“Reality” shows often-times go a little over-the-top at the cost of “reality” and I wind up angry because I’ve been tricked into watching what amounts to a poorly filmed, poorly scripted, poorly acted sensationalist work of fiction. But Whitney’s story on MTV’s 16 and Pregnant bordered on being completely absurd without going anywhere near unbelievability! I’ve embedded the complete episode at the bottom of this post, so if you’ve got an hour you should watch it before reading any further. If you’ve seen it already, don’t have an hour, or are just into surfing for the Cliff’s Notes, I offer the 16 and Pregnant: Whitney episode recap.
Whitney Purvis is a 16 year-old expecting mother (duh) from the relatively small town of Rome, Georgia. Her boyfriend Weston Gosa works 2nd shift at an auto parts factory, but because of the flailing economy his hours have been severely cut back with further cutbacks looming on the horizon. (*Update* Weston now lists his occupation as “street pharmacist” on his MySpace page.) Whitney lives in a small two-bedroom home with her mother Michelle (real name April), her Meemaw (Celia Burkhalter), Weston and their little dog Chumpy. Michelle’s boyfriend Scott also “lives” in the house, but he’s a trucker and isn’t around very much. (He pops up in the episode a few times, but we never hear him speak) Oh, and there’s a twist: Whitney’s mother Michelle is also pregnant. There’s some serious reality for ya!
In this first clip, Whitney is tired of just hanging around the house and doing nothing so she decides to go to the mall with her friend Eerie:
(It seems the clips have been removed from Youtube, so you will need to watch the full episode below)
Eerie is the bomb! I’m preparing now for the first season of Eerie in Rome by making myself a “When in Rome, do as Eerie does” t-shirt. Eerie be sayin’ it like it is y’all! You just can’t write perfect lines like these:
Meemaw: “Being pregnant is a beautiful thing.”
Eerie: “Not on the outside it’s not.”
And since when does staying at home because you don’t want to go out and be seen mean you can’t prepare for the GED? Damn girl, you need to get yo butt down to the liberry! (I assume Rome has one of those) No need to worry about bumping into your friends there! Oh, and they even let you take the books home now!
Next up is Meemaw laying the smack down while Whitney stresses over who to invite to her baby shower:
Damn Meemaw! Whitney needs harshness, but maybe not that much harshness! Oh, didn’t you love when silly little Chumpy made everybody smile and then their faces inverted when they realized Chumpy was quittin’ them b*tches and making a break for freedom! After stumbling around in the dark for a while, Whitney says “I can’t believe I lost all my friends and now my dog, too.” I know Hank Williams Jr. is out there writing a new album based on this episode:
Yeah I think I know what Hank Senior meant
when he sang about his lost highway
and Chumpy’s done gone through the kitchen door
and out through the ol’ back gate
and nobody wants to have sex and have kids
and all my high school friends are doing things high school kids do like go to the mall and hang out at McDonald’s on Friday night and watch movies and talk about which boys are cute and texting each other and…
Now let’s take a trip with Whitney to the doctor for a checkup and a sonogram! The scene is emotional and “awwww”s fill the room as little Whitney Jr’s black and white image appears on the screen. But, the good feeling vanishes instantly when we’re reminded that Whitney is more like an eight-year-old than someone old enough to drive a car. No time to feel depressed about the future of the kid though, as we’re whisked away to bump into Whitney’s dad at the funnest thing to do in Rome, Georgia:
Pfffft! I’m with the doctor lady on this one! “Whitney can’t tie her shoe herself? Oh Whitney, are they spoilin’ you? That’s not good. That’s not reality.” Oh but it is! And then some! Reality is being sixteen, bumping into your addict father (who never comes around) at a local boxing match and inviting him to your baby shower!
OK, this next clip is the BEE’S KNEES! The internet will be buzzing with this one for months to come! Whitney invited her dad to her baby shower and is afraid it might be an awkward situation for her mother. The two are having an unintentionally amusing conversation about the situation and then Michelle decides it’s time to talk about something else, at which point she pulls the pin out of what has to be one of the top ten surreal grenades in reality television history!
You absolutely have to rewind that and watch it over and over again! The look on her face and the twitchy pauses when she says, “Jeeez. I think the dog’s eatin’ your makeup” is absolutely perfect! I literally spit out my orange juice when I saw that! Thankfully, I had stepped away from my computer by this point, having realized this show demanded my full attention. Seeing that moment made all the hours of horrible, excruciatingly uninteresting reality television I had seen completely worth it, and for the first time since the airing of Nirvana Unplugged, I am forced to say, “Thank you MTV.”
The last clip is of Whitney and Weston trying to clear a little room in Meemaw’s dresser so they’ll have somewhere to put their dirty clothes that are strewn all over the floor of every room of the house. Whitney decides it would be hilarious to have a little fun with Meemaw, who’s been down at the local convenience store feeding dollars into a slot machine video game. Needless to say, Meemaw didn’t find Whitney’s antics the least bit funny and she unleashes on Whitney with a much-deserved laziness sermon, replacing the fire and brimstone with a cutting reference to Paris Hilton:
I’m pretty sure part of the requirements for getting the title “Meemaw” include some sort of gambling addiction and having at least one embarrassing novelty item hidden in your dresser, so Whitney just needs to back off! Granted, having a REO Speedwagon Live cassette is just plain embarrassing, but it still doesn’t justify Whitney telling her, “you’re the most awfullest person to be around.” (Does the GED have a grammar section?)
Did you notice how Weston has learned that when the estrogen rage starts to bubble over, the best thing to do is just curl up and be very, very quiet? We don’t get to hear too much from ol’ Weston, and what we do hear is no indication he’ll be attending Georgia Tech if he graduates high school, but he does seem to be a considerate dude able to comprehend the amount of sacrifice that having a child requires. It’s too bad he’ll have to raise Whitney as well.
Well, that’s about it! Amazing stuff! Ah what the heck, here’s one more little nugget before I let you go:
Be sure to watch the complete episode below if you can – there is SOOOO much that I wasn’t able to highlight in the clips above, including more classic Eerie and the softer side of Meemaw.
And here’s footage of Whitney reluctantly learning the valuable parenting skill of making Hamburger Helper from Meemaw:
****UPDATE**** Whitney has written a blog entry that reveals a bit about her life since delivery and how she felt about watching herself on television. She also reveals that her baby Owen has a genetic disorder, which Dr. Drew points out is alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. a disroder that Michael Jackson reportedly had. She doesn’t go into much detail about what that means for Owen long term except to say that it causes his liver to swell sometimes. To find out more about Whitney, Weston, and Owen, tune into “Life After Labor” finale special with the girls and Dr. Drew Thursday, July 23 at 10pm Eastern.
UPDATE - Whitney’s mom April Michelle Purvis has been arrested! CLICK HERE for all the details!
CLICK HERE to buy your very own copy of Season 1 16 and Pregnant.