Screen: Oxygen

How Too Young To Marry Are These Couples?

One is just young. The other is way too young. And whatever this freak says, do the opposite.

Meet the first of our young marriage-minded couples: Shanice and Bradley, college students from Mississippi; and Angel and Kevin, a cater-waiter and unemployed go-go dancer respectively, from Bayonne, NJ. Both couples want to get married ASAP. Nobody involved is old enough to drink legally.

But who's the too-youngest to get married? The couples, in order of least prepared to deal with the adult implications:

Angel and Kevin

Oh, boy. These two don't give off a couple vibe at all as they explain that they met in high school, and that Angel knew Kevin was gay "because of his hair, and he was dating some girl" at the time. Maybe it's because Kevin doesn't have a ton of personality; maybe it's because they haven't actually had sex yet. Kevin is a virgin, you see, and is waiting for marriage. (Spoiler: at least until he gets drunk.) But Kevin's the one who took the knee, so you wonder how much of this is just about wanting to get it in…or, conversely, a pie-in-the-sky belief that his first experience with anal will be less uncomfortable if it's under the marital aegis. …What? It's the only rationalization I can think of.

Angel, who's working three jobs to pay for the wedding, made Kevin quit his job as a go-go boy, but harasses Kevin constantly about buying him a better engagement ring and why is he so cheap, Angel is supporting them, blah dee blah. Kevin doormats that he supports Angel emotionally? Right? Is this thing on?

You feel for Angel, whose born-again Christian mom celebrates her son's 19th birthday by commenting that her son's sexual preference is "a popular thing right now ... like a fashion to a lot of these kids" and informing Kevin that he and Angel aren't a couple, all in front of Angel's friends. Angel flees to the bathroom to cry, and Kevin comes in to say wisely that Angel has to accept that his mom is not on board, and try to move forward without wanting that -- just one reason Angel is not mature enough to get married right now.

Kevin is also not mature enough to get married right now, because Angel's controlling bullshit gets him so stressed out that he gets drunk and gives up the V card to another guy. (He got REALLY drunk, too, I think; he records a video diary talking about how he fucked up, and he looks like he's transmitting from the bottom of a vodka-toniquarium after throwing up for four hours.) I get the feeling that this happened before filming even started, because the climactic "take your cheap ring back, whore" fight feels acted, and not well, either. Maybe that's why it put me in mind of Clerks, and that line about how high school is algebra, bad lunch, and infidelity.

After a few days of hard-core sulking and vogue therapy, and an unproductive discussion in which Kevin basically blames Angel for forcing him to cheat, Kevin borrows a few hundo from the producers (I'm assuming) and leaves Angel a gift trail. Angel relents, and they go for a carriage ride in Central Park, where Kevin produces a shiny but practical ring and asks if Angel will marry him "someday." As of when screeners got sent out, they're still working on their relationship, but between the total lack of family support (we never see Kevin's family), Kevin's microscopic relationship experience (and equally tiny backbone), and Angel's desire for "a Carrie Bradshaw wedding" (apparently forgetting also that the huge fooferaw wedding blew up on the launch pad in the S&TC movie, precisely because it got so big that, uh, Big freaked out), I think these two need to wait. And to not marry each other, prolly.

Shanice and Bradley

Shanice and Bradley got together a year ago, and engaged five months ago -- and they act like a couple. Several of the home videos show him doing random crap like dancing and snacking, and the patented hair flip that "got" Shanice when they first met, which is cute. They also do more of that silent-communication thing that "established" couples do (and Angel and Kevin did not, at all).

You could certainly argue that they've gotten together more for safe-haven purposes than out of true love; Shanice's mom, Sharon, did her best, but they lived out of the car for a while, while Bradley's mom, June, got out of her abusive marriage by joining the Army…and basically not coming back. Bradley grew up in a rundown trailer, raised by his grandparents.

But they both have full scholarships to their respective schools, and they seem to like each other, versus the drama of their relationship. Alas, Sharon is not into the marriage idea -- because, it's implied, she's having to cede a lot of her closeness with Shanice to Bradley -- and Bradley's family is even more against it.

Bradley's family…I have to say, even if he kind of hates Shanice, he should marry her just to spite his sister, Marie, who took a break from eating corn through a fence (a fence made of grease, PS) to meet him for coffee and literally hit him, hard, upside his head because he's transferring from Ole Miss to Southern Mississippi to be closer to his fiancé. Just one of her mal mots: "I'll laugh my ass off when you get divorced from that stupid bitch." Wow. Bradley is like, so, we're done here. Smart boy.

But his family's not done, oh no. June has not seen her son in four or five years, but she flies in to read his beads. And I do mean "read"; she sounds like someone's reading her lines to her off-camera. Marie had the same weird Shatnerian delivery, so either this is completely contrived instead of just mostly, or something about these women is [lowers voice, twirls finger next to temple] not right. June is obviously projecting her own regrets about her past onto Bradley, who's like, she's never been there for me so she really doesn't get to go bonkers on me now. (Bradley's also of the mind that June wouldn't care that much, or at all, if Shanice weren't African-American, and given the repeated dog-whistling about Shanice "conning" Bradley and what if she gets pregnant and so on, I'm pretty sure he's right.)

But June and her terror tooth make one solid and unfortunate point: the wedding can't happen for the kids without parental consent, which the state of Mississippi requires for those under 21. This is one instance where it seems like Shanice and Bradley might be in over their heads, since you'd think they'd have investigated that, but as a recently minted veteran of dealings with the Marriage Bureau, it's always some goddamn thing you feel stupid for not checking on way sooner.

But with that said, and despite Shanice's reluctance to elope because she doesn't want to look back and remember her mom not being there, I don't think they're too young. It might not work out, but they're more focused on the marriage (versus the wedding) than some people ten years older. Go to Vegas, children. And don't ever talk to Bradley's relatives anymore, because they're gross.

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