A SundanceTV Original Series
Produced by Jamie Oliver, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Chuck D

Another One Bites the Dust

Watching this episode was the most frustrating, sad experience for me. Right from the start is bad news: Kyle’s dad confirms he won’t be coming back – and the attention shifts to Tyla.

Tyla’s case is maddening to me. Throughout the episode (and previous ones) you pick up certain clues: she’s 17. She’s about to have a baby, she’s been couch surfing at friend’s houses, her mom lets her do what she wants, she has anger issues… Okay. Fine. But she also used to be a straight A student. She used to be a cheerleader. She used to love school. So what went wrong?

Through a series of interviews, Tyla reveals she left home at fifteen. FIFTEEN. (record scratch). Because she didn’t like her mom’s boyfriend – or her mom telling her what to do. Now, I am sympathetic. When I was fifteen I hated my mom. If I could have left I would have – but my mom told me if I left, she’d call the cops and I would end up in juvenile hall. So I stayed. Which leads me to WHAT THE HELL, TYLA’S MOM? You just let your fifteen year old daughter (A MINOR) up and leave? You let a fifteen year old girl call all the shots in her life when she’s clearly not equipped to? A year later, while couch surfing she gets pregnant? Two years later she’s a high school dropout? That’s on you, lady. Wow. No wonder Tyla has anger issues. I’d be pretty pissed too if, deep down, I felt like my mom threw me out over a boyfriend and didn’t fight for me.

What’s even more frustrating is, in the beginning of the episode, Tyla finally seems to come alive. She’s engaged at the Science museum. During a talk with Jesse Jackson she says she wants to be a heart surgeon – the only time during this whole process she has admitted to having a dream of some sort. And it’s an ambitious one.

But she shuts down when Jesse Jackson calls her mom and says Tyla needs to come home. Tyla clearly doesn’t want to go home. And it’s downhill from there. She falls asleep in Chris Jordan’s photography class (and ends up being asked to leave), she freaks out during Cara Santa Maria’s class when she has to taste an actual vegetable which she calls disgusting (side note: she’s admitted to only eating chicken nuggets, fries and chips. Another WTF moment).

And her final straw is when Steven and Chris try to talk with her about her behavior. Instead of taking Suze’s class, she opts to leave the school for good. Despite being only days away from graduating.

You can’t help but be depressed and angry at Tyla walking away – not just for and with her, but for her baby. I think Suze put it best, when, after learning Tyla left, used the situation as a lesson for the rest of the class.

“It’s sad for Tyla but its great for the other students to see how your future is in your hands,” Suze said. “The choice to not be here was her choice – the most important thing all of you can learn in life is that YOU make the choices in your life… Everytime you make a choice to leave I ask you to think of Tyla – do you stay? Do you leave? Make the right choices… got that?”

Afterwards, during our interview, Suze added this:

Not sure what this player is used for, but we’re now using it for the Mammas e-Card. — mikecags, 5/1/13 16:41

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Paula Froelich (@PFRO) – journalist, novelist, NATJA award-winning travel writer, queen of random, fun facts, and social anthropologist.