****Please welcome our newest recapper to the fold, SunniSideup!
Hi, how are you? I’m Sunni Sideup, your brand new Teen Mom recapper at TVGasm. What you need to know about me is that I was born ready. Best advice I ever got on the way to college, when I was but a teen myself? ’Don’t die, and don’t get pregnant.’ It’s become the motto by which I live my life. I live in Tucson, I love Bruce Springsteen and WWE, I play a lot of roller derby, and I am a true Teen Mom fan. Earlier this summer, my best friend and I planned a trip to Oak Island, NC, to see if we could get a picture of Barb. We ended up in Carolina Beach, and didn’t make it to the Oak Island Wal-Mart to stalk down Barb. That’s probably for the best because I’ve been to jail a couple of times already in my 37 years, and I have no intention of going back, which I realize I have in common with Butch. Let me know what you like, what you want more of, or differently, for the next time. I’m really a greenhorn here, and I expect things will refine and change over time, for sure, but for now, I’m beyond thrilled and excited about this gig, and I hope you guys can dig it!
Caitlynn and Tyler
It’s Halloween on Teen Mom, and we open with Caitlynn and Tyler having some good old fashioned fun at a corn maze! Those freak me out so bad! I always want to just beeline through the corn, with no regard for cuts and scrapes from the stalks. My high school years were spent in Central Illinois, and like any corn country kid can tell you, you better be prepared to book it when Johnny Law shows up at your kegger in the country. Run and hide, run some more and hide, double-back and run back to your car, hide until the cops leave, go home not drunk but really high on adrenaline and hope your parents respect you for not drunk-driving; it’s the way of the TRUE Children of the Corn aka heartland kids. Caitlynn and Tyler look like they’re having so much fun, and yeah… they are. I worked in a haunted house a couple of times last year and the teenagers were the BEST. They scream so loud, and get SO wound up. Good times!
They need to get jobby jobs, Caitlynn tells us as she stresses over a $64 bill she has. I wish I could tell her that will change, but I’d be lying. Real Talk: Honey, It only gets worse. Next time, it’ll be a $600 vet bill for your sick doglet, or you’ll need new tires but you’ll get a speeding ticket you have to pay using your new tires fund. They decide to get jobs, and this means they’ll have to spend some time during the day apart. Caitlynn mentions to Tyler that they will be working at different places. Tyler seems to understand they need some time apart, and Caitlynn jokes about it that he doesn’t want to spend every minute with her, but I get the feeling it wouldn’t be a jokey-joke if she didn’t really actually want to spend every minute together, deep-down. It’s hard to judge that, because they’re so young but I sincerely hope it balances out for them. For now, it’s all Dr. Pepper and domestic bliss, but they do need to build some autonomy from one another. Well, I assume they do anyway. I haven’t been a bastion of healthy or long relationships, so maybe I’ve got it backwards. Maybe I need to expect that he will spend every minute of his life with me and then tease him about it if he wants a job? I dunno… My best friend tells me I need to text my crush 30 times a day, and make sure that a guy is so into me, he’s scared of his feelings and needs to push me away, so I guess Caitlynn might be on to something here with her omgTystayrightherebymekthxbye ways.
Caitlynn and Tyler are also babysitting Caitynn’s little brother Nick a lot. He’s super cute, but I have to be honest and say that I feel like these scenes are Production City. It just feels like they’re showing us what great parents Caitlynn and Tyler would have been, had they decided to keep Carly and raise her, rather than going through with the adoption. I’m open to being WAY off here, but the further we move in time from when Carly was born and adopted, the more the show has to work to give us Caitlynn and Tyler’s relevancy on Teen Mom. They belong; I’m just not sure the show has really figured out how yet, and that’s why we see so much of Butch, and so much vocalization of, “Can you imagine if Carly was here,” and “we made the right choice because we clearly don’t have the patience for this yet.” Carly always will be part of them, but I wish the show didn’t try to spoon feed us this detail. If they’re moving on, let’s see those aspects.
Back on track, Caitlynn and Tyler along with literally millions of other Americans are job seekers! Unlike millions of Americans, they get interviews. Caitlynn applied at a little boutique where she’s asked for a resume. Um, okay. I don’t know many first-timers with a resume, but okay. The boutique owner, Toni, doesn’t seem that enthusiastic about hiring an MTV reality starlet, but then again, it looks like we’re double-dipping Recession-wise and a girl’s gotta eat. Tyler interviews at a pizza joint called ‘Dan Good Pizza. I love it! Dan, the owner, isn’t half bad looking, either. He’s rockin the Luigi look, and has gorgeous green eyes. He looks manly. I notice he’s not wearing a wedding ring, either.
When asked, “Why do you want to work here,” Tyler leans in, all smiles and charm and says enthusiastically, “Well, first of all, I love pizza. It’s like, my favorite food! I eat it all the time.” Me, too, so Dan my main man, give me a call! I’ll hook ya up with tickets to roller derby, and we’ll take it from there!
Later on at home, Tyler gets the call that he got the job, and they’re both really excited, but most excited of all is Kim, Tyler’s mom. She gushes to the point of tears, and it’s really cute. We can see how proud she is that Tyler isn’t just shacking up and playing grown-up, that he’s finishing high school and doing the ever-so-normal thing of getting a high school pizzeria joblet. I bet she lost sleep over this kid, and it seems genuine how happy she is that he’s accomplished this first job. Holla, Chelsea from Teen Mom 2, you too could accomplish a baby and a first job, I know it.
They’re eating pizza and almost as soon as Tyler hangs up with Kim, Caitlynn’s phone rings, and Toni from the boutique offers her a part-time job! Tyler is so animated, and excited, it’s just adorable. He’s such a kid, but then you think about all the adult things he’s had to do (with Caitlynn, of course), it’ nice to see them as the kids they still are.
They made the very mature, unselfish decision to give Carly up for adoption, they handle the semi-open nature of it with grace and with respect for boundaries, and they deal with Butch and April by being the adults for their parents. It’s always touching to see them as kids, and to see things like Kim being so happy about Tyler’s first job that she cries. The amount of stuff these families have all been through truly pales to any teenage shenanigans I pulled, and the level of disfunction they have to fight through isn’t something to dismiss. But they make it relatable, by being easy-to-access and genuine on Teen Mom and that, mi amigos, is why we all watch I suppose.
The court may have granted Farrah the right to withhold visitation from Derek’s mother, but they have no say over her graduating from culinary school. She and Sophia do some housework, and I have to say that I know a LOT of people can’t stand Farrah. I love her. The scenes with Farrah and Sophia really are the most genuine on the show. They are so clearly on their own path, whereas the other girls are like, still wandering around in a corn maze. Farrah may be a bitchy hosebeast, but that girl and her daughter are doin’ their thing and doin’ it well. She’s getting ready to do her final project and cook her final menu for school, and Sophia’s helping. It’s darling, actually.
Farrah wants to renew and refresh her relationship with her sister, Ashley. They take Sophia to the pumpkin patch, and talk a bit. Farrah says she wants to move away and try things on her own, to follow her dreams. Her friends ask her about where she wants to go, what she wants to do. This is where we learn the Best Teen Mom Dream, ever. Farrah wants to be a chef, and open a restaurant. In San Jose. We later learn that her restaurant will be called F & S Restaurant, and it will be Italian/Asian fusion. Oh man, this is gonna elevate San Jose’s cuisine scene so much.
But first she has to finish her finals, which includes a presentation. Hers is based on the objective to be on the cutting edge of San Jose Italian/Asian fusion food scene. She wants an upscale restaurant, with eye-popping colors, and that caters to the entire dining experience. Debra tries to help, by taking over and telling Farrah she has to do a formal and complete business plan. Farrah’s in bitch-mode, so not much reality is getting from Debra to Farrah to paper on this business plan final project, but she’s basically writing what her mom tells her to write, only not very well in the least. Farrah’s got her sights set on a C, and you can hear Debra’s heart break a little, but she gets it. Graduating is the goal here; Sophia changed the achievement settings for better or for worse.
San Jose's hottest Italian-Asian joint, taking shape in Iowa!
Farrah pulls an all-nighter and gets her work done, but her presentation doesn’t go that well. It wouldn’t be Teen Mom if Farrah didn’t rear her supreme teen bitchface toward her mom, so she tells her mom that the faculty didn’t like the changes Debra suggested. Classic I Know More Thank You. I know a couple of teens, and yep, that’s about par for the course. Apparently, the final project was more simple than what Farrah presented. Debra had Farrah so an actual business plan, but the program really wanted something more creative, probably and more about menu. They debrief on it while at the chiropractor, because Farrah needs an adjustment to relieve some stress.
Gurl, I need some chiro right now. EARMUFFS, MOM I gotta tell this story, because it happened in Farrah’s territory, and Farrah just reminded me about needing more chiropractic care. Three months ago while playing in Omaha, which is literally across the river from Farrah’s home town, Council Bluffs, I was in a freak derby-accident and got kicked in the chest. Let me tell you, Nebraska girls are corn-fed ladies. Five years of this sport, and 32 years of being a daredevil but that was the first time my life actually flashed before my eyes. I think I’m still a little PTSD about it. There’s still a grody bone bruise that I call, ‘The Omaha Incident.’ Witness:
Farrah’s incensed that the faculty couldn’t wrap their heads around what is sure to be the next big thing in foodie circles, Italian-Asian Fusion, and Debra’s incensed that they dissed her upping the level of difficulty on the presentation. Also, the faculty told Farrah that she was bitchy and rude, which more likely means she was told she needs an attitude adjustment. She seems to have taken it in stride, almost like she’s heard this before from teachers, bosses, friends, relatives, and now thanks to MTV and Teen Mom, America. The whole family goes out to dinner, and it really does warm my heart. Debra is so proud of her daughter, and she should be. Farrah, of course, winds herself into a bitch-curl, but it kinda seems like she’s nervous about her grades, and doesn’t want to be praised for finishing just yet. She relaxes, finally, and Debra’s right on to be proud. Farrah finished high school, finished a two year program, lives on her own, and has a gorgeous healthy baby girl. Mad snaps, all around!
Amber’s dealing with the fact that her relationship is all over the local papers, and she’s been getting harassed in public. Gary, on the other hand, seems to be spending a lot of time with his daughter as we see him coloring quietly with her, and at the park, feeding the ducks with her. It seems so much more peaceful without amber floppings around in some weird, constant state of tantrum. Gary Shirley is no prize, but why he allows this in his and Leah’s lives is beyond me. Maybe there’s a love story there, but now’s a great time to cut that cord and/or call Candy Finnegan on the Reality Show Hotline, and get Amber on Intervention. I’m a chubby chaser, and that’s a fact, but never in a million years would I have expected to feel any sort of affection for Gary Shirley. It’s just that he seems to be doing his best. His best sucks, and it sucks hard, as witnessed by the numerous times we see Leah playing with knives or chawing on a donut, but I get the feeling he’s trying. Real Talk, Gary: Ignore Amber starting now, and lasting for the rest of her life, unless or until she does some serious rehab and is committed to a completely different way of life. He’s too over-weight and too out-of-shape for this, and I truly worry he’s gonna stroke out in eight months if he doesn’t get himself and his kid out of this drama.
Amber’s been staying with her friend, at her (Amber’s) old apartment. She needs a safer neighborhood for her and Leah, because she delusionally believes that the State of Indiana is going to allow her to retain any sort of custody after seeing this show. This is a great opportunity for her to blame Gary and her entire town for her transgressions, which she does, and then proceeds to look for a new place. Because even though she had a new start and a new place with Gary two episodes ago, a new start is what she needs now.
Remember that scene in Boyz in The Hood where Ice Cube is like, “And keep that baby out tha street!” I want Ice Cube to roll up on Amber Portwood so bad. I want him to scare the crap out of her, and school her so she gets her ish together pronto. She rarely leaves the house, because of all the harassment, but she tooooootallly has time to go out with her dude friends…. And then complain some more that she hasn’t seen Leah in a few days. Her friends so know what time it is, and once again, I have to hand it to MTV for setting me up. I know I am going to cry about the Leah thing sooner, rather than later.
GO SEE YOUR BABY. She believes that when she gets a new place, she will scoop up Leah and they’ll live happily ever after with the unicorns and the rainbows. Sweet Valley High! This girl is in deep waters with absolutely no map or survival instinct whatsoever. It’s heartbreaking, really.
The next day, she sits on the couch and dramatically receives a text from Gary, a sweet picture of Leah feeding the ducks at a park. She watches some video of Leah on her phone, and it reads ‘psycho’ to me. This girl won’t get up and make an effort to go see her kid, but she can fake cry and watch camera phone footage, and chuckle under her breath about how cute her baby boo boo girl is???? It’s weird, man, it’s just weird.
He cousin Krystal comes by and when Amber mentions that she went out the night before, Krystal calls her out about having inclination to find a ride to go out with her friends, but not a ride to go visit the daughter who she whines about all the time, Amber hits Stage Five Defensive, “I’m not gonna sit around here and mope and get more depressed,’ ‘Gary won’t bring her over,’ ‘the realtor is picking me up because I can’t drive…’ Jeez… Maybe she needs Cesar Milan, not Candy Finnegan. If there isn’t a massive drug problem, this girl at least needs to learn to behave. She sometimes reminds me of some of Cesar’s most memorable scary violent dogs. If he fixed Daddy the Pitt Bull, he can fix Amber Portwood.
I’m positive this argument would have ended in a murder had Krystal not backed down in the face of Amber Fake Tears™ (and that’s Amber’s trademark, not mine) and Sotto Voce. I’m also positive that Amber’s inner monologue defaults to a very quiet and very painfully whispered, “why…. me…..” Over and over. All day. In her head. If that were to ever be shut off by a mere mortal gal-pal, Amber would panic and kill. Know this. She has been out looking for a new place for five days. If that doesn’t say she loves her daughter and is a good mom, I don’t know what does! Well, yes I do. Making an effort to see your daughter makes you a good mom. Fake crying and soft voice bullshit lip service about being a good mom does not. Know this.
Season goal for Amber? Fake cry more and better than Farrah.
Amber goes out with a realtor, Bill, and she’s really serious about getting it together and getting a place for herself and Leah. I know this by her eyes being half-open, instead of half-closed, and she’s wearing a jaunty beret. All of a sudden, Ms. I Hit My Husky Boyfriend on National TV Often is too good for the places Bill is showing her. She felt like the house they saw was too run down, but the search continues, and I hope she keeps wearing that beret so I can make a lot of jokes about it in upcoming recaps.
Later on, Amber’s mother comes by with a princess Halloween costume for Leah. Amber and her mom talk about Amber’s situation, and you can tell that it really pains her mother to watch this, but at the same time, her mother doesn’t seem to do anything. I can tell you that if I was Amber Portwood and my mother was my same mother but all other things were equal, I’d be committed and my mom would have taken Leah about a year before things got to the point they’re at for Amber, here, with the drugs and the utter lack of accountability for any lack of decision that she makes.
Gary’s mom brings Leah over to visit with Amber and Amber’s mom, and if there was any doubt that Leah doesn’t spend a lot of time with Amber, and isn’t really bonded to Amber, that’s dispelled here. Leah sticks close to Gary’s mom, and starts crying when Amber starts to dress her in her new princess costume. Amber, of course, has to whine, “Boo Boo why are you aaaaactiiiing like this?” The grandmothers know what time it is, and point out that Leah doesn’t know Amber very well… which naturally leads to, you guessed it, fake Amber tears and her mother giving lip service to the notion that when Amber gets a new place, she’ll spend more time with Leah. During this whole scene, Amber’s mother is crying quietly and once again, I’m reminded that for all the jokes, and despite that this is a popular MTV reality show (implication being, ‘how real is it’), this is Amber’s actual life and it is a bad scene. Amber asks where they’re going trick or treating, and then disparages Gary to his mother, because that’s always charming. This woman is helping raise Leah, taking time out of her day to drive Leah over to visit with Amber, and all Amber can do is throw shade on Gary and cry. You think a honey badger don’t give a shit? Amber Portwood don’t give a shit way more than any honey badger, y’all.
Amber’s old friend, Sheena has a mom (duh) who has a house for rent in a nice neighborhood. Mama Sheena was a Teen Mom, and seems very sweet. Sheena’s mom has a soft spot for teen moms, and lets Amber know that she takes care of her tenants. It seems like she really wants to be the one too give Amber a chance. She’s either a saint of a woman, or really believes in Amber. I hope she doesn’t get taken advantage of, and I hope we don’t see her lovely rental property on Hoarders next year. Amber tours the home and falls more in love with the idea of renting the American Dream, which for her is a nice house for her and her daughter to live in together. Because, you know, once Amber has a nice house, then she can show everyone how she’s a good mom. It’s that she doesn’t have a nice house which prevents her from not visiting her child and which causes her to beat her baby daddy in the head. She just needs a new start. Amber’s so crazy that I’m starting to look at this differently and with a lot fewer tears. It’s totally conceivable to me that Leah’s grandparents and Gary just deal with Amber, and that this good mother trip is something that they indulge because Amber is too crazy to be interrupted from it unless and until the correct professional team is in place for the fall out. I wonder if the Anderson, IN police department has a riot team.
Maci is the kind of girl who’s going to watch these episodes when she’s 35 and think to herself, “Man, I was such an asshole when I was young.” She knows eeeeeeverything. But she doesn’t, and she chews on her lip which tells me that she’s riding a bull I like to call The Arrogance of Youth, and she is pwning that bitch. You go, girl. She’s got a good grip on it, but she’s gonna grow up someday and I bet she’ll be pretty rad when she finally looks back and regrets some of her assholery toward Ryan and looking so arrogant all the time. Ya know what else she looks like? WWE star Heath Slater. Check it:
Is it Maci....
... or is it Heath Slater?
Maci’s trying to talk Ryan into a joint birthday party for Bentley, and I can imagine that parents and grandparents across the land can relate the Maci’s scenes this week. It’s SO FUN to figure out how to share your child on the special days. Maci and Ryan look like many co-parents on any given Wednesday and every-other-weekend: Uncomfortable, and full of emotions they get sick of dealing with every time they have to work together. She says she needs a list from him of who he’ll invite, then tells him it will be her family, his family, Kyle, and ‘whoever you’re dating at the time.’ Do I hear a whistle? I do! It’s a major penalty on Maci, for unnecessary digs! It is kind of funny to watch her work so hard for his attention, even though she has a boyfriend and trashed Ryan all the time. He just stands there and looks pretty, which is just what I like Ryan to do.
Any given Wednesday and every other weekend.
It’s Bentley’s birthday, which falls on Maci’s day with him this year. Ryan texts and asks to see him for a bit. She already has plans, to go with Kyle and Bentley to the aquarium. She asks Ryan if he’d like to join her (and Kyle) in taking Bentley to the aquarium. He turns down the invite, and Kyle’s noticeably relieved, but Maci calls Ryan to make extra positive sure that he doesn’t want to join them. It’s awkward, sure, but it’s the right thing for her to have given him a call. It’s a big deal; it’s their child’s birthday and as pushy as Maci is, she’s trying to do the right thing, I think. This stuff isn’t easy for 43 year olds, so I can only imagine what a nightmare it is as 19. When I was 19 I was at a tiny liberal arts school, majoring in bong construction and pounding 40 dogs. There’s no way I could have had a child, let alone having to navigate co-parenting with an ultra sexy ex-fiance/baby daddy.
The next day or so, Maci are Ryan are navigating the pick up/drop off schedule and he meets her at school for the hand-off. She asks him if she can have Bentley for a couple of hours on Halloween, just so she can take bently to her mom’s house to trick or treat. Ryan says no, and Maci’s hackles go up fast. She is SUCH a rookie at life. Ryan has obviously figured out that arguing with her is pointless, and that he just needs to go on with his plans. She won’t leave him alone about it, even though a few days earlier, she refused to hand off the baby for a couple of hours to Ryan. Ryan tells her she can go trick or treating with him and his family, but she’s not having it. Ugh! She is SUCH A ROOKIE AT LIFE. She really, truly thinks she’s right all the time, and that somehow this is different than when Ryan wanted to see Bentley for his birthday. Everyone else needs to revolve around her. She is gonna regret this sooooo much when she’s 35 and has a lifetime of assholery and burned out bridges behind her. It ends when Ryan gets in his truck, and Maci snots that next time when his work schedule changes, she won’t be willing to accommodate a new hand-off time.
Later on, Maci catches her mom up by bitching about Ryan’s lack of enthusiasm regarding doing what Maci wants at all times, regardless of its convenience or fairness to himself. She tells her mom that she just might keep Bentley on his birthday, just because she can. Her mom wisely doesn’t say much more than, “well, you have to figure it out.” I like to think the subtext is, “Maci, you have to figure out you don’t call all the shots all the time because Bentley has a loving (hot) dad who wants to spend time with him.” This girls needs a wake-up call bad, but since getting knocked up at 16 didn’t do it, I’m not sure what will. She’s so far into her ego-trippin’ that an epic fail might kill her dead.
Ryan also catches up his family, at a backyard fire pit. I finally cry a little, because I grew up doing family stuff like this, and a fire pit in your Arizona back-yard is lame. You can’t smell the woods, the bugs are all wrong, and sitting in a camp chair in your gravel landscaping is just seriously not the same as grass and mud. Ryan’s mom is getting a little emotional, and if I had to guess, I’d say that the Franzia’s contributing to her bummer here. They all agree that Ryan is going to have to just stick to the exact rules of the custody arrangement because Maci is so difficult and entitled about all things Bentley. The problem is that their mediated visitation agreement isn’t a judge’s order, so it’s not really enforceable, and his family urges him that it’s time to go to court. They want him to protect his parental rights which in turn, protect their grandparental rights. Fair enough; they seem like a tight-knit, fun family and to not have Bentley in their lives really would be devastating.
Tennessee accents and a fire pit... I'd party there, for sure!
It’s the day of Bentley’s party, and the two families are pretty much sticking to themselves. Kyle and Maci play with Bentley, then Ryan plays with Bentley and it really reminds me of that one episode of The Simpsons, when Milhouse’s parents split up and reading here that Maci thinks of Ryan as being Weekend Dad, like Kirk Van Houten who was also unemployed and marginalized by his ex. They take some family photos, and then as things wind down, Maci starts harping on Ryan AGAIN to let her take Bentley for a couple of hours to go trick or treating at her parents’. Ryan is beyond over it, here. She tried to get technical with him, and reminds him that they talked about special days at mediation and when Ryan reminds her that she wouldn’t change her plans on Bentley’s birthday, to allow his family some time on Bentley’s actual birthday. She keeps harping and reminds him that she invited him to go with them on Bentley’s birthday, which prompts him to tell her that she’s welcome to come trick or treating with his family. She finally stikes, “Well technically I can just take him.” He tells her she’s a piece of shit. He also tells her to just take him, that they’ll go to court, and I start to get some respect for Ryan.
"Technically I can just take him." "Technically, you're a bitch. See ya in court!"
Maci doesn’t seem to believe that Ryan’s rally going to take her to court but he breaks it down with his dad, and his dad agrees that it’s time to do what needs to be done here. Maci is impossible and there’s clearly going to have to be a legally-enforceable agreement if this is going to work. She has the lack of insight to voiceover that all she wanted was a couple of hours with Bentley that day, and can’t understand why Ryan was being so difficult. Karma is gonna get her so good. She has no idea what a fool she is, and how much of an a-hole she’s being. There is no difference between what she offered to Ryan on Bentley’s birthday, and what Ryan offered to her here for Halloween yet to her, because in her mind she’s the more important parent, she thinks Ryan is being ridiculous. Who suffers? Bentley. A little toddler who loves playing with his dad, loves being with his dad’s family, and has the luxury of having a ton of extended family in the same geographical area. It would be so ideal if Maci would play ball and recognize how lucky she is.
So that’s it, Gasmii! One down, and given how much teenagers bang, and that they’ve been doing it since the dawn of time, we’ve hopefully got a many more here together.