One of the more curious spectacles on television is the MTV show 16 & Pregnant, where high school-aged girls are paraded around in front of a camera extolling the virtues of their teen pregnancy. It was part of a marathon of shows, followed by its apparent spin-off Teen Mom. Seriously.
Tonight's episode featured a hick and her boyfriend who live at her parents' house "because we can't afford a place of our own" [duh - you're 16] and her baby shower. I guess when you're a kid and pregnant, you may as well get as much stuff from people while you can, and no matter that you might want to embrace the shame rather than the joys of motherhood. The mother's cake featured a John Deere tractor. I didn't see the whole show, so I'm guessing that's where the little bastard was conceived.
I could only make it through one segment, and turned it off in disgust. Shows like this are just another example of television programs that exploit the oddities and dregs of society. Bad singing, obesity, arguing homosexuals, people with a house full of junk and other such anti-social segments of society are now featured entertainment. How great it must be for nature's misfits to now have a creative outlet. Why hide your pregnant, obese, no-talent ass in shame when you can flaunt your disabilities in front of millions of television viewers?
I think the producers figured out that the best way to make large numbers of people tune in is to make them feel better about themselves. And there's no better way to make people feel better about themselves than to show us how fucked up other people are. That's why The Jerry Springer Show was so popular. It's why people watch Cheaters. It's a concept that goes back to carnival side shows.
"Wow, I'm a mess, but at least I don't have a little arm coming out of the top of my head."
"My wife is ugly, but at least she doesn't have to borrow my moustache comb."
It's in that vein. And even if you are a dumbass that cheats on your wife, you can watch a show about some other dumbass getting caught and think, "Hey, just like me."
So, it's a win-win.