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BABY BORROWERS: Reunion, talk show, smackdown?

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 12:10 am in Baby Borrowers.

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It was hard to tell just what NBC was trying to accomplish with “Baby Borrowers: Lessons Learned,” a town hall-style discussion. The show spent a lot of time rehashing ground already covered, when, let’s face it, those of us watching were the ones around for most of this televised experiment. After that, NBC tossed a lot at us. First up, we got recaps and updates with the teens, followed by the borrowed kids’ parents. The show’s producer almost got into a smackdown with a child psychologist lamenting the damage suffered by the children who were “forced” to participate. Then came a flash Q&A session with teen parents from the Massachusetts high school where 18 formed a pregnancy pact (oh wait, they say they didn’t know about any pact until they heard about it on the news). Next up, we had NBC selling us on the idea of Hollywood influencing teen pregnancy — oh what a network will do to drop Angelina Jolie’s name. And in the final 60 seconds, we got to see the teens reunite with the babies. Yep, blink and you missed it.

So, what did we learn? Don’t let NBC try to turn entertainment — or is it an educational program? (the root of that almost smackdown) — into a primetime talk show segment. Today Show host and town hall moderator Hoda Kotb spent the first 15 minutes so focused on the three teen couples sitting to her right that it became painfully obvious how much she was ignoring the other two. Let’s face it, those of us who love the show wanted to know one thing: were the couples together or separated? And the answer …?

They’re apart. All five of them. Kotb almost had the perfect rebound by asking the couples why they hadn’t made it. Morgan and Daton: they were practically broken up before the experiment even started. Kelly and Austin discovered just how hard it is to live together, especially during her father’s battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (hence the reason for her many meltdowns). Everyone’s sure-bet to make it Sasha and Jordan were felled over trust issues. And how about Kelsey/Sean and Alicea/Cory? That’s where Kotb blew it. Perhaps running out of time, she skipped those pairs. Frankly, I feel cheated.

Ditto her inability to ask the Mass. teens the burning questions. If there was no pact, then how did 18 of them end up pregnant at the same time? And more telling, did they get pregnant on purpose? If NBC wanted to pass this off as a newsy talk show, then they should have asked the big questions. But hey, if it gets more teens and their parents talking about pregnancy, then it served a greater good than simply being another reality TV show.

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2 Responses to “BABY BORROWERS: Reunion, talk show, smackdown?”

  1. Lauren Says:

    As far as the comments on the media, two claims were made and only one supported. Saying “teenagers are influenced by the media” and “Teenage pregnancy is influenced by the media, glamorized and in fact the reason for teenage pregnancy” are two separate, not equal entities. The first quote was supported by the audience many saying “role models are found in TV shows,” and things such as “the media influences teenagers dress and actions.” Not one teenager said “I became pregnant because I thought it was going to be easy, all the celebrities were doing it, so I decided to have a baby.” Words such as “I thought it (the experiment) was going to be easier” were twisted to mean “I thought pregnancy would be easy as well as parenting a child as a teenager.” None of the pregnant teenagers from Gloucester were asked if they were influenced by Juno or the media, consequently leaving the second claim unsupported and inconclusive. The show harped on the ignorance of teenagers today and yet offered no answers to teen pregnancy or birth control. No support through literature, websites or otherwise was given, leaving the perplexed teens utterly confused.

  2. molly Says:

    okay,i am literally watching the show right now.there is no reason for anyone to say that this show influences teenagers,or celeberties,or movies such as juno.the reason teenagers want to have babies is either because they think they are read,are in love,or even just because they want to prove to ther parets and others they are ready.which isnt always the best resons.so by this show it realy seems like it helped out theese teenagers.and take it from me because i am a teen and i have thought about having a baby at a young age and watchig this show has realy halped me to think about this a little more.

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