Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kathy Griffin's Words to Live By: Lighten Up... or Suck It

This may be almost old news by now, but I don't care. I love Kathy Griffin and while I don't always agree with everything she says, I do think some people are overreacting on this one.

By now you may have already seen episode 4 of this season's My Life on the D-List, in which Kathy went to Washington, D.C. in order to promote support for overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell (if not, you're behind, hurry up and watch it now). In it, she made a crack about Cosmo's favorite naked senator, Scott Brown, that has everyone up in arms.

Griffin has gotten criticism on this one from both sides - from right-wing conservatives to liberal feminists - but honestly, I don't see what the huge deal was. Feel free to disagree with me (in fact, I'm sure a lot of you do, and that's okay). This is just my personal take on it and I'll explain why...

But first, in case you missed the joke itself and only read about the "aftermath", here's a clip:

JOHN KING, CNN: That’s excellent.
KATHY GRIFFIN: -who is a Senator from Massachusetts-
KATHY GRIFFIN: -and has two daughters that are prostitutes.
KATHY GRIFFIN (VOICE OVER): And now, a brief message from Bravo’s legal team: Scott Brown’s daughters are not prostitutes. We now return you to our regularly scheduled negativity.
In case you need a little background on why this topic even came up, Kathy was in Washington, D.C. to help support the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. The gimmick of that particular scene was that Kathy was completely ignorant about politics (semi-true) and needed some "experts" (King and Bash) to give her a crash course "study session". They held up pictures of various political figures and Kathy jokingly showed off her ignorance.
“Remember when the Republicans tried to get that nutbag Sarah Palin to sound credible before the vice presidential debates? They had a board and ran flash cards to teach her the tough stuff, like there is both a North and South Korea. Well, that’s sort of like what John and Dana did for me.”
I have to admit that when I watched that scene, I laughed. Not because I think it's funny to call people prostitutes, but because I got the joke.

When I think of Scott Brown the first thing I think of is his January 2010 acceptance speech. (Okay, okay, that's the second thing... the first thing is Cosmo's obsession over his fictional "abs of steel" but the acceptance speech is close behind). You know what I'm talking about right?
"As always, I rely on Gail's love and support, and that of our two lovely daughters. So I want to thank Ayla and Arianna for their help as well. Just in case anyone who's watching throughout the country, yes they're both available."

The whole ESC remembers talking to each other about the oddness of that speech way back when it happened (we also wrote a blog about Glenn Beck which referenced it) so that's why Kathy's joke made me laugh. If I didn't know anything else about Scott Brown except the contents of that speech, my immediate reaction to his name/photo would be "the guy who said his two daughters were available." So of course, Kathy Griffin, being as awesome as she is, took it further into an outrageous joke (because, well, that's kinda her thing) and referenced him as the guy who "has two daughters that are prostitutes".

Now Kathy has gotten a lot of slack over that joke - which she loves, no doubt - for a variety of reasons. Some feel that it was unfair to target Brown's daughters, some feel that Kathy was slut-shaming them, some feel that she was mocking sex workers, some feel that the joke was just inappropriate and tasteless.

Scott Brown has made a statement in response to the joke:
“People can call me any name they want, but families are off limits. I love my daughters Ayla and Arianna very much, and any parent would be proud to have them as children. Kathy Griffin and Bravo ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
Ah, the hypocritical families are off limits defense yet again. Now I do agree that it's shitty for politicians and the media to attack or mock the children of public figures... but this isn't exactly the same thing.

The point of Kathy's joke wasn't that Brown's daughters are prostitutes or sluts; Ayla and Arianna weren't the target of the joke at all. Scott Brown himself is the butt of the joke; the humor comes from Brown's own exploitation of them in his speech. Okay, maybe "exploitation" is too strong a word to use in regards to what was probably just meant to be a cheesy joke or off-hand comment, but I'm drawing a blank on another word that would make more sense - other than "creepy sexist weirdness" - to describe a U.S. senator "offering up" his daughters on national television, even in jest. (Even Cosmo took a brief break from their endless fawning coverage of Brown to admit that they "couldn't help feeling a little mortified" for his daughters after that comment.) Also, let's remember that Brown's daughters are both grown women, not say, a 13-year-old girl being called a dog on TV.

The View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck, of course, had something to say about it:
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: It's actually not really funny, and I know his daughters actually, and they're anything but that, and they –

JOY BEHAR: It's a joke, Elisabeth. It's just a joke.

HASSELBECK: Well no, no, no, no, no! We've always said politicians' kids are off limits. If someone went around calling Barack Obama's two girls prostitutes, people would be up in arms. [...]
HASSELBECK: You defend your daughters against scum who comes after them, and calls them someone like a prostitute.

BEHAR: Are you calling Kathy scum now? Are you calling her scum?

HASSELBECK: If someone called your daughter a prostitute, would you think they'd be scum? I'd call someone scum if they called my daughter a prostitute.

BEHAR: I know my daughter is not a prostitute, so it's funny to me. [emphasis mine]
Interestingly enough, Hasselbeck is outraged at the thought of Brown's daughters being jokingly called prostitutes, but she didn't seem to have any concerns about her own slut-shaming of other people. How about when she criticized Erin Andrews for wearing not-that-risque outfits on Dancing with the Stars, even going so far as to joke about the fact that Andrews was therefore somehow to blame for being a stalking victim. (And then she supposedly lied about calling her to apologize). Of course, Brown's daughters are "anything but that" so they deserve defending. But I digress...

The whole "if it was Obama's daughters" thing is ridiculous. Both sides of the political spectrum love to play the "if it was Obama" game, but sorry conservatives, it's never going to work in your favor because it's your side that's better known for its sexism and racism. (Not saying that the left is immune from that kind of thing, because obviously they aren't, but just that the right can be pretty damn hypocritical about it.) In this case, the comparison just doesn't work. First of all, they're little kids - Sasha is only 9 and Malia is 12- so that kind of joke would probably cross the line, no matter what the back story was. But more importantly there would be no back story. As of yet President Obama hasn't made any "my daughters are available" cracks on television so there wouldn't be any context to make such a joke.

And then there's the "someone like a prostitute" line. There's something rather interesting about the fact that the outrage isn't necessarily just over the fact that Kathy joked about his daughters... but the specific content of the joke itself. She called them prostitutes, which apparently is the most horrible thing you can possibly call someone's daughters. I don't love the idea of people throwing around the words "whore", "hooker" or "prostitute" as insults or attacks. (Now that's not to say that I think Kathy meant to insult or attack Brown's daughters, because I don't. We have already covered this.) I'm not going to pretend that I know she thinks of prostitutes in a super-awesome pro-sex-workers kind of way... I have no idea how she feels about the sex work industry.

But it's pretty clear from the reactions to her joke how some people feel about sex workers.

Representative Barney Frank described her comment as “wholly unfair and inappropriate" and a "completely unfair attack.” Hasselbeck is outraged at the idea of her daughters even being called someone like a prostitute. (What does that mean anyway, a slut?) During the same segment, Whoopi Goldberg actually said that if someone made a joke like that about her daughter, she would "beat their ass". (Kinda funny considering that she has repeatedly defended Mel Gibson, who is on tape calling the mother of his child a whore and much worse.) Would there have been this kind of outrage if Kathy had joked that Scott Brown's daughters were dentists or ballet dancers or models or garbage collectors or waitresses? Of course not.

Here at Evil Slutopia, we feel pretty strongly about sex-workers rights and are very much against slut-shaming (obviously) so we wouldn't be down with the joke if we truly felt that's what it was. I've already said it, but I'll say it again... We have to remember that Kathy's joke has absolutely nothing to do with Brown's daughters in actuality. That is, she's not actually calling his daughters prostitutes or comparing them to prostitutes. She's not commenting on any of their past or current behavior, on the way they dress, on their sex lives or dating histories. She's not. The joke is about the fact that Brown made a stupid, creepy, sexist comment about his daughters. The joke is about that comment; it's NOT about his daughters.

She's not slut-shaming Scott Brown's daughters, if anything she's pimp-shaming (I'm totally gonna trademark that phrase) Scott Brown. But even more so, she's calling out the media for not having a sense of humor. Kathy explained the joke on a recent episode of The Joy Behar Show:
Look, here’s the deal. The genesis of the joke, like, does anybody remember that the night he was elected, he made a joke – he was clearly making a joke – saying, "By the way, my daughters are available." And then, the Washington press beat up on him saying he was pimping out his daughters. So, on My Life on the D List, we actually had some real, you know, Washington insiders showing me, like, 15 pictures of people on the Hill, et cetera, and my joke was I didn’t know who they were. So they showed me a picture of Sonia Sotomayor, and I say, "Oh, the maid from Will and Grace." There’s the joke. Then they show me Scott Brown, and I go, "His daughters are prostitutes," meaning, like, word association. So people got their panties in a bunch.
I think Brown's joke about his daughters being available was inappropriate and kinda sleazy, so I'm not shocked that Kathy would choose that to poke fun at. Was it the most hilarious thing she's ever said? No, but I still laughed. Was it tasteful? Of course not. Was it appropriate? Maybe not. But this is Kathy Griffin - tasteless and inappropriate is pretty much what she lives for. We also have to remember that SHE'S A COMIC. She's not a politician or a journalist. Her job is to be funny and yes... in appropriate.

I'm not suggesting that everyone has to agree with me or think the joke was funny or become a fan of Kathy Griffin. I just think we need to acknowledge that this was not a malicious comment. Kathy may say some pretty mean things about some people, but this wasn't one of them. Kathy responded to Hasselbeck calling her "scum":
"Now I have to send Elisabeth Hasselbeck two muffin baskets because she confronted me when I was a guest on the show two weeks ago and then this morning she called me 'scum'. I have to send two baskets because as a comedian, I'm loving it. [...] The bottom line is, lighten up!"
Kathy also quoted the great Bette Midler: "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke." Either that, or they can just SUCK IT.

Maggie: The Musical
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Abortion on Television

So Adrian on The Secret Life of the American Teenager decided NOT to have an abortion on Monday. We are shocked. Only not really.

Of course she didn't have the abortion. Even though she is 17 years old... and in high school... and not at all religious... and regretted having a revenge one-night-stand with Ben... who she isn't in a relationship with... because he's in love with Amy... she obviously wanted to keep the baby. Because only a horrible person would have an abortion, right?

Oh no! Not the A-word!

This is the show that the One Million Moms have claimed supports abortion (obviously not) and is a brutally realistic portrayal of sex. Really? This is brutally realistic?

This show is more melodramatic and unrealistic than a soap opera. Adrian is pregnant with Ben's baby, who she slept with to get back at Ricky, who had a baby with Amy, who Ben is in love with. It's like the most ridiculous love triangle square since Beverly Hills, 90210's Brenda-Dylan-Kelly-Brandon craziness... only PLUS BABIES! (It rivals only the brothers/vampire/doppelganger mix-and-match that's brewing on The Vampire Diaries but at least that show doesn't have to worry about being called too realistic).

I'm sorry, but when I was in high school (and college for that matter) most of the girls who got pregnant unexpectedly had abortions. They just did. I'm not saying it's the right decision for everyone or that it's necessarily an easy decision (and while I'm definitely pro-choice, I'm not by any means "pro-abortion"). It's just that if you want to be "realistic" you have to acknowledge that abortion does exist as a choice and not just as the no-one-would-actually-do-that choice.

For three seasons, Adrian has been the What Not To Do character on the show, (which also made her the only character I could even remotely relate to). But now suddenly she is redeemed... by choosing life. And I feel somehow betrayed. Adrian is smarter than this. There's no way that she would want to be a mom at 17. I don't believe that she would look at Amy's life as a teen mom - juggling school, work, a baby, a baby-daddy, a boyfriend, and a crazy family - and think that that was the right decision for her as well.

There's no way for me to perfectly articulate what I'm feeling about this without sort of coming off like I don't approve of people who "choose life" when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Of course I do (hell, I was one of them) and I definitely don't want to imply that I think every pregnant teenager should necessarily have an abortion. I just think that this decision is uncharacteristic of the character Adrian.

Twenty seven percent of pregnancies among 15–19-year-olds ended in abortion in 2006 (according to the Guttmacher Institute). That means, there were over 200,000 abortions among that age group. I think that if The Secret Life was a real high school, at least one of the unplanned pregnancies on that show would've resulted in termination. So I think that this show gives an unrealistic portrayal of teens and sex.

Abortion is NOT the right choice for everyone, but The Secret Life sends the message that it's not the right choice for anyone. (Remind me again why the One Million Moms don't like this show?)

Two other shows recently (earlier this year) took on the abortion issue... Private Practice (ABC) and Friday Night Lights (NBC). Private Practice did the usual she's-already-just-about-to-get-it-done-when-she-has-a-change-of-heart type switcheroo. In this case, the (normally anti-abortion, except when it comes to her daughter) mom was pushing for the abortion and the pregnant teen was sort of just going along with it out of fear. But then she sees a newborn baby and magically it's "Oh my miracle-of-life, I want one of those cute little things!" Meh.

But Friday Night Lights took a different approach. [SPOILER ALERT: The entire season has already aired on DirecTV, but the NBC airings are still going on right now, so if you haven't seen the last few episodes of the season yet, stop reading now.]

The main difference about FNL was that that an abortion actually happened!!! The OMM must not have seen it or their heads would have literally exploded. (If we see an OMM action alert about this show pop up sometime soon then that will definitely be the official proof that they read our blog because so far this show has totally been off their radar for some reason. Probably because the network isn't called "NBC Family" so they don't care what happens on it.)

Not only does the pregnant teen, Becky, actually go through with terminating the pregnancy, but when she goes to the principal of the school for advice, she actually gives her all the options. (Becky asks her "do you think this means I'm going to hell?" and she tells her no. So simple, yet so rare in network television.) Even more surprising than the fact that the Becky actually has an abortion, is that it didn't ruin her life afterward! Not to say that there weren't any negative consequences... but they weren't on Becky.

Rather, the high school principal, Tami Taylor, was attacked by some anti-choice locals for counseling Becky and giving her all the legal options. The school board and the community went crazy and tried to get her fired if she didn't make a public apology. But here's the best part... she actually prepares an apology, but when she gets in front of the crowd she can't bring herself to say it. Instead she tells them that she acted in the best interest of the student and so that's what she will always do because that's her job. Love it.

We felt like taking a little stroll down memory lane by looking at how some other TV shows have handled the issue in the past. (This is obviously far from a comprehensive list, but rather, just some of the ESC's own memorable abortion-on-TV moments.)

  • Maude. Even though we were too young to actually see this episode when it originally aired in 1972, any list on this subject has to begin with Maude, because it was one of the only early TV abortions that didn't result in any instant negative consequences.
  • Another World.Of course, many mistake Maude for network TV's first abortion, but really it was just the first legal abortion. TV's first illegal abortion took place way back in 1964 on this NBC soap. The character Pat almost dies from complications, finds out she may be sterile, and murders the boyfriend who pressured her to have it. (Of course, she ends up being acquitted of murder, marrying her lawyer, and having twins.)
  • All My Children. Erica Kane had daytime TV's first legal abortion (and the first abortion to be shown on TV after Roe v. Wade) in a controversial storyline in 1973. She choose abortion simply because she isn't ready and doesn't want to have a child at that time (and well, she doesn't want to get fat). This storyline became controversial again decades later when the writers decide to rewrite history (and science!) by claiming that the doctor who was supposed to have performed the abortion actually stole Erica's embryo and implanted it into his own wife. The character previously thought to be an aborted fetus, Josh, was a regular on the show for a few years, until he was conveniently killed right around the same time that his half-sister needed a heart transplant. Only on soaps.
  • Degrassi High. Possibly my earliest personal memories of abortion on television were of the Canadian show Degrassi High. In an episode that originally aired in 1989, Erica has an abortion and her twin sister Heather - despite thinking it's murder - supports her and goes with her to the clinic. Some other girl finds out about it and starts plastering her locker with pro-life fliers until they end up having a huge fight in the hallway. Heather later ends up needing counseling to deal with the fact that she helped "end a life", but Erica seems relatively well adjusted afterward, although she does mention that she never wants to have to go through that again.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation. Apparently there was also an abortion episode in the new Degrassi series in 2004, although I'm not sure if it ever aired in the U.S. From what I've read, Manny gets pregnant by Craig and then Spike - who had a baby in high school back in the original series (who happens to have grown up into Emma, Manny's best friend) - advises her to have an abortion and she does. No wonder they didn't want to show that episode in the U.S.
  • The Real World. This may have been "reality" TV, but when Tami from season 2 of The Real World talked openly about her pregnancy and abortion on the show in 1993 it felt really brave. And even though some of her roommates clearly disagreed with her decision, they supported her, which was pretty cool.
  • Dawson's Creek. Dawson's mom gets pregnant and is wondering if she should have an abortion. Dawson, of course, being the douche that he is, is totally against it. He talks it over with Pacey's older sister (who I think he was dating at the time?) and she admits that she had an unplanned pregnancy in the past. She made "a decision" (we don't learn what it was) and then a week later she conveniently has a miscarriage, letting her "get off easy". Then Dawson's mom decides not to have an abortion anyway.
  • Felicity. When Ruby got pregnant, she goes to get info about abortion and a doctor assures her that abortion doesn't hurt much and is safer than child birth. Not bad. But then when she finally decides to get an abortion, she changes her mind in the clinic, after seeing a woman carrying a baby. Then she realizes that having a baby will solve all her unhappiness, because that's totally how it works.
  • Six Feet Under. Claire has an abortion in season 3 and then goes on with her life seemingly without guilt or sadness. Of course, later, in a dream/hallucination/trip-to-heaven-with-dead-Dad she sees all her dead loved ones hanging out together in the park including her dead sister-in-law Lisa who is holding Claire's abortion fetus - which somehow moved on into the after life as a fully developed infant. Lisa tells her "You take care of Maya [Lisa's daughter] and I'll take care of her." Okay.
  • Jack and Bobby. A character crosses state lines to have an abortion. And then before we can tell if she's going to have some post-abortion consequences or not, SHE DIES (in a car accident). Come on....
  • One Tree Hill. Peyton gets pregnant unexpectedly, but she and fiance Lucas are thrilled. Several months later, complications arise and they learn that it's a high risk pregnancy and Peyton may die if she carries the pregnancy to term. Lucas would rather she have an abortion than risk losing her but Peyton refuses. They both agree on continuing the pregnancy after a convenient "sign" in the form of the baby kicking at just the right moment. Peyton ends up going into labor on her wedding night (typical OTH melodrama), having an emergency c-section and a healthy baby, almost dying, but pulling through. And they all live happily ever after. They do get credit for actually using the word "abortion" and showing a very messy and emotional argument about what to do that represented both sides fairly well, rather than dancing around the issue and using vague euphemisms like "take care of it" like many shows do.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210.When good-girl Andrea got pregnant, she considered abortion (which her boyfriend broke up with her for!) but then not only did she have the baby but she married the guy. Later in season 7, bad-girl Valerie pretends to be pregnant and has a fake abortion for attention or money or ratings or something.
  • 90210. On the "new" 90210, Adriana undoubtedly has the most dramatic life any teenager has ever had. So far, she has gone from from actress to drug addict to pregnant teen to cheating girlfriend back to drug addict to temporary lesbian to pop sensation to maybe high school drop out (we'll find out soon enough). When Adriana found out she was pregnant, she couldn't have an abortion because she was too far along and therefore it was "illegal". (Of course, that doesn't make much sense seeing as she wasn't even showing yet and abortion is legal in California until about 6 months.)
What are some of your favorite and least favorite ways that television shows (or movies) have handled the topic of abortion?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New York sums up True Blood's Lafayette as a Cross-Dressing Drug-Dealing Prostitute

Okay, New York magazine... if you're going to give us a guide to True Blood, could you at least find someone who knows something about True Blood to write it?

From the July 12, 2010 issue of New York:

Now in its third season, True Blood has expanded its universe to encompass an unruly (and sexy) network of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and, of course, mere mortals. Unless you've read the novels by Charlaine Harris on which the series is based, it's pretty much impossible to figure out who's connected to whom -- by sex, by friendship, or by (literal) blood. So Emma Rosenblum has mapped it all out for you.
Only... she hasn't. She made some weird constallation looking picture of some of the characters and gave brief little misleading "bios".

I know it's kind of hard not to be simplistic when you have such limited space, but parts of it still rubbed us the wrong way. Maybe it's because we're such huge True Blood fans (although we haven't read the books and we still were able to "figure it out") but some of the points that Rosenblum felt necessary to include just made us scratch our heads and wonder if she was really the person who should've "mapped it all out" for us.

In particular, we questioned the description given for Lafayette...

Lafayette is a cross-dressing cook at Merlotte's and also the mortal drug dealer for Eric and Sophie-Anne. Often has sex with his clients.

Um... what? Now, okay, technically Lafayette may wear some articles of women's clothes and/or accessories sometimes, but I wouldn't really categorize him as a "cross-dresser". It's more that he just has awesome style (or as Andy Bellefleur would say, he's got "pizazz"). Even if you do believe that Lafayette's style of dress is cross-dressing, is it really necessary for that to be his main descriptor?

Also, his entire personal description is based, not really on who is he, but on the work he does for others. He's a cook for Sam, a drug dealer for Eric... but it's not only misleading but also missing more relevant info. For example, he's not "a dealer for Eric and Sophie-Anne". He's being forced by Eric et. al. to sell vampire blood. Also, sticking with Rosenblum's "connected by blood" theme, he's Tara's cousin and is taking care of her this season after the death of her boyfriend Eggs.

Also, "Often has sex with his clients"? Yeah, okay, he did do a little prostitution in some episodes... but we haven't seen any of that in a long time. In fact, in season 2 Lafayette described himself as "a survivor first, a capitalist second, and a whoooole bunch of other shit after that, but a hooker dead last". So was "often" necessary? Was any of that sentence necessary? Rosenblum also ignores the fact that he has all these jobs (Merlotte's, the road crew, the website, the drug dealing, and the occasional sex work) in order to pay for his estranged mother's care.

In about as many characters as a Twitter update, Lafayette is portayed as a controversial, flawed figure as a cross-dresser, a servant, a drug dealer, and a prostitute. And well, okay, yes, he is flawed and he is "controversial", but it's just such a complex character that he's probably one of the least morally corrupt characters on the show. He's more than just the black, gay, drug-dealing prostitute. It's hard to truly show how complex someone is in that short of a description, but well, they did a better job on some of the other characters than they did on him.

Although that's not to say that we don't have other complaints about the guide...

For one, the characters are divided into four categories: mortals, vampires, shapeshifters, and werewolves. Sookie Stackhouse is listed as a mortal. Um, if there's anything we learned from last season is that Sookie isn't necessarily 100% human. (Those who haven't read the books, don't know exactly what she is yet.)

Queen Sophie-Anne's description ends with "And swings both ways." Andy Bellefleur's includes "is unlucky in love". Werewolves' turn-ons include "plaid shirts, dive bars". Pam, Terry and Arlene are completely excluded (despite the fact that Terry, is in fact, related to Andy "by blood", Arlene is carrying a baby that he thinks is his, and Pam is just well... awesome).

Overall, it was just a waste of a read. The magazine probably decided to include something True Blood-related because they know how popular the show is right now. But if they're not going to do it justice, then why bother? Instead of giving us some stupid "who's sleeping with who?" bullshit filler article.

If they're going to try to milk the True Blood cash cow, I'd much rather read something like this. From the original Queerty article:
Ellis says he's got no problems when fans and regular television audiences confuse Ellis (the person) with Lafayette (the fictional character). "I can’t just get upset with regular folk because all they see is the character," he tells Vibe. His excuses end, however, with the Hollywood machine: "But when the industry can’t tell the difference, I’m like, 'Damn that’s a little closed minded,' because when white people play a character people expect it to be a character. But black people—we can’t just be character actors, we have to [really] be the things we’re hired for, which is what offends me. I don’t answer that question, 'Are you gay or not,' when it comes down to industry people. But if it’s a regular person asking me, that just says that maybe I’m doing a good job. But when a casting director or an agent asks me that question it takes on a deeper thing that says, 'I can’t believe you’re doing this unless you are that.'"

Read more: Queerty.com
And while we're on the subject, some of our favorite Lafayette scenes:

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The OMM vs. Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin appearing on The Secret Life of the American Teenager has caused the One Million Moms' brains to explode.

Their most recent action alert:
Bristol Palin Guest Stars on 'Secret Life'

More than ever it is necessary to inform you of an increasingly popular TV show titled "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." The series combines anything and everything a mother tries to protect her children from viewing and rolls it into one soap opera for teens. ABC Family Channel (owned by Disney-ABC Television) is being irresponsible in showing such racy content when, instead, it should be adhering to its name by airing family-friendly content.
Okay this time they've really lost it. It is now more necessary than ever! ABC Family is being irresponsible for showing such racy content... Um, what show are they watching?

There may be discussions of sex in this show, but it's not at all racy. And like we've said a million times, the show is one big preachy PSA. I understand that some of the storylines might upset certain parents, but how more melodramatic can you get than to claim it that has everything a mother tries to protect her children from viewing. Really? Everything? Because I can think of a lot of things that it doesn't show, that I'd additionally like to protect my kid from viewing. You know, like graphic sex scenes. Bloody violence. Anything that combines the two. (Yeah, that means no True Blood for Lil' Lilith until she's older. Sorry hon.) But teenagers being punished for having sex? Not the only "objectionable" content on TV and definitely not the worst thing she could see.

But that's not even the crazy part of their alert. Keep reading for the full extent of their delusions:
Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, makes a brief guest appearance in the episode which aired Monday, July 5. The network hoped this would either boost ratings or gain credibility since she is a teen mom herself. OMM is concerned she sees bright lights instead of standing up for what is right.
Okay, well obviously, Bristol Palin's guest appearance is for ratings. (It's certainly not because of her fine acting skills.) But what exactly does she have to do with the show's credibility? I mean, the show doesn't claim to be a documentary and it doesn't claim that the actions of these teens are exactly the same as every teenager in the U.S... so what credibility do they really need?And how does Bristol Palin help them gain it anyway? Because she's a teen mom? Yes, she is... but she's also the daughter of extremely anti-choice Sarah Palin and an ambassador for the Candies Foundation. So, um isn't she already standing up for what is "right"?

In fact, check out some quotes from Bristol about her appearance on the show:
"I am thrilled to be on this show and to be a part of a program that educates teens and young adults about the consequences of teen pregnancy,” [JustJared]
"The more it's talked about the more it's prevented. My episode, I probably won't have much of an impact. But the show itself is great in that it does open up a dialogue between parents and teens." [PoliticsDaily / view a video here]
"I just hope that this show opens up a dialogue between parents and teens -- and teens amongst themselves -- about the consequences of teen pregnancy, sex in general and relationships." [US Magazine]
See, OMM. The show educates teens and young adults about the consequences of teen sex and teen pregnancy! It opens up a dialogue between parents and teens in order to prevent teen sex and teen pregnancy! Where on earth did you get the idea that it promotes sex and pregnancy? Stop harping on this misconception (no pun intended) and move on already.
Her character's name in the show is also Bristol and she has become buddies with Amy, the teen mom on the show. We would have preferred her to take a pro-life stand and buddy up with Adrian who is on her way to have an abortion, or not have appeared in the show at all.
Okay, this part I just have to laugh at. "Her character's name in the show is also Bristol"... Yeah, that's usually how it works when you're making a cameo as yourself. She's not playing a character named Bristol. She's playing Bristol Palin!

And how exactly is she not taking a pro-life (er, anti-choice) stand on the show? She's certainly not taking a pro-choice stance. She's playing herself, a teenager who got pregnant and had the baby. She befriends the character Amy, a teenager who got pregnant and had the baby. They meet at a band camp for teen moms, that is, teeangers who got pregnant and had the baby. Not a single abortion among the whole group. Exactly what kind of stance do they think she is taking?

I'm sure the OMM would've loved it if Bristol would have buddied up with Adrian and coerced manipulated pressured counseled her against having an abortion... but how exactly would that have made any sense? Like, "hello random pregnant girl on the way to the abortion clinic that I've never met before... I'm Bristol Palin, here to save you from making a terrible mistake, let's be buddies!" I mean, it makes sense for Amy to run into a famous teen mom at a band camp for teen moms, but there's no logical storyline that could put Adrian and Bristol in the same place. Unless maybe Bristol likes to hang out outside abortion clinics to shame scare harass save young pregnant girls.

This series is being aired before 8:00 pm in most of the country and with a rating of TV-14 D which should mean suitable for 14-year-olds. Parents, please be aware, if you were not already, that this program is far from appropriate for your teen.

We just went over this yesterday. TV-14 does not necessarily mean it's suitable for 14-year-olds. It means it is not suitable for children under 14 and it's up to your parental guidance (remember that parents?) to decide if it is suitable for children 14 and over. The TV Parental Guidelines are very clear. TV-14 means "Parents Strongly Cautioned":
Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program may contain one or more of the following: intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), intense sexual situations (S), or intense violence (V) [tvguidelines.org, emphasis mine]
OMM, stop trying to pretend that you're shocked by the fact that TV-14 shows have suggestive dialogue and sexual situations. That's why they're rated TV-14. That's why these ratings exist... to warn you of the content. Easy solution: If you don't agree with these ratings (clearly you don't want your 14+ children watching TV-14 shows) then only allow them to watch shows rated TV-PG or lower. Or if you really feel that strongly about it, peteition the FCC to enforce stricter ratings advisories. But stop using the ratings as a suggested age range and an excuse to complain about shows you don't like... and use them for what they are meant to be.