This week’s installment of 16 and Pregnant introduces us to Jennifer Del Rio and her older boyfriend Josh Smith (if you didn’t already know of them from recent police reports) of Tampa, Florida. Jennifer seems to come from a close-knit family, and her parents are anything but a fan of her boyfriend, Josh. At twenty-eight weeks pregnant, Jennifer is still a mere baby herself–she is a rising sophomore in high school who is carrying fraternal twin boys.
The first conflict Jennifer finds herself in embroiled in deals with naming her sons. She and Josh have decided to name the boys Noah and Joshua, Jr. Her parents are less than thrilled that one will be named after Josh, and even more upset when they learn Jennifer insists (slash Josh demanded) the boys will have his last name. We figure out that Josh is a real peach, and smart to boot. Examples? “Is it scary knowing two are coming?” Eh, we’ll see. One would be no problem, but two…that’s a tad frightening. I realize these interchanges are partially scripted, but please. The kicker is when Jennifer says she wishes she had known more about birth control, and Josh reveals that he wasn’t “too broke” to buy condoms (as he’d apparently told her) but that the whole process of going to the drug store to purchase them was just too awkward. I’d like to joke about the ways in which his life will be much more awkward now, but honestly, it’s just plain sad (his immature outlook, not their impending family).
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Josh‘s family hosts a baby shower for the couple, and it becomes even more evident how strongly opposed to this relationship Jennifer’s family is, as neither of her parents are in attendance. Mrs. Del Rio offers to do something special for her daughter as well, but the caveat is that Josh will not be involved. Her parents seem so down-to-earth and realistic, it’s hard to be Team Josh. Jennifer starts tenth grade at her new alternative high school, and at thirty-five weeks pregnant, she goes to a romantic (?) dinner with Josh to celebrate their one year anniversary together. In one of the more awkward (and they’re all pretty awkward) 16 and Pregnant proposals, Jennifer agrees to marry Josh. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to watch Jennifer’s mother interact with Josh after learning the news. She was extremely composed, polite and diplomatic, but it was clear she was beyond upset.
It’s obvious that, to Jennifer, the engagement is the commitment she has been craving, but Josh still refuses to meet her parents half way. The dueling crew calls a truce for Jennifer’s c-section. When the twins are a day old, we get the first blatant glimpse at the Josh the Del Rios have known. While trying to make accommodations for the new family to stay at her home, Jennifer’s mom requests that Josh make an effort to get along. Visibly pissed off that she would even ask him to do that, he becomes hostile and calls her a b*tch. Burying the hatchet again (seriously, her parents are beyond kind, yet not oblivious), Jennifer’s parents make the necessary concessions to ensure that Josh will come back to their home to help with his new babies.
Once home, the young couple is overwhelmed with visitors, and Josh, enraged that he has been disrespected by a welcome wagon of extended family, leaves….refusing to return unless the Del Rios are not present. After a week, Jennifer agrees to let Josh come and take her and the boys to his parents’ house. During the ride across town, Jennifer’s mom calls to find out where she is, and Josh begins a verbal assault on Jennifer about how disrespectful she is to him by talking to her family in his presence. Father-of-the-Year then leaves her on the side of the road and speeds off with the babies in the backseat. He returns only to taunt her and gas the car and pull away when she tries to open the back car door to retrieve her children. When he finally gets out of the car, he physically pushes her and picks her up to move her away from his vehicle. Enter the punch heard round the internet…we’ve all seen the trailer. Teen mom hitting baby daddy, but finally, it’s in context. I am not advocating violence of any kind, but if he’d picked me up like that, poor guy would be speaking falsetto for the rest of his (short-lived) days.
Jennifer’s mom arrives, and Josh pretty much taunts her with his name-calling and threats. The police arrive and Josh must spend the night in jail. Jennifer does not press charges against him. Even as the show ends, we know this story doesn’t end well. Since filming, there have been accusations of abuse from both parties, Josh accusing Jennifer of faking her pregnancy (so he wouldn’t use condoms) in a grand scheme to get cast on the show, and Jennifer claiming Josh threatened to have his friends rape her if she didn’t let him see his sons.
As for the couple’s update today, Jennifer revealed on the recent taping of the MTV after show that she and Josh are “kind of” back together but trying to take things slow. And a look at Jennifer’s official facebook page last night showed several requests by her to her fans, asking them not to write anything negative about Josh, or risk getting deleted. I really have no words, but I wish those two little boys all the luck in the world.
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE & RECAP? DO YOU BELIEVE JOSH IS ABUSIVE? ARE YOU SHOCKED THEY ARE STILL TOGETHER?