16 and Pregnant season premiere recap: Start Your Engines
The surprisingly well-adjusted Brooke and Cody kick off season 3
I was all ready to unwind with a good cry last night — or at least throw a pillow out of rage toward some cocky, ignorant teen dad — while watching the season premiere of 16 and Pregnant. Unfortunately, my eyes were dry and all sofa accessories stayed put while bearing witness to Brooke and Cody, one of the more well-adjusted couples in the show’s history.
We met 16-year-old Brooke when she was 19 weeks pregnant, and had been engaged to boyfriend Cody for 2 months (you do the math…). Unlike many previous subjects of this show, Brooke was lucky to have a committed boyfriend of two years, and a strong support system in her parents. The couple had a quick racetrack wedding (before Brooke got “fat”) and settled in for the months to come. Both Brooke and Cody were attempting to finish high school; the plan was for Cody to graduate in December and work full-time at QuickTrip (at $8.25/hour) just in time for Brooke to take two months off and have their baby.
A self-described tomboy, Brooke was extremely maternal and nurturing even before giving birth, but I was concerned that it was only a matter of time before she’d have two baby boys to care for. Cody didn’t seem all that serious about completing his education, or at least the taking tests — and passing! — part of the deal. But mom, school starts soooo early! Early? Tell that to the teen mother in Brooke’s school who is woken up each morning at 5:06 am.
Cody appeared to blow off studying (“Can I go watch my football game now?”) and was missing assignments, even under the careful watch of Brooke’s mom Misty (who handled everything which such patience and poise, especially considering she found out Brooke was pregnant after looking at her text messages! If she was ever freaking out at the thought of becoming a grandmother, I couldn’t tell.) But it was Brooke’s friend who finally acknowledged the immature elephant in the room by putting things into Cody terms for Brooke. Mom-to-be hoped that her husband would be able to watch their baby during the day so she could finish high school, to which Honest Girlfriend replied: “Yeah right. He’s going to be playing X-Box all day.” Finally, someone acknowledging the true nature of a 16-year-old boy!
Big Baby Cody also got under my skin when he briskly assured Brooke that she could just get her GED, instead of attending school and graduating with her class.
Cody: “That [QuickTrip] job’s not going to be there forever.”
Brooke: “And me graduating is?”
Cody: “Yeah. You can get your GED.”
Yes, she could do that, but she wants to finish high school in high school, and then she wants to get a job. Plus, she’s a pregnant lady who’s carrying your baby! Arguing is a losing battle. Still, in his defense, Cody’s moments of flakiness seemed mostly just a sign of youthful foolishness and not any darker intention to run away from his responsibilities. Kudos to this baby-faced bro for stepping up to the plate, and making a huge commitment to Brooke and her family.
In fact, the thing that startled me most at the beginning of the episode was just how accepting and excited everyone was about Brooke’s situation. Her parents had invited Cody to live with them leading up to their marriage (that’s not awkward for her dad, right?) which left me wondering Cody’s family’s reaction to everything. Brooke comes from a family of race car drivers and young mothers. As she put it, “My mom and dad got married young. And so did my mom’s mom, and my mom’s mom’s mom.” Just because it’s the norm doesn’t make it the ideal, does it? I wondered if anyone in Brooke’s life had ever bothered to drive home that point to her.
NEXT: Maybe they should start teaching about mortgage payments in math class.
While Brooke and Cody were shacking up in her tiny childhood bedroom, paying their rent in household chores, Brooke had dreams of a purchasing their own home. Goofy Cody dutifully went with his wife to look at modest barns, and even stepped up by asking questions about payment plans (he’s learning). The two never looked so young as when the salesman broke things down into monetary terms: Their dream home would cost $416-555/month.
So their cozy cottage for three will wait for now. As Brooke struggled through her teary closing thoughts, she lamented having to grow up so fast. Brody (a combination of both of their names, because he’s “the perfect combination of the two of [them]”) is amazing, but she missed simply being able to spend time with Cody after school and just laugh. What pulled at my heart-strings most was when Brooke insisted that she didn’t want to let her mother down, not by her dirty dishes left in the sink, but by not being able to hack it as a teen mom. Misty clearly plays a large role in her life; she often took the reins during both Brooke’s marriage preparations and pregnancy (conversely, I think I counted about five words from her father — here’s hoping he’s just camera-shy).
Because of the strong example of young parents in her family, Brooke now carries the burden of high expectations along with caring for a newborn. “You’ll make it. We did. It’s not easy,” said Misty when Brooke was stressing over finances. But those final words made me wonder: Did Misty ever have a conversation with Brooke about options, or was marriage and teen parenthood the only acceptable route to take?
Other noteworthy/insightful/funny moments:
* “There’s condoms under the bathroom sink…for free! I showed you how to put them on a cucumber.” –Mom Misty, who is always prepared.
* “You hold your line and you putt-putt around.” –Cody speaking Racecar, which could also be a euphemism for how they got in this predicament?
* Brooke’s dad putting a smile on his daughter’s face by winning the race in her car. Aww. Dads will always hold a special place in their daughter’s hearts.
* “They got married last night. They’re 16 years old, they’re going to need all the help they can get, guys.” –Announcer at the race track, a.k.a. Speaker of the Truth #2.
* Brooke’s water broke at school (nice accompanying visual, MTV)
* “Once he latches on make sure he’s not just on your nipple, he needs to be…on real good, okay? Because it hurts real bad [sic].” –Maternity ward nurse, who encourages you to breast feed at your own risk
* Misty’s talk of finding Brooke’s crusty breast pads around the house (TMI alert!)
* “Nope, nope, no, nothing…no way…not happening.” –Brooke and Cody, in unison, when asked if they were having sex post-baby. Babies are the best birth control.
What did you think of Brooke and Cody’s introduction to parenting (and married life)? Was it refreshing to see such a relatively well-adjusted duo of teen parents? How soon before Brooke gets back behind the wheel of her race car? Are you happy 16 and Pregnant is back? From the season preview it looks like there is a lot in store in the coming weeks — parking-lot brawls, DNA tests, and adoption papers — so be sure to bring the tissues.
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