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Review - The Baby Borrowers
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You know how kids are these days?
The fact that teens think they know at least as much as adults and often more, is hardly a shiny new concept. Anyone who’s watched half a dozen episodes of Maury will know that “I’m a Teen and I’m Ready To Have a Baby”, is one of half a dozen rich veins of material plundered in a continuous loop.
Unlike “I’ve Tested X men, Which One is the Daddy?” (For the purposes of clarification that’s X number of men, not the X Men) “I Was A Geek But Now I’m Chic”, “Cheaters Exposed” and “I’m Deathly Afraid of Cotton Wool” the teens have hit primetime network tv. They aren’t baring their bellies, screaming about how “yall don’t know me” and D West isn’t about to appear in a sweater vest to teach them the error of their ways through the power of inspirational speech, but NBC’s new series brings us five couples who feel they’re ready to face parenthood.
The concept of the show is simple, the purpose of the show unclear, the title of the show is misleading.
The first goal of networks is to make money, providing entertainment is clearly secondary and teaching life lessons not even a highly distant third.
The nurturing skills of five teen couples will be tested as they are asked to care for babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teens and then the elderly over the period of a few short weeks.
If the object is to recreate a real-world experience, in providing rent-free homes, vehicles, employment, every piece of equipment and furniture they need and a scant three days with each of the age groups, The Baby Borrowers falls woefully short.
While I’m not suggesting the researchers should have found actual pregnant teens to follow, strapping on a pregnancy belly for 24 hours really doesn’t come close to simulating nine months of carrying a child. Particularly when one of the participants, Kelly, refused to do so, locked herself in the bathroom and failed to attend parenting class after her boyfriend laughed at her. In fairness to Kelly, she wasn’t the only teen that failed to score highly. Alicea handed all baby-related duties to boyfriend Cory after the mother of their loaner baby took her to task for not pursuing the difficult task of getting the fussy child to eat. Watching on cctv from across the cul-de-sac, she sprang into action when Alicea packed away the food and instructed the baby to “starve then”. Attitude duly copped, Alicea was not seen within five feet of the baby for the remainder of the show and has already volunteered her boyfriend for stay-at-home dad status when their show-provided jobs start next week.
Rare footage of Alicea and baby.
While some of the females aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory, most of the young men shine. Morgan’s boyfriend Daton was almost obsessive about the cleanliness and sterility of the baby bottles and listened intently while real baby father Wiley, offered sage advice on caring for his daughter. Jordan set about preparing the nursery from the mountain of boxes provided, insisting girlfriend Sasha take a nap. Sean, whose main aim for participating in the show seems to discourage his over eager girlfriend from wanting to start a family, formed an instant bond with their “rental”.
The show does raise questions, most notably “Why would any parent volunteer their baby for this “experiment”?”
Of course some of the parents claim to have the lofty goal of teaching the teens what it's really like to raise a child, (not that this show will even remotely do that) but I have no shame in suggesting free baby-related merchandise or filthy lucre are more likely motivators.
We’re told there is a qualified nanny on hand for each couple, which not only illustrates that this set up is an unrealistic representation of parenthood for any age group, but also takes away the show's one trump card. The element of fear.
I’m not calling for the show to put babies at risk, but leaving your child with inexperienced people that the child has no prior knowledge of, let alone bond with, is well, risky.
Even with nannies and film crews in attendance and a video link to the neighbouring house where the real parents will stay for the duration, I still question the decision of the parents to allow their children to take part. That goes for the teen’s parents too.
Once you have made that choice I feel you abandon your right to take exception to the supposed negative psychological effect being called “it” will have on your child.
Sean and “It”.
It seems only logical that this show will deter some teens from making the choice to have a child, but it might possibly only reach the ones participating in the experiment.
There will always be those who are quite convinced they’d handle the situation far better than the teens on the show. For those the show will be nothing more than entertainment, no lessons learned.
Most reality shows never set out with the goal of teaching anyone anything, it simply isn’t a requirement. That being the case, it may be enough that this show, in all its absurdity, teaches the ten teens involved to consider their actions and the possible consequences of them thoroughly.
If the object is to teach us that teens don’t generally make ideal parents, most adults will tell you that and many teens will roll their eyes and tell you you’re wrong.
NBC Tuesdays @ 9pm.
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