Terrance Heath

Still Famous for Reproducing

Filed By Terrance Heath | March 04, 2012 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Bristol Palin, Dancing With The Stars, Levi Johnston, Life's a Tripp, reproduction, Sarah Palin, teen pregnancy

220px-Bristol_Palin.jpgMake it stop. Won't somebody please make it stop? Apparently, Bristol Palin is still famous for reproducing. (Accidentally, or not.)

Lifetime has picked up Bristol Palin: Life's A Tripp, a 10-episode docuseries chronicling Bristol Palin's life as a young, single mother living in the spotlight of being Sarah Palin's daughter. The series will focus on how Bristol adjusts to life in Alaska with her son Tripp and her interactions with with her parents, former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Todd, and siblings. "From the first moment she was thrust into the public eye, Bristol and her son have been the subjects of a huge amount of curiosity and misunderstanding," said Rob Sharenow, EVP, Programming, of Lifetime Networks. "This show will reveal the real Bristol Palin and her journey as a daughter, a mother and a young woman making her way in the world."

So much for being "into the whole Hollywood thing." This is why I continue to hate most "reality television." First, it tends to highlight and bring out the worst in people. Second, it has this annoying way of making celebrities out of people who have no discernible talent. I wrote about this last year.

That's what it takes to become famous these days? I mean, why else would we have ever heard of Bristol Palin? Sure, her mom was plucked from obscurity and foisted upon the nation by John McCain (who should be working off that karma for several lifetimes, if you ask me), and has hung around like like a bad smell you can't find the source of. But even granting that, we'd never have heard Bristol's name if the Palin pregnancy rumors that started right after Palin's nomination hadn't led to the discovery of Bristol's pregnancy.

Being the 16-year-old daughter of a vice presidential nominee might have made Bristol more well known than if the whole Palin clan had stayed in Wasila. However, being the pregnant 16-year-old daughter of a vice presidential candidate made her a star. Besides her mom's reality show, she's appeared in an episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager (about teen pregnancy, of course), and of course there was her surprisingly long stint on Dancing With the Stars, even as she consistently got the lowest scores from the judges, while more talented dancers were shown the door.

She was on the show because she's Bristol Palin. She's Bristol Palin because her mom is Sarah Palin, and because she reproduced.

The same goes for Levi Johnston. (Who isn't mentioned in the write-up of the show, by the way.)

To be fair here, Bristol's not the only one who got famous as a result of fecundity. Like the song says, "It takes two." And Levi Johnston has worked far more than 15 minutes of fame out of what we know know was probably 15 minutes (it can't possibly have taken much longer than that) of drunken teenage fumbling that would have remained unknown to the world until fate intervened in the form of the McCain campaign.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind looking at Levi Johnston. But why is this guy famous?

Despite having no more apparent talent than Bristol, Levi's resume now includes a commercial for pistachios, a photo spread and feature in GQ magazine, another in Vanity Fair, and of course a Playgirl spread. He's even shopped around his own reality show, to be based on a run for Mayor of Wasila. (Nothing's been heard about it since it was announced, though. I think it was quietly shelved by the
production company.)

It's ironic when you think about it, really. Levi Johnston's johnson made his career when he used it to impregnate his teenage girlfriend. Anthony Weiner's weiner destroyed his career when he tweeted a picture of it to a young woman he'd never met.

The closest either of them should ever have come to being on television should have been the local news. Or maybe an episode of Cops or Alaska State Troopers. Maybe Teen Mom. The only reason Bristol warrants a television series is because her mom got tapped by the GOP to run for VP in 2008. The only reason Levi warrants any attention is because he got Bristol pregnant. That's all that separates them from any other pair of teenagers with functioning gonads and access to alcohol.

Well, there is one more thing. I'd hesitate to call this "reality television," really. Being Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol's reality probably isnt' even close to the reality of most teen moms, because being Sarah Palin's daughter has paid off handsomely for Bristol.

Culture war aside, there's a connection between poverty and teenage pregnancy. Fortunately, teenage pregnancies are at their lowest level in 40 years.

With any luck, that means there won't be a "next Bristol Palin." But just in case, I'm asking the universe, "Please, make it stop."

(Crossposted at The Republic of T)


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