Normalizing Or Condemning? MTV’s Take On Driving Under The Influence

driving under the influence

Image from US Weekly

The only thing that’s true about reality television is that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Television shows that give people a glimpse into the life and drama of strangers have been extremely popular for a long time, but what happens when a reality TV show highlights something that’s illegal, dangerous, and definitely not entertainment? That happened recently when MTV made the choice to broadcast one of the stars of Teen Mom OG as he was driving under the influence of drugs.

Ryan Edwards was filmed driving to his own wedding with his fiancé in the vehicle beside him. From the video clip you can see his eyes closing, how he’s having trouble staying awake, and you can hear how his voice sounds slurred. It’s obvious to his fiancé in the clip that he’s under the influence of something, and she shuts the cameras off to confront him.

When the show aired fans were shocked MTV made the choice to air that clip, and many questioned why MTV didn’t step in and stop him when it became clear he was driving under the influence. Given the dangers of DUI and how easily it would have been to crash and kill someone, it’s hard to understand how a major network could justify it.

MTV responded by saying they don’t condone DUI and he was driving without anyone’s prior knowledge of his condition as there was no cameraman in the car. That doesn’t explain why whoever shot the clip for the show didn’t realize he was impaired, or why his fiancé didn’t ask him to immediately pull over.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, street drugs, or prescription drugs isn’t something that should be used to add excitement to a reality TV show. Although MTV did air a disclaimer at the end of the program and provided an update so the public knows Edwards has since sought drug counseling, it’s still a poor choice on behalf of the network. It looks like an attempt to normalize driving under the influence, and let’s hope that’s the last time someone is shown in the middle of a DUI on reality television.

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