Last night, the second season of MTV’s Teen Mom concluded, and today there’s a report that the network is creating a spin-off of the series, which itself is a spin-off of 16 and Pregnant. Meanwhile, an essayist asks if the camera and tabloid attention given to cast members, such as Amber Portwood and her abused boyfriend Gary Shirley, affects the reality of their existence so much that the show is no longer really honest or accurate.
The New York Post’s report is vague and ambiguous, but makes it sound like the new series would basically be a second Teen Mom, as “at least some of the women featured on the spinoff show have appeared on ’16 and Pregnant.'” The cast of Teen Mom will return for their third season, so they wouldn’t be part of the new show.
Meanwhile, in Salon, Amy Benfer argues that with each season, “it becomes more difficult to tease out the impact the show itself has had on the lives it depicts” and “the more difficult it will be to separate what it is telling us about the lives of teen mothers from what it is telling us about the lives of parents and children who live under public scrutiny.” Among the questions she raises but points out are not not addressed are the impact the series has on their lives, never mind the money and attention the teens get from tabloids.
Of course, we’ve seen this before with Jon & Kate Plus Eight, a show where the off-camera reality of their lives essentially destroyed their on-camera and actual lives. Benfer writes that show “morphed gruesomely from a show about their family in which cameras happened to be present into a show about their family breaking up, thanks to the pressures of the cameras.” Will that happen with Teen Mom, too?