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Sydney Levin

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'Teen Mom' Season 4 Premiere: No Pain, No Gain

Posted: 06/14/2012 1:42 pm

Take a look at the news. Wars are raging. There's proof that a dingo really did eat that woman's baby. But worst of all, there's been a blistering drought: a drought of "Teen Mom." After nine long months, your thirst is being quenched -- so I hope you take yours straight up with a twist of neglect and a dash of Suboxone. Please refrain from operating heavy machinery while under the influence of this recap.

Amber: It'll be strange to watch Amber's downward spiral this season since her smash-landing at rock bottom has already played out in a mess of increasingly depressing headlines. She attempted suicide twice and was sentenced to five years in prison on June 6 after violating probation and lying to the court. It's an awful story that makes me hesitant to dole out my usual amount of biting criticism but hey, George Washington himself once said, "You've gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure." Anyway, try to forget how this whole mess ends so that we can focus on how it begins.

In a voiceover, Amber explains that because her home was vandalized, a judge decided it was unsafe for Leah. Now, Leah's a ward of the state and is living with Gary. But as you'll recall, Amber and Gary can't be in the same place ... so it's very difficult for Amber to get any time with her little girl. Hoping to put it all behind her, Amber takes a plea bargain to avoid more jail time. That means 30-60 days in rehab for anger management, substance abuse and mental health, and two years probation. Amber's terrified that Leah will forget her, and as she tells Gary about her terrible day, it's obvious that he still remains her (rather larger) rock. She sobs as she hears Leah's little voice on speaker phone. That "hi mommy!" is the reason rehab's worth it -- and why it's so incredibly hard to go.

Then, since Amber doesn't have anyone else, cousin Krystal With a K comes over with her son -- and another bun in the oven. For the love of formula, someone just let this chick on the show already! She seriously might not stop until she gets some recognition as the ultimate teen mom. Amber reads her the laundry list she plead guilty to: "First and third domestic battery, two class D felonies, and they took off neglect of a child." She's heading to Seasons in Malibu, which sounds a lot like a spring break hotel without any of the fun substance abuse. In Amber's perfect world, Gary comes to visit, she gets the no contact order dropped, and they live happily ever after.

Over at Gary's house, life's all bath time and snuggles and nail clipping. Then, Jabba the Hutt (a.k.a. Gary's mom) pops over for an update and we get to hear Gary's feelings. He also wants to be with Amber, and his heart breaks when Leah asks, "Where's mommy?" He might be a total push-over, but he's a damn good daddy. You can see it in his eyes, which you can locate if you look above his chins.

Because Amber's nervous about rehab, she calls with some questions: Can she bring her medication, and can she have a single room in case she gets angry and hits someone. It's a "yes" to meds and a "no" to solo living, in case you cared. Then she goes off on a wild rant about how she's totally different than she was two years ago when she was going off on wild rants. "I don't know how sane I can stay anymore," she admits. If that's not foreshadowing, I don't know what is.

While Leah's with Jabba the Hutt, Amber goes to chat up Gary. She asks for a glass of wine and chugs it like a frat boy. Then she, her new hoop nose ring and Gary go outside to the swing. The swing screams "NOO!" but they sit anyway. Amber asks Gary if he'll be dating while she's away -- not 'cause she cares or anything, but because "Leah needs all the attention." Gary innocently says he's really glad Amber is getting help for "anger, self-esteem, regulation of medication," and she totally snaps. Amber tells him to shut up, calls him a few choice words and makes a beeline for the house. "People wonder why I [F word] hit you in the face. You're just a rude, mean person but I'm the bitch?! I'm such a bad person. I'm done!" Her terrifying explosion is startling proof of how ill she is, and it reduces Gary to tears.

Part two opens with a black screen and Gary's 911 call. "I just spoke with my girlfriend and she had said something, she's having a hard time with her life ... I don't want her to kill herself. She's wanting to hang herself, so she said 'call the police so they can find my body in the garage.'"

Amber was taken to the hospital and put on suicide watch for 72 hours. After leaving, she went straight to Seasons. Nearly two weeks later, she opens up to a spiritual therapist. Her medication has been readjusted, and she's feeling angry, confused and defeated. She can't find the words, so the witch places a hand on her stomach and asks her to do some deep breathing. That helps her regain her voice. "When I tried to kill myself, I felt like a piece of shit mom. All I could think about was Leah, but I just wanted to go." Her fairy godmother explains: "If you really wanted to go, you would have been gone ... You are supposed to be on this planet for a reason."

Next, Amber talks to a grief counselor and shares that she's spent her whole life holding in her misery. "Nobody listens," she mews. The counselor asks her to close her eyes and envision her mom and dad, and Amber narrows her eyes and lowers her voice like a woman possessed. "Not good man. They put me through pain growing up." She paints a picture of a childhood home full of hate and fighting -- sort of like the one that she's recreated for her daughter. She crumples over, and the sobbing takes everything out of her.

After her various therapies, she tells her caseworker, JJ, that she feels loved and well taken care of. Still, she's struggling with detoxing from her medication and feels that staying past 30 days is the smartest move. JJ wants to bring Leah and Gary to visit, and Amber's face lights up. They give Gary a call and he's extremely excited, but it's not as simple as "buy ticket, go visit." First he has to petition the courts. Leah also has some big news she'd like to share: "I went poopy in the potty." Everyone has a lot to think about.

Maci:
When we last saw Maci she was pressuring her boyfriend, Kaaaahhhhl to talk about marriage and babies. Girlfriend had completely lost her mind. When she found it amongst her son Bentlaaaay's toys, she realized that slowing things down and focusing on school was a much better idea. That means trying to put Bentlaaaay in daycare again. The first time didn't go so well: He basically threw himself at the door like a teeny tiny mental patient until Maci scooped him up. Now, in an attempt to teach him how to be "independent," Maci and Kaaaahhhhl bring him to a swim lesson so that he can be terrified off of dry land. While Kaaaahhhhl jumps in and tries to calm down the water demon, Maci sits on the side of the pool in a Wacka Flocka t-shirt. Now that outfit's just bad parenting. She tells Kaaaahhhhl that he's doing an awful job. God, Kaaaahhhhll! Bentlaaaay has to learn to do this "by his self!" Eventually he gets down the water slide by his very own self and it's all very exciting for people who enjoy the laughter of children.

Since they're still wigged about putting Bentlaaaay in day care, they meet a pal of Maci's who teaches pre-school and probably contributes to the education crisis in the United States. Bentlaaaay announces that he won't be playing with any kids. He'd prefer to play with his trains. Then, he bites Kaaaahhhhl. He's obviously going to be very popular.

The night before D-Day they ask Bentlaaay if he wants to go, because he's a very rational human capable of making complex choices. He assures Maci that it'll "be alright, mamma!" -- reminding us that it may be the grown ups who are acting like babies here. Maci decides to let Kaaaahhhhl take Bentlaaaay in to daycare, but she goes along for the ride because it will definitely make it easier for Bentlaaaay if his mom and pseudo-dad are both acting totally freaked out. Kaaaahhhhl gets Bentlaaaay to practice his "funny face" and brings him inside. Bentlaaaay locates some trains and is in heaven. He doesn't even try to maul anyone! What a big boy.

Meanwhile, Maci's heading out of town to speak at a high school about pregnancy prevention. That means calling the guy who knocked her up in the first place -- Raaaahyn -- so that he can pick up Bentlaaay earlier than usual. He's as difficult as ever and Maci hangs up on him. He doesn't have a job, she explains, so what the hell is keeping him from coming over on time?

Over lunch with his motley crew of pals including one kid with some really distracting facial ticks, Raaaahyn defends himself. He was going to breath that day, and also maybe think about signing up for classes. There's simply not enough hours in the day.

The stress of near-single parenting is like, really showing on Maci's face. Gal pal looks like the "before" in a Proactive commercial. It probably doesn't help that she and Kaaaahhhhl are arguing the night before she heads out to lead her after school special. He makes the mistake of calling her an idiot, and she tells him to pack his things and head to his mom's house for a bit. It's impressive that she won't tolerate name-calling, but she definitely picked that fight. So, like any person in the wrong, she calls Kaaaahhhhl within minutes of his departure and has Bentlaay leave him a sad "I miss you" message in his sweet little baby voice. That's not playing fair at all! But he's obviously not checking his voice mail, 'cause he doesn't call back.

Of course he returns eventually and apologizes, prompting Maci to pull the whole, "I want you to WANT to be sorry" thing. She explains that when Kaaaahhhhl talks nasty to her, it's a reminder of what life with Raaahyn was like. Then she tells him he stinks and that she's going to beat him and everything is OK. Love means never having to say "I'm sorry this fight continues to make no sense."

Catelynn:
Cayler (Catelynn + Tyler) are meeting adoption counselor Dawn so that they can send Carly gifts for her second birthday, but Dawn's got a present of her own: Brandon 'n Teresa (Carly's adoptive parents) are coming to NYC soon, and they'd like to meet up with Cayler for a joint graduation/birthday celebration. Cayler is in total shock! It's tough to celebrate a life that you're no longer in, after all. They may not be with their baby on her special day, but in two short weeks, they'll be reunited. They're both at peace with everything, and it shows. Even Catelynn's meth-faced mom is more relaxed about the situation. But that could also be the meth.

They call Brandon 'n Teresa to get an update and the birthday girl is very chatty. She's a big fan of her package and fully supports the fact that Cayler is going to get a cake, too. (Well, she said "oh boy!" which I think loosely translates to "I similarly enjoy cake; that's lovely that you'll be indulging as well.") They hang up and feel totally reassured about their decision. Everyone is in a great place -- and that might not have been the case if they kept her, dropped out of high school, and "got a measly, crappy job to try to pay for her diapers." Together, they light the candle on her cake and share their wishes for their absent daughter. "To grow up healthy, strong, and know that me and you loved her, and that's the only reason we did what we did," Catelynn says. "My wish for her is to make sure she knows that the life we chose for her is the one she deserved," Tyler follows up with. All aboard to Awwww City.

Catelynn changes her hair color a few hundred times, Tyler locates his best 10-sizes-too-big baller jacket and chain and they head to their digs in NYC. In the photos from the meeting, Cayler is ecstatic. They've got smiles for miles. Carly is an exact replica of her birth parents, and the choice not to air the meeting was smart. There's just some moments that must remain sacred.

After saying goodbye, Catelynn and Tyler reflect on their emotional day. "I'm a little bit heartbroken for some reason," Catelynn whimpers. "Even though I was young, I still could have been a really good mom." They allow themselves to cry. As much as they cheerlead each other into believing that they're totally fine, this pain won't ever go away. One can only hope that soon, it will dull.

Farrah:
Last season, Farrah decided to leave Sophia with her parents so that she could set up shop in Florida. As you'll recall, Michael cried a lot and her crazy-eyed mom Debra talked in baby talk 24/7, so all in all, it's a pretty stable widdle situation. Farrah and her new big boobs pop over to her mom's house to get a vewy exciting suwpwise. It's -- drum roll please -- a bigger room for Sophia! Since Farrah always sounds like she's in pain/exasperated when she talks to her mom, it's hard to figure out how she feels about it all. The room used to be Farrah's, so she tells Sophia about all the completely age-appropriate memories the space holds. That's the bed that mommy and daddy didn't mean to make you in! That's the closet he hid in when he came over without grandpa's permission! All the reminiscing makes Farrah wonder if she can stand to lose Sophia too ... even if it's just for a few months.

Since she's starting to doubt her mistake she heads to chat up her therapist for a good ugly monster cry session. She feels that leaving Sophia would be admitting parenting defeat. Though she's obviously made up her mind, she's scared to tell her parents, as it would mean a double loss for them. Then, her insanely tan mask cracks and she has a mini-sob fest. Mrs. Therapist Lady reminds her that she has to follow her heart, even if it means a potential beat down from mommy dearest.

Two weeks before she's set to go, she drops the bomb. Debra's face registers no emotion and Michael reminds her how hard it'll be to raise a baby in a new place. "She doesn't need to feel isolated and separated," Debra explains. Farrah launches into a tirade, and Michael gives his blessing. Debra pulls the total trump card of parenting. "You just go do whatever you need to do, Farrah," she deadpans. Her anger practically reflects off the oil slick of Farrah's face, and everything fades to black.

Later, Farrah explains to Michael that he'll get the distinct pleasure of packing her U-Haul and driving it for five days to Florida. Because he's been brainwashed, he says, "That sounds good" and goes off to his quarters to gently rock back and forth. Debra's slightly less composed. "I told [Sophia] that you're moving away ..." she says, her voice breaking. Farrah asks her to contain her emotions around Sophia, and semi-shouts that she'll call them if she needs help. "I'm a big kid now!" she reminds us during her tantrum.

As Michael packs his heart out, Farrah seamlessly weaves between berating and abusing him. She also demands that he be a "little taller." My mom (hi, mom!) always said "sharper than a serpent's tongue is an ungrateful child" ... and ironically enough, there are evil-looking cobras emblazoned on the side of the U Haul. I'm basically convinced that Farrah is the 11th plague.

Then, Farrah, Debra and Sophia go out to lunch and we see that the worst has happened: Sophia has inherited Farrah's demon genes. When she gets angry, she hisses like a wild animal, screams like a maniac and says "Shut up." Meanwhile, Debra re-reminds Farrah that she's very, very sad. "I'm grieving it, baby," she whimpers. Debra drains her wine -- aptly named "Farrah Wine" -- and says it's "sort of vinegar-y." Bazinga!

On her last day at home, Farrah decides to bring Sophia to see her dad's gravestone on what would have been his 21st birthday. It's emotional for Farrah, and she tells him she's terribly sad that he never got to experience life. "I wish we could have gotten married, and I wish we could have spent more time together," she cries. "It really hurts that I'm here by myself, 'cause I never wanted to be that person. But it's OK that I am." Though Farrah is definitely an evil being from hell, it's important to remember that she's also the walking wounded. Her anger and bitchiness is, at its core, just pain.

Wasn't this fun!? God, I missed you, teen moms.

"Teen Mom" airs at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesdays on MTV

 
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