NBC’s ‘The Baby Borrowers’: Teaching Teens that Parenting is No Walk in the Mall

If listening to babies scream at the top of their lungs and watching toddlers wreak havoc on the décor of local businesses wasn’t enough to make me want to tie my fallopian tubes in a knot (and please don’t get me started on the broads who think nothing of whipping out a sloppy saggy breasticle to feed their changelings completely upsetting my sense of calm and making by own itty bitty chesticals hurt), then watching the first half hour of the reality series, The Baby Borrowers (NBC, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) would have done the trick.  

The series, whose tag line is “It’s not TV.  It’s birth control” is set in a cul-de-sac resembling a suburb in Anywhere, USA and features five teen couples who, unsupervised, have to take care for infants for three days.  Then they move on to preteens along with their brothers, sisters and pets, then to teenagers and finally, to the elderly.  The inexperienced couples aren’t given any instructions nor are they given prizes. And there are not crazy elimination challenges either. All they will receive for their efforts is “a great big dose of real life.” 

In the first episode, just as they are beginning to settle into their respective houses, a blue box arrives at each door.  In it is a “pregnancy simulator” suit that the girls must wear until their babies arrive.  Al ofl the teens donned the faux girth, except one, Kelly, a GA girl and Auburn University student. 

When her boyfriend, Austin, mildly laughs at the sight of her in the pregnancy suit, Kelly goes apoplectic and begins acting like a complete ass.  She locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to go to the mandatory baby care class at the local hospital forcing Austin to attend it alone. “Honestly, girls don’t make sense to me…[It’s] just an outfit…[It’s] totally uncalled for,” says Austin. (Hey Austin, there are girls out there who “make sense” and have “sense”. That heifer you are with isn’t one of them.  Don’t think of walking her down any aisle, including the grocery aisle.) In the end, Austin, acting like a totally whipped dude, wears the pregnancy outfit to make the whiney wench happy. 

Finally, after what seems to be forever, the teens get the babies whose parents offer them information regarding their child’s idioncracies along with an instruction manual. The parents leave the children in the care of the teens and retreat to a home where they watch the couples’ move all the while prepared to intervene when necessary. And they do.  Also, we are told that the teens are “shadowed by professional nannies” who will step in only in case of emergency. 

Based on their behavior in the premiere episode, the thought these kids ever procreating is hair-raising.  One girl, Alicea, starts cursing in front of the baby when she has difficulty feeding the child.  At one point, after taking offense at being reprimanded/instructed by the child’s mother, Alicea takes to her bed and leaves the feeding of the child to her boyfriend, Corey.  She says, referring to the child, “[I don’t] want to have anything to do with it.”

Another teen couple, Kelsey and Sean, neglect to bathe, change the clothes and diaper of their baby before trying to put her to bed. “’It’ is a little girl,” the mother tells Sean who also refers to their baby as “it”. Ay dios mio!!

Although it’s a well intentioned effort and definitely necessary at a time when we are seeing teen pregnancy rates rise and hear about pregnancy pacts among high schoolers, I can’t see this show reaching its intended audience whose attention span is far shorter than mine and I was ready to change the channel after the first 10 minutes of the hour broadcast.  Without a banging soundtrack, without banging period, teens will be quick to reach for the remote if they tune in at all. The documentary unit of MTV would have done a better job with the concept. Their long-running series, True Life has done a stellar job over the years addressing topics as wide ranging as pornography and interracial dating and have done so in a hard-hitting, intelligent manner all the while engaging their core audience. (By the way, The Baby Borrowers will be re-broadcast on the We TV (Women’s Entertainment Television) channel on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST.  I don’t get it. What these programmers thinking?)

After my initial rant, you probably think that I hate children.  Not so.  I love kids.  Want to have one someday. It’s their parents, who probably should have had pets instead, are the ones I can’t stand.  They are doing their offspring a great disservice by not consistently applying measured discipline with a healthy dose love.  So, if The Baby Borrowers can make a least one couple, young or older, stop and give some thought to the long term commitment and challenges of parenting, the world…okay, my world…would be a better place. 

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