I think this is the first week that teen pregnancy wasn’t the most troubling social issue to be brought to light by an episode of 16 and Pregnant. Rather, the hour was a subtle case for better educational standards. Case in point: Teen father Tyler, barely 16 years old, hadn’t been to school since he was 13. Yes, 13.
This is where I insert a disclaimer that I’m not an education policy expert, but as a viewer, all I can say is: Whoa. Kudos to the teen for enrolling in a program to obtain his GED (which he did four days before his daughter was born), but it was sad to watch someone who had clearly fallen through the cracks. I’ll leave the in-depth discussion of this issue to you all, but it was definitely worth mentioning off the top because it was the most distinctive part of an otherwise basic episode of 16 and Pregnant, where 16-year-old Nicole and the aforementioned father were expecting their first child to mixed reviews from family members (Tyler’s mom being the most out-spoken opponent).
Truth be told, Nicole and Tyler had a decent support system. Nicole’s mullet-rocking, widowed mother spent a lot of time with Tyler because he was out of school and had nothing to do during the day. They had a close, almost mother-son bond, which was nice to see since Tyler’s home life was so problematic. He went to go live with his grandmother when he was 11 because his relationship with his mother was always rocky. Despite his troubles at home, Tyler had a caring side, which shined through especially when he was caring for his two younger sisters. After years of playing dad to them, he was one of the more sympathetic and innately nurturing teen fathers we’ve seen on the show.
The couple was also one of the more tolerable ones ever showcased. They got along. He was supportive. He whispered comforting words to Nicole during the birth. He quit smoking for the baby. They both knew school was a priority and, despite a bumpy start as parents, eventually realized they had to learn how to incorporate their daughter Brooklyn into their lives rather than carting her from home to home in search of a willing adult care provider. By the end of the episode, they were on their way toward being very good parents — with a lot of emotional and financial support from their families, of course.
Other noteworthy moments:
++ Tyler’s top possible career paths: Chef, MMA fighter and professional skateboarder.
++ Nicole’s mom’s heartbreaking story about the death of her premature child and her husband, both of which happened on her birthday a year apart. I was in tears.
++ Nicole and her friends accelerating over speed bumps in an attempt to get her to go into labor. RIP Someone’s Car.
Now your turn, PopWatchers. What did you think of last night’s episode of 16 and Pregnant? Care to share your thoughts about what Tyler’s situation says about our education system? Did I miss any noteworthy moments?