Idol Chatter

Several months ago, while perusing a women’s magazine, I came across an article by a psychologist advising women not to get married until their late 20s/early 30s. She sagely suggested that marrying someone when you are relatively young virtually guarantees that you will grow apart, since both members of the couple still haven’t fully developed as adults. I meant to cut it out and send it to my mother.

Perhaps MTV read the same article and realized that a reality show about young couples diving into matrimony might not only serve as a cautionary tale, but offer some dramatic television moments. (When have you known a wedding that didn’t bring out the drama queen in absolutely everyone involved?) Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce to you, “Engaged and Underaged.”

The show–a mix of WE’s “Bridzillas,” TLC’s “A Wedding Story,” and MTV’s own “True Life” documentary series featuring 18 to 21 year-olds–“portrays a young couple as they take their first steps towards adulthood, and begin to define themselves as people outside the confines of their parents and home life,” according to the show’s press release.

On Monday’s premiere episode, we meet Lauren and David, two 21-year-old virgins who met while attending Oral Roberts University. Lauren is now living with David and his parents, albeit staying in separate bedrooms, preparing for their big day. We very quickly learn that Lauren is not so comfortable with David’s super-close relationship with his mother–which is a little too creepily close for comfort. What mother tells her 21-year-old son, in front of his fiancee and on national television, that she’s going to have to get in bed with him and snuggle for the next few nights, since in five more days he will be married off?

Although it’s never explicitly mentioned as a reason, we get the feeling that these crazy kids are jumping through the matrimonial hoop so that they can finally have sex. When David’s father subtly reminds him of an offer of $20,000 should he wait until he is 26 to marry is still on the table–that he feels David should travel and get a job before he couples up–one gets the distinct feeling that dad was not entirely pleased with the pending nuptials. Lauren’s brother, although a little late in telling her so at the rehearsal, thinks his sister might want to rethink her decision, as well.

It would seem that David’s father is worried that the kids don’t have enough life experience. As Dr. John Van Epp, author of “How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk,” told the Daily News, “The younger you are, the less you know yourself. What comes with age is a sense of maturity of identity and the ability to blend who you are with who someone else is.”

And he is right to worry. Lauren and David, while most certainly nice people, are most certainly not mature. She came from a broken family and seems to be compensating by getting married young. She never truly looks happy. This could be due to editing, or the fact that her family has very little to do with the planning, but she seems quite alone.

Meanwhile, David is a mama’s boy and doesn’t understand why his future wife finds this annoying. Even after she tells him not to talk to his mother about the room they will be staying in during their first night together, he still goes on to describe the bed to his mother–in great detail.

Neither one of them is employed and after the wedding, they will live in his parents’ guest house, under the watchful eye of David’s mother.

Thankfully, the show did follow up with the couple three months later. In their voiceovers, the couple talks about how great it is to be married. But the idyllic scene is broken with David’s mother calling and asking if they wanted to come up for dinner and Lauren’s jaw dropping.

The show doesn’t have the in-depth nature or, dare I say it, the gravitas of the aforementioned “True Life” series. But in this day and age, where the average age for a first marriage is late 20s and early 30s for those holding graduate degrees, it’s a fascinating look at those willing to walk down the aisle where many others fear to tread.

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