MTV recently made the surprising announcement that they are bringing back their prematurely cancelled reality series Pretty Little Mamas as Teen Mom: Young Moms Club. The show’s Twitter account explained the rebranding by revealing that producers believed the moms’ stories were “best told through the #TeenMom lens.” So, what does that mean exactly? What will be the difference between the original Pretty Little Mamas show and the same stories being told through the “Teen Mom lens?”
First, a little background for those of you who missed the show the first time around. The Pretty Little Mamas cast denied that the show was meant to glamorize teen pregnancy, but that certainly didn’t mean that they couldn’t be glamorous while on screen! The promotions for the show were super stylish with the fashion, makeup, backdrops, and children all being 100% Instagram ready.
Here is MTV’s description for the series when it was first announced:
Nicole, Chandlar, Nikki, Alyssa and Cheyenne wear the trendiest fashions, date the cutest guys and go to all the hottest parties — and they’re moms. Pretty Little Mamas follows a mom squad working to have it all while still growing up themselves. Luckily, they’ve got each other to get through the hard times, as long as gossip and jealousy don’t get the better of them.
This is in sharp contrast to the Teen Mom shows. Although Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2 now feature wealthy and often glamorous moms, those shows are still edited to intentionally illustrate that the moms’ lives are far from glamorous, no matter how much money they might be making from being reality stars. Perhaps that could be considered the “Teen Mom lens?”
Here is how MTV describes the rebranded series:
The Teen Mom family is about to make history: Young Moms Club is the only Teen Mom show that will follow an existing group of friends who all live in the same place (California here we come!).
The SoCal women are “growing up together” in San Diego and have quite the history – and viewers will watch them lean on each other to make it through the ups and downs of being young moms.
Of course, the best way to illustrate the difference is with actual video examples, and I have that for you. (MTV has scrubbed all of their Pretty Little Mamas content from the web, except for their articles about the show.) Check out the preview trailers for Teen Mom: Young Moms Club and Pretty Little Mamas, and I think you will clearly see the difference:
TEEN MOM: YOUNG MOMS CLUB TRAILER
PRETTY LITTLE MAMAS TRAILER
And here is the Pretty Little Mamas intro for the cast:
Obviously, Pretty Little Mamas has a vibe more akin to The Hills or Siesta Key than Teen Mom. That not only includes the aesthetic, but also the heavily scripted nature of the show. It remains unclear how MTV will handle editing the actual episodes, because they will clearly not be able to re-shoot all of those scenes.
However, the voice overs could be re-recorded, and I am guessing that is something the moms would have been more than willing to do if it meant their show would come back.
Out of curiosity, I also tracked down the official description for the first episode of Pretty Little Mamas from MTV in order to compare it to the official synopsis for Teen Mom: Young Moms Club episode 1. Here they are:
Pretty Little Mamas Episode 1 “Let’s Pretend”
Nicole and her mom friends run into their ex-bestie, Chandlar. Chandlar, is conflicted about what to do about her erratic boyfriend Aaron. Nicole throws a summer kick-off party and is excited to introduce her friends to Michael, her new boyfriend.
Teen Mom: Young Moms Club Episode 1 [No Title Yet]
A group of friends have to decide whether to let old high school, ex-bestie Chandlar back into their lives. Meanwhile, Nikki must deal with her mom pressuring her to get married and Heather’s bad health adds stress to her baby shower.
I confess that I am really curious to see what the revamped series looks like. I watched the only two episodes of Pretty Little Mamas that MTV aired, and I just can’t imagine them being able to shake the unrealness of it, including the heavily scripted (and not extremely well acted) scenes.
Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I am criticizing the initial incarnation of the show, I want to point out that most of the positive reviews that I read from viewers were because of all the petty, not-really-believable drama. A lot of people found the pretty (and petty) little mamas entertaining and fun — sort of a Teen Mom meets Mean Girls meets The Hills kind of thing. I wasn’t one of them, but that’s not really my cup of tea. I can enjoy that sort of show, but only if it is not pretending to be a reality series. For example, you won’t find a bigger fan of Melrose Place!
I really cannot recall a similar situation in which a reality show was cancelled before the first season was over, and then it was brought back by the same network and repackaged as something “new.” That is just so odd! I will most certainly be tuned in when Teen Mom: Young Moms Club premieres on Monday, April 22 at 10/9c on MTV. This is a historical moment y’all!