MTV's reality show Teen Mom has had its critics because Amber Portwood and the other young mothers are constantly on the cover of the tabloids. But the fourth episode of the final season proved just how much those tabloid stories play on your mind as you watch the girls' struggles onscreen. The further we get into season four, the harder it is getting to ignore all that we already know about these girls.
Take Tyler and Catelynn. The couple who gave baby Carly up for adoption may be trying to grow up, get married, and make their daughter proud of them, but watching them stuck trying to set boundaries with Tyler's father, Butch the felon, even as he joked at their expense, was infuriating. It seems the higher these kids rise, the farther they have to fall ... and the more certain people in their lives are willing to jeopardize their success.
And then there's Farrah. She's trying to set out on her own, trying to prove she can be a mom to Sophia and finish her education without her annoying parents breathing down her neck. It's been good to see her grow as a person since her early days when she was constantly castigated as a lazy brat who blew off her daughter in favor of fun. But watching her try to keep her eyes on the prize, telling a date that she wants to use her "lazy" time to work and make money, was more sad than it was victorious. This was her 20th birthday celebration on-screen, and she was right, she is acting more like she's 30 than 20.
As for Maci, it's bad enough that she brought her girlfriends to Florida to crash the Edwards' family vacation with Bentley. But there's no way to watch her come to terms with Ryan's new girlfriend without the knowledge that her fairy tale relationship with best friend and boyfriend Kyle is slated for disaster. Things got especially hard to watch when she started comparing any girlfriend of Ryan's to Kyle. Ouch!
But of course, Amber's struggles to mend her relationship with Gary in rehab stole the show, just as she has for weeks. How can it not? Knowing that she's in prison means knowing that all the promises she's making to herself, to her counselors, to Gary are not to be.
The saddest part is that Amber believes she's committed to cleaning herself up. You can see it in her eyes. You can hear the pure joy in her voice as she opens the car door and sees Leah for the first time in more than a month. She loves that little girl, and she wants to be with her, to be a good mom to her.
Knowing how it all turns out makes it hard to watch, but it has added a power to the stories in this last season of Teen Mom. We still have a chance to find out why and how these girls got where we know they are today. We have a chance to use their mistakes to educate ourselves. And isn't that what the show is for in the first place?
What do you think when you see Amber on the show?
Image via MTV