Tinley Park doesn’t want its MTV
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org December 11, 2013 12:29PM
Updated: January 14, 2014 12:11PM
Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said that, with 42 years as a high school counselor under his belt, he’s far from naive about the issue of teen pregnancy.
But when he heard that producers of a television program that he says “glorifies unwed (teen) mothers” planned to film in the village, the longtime mayor wanted no part of it.
MTV’s “16 and Pregnant,” which began casting this summer for its upcoming fifth season, is following the pregnancy of an Andrew High School student and was denied permission by Consolidated High School District 230 to film her at the Tinley Park school.
Each episode of the program follows a period of five to seven months “in the life of a teenager as she navigates the bumpy terrain of adolescence, growing pains, rebellion and coming of age; all while dealing with being pregnant,” according to MTV.
Some filming of the teen and her mother was completed last month at Parmesans Wood Stone Pizza in Frankfort, Parmesans’ owner, Michael Papandrea, said Wednesday.
Zabrocki said he learned that the program’s producers also were considering filming at Parmesans Station, a cafe that Papandrea operates in Tinley Park’s 80th Avenue Metra station in space that he leases from the village.
The mayor said he went to Parmesans Station about two weeks ago and talked with a manager to pass word along to Papandrea that the village didn’t want cameras filming there.
“It portrays a bad image of the village,” Zabrocki said.
Papandrea said that while producers of the show tentatively had planned to film at the Tinley Park station, he squelched the idea even before the mayor expressed his view.
“I agreed with his (Zabrocki’s) opinion,” Papandrea said, adding that the show’s producers “never, ever” pushed him to allow filming at the 80th Avenue station.
Zabrocki said he caught an episode a few months back while channel surfing.
“The premise may be laudable, but in practicality it (the show) glorifies unwed (teen) mothers,” he said. “I really don’t think a whole lot of it.”
The mayor said the program could “give a bad impression to these girls that this may be one way for them to get their moment of glory.”
An MTV producer had sought approval this summer, before the start of the school year, to film at Andrew, but “the administration declined to have the television show tape on school property as it would be disruptive to the educational process,” said Carla Erdey, a spokeswoman for District 230.