. The babies and the girls here are not 40 year old housewives or 25 year old bachelorettes. They’re all kids – kids grow and change, they just do. I don’t think Dr. Drew knows how to treat all of the aspects that have to be considered when trying to ‘be there’ for the teen moms.
As proof that he’s in over his head here, he’s noticed that Barb and Jenelle are getting along better, so he proclaims them healed, like a super tan Gen-X Jesus.
For Kailyn, he mostly talks to Jo and Jordan. I mean, duh, why talk to her when there are guys who can help make sense of what the silly girl is saying? Why talk to her about being out on her own, not speaking to her mother, going to school, or deciding to pursue child support when you can make her cry over boys?
She tells Dr. Drew pretty early on that they’re letting things fall into place. She cheated on Jordan and she feels terrible for hurting him, but she also has a hard time not seeing herself with Jo in the future.
Jo comes out, in some really unfortunate black jorts, so Kail can ask him what he wants. He’s a little punk today, and tells her that they’re 19, that they shouldn’t try to force anything right now. He also dogs her out for cheating on Jordan, which is such a punk ass move that Dr. Drew totally calls him ou… oh no, wait. No he doesn’t. He lets Jo tell Kail she’s an asshole skank who cheated on her boyfriend. Jo implies that they were rock and rolling all night and partying every day, but really it was twice, and only once was it an official cheat.
She explains that Jo had led her on quite a bit, that he goes back and forth on what he wants off camera. She’s a little over-whelmed with how she has to deal with adult responsibilities but she still has these wonky teenage emotions. Do those every go away? Isn’t more that you learn how to navigate them? Dr. Drew disagrees with her that she and Jo may end up together in the future.
So let’s bring out Jordan. He sits his big self down facing Dr. Drew, not Kailyn. He says that they keep trying to keep themselves together, that he expects he’ll get over it at some point but he is extra upset because it was Jo, with whom she obviously has a history and has chemistry. She boned the one guy that Jordan will always have to deal with if they stay together; she can’t just send Jo away and they never speak of it again, after all..
She thinks Jordan knows how she feels, that she’s sorry she hurt him and was trying to protect his feelings, but this is all new territory. Then Kail pulls out the classic, “It hurts me to hurt you.”
CLASSIC GUY TRICK. Ladies, tune in: That line, “I’m upset because I hurt you so badly,” that line is bull doody. Never give sympathy to that line. Only allow it if it’s explaining, not if the person is using it to garner forgiveness.
Anyway, Jordan feels like she should know what she wants without having to base her decisions on Jo’s reactions, but that’s not entirely the case here. Dr. Drew, in the single acceptable moment of the whole hour, reminds Jordan that they aren’t the average 20 year olds with the average black and white situation.
Jo returns, and tells them that she should be whomever she wants to be with; but he already said he doesn’t want it to be him. When Dr. Drew leans in and sotto voce tells Kailyn that she needs to make a choice. So, under the pressure applied by a fake shrink to chose between two dudes when there really isn’t a choice to make, she leaves the stage. Victory!!! In yo’ FACE, Pinsky!
When she comes back, she reiterates that she wants things to fall into place. Jordan needs more time, and I noticed, he needs to cut the post-breakup diet. Good night that kid could lay off the pizza, or else we may be heading toward a Gary Shirley kind of thing. I’m a chubby chaser from way back, but is Kailyn?
Dr. Drew points out that neither guy wants her, which is really weird since four minutes ago, he was telling her to chose between two dudes as if they both want to be her option. He also encourages her to tell them what they need to hear in order to stay on her team.
“Go ahead, Kailyn. Tell them what they need to hear to keep them on your team.”
“Um, you are the father of my child and you, other one, you are getting paid to be on a TV show featuring me.”
That’s not what she says, sadly. Worst moment of the night is when, at Dr. Drew’s oh-so-caring encouragement, Kail turns to Jo and apologizes for taking away his childhood.
That’s right. It’s all her fault. She is the dirty girl who had sex with Jo, and got pregnant with his baby, and decided to raise the child therby ruining Jo’s young life. FUCK YOU DR. DREW, FOR ALLOWING THAT SHIT TO HAPPEN.
At the very end, comes the next most egregious Dr. Drew Moment of Misogeny when they are discussing STDs. Apparently, Kail assumed that since she’d taken a ride on the J Train before and since now she’s on Mirena, there would be no reason to use a condom. Except then something must have started going on downtown, so she went and got tested. She had an STD. Jordan got to just get treated; now, she and Jordan had only been with each other. Jo, on the other hand, who knows. She correctly assumes that Jo is the most likely progenitor here. Jo tells her she can’t point fingers here, implying that Jordan could have been messing around or carrying something. Jo hasn’t been tested or treated so he’s totally destroying his cred here – speaking of implications, if he’s not been treated then he’s walking around still carrying crotch rot. FYI.
The worst thing is though, after Jo almost had a point until he copped to not taking care of things, Dr. Drew agreed with him that she can’t assume she got it form Jo!!! Dr. Drew tells her that, “You never know, you never…. know.” Jordan, thank goodness, reaches over and gives her a supportive little neck squeeze.
Dan Savage would have told her to DTMFA, both of them, and go find someone who can love her and accept the circumstances of her life. They are out there.
Next week? More Dr. Drew! And Mrs. Potatohead! And Barbara Mandrell!
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