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.