MTV cancelled Finding Carter, and it really sucks—especially since they played this stupid waiting games with everyone for a month and a half since the season 2 finale—but it was greatly flawed in terms of controversy, its themes, and the characters.
If you’ve not watched the show but plan to, obviously this post has spoilers.
Screenshot of a scene from the fourth episode of the first season because it’s Kat Prescott.
Genetic (egg) donation
The series’ number one flaw and problem was the way it was marketed in terms of the twins’ (Carter and Taylor) “real” mother. Elizabeth Wilson is their “real” mother biologically. Lori Stevens is just the egg donor; she signed away her rights when she donated her eggs, whatever reason she donated them for.
I spent DAYS to WEEKS researching what terminology families who have used egg donors use, as well as how they address the situation(s). The way Finding Carter handled this major, most important theme throughout its development was extremely disrespectful to several families, even more so when, on social media accounts for the series, fans were asked about the twins’ “real” mother.
Lori Stevens was never their “real” or “biological” mother. Lori didn’t give birth to them. Her only relationship to them EVER was her genetics—her eggs. That’s it. Elizabeth is the one who carried the twins and gave birth to them; she had fertility issues, but WHY did the show have to hold that against her? Yes, she gave birth to Grant without “help”, but it’s not uncommon.
I spent a month researching the most respectful terminology to use and enforce on the Finding Carter Wiki…it wasn’t that difficult to do. You literally just have to plug yourself into the community and start asking tasteful questions. You ask around—you don’t assume you know best, and look at the situation with a black-and-white mindset.
In writing my LGBTQ+ characters, I don’t assume I know everything based on my experiences and interactions alone. I research. I read stories of others’ relationships; I ask my friends questions, or I ask them if perhaps their friends would be up to answering questions.
The way Finding Carter covered genetic donations is similar to the way Parenthood covered autism: horrendously awful.
The first season was great; it had loads of promise.
However, when you entitle something that is so specific to one theme, what about after? Finding Carter is all about FINDING Carter, the new name of Lyndon Wilson, who was abducted when she was three years old.
Thus, there’s only so much “finding” you can do before it just gets old and becomes that ridiculous “teens will be teens” nonsense.
Season 2’s premiere episode was great…everything following it felt like the show was reaching for an unobtainable object that they are still trying to figure out the name, looks and feeling of, which may not even be where they’re reaching.
It’s like if a series entitled Living with Mom launched: If the protagonist moved into their own place, the series would basically be done for…what is the purpose of the title? You would need to change it to something else, similarly to the way Little House on the Prairie became Little House: A New Beginning.
In the second season, Finding Carter’s focus changed to the Wilsons and what they were doing, so…perhaps it should have been changed to The Wilsons? If not, perhaps even Finding the Wilsons. Elizabeth often struggled to get in touch with David whilst he was busy on his book tour doing who knows what, while Carter was sticking her nose in Ben’s business, because she felt the need to sort out his life for some really weird reason…I get that he’s her brother, but seriously? It all just felt smushed together as if filler content was necessary.
Season 2 would have been great had its first twelve episodes been the end of the season; the latter twelve added development to many of the characters, but it felt like I, as a dedicated viewer—despite the series’ number one flaw—of this show, was being ripped off. Everything was flown together, some characters did things way out of their character, and drama was added to relationships last-minute and extremely poorly.
Producers/writers ship Carter and Max, two BFFs and former friends-with-benefits
Who needs the ending when you already know Carter and Max is endgame?
Taylor’s rape…or not?
I watched the scenes several times and still can’t sort out what really happened. Whether she was raped or not, she should have been able to tell her mother, who is a COP. If she was raped, she’d need a rape kit done at a hospital. Moreover, Gabe’s deceased father was a cop…like, I just don’t see the logic.
Taylor’s basically a mommy’s girl, and…these two teens’ parents may have had an affair together, but they were also cops. Why is rape still being used as a plot ploy? It was 2015. I thought we were over that already.
Putting damsel Taylor Wilson in distress so the guy who’s finally realised his love for her can rescue her JUST so he can express how much he loves her is a sad attempt at killing time and furthering their development.
We obviously know Taylor and Max are gonna break up, since Emily Whitesell already dropped that lil’ big bombshell, but you don’t need some overly masculine dude rescuing a whiny princess to prove how much they’re meant to be. Like, can we PLEASE stop with guys on TV not respecting their crush’s relationships—or thinking being friends is THE worst thing? Because the majority of the Finding Carter fan base are teens, and on Tumblr, too many fangirls already think Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” song is a positive influence—that that kind of jealousy is a good thing.
What would have made it better
Proper (or at least more respectful) terminology regarding genetic donation
Perhaps hanging out with Charlise has made me more aware of various mommy things (she is a surrogate for an adorable, funny fam), but the advertising of this series—and encouragement to the fanbase—in regards to Carter’s “real mom” got old quickly. If that’s how Carter and/or Taylor felt, then so be it. They’re teens, yeah? But I would expect the writers for a series airing on the very television network who brought the world Teen Wolf, the TV series, to be, well, respectful. Because this is the #1 thing that bugged me throughout the whole thing.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised now. MTV’s probz gonna take away the second gay couple on Teen Wolf, no matter how much I need #Morey in my life. Why should I expect them to take egg donation seriously?
The best friends are #endgame? Really? Again, it was 2015. I’m so tired of watching television shows and movies about best friends winding up together—especially if they’re straight. I’m just sick of it.
Carter likes bad boys…why did Max have to be #endgame for her? I mean, I assume Taylor would have then wound up with Gabe, who didn’t realise he loved Taylor until she was with Max…and Gabe even went on a date with Taylor! He was too hung up on her twin sister, Carter. After Carter, he began seeing his high school counselor…he likes the chicks he can never have. Taylor likes people she can try to change…
When you include trope after trope after trope, the story becomes predictable. The great thing about Degrassi, a long-running teen drama series filmed and set in Canada, is that, whilst there are tropes here and there, it’s a bit unpredictable…because they don’t only include tropes.
Acknowledge Carter’s Stockholm Syndrome
Carter wholeheartedly believed Lori was the mother in which she was supposed to be with, in that Lori didn’t kidnap Carter. The Wilsons went to counseling in…two episodes? Why wasn’t Carter sent to counseling alone? Why didn’t the family even consider Stockholm Syndrome? It would have been much better than just making Carter out to be a trouble child who kept doing this and that.
What the hell was that between Bird and Madison? Was Bird’s pregnancy really pertinent to the overall happenings? How did Ben’s foster sister’s part play a role in the story, aside from the hilarious moment at the house party, wherein Carter delivered her whole life story to the receptionist-type person?
There were a lot of things that just…didn’t add up, or feel like they fit well into the show, and ended up being like filler content. >.<
Many of the actors were really good, but…the writing, or the overall story/plot, didn’t do them much justice.
I’ll miss Finding Carter, because it was a good series for 1.5 seasons, but I do think it’s for the best that it ended. No longer do I have to see things about “Carter’s real mom” or “Carter’s biological mom”, or people arguing over which mother is better.
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It straight pisses me off that it ended after 2 season. Like what happened to max after he confessed to killing Jared? I personally think it should start back up. Do carter and crash end back up together? Did Ben die? You can’t just leave fans hanging around wondering these things. We need finding carter back!
I’d love to see a reboot, possibly with Max out of prison or getting out soon, and then feature flashbacks that would give us answers from the cliffhanger. The creator of the show said Carter and Max were “endgame” in an interview, so … who knows?
MTV decided to dump its fictional drama shows in exchange for the bigger money-makers that are reality TV. I’m not sure how that’s fared for them, but it seems MTV is unlikely to pick it up again/do a reboot. I’d really like to see Netflix pick it up, because at least then there wouldn’t necessarily be a need to keep it PG—they work outside the restraints of network television. The show probably would’ve succeeded better had it not been on MTV, but Freeform or The CW, because Finding Carter was intensely different from MTV’s other dramas, and Freeform and CW have the audience demographic required for Finding Carter. I mean, it was almost like The Fosters demographics-wise.