'16 and Pregnant' recap: Two social issues for the price of one

Nicole-16-PregnantImage Credit: MTVI 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?

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
  • jk

    The irony of using “case and point” instead of “case in point” in a paragraph chastising our education standards…

    • mary q contrary

      there is a big difference between dropping out in middles school and accidentally typing and instead of in.

      • mary q contrary

        I fear I may have just given you additional ammunition.

      • jk

        It’s not accidentally writing “in” instead of “and,” it’s completely misunderstanding a common idiom. Sorry that I expect professional writers to have at least a reasonable grasp on the intricacies of the English language. EW.com’s editors often miss these mistakes and it’s distracting.

      • jk

        …and of course, I had a typo in that post. As you said before, probably more ammunition.

    • Linda

      Seriously? A well-written and engaging recap and you attempt to make a case for educational standards based on one word?!
      Get over yourself and stop being such an ass to the writers.

    • kelly

      It’s case in point – read it again, that’s what she wrote.

      • Sara

        Sandra is probably the blogger who’s most likely to make grammar changes based on the comments. She probably saw the criticism. :)

  • Deb

    Don’t you have to go to school, by law, until you are 16 and can quit if you want to? I couldn’t understand how Tyler was able to quit school at 12 or 13! Also, how difficult would it be for him to get his GED if he has possibly at the most, a 7th grade education?!

    • mary q contrary

      Have you taken the GED exam? It’s hopelessly easy. As long as he has the basic ability to read and write, and at least some mathematical understanding, he’s good to go. He might not score high, but he’ll pass.

    • confidential

      That’s the thing.. in many small towns or cities all you have to do to quit school is to stop going. There is nothing there to enforce truancy laws.

  • confidential

    The issue of education is profound in this episode but also norm in many poor/working class areas outside of big cities. I went to high school in RI (near Central Falls; the city that fired its entire teaching staff) and kids drop out of school whenever they want with almost no recourse from the schools. Its a shame and more light needs to be shined on these small towns and cities.

  • Molly

    I thought the comment Nicole made about the baby being their chance to start a new, better life was telling. Another teen mother made a similar comment on another episode. It’s very interesting that these young women view their pregnancies as a potential way to improve their lives by giving them “a new start” emotionally, even while they seem to recognize they’ll still be living in poverty.

    Thanks for the recap!

  • LisaP

    the education system is your problem? what are the chances these two will get married and stay together. brooklyn will end up being shuffled from parent to parent to g-parent…just like tyler. please. none of these three have a chance. this show is so depressing.

    • marissa

      Im sorry but you dont know if theyre gonna make it in life or not. You have no idea hows this baby can motivate them to improve their lives.

    • Jessi

      Atleast these two seem to genuinely care for each other. Even though this kid was younger than most of the fathers on this show, he seemed very nurturing; and did you see the scene where he wanted to change the baby’s diaper? Most of the BF’s on this show get all testy when the girlfriends ask them to help. I know that “all you need is love” is not reality, but it makes things easier when the teen parents are on the same page and respect and love each other. I think these two have more going for them than some of the other kids on this show.

      • Kristen

        Not to mention that unlike the other new dads this season, Tyler doesn’t seem like a total douche. Yes, he’s immature, but he’s not a jerk. I think that goes a long way.

  • B

    Noteworthy moment: Tyler’s oblivious mother b*tching about him having a baby as a teenager and smoking cigarettes – while she’s puffing on a cigarette and the son she’s mad at is one she had as a teenager. She set a piss poor example for the boy, and has the nerve to be all kinds of mad at him for doing what she taught. Sheesh….

    • Elle

      And doing it all at the baby shower. So inappropriate!

  • shannon

    My 17 year old daughter sees a lot of pregnant girls at her school. I asked her point blank. Did any of the girls you see that are pregnant have anything going for them before they became pregnant? Grades, activities, plans for their futures???? she said…NOT REALLY… I just hugged her and told her to remember that!! She has plans and feels sorry for those girls. I am a very very lucky mom.

    • S

      Unfortunately good academic grades and mature emotional decisions often don not correlate. I’m in no way trying to criticize your daughter (I’m sure you are a very luck and proud mother), but maybe she has this opinion because she hasn’t had anyone close to her go through a teen pregnancy. I went to a high school that had a daycare and offered a lot of support to teen parents rather than chastise them for their errors. I feel that this allowed me to see how easily teen pregnancy can happen (despite what this show sometimes portrays, I know several people who used contraceptives appropriately and still became pregnant) and how it can be dealt with. While many teen mom’s find it extremely challenging to get an education and are satisfied with a high school education, I also know girls who went on to university to become teachers and doctors. It’s all about ignoring the stereotype that onlookers place on you and choosing to defy the odds. My heart truly goes out to these courageous women.

    • Elle

      Using contraceptives correctly makes your chances of getting pregnant very, very low. I doubt the “several” people you know used them both correctly and regularly. I went to a public high school in a very affluent city, where the kids had highly educated parents and plans for college. While drugs were a real problem, teen pregnancy was not. In fact, I did not know of a single pregnancy my entire four years — and that was not due to abstinence.

      • Lindsey

        Maybe it was abortion?

  • Nancy

    I was horrified at the boy’s mom when she told his two little sisters to go say goodbye to him as they wouldn’t be seeing him for a long time. Those little girls obviously loved him and for her to use them to manipulate the situation like that was just cruel. Very telling that she has a self serving, hurtful character.

  • Madonna

    Trailer trash, all of them.

    • Britt

      getting pregnant at 16 doesn’t make you trailer trash, its a mistake, its an accident. Some of the best students in high school, some of the most well mannered girls become pregnant. They made a decision to have sex, and there were consequences, and now their living with them. It doesn’t make them trailer trash it just makes them unlucky.
      Actually think about what your saying!

  • Nee Nee

    I was a little stunned at Nicole’s mom for saying that she was happy for them when she found out they were pregnant. Regardless of morals, I can’t say I know any mother who would be happy that her teenage daughter got pregnant, thus making the rest of her life twice as difficult as it should be. She will have to be a very strong and determined person in order to avoid a life of hardship and poverty. And just because the couple actually gets along, doesn’t mean that this isn’t a very sad story. And just because the dad is nurturing to his younger sisters, doesn’t mean that he will be a responsible father. Sorry, I didn’t see a whole lot of hope in this one, as with any other.

    • Britt

      They are stories to show others struggles in life, it’s not meant for someone to find hope, for someone to have an understanding. And if you are so critical to these stories then you probably should just change the channel.

  • Traci

    I tuned in late and I when I heard the line that he hadn’t been in school in four years, my first thought/hope was that he was is in 20s. I guess I was wrong. The other thing I thought of after reading this is that the pickngs must be slim in this town if you would choose to be with a 16 year old high school dropout. If the choice is being alone or with someone who has nothing going on in their lives, choose to be alone.

    • Ann

      He’s not a high school dropout, he’s a middle school dropout.

      • Britt

        if you listened you would have heard he was expelled… Didn’t drop out.

  • Kathy

    I think that despite the fact that Tyler doesnt really have much of an education or a job,hes got more brains than any other teen father this season, good luck to them both i really liked them

  • Britt

    The comment saying that in small towns it is easier to drop out by just not going, isn’t true. I had a graduating class of 22 people and in my school we had 0 drop out in 6 years because in a small town it’s hard to run away.

    If children slipping through the cracks happens anywhere it happens in larger schools, obviously a place just like Nicole, and Tyler live.

    • rach

      am i the only one who thought it was completely disguising MTV showed some wrekcless teenage girls.. ONE OF THE PREGNANT…speed over speed bumps? is this recommended by a doctor?

  • why cant I get pregnant

    I have been browsing on-line more than 3 hours these days, but I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is lovely value sufficient for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the internet can be much more helpful than ever before.

Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP