Don't Cancel "Zoey 101"

I hope Nickelodeon doesn't cancel Jamie-Lynn Spears' TV show. I have never watched the damn show to be honest, and I don't plan on ever doing so. I just want them to take a firm stand against all the parents who are running around the country screaming "our 'tweens don't have a role model anymore"! I want Nick to issue a firm statement saying that they aren't going to fire an employee (because Jamie-Lynn is an employee of theirs in a way) because she made a mistake in her personal life. I want them to actually address the issue and piss off the nervous parents who have children that heard their favorite star announce her pregnancy.

As a parent, I think that it's sad that Jamie-Lynn will have to give up what little childhood she has to raise a child. I don't care how much money she has, she is still a child. I already say that her pregnancy is the result of her making an unwise decision as well as having a mother who enabled her to make that decision. I won't digress too terribly far into where her mother messed up because I think I did that already in another blog. I know I did. If not, I'll do that after I finish this.

Nickelodeon has allegedly called on my favorite journalist Linda Ellerbee in hopes of creating a special that discusses teen pregnancy. I hope they actually get it done because it really needs to be addressed. Parents think that not talking about it or saying "don't have sex" will solve the problem of teen pregnancy, but it obviously hasn't. If Nickelodeon does that special, I want it to be played on Nick, Noggin, Nick Jr, MTV, Vh1, PBS, and even good ole Disney. I don't want a powerful show like that to fall on deaf ears. I think that this situation should encourage parents to stop relying on a TV character or actor to serve as a role model for their kids and actually TALK to them.

I have read the countless comments from parents and other writers saying that Nickelodeon should "pull the plug" on the show. More parents even said that they would boycott the channel if they decided to air the next season. Allow me to say that is the dumbest thing you could ever do in my opinion. Here's a breakdown as to why:

*Boycotting and furiously fighting for Jamie-Lynn Spears to be fired and her show cancelled is like saying to your kids that when you make a major mistake (like getting pregnant), you should lose everything. In my opinion, it is the equivalent of turning your back on a child because you don't like what they did. Parents may argue that there are consequences for your actions and I will concur 100%. However, unless there is a clause in JL's contract that says she cannot get pregnant nor can she participate in any unbecoming activities, she should not be fired.

*A parent made a comment on a message board saying "oh well, at least we still have Miley (Cyrus)". What the hell??? How about not letting one teenager serve as the moral compass for your child!?!?! I could see parents of tweens being happy to have Hannah Montana and Zoey 101 as under-sexed, fun, tween entertainment but that is what it should be...just entertainment. Remember, there was a time that parents were happy when Britney Spears came out...

*Controversy often serves as advertisement. In the case of "Golden Compass", it wasn't completely effective, but that's my next blog. You say that you are going to boycott her show, but I'm certain that Nickelodeon and JL have made their money already. Let us not forget that the more level parents have figured that as long as the show itself is entertainment for their kids, JL's private life is none of their business. After all, many parents still allow their kids to watch MTV, and how oversexed is that?

*You boycott Nickelodeon and JL now, and another tween superstar will take her place. It's almost like the cycle of life for entertainment. When one fails, another prevails. Parents turn away from this scandal and push all of their funds and viewership elsewhere and then when that star fades, they find another. You actually never solve the problem!!!

Here's a more effective way to handle this situation: talk to your children!!! Tell them what happened if they don't already know. Have that frank conversation about sex and when you believe the right time for sex should be (whatever you feel that time may be). Keep them posted on what is going on if they are interested because they need to know the truth behind teen pregnancy. Boycotting a station won't stop kids from having sex and it won't help them learn responsibility. I remember back in the days of Saved by the Bell (I'm 25, so that was MY show), there were "Very Special Episodes" that took the focus away from the laughs and talked about the hard truths. While I didn't look to Lisa, Screech, Zach and the crew to be my role models, I did feel like they addressed some of the issues I went through.

In closing, I ask parents not to break out the picket signs on this one. Turn off the TV and have a conversation. And for God sakes, stop relying on celebrities and fictional kids to serve as inspiration for your kids! Stop acting like Jamie-Lynn Spears is the only 16 year old that came home pregnant this year and last but not least, raise your kids like Jamie and Lynn Spears didn't!


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