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'Teen Mom' returning for third season

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Teen Mom Maci
MTV

Oh, jeez, time to grab the Kleenex: MTV announced Wednesday that we can expect a third and fourth season of Teen Mom — starring the original foursome, Amber, Catelynn, Farrah, and Maci. (Season 3 is set to premiere July 5.) The news gives me conflicted feelings: Not only has the show proven to be a beneficial program for young teens that need to learn about pregnancy and safe sex, but I’ve also been eager to find out how the original foursome has been faring since season 2 wrapped. On the other hand, thanks to the tabloids, we are a little too familiar with what the teen moms have been up to — and additional seasons of the series might just put them back in the spotlight. And if you’re young and impressionable — remember, these girls are teenagers — perhaps it’s best to stay far, far away from the spotlight.

Just see Amber Portwood, the teen who was arrested late last year after Teen Mom aired footage of her beating her boyfriend, Gary Shirley. After running with the story, tabloids vilified the girl, painting her as a monster who did not care for the well-being of her own child. Amber’s actions were not at all acceptable, but the reality star suffers from a slew of real-life problems — adding the tabloids to the long laundry list certainly doesn’t help matters. (Farrah Abraham was also forced to deal with unflattering magazine covers after the first season of the show, the fallout of which was chronicled in season 2.) And then there’s Maci Bookout, who was spotted hanging out with the Jersey Shore crew in February. While the teen is free to enjoy her newfound fame, it’s still unsettling to see a star of a show supposedly presented for educational purposes hobnobbing with the cast of the least educational show on television. The life of a teen mom is all but glamorous — photos like that, and constant tabloid coverage, only prove to complicate the issue.

Yet, it’s undeniable: Teen Mom‘s formula works — both in terms of ratings and message. (The series was the No. 2 original cable series for the 12-34 demographic in 2010, attracting 3.8 million viewers each week.) And MTV plans on making the show even more educational: The network announced it will roll out PSAs featuring the original teen moms talking candidly about sex. Plus, watching Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra — the couple who wisely gave their child up for adoption — each week gave me faith about the maturity of our country’s youngsters, even those who made teenage missteps.

Alright, I admit it: I’m already setting my DVR.

Excited for the return of the original Teen Mom, PopWatchers? Or do you think the four teens forgo reality TV stardom for life outside the spotlight?

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