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Amber Portwood: MTV 'Teen Mom' a role model for better or worse?

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John P. Cleary/The Herald-Bulletin/AP

(Read caption) Amber Portwood, the MTV "Teen Mom" reality star, sits quietly in the Madison County jail in Anderson Ind. on June 6, 2012 as a crew from Good Morning America adjusts their recording equipment as they prepared to tape an interview. A recent poll shows that 77 percent of teens said that the show made them realize that parenting is really, really hard.

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The final season of the hit reality show "Teen Mom" begins tomorrow. This means viewers who appreciate a good train wreck can watch the full unraveling of star Amber Portwood, who was ordered last week to serve a five-year prison sentence on drug charges.

Ms. Portwood, who would have been able to avoid incarceration if she had completed a rehab program, told Good Morning America that she had been so depressed that she tried to commit suicide, and that she decided going prison would be the best thing she could do for herself. This despite the fact that she (of course, since this is why she’s “famous” in the first place) has a little daughter.

Now we get to watch the whole downward spiral leading to this mental state. Gee, sounds like great entertainment.

I know we’ve written about this before, but does anyone else out there find this a bit uncomfortable? Or just downright sad and depressing?

Last week we wrote about how the horrified glee directed toward the Bad Mommies of reality television seems like a social release valve for the stressed-out, anxious style of American parenting that's so common today. 

But today I was wondering whether there could be any other purpose served by these tragic examples, perhaps something more positive.

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