'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' recap: Will Amy stay or will she go?

Americanteenager_lRevisiting last week’s show for a minute, I think it’s really precious the way Amy asks her mother for permission to marry Ben. The whole barter approach: like, if I do this thing (let’s say, my laundry) will you let me do this thing I want (get a dog)? Except in this case, Amy’s chore is having a baby and her reward — eek! ah! no! — is marrying Ben. For as many eye rolls this episode garnered, it got some serious laughs, and even had a few believably "American teen" moments. My roommate, who was watching for the first time, noted how selfish all of the characters are (and therefore how obviously "high school") — Adrian wants Amy to not have the baby so she can stay together with Ricky, Ben wants her to keep it so they can live happily ever after, Grace wants her to keep it in the name of the Lord. And Amy? The first "A" word (abortion) was so last episode, and in its place is the new "A" word, adoption.

Ugh, so, Mr. Juergens is back and even his warm embraces and squinty-eyed cries can’t win over this gal. Surprisingly, it’s charming his youngest daughter, Ashley, who again delivered the best line(s) of the night. My favorite, when her mother told her she was going to be late for school: "At least I’m not late for my period." Indeed, little one! Our favorite Juergens is experiencing some raging growing pains and starting to resent Amy and all of the attention she’s been getting. I also wondered, with her mentions of condoms and the mystery of who drove her home, that Ashley might be finding that attention elsewhere — say, an older man?

addCredit(“Secret Life of the American Teen: Craig Sjodin”)

When Mrs. Juergens tries to explain who the father of Amy’s baby isto her soon-to-be ex-husband, she simply says, "Ricky, he’s in theband." The spotlight’s on the drummer boy this week as we finally getto see what he wants to do about the baby… sort of. Ricky’s fosterparents are encouraging him to take responsibilities while Adrian isurging him to shirk them. Ricky proves that "daddy issues" are morethan just a girl thing and we really start believing his plight. Or dowe? As much as I’d rather fawn over actor Daren Kagasoff and hisdreamboat eyes, I think his overacting confuses the audience. I stillcan’t discern when he’s being genuine and when he’s lying to get whathe wants.

Ben continues to cross the line from adorably awkward teen to creepydesperate boy. The writers are putting him too far over the edge withall of that "love" talk — if they had lightened up on that all seasonwe would be much more on his side. Even Amy tells him he’s freaking herout. This week, the sausage king and prince are concerned over Amy’spossible departure, although I’m pretty sure she’ll stick around. WhenBen’s dad delivers his weekly dose of phallic symbolism, his words aresurprisingly poignant: "sausage is complicated." That’s saying amouthful.

The second "ugh" of the episode (and by second, I really mean atleast the 25th or so) goes to Grace. Not to even mention the rest ofher family. I apologize for not covering too much of them in my recapsbut it pains me to watch them. Any ideas, PWers, why Adrian stopped offat the Bible-y Bowmans’ house? Do you think her intentions are true orslimy? How long will it be until Ben’s friends actually do it? Whenwill Mrs. Juergens find out about her husband’s affair? And of course,is Amy leaving? Will she put the baby up for adoption?

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  • MC

    I really don’t know why I’m still watching this show. Almost everything about it is so off I can’t stand it. Yet I keep watching to see how much further they will go.

  • anne

    sometimes this show drives me crazy. It is so uneven. The characters seem to change every week depending on the writing. Ricky is either a bad boy with serious issues but a good heart, or a confused bad boy who doesn’t care about anyone but himself or a bad boy struggling to do the right thing even though it goes against every natural instinct or maybe all of the above. Not sure what I think of the confrontation b/w him and Amy’s Dad – the actor seems to be trying. However, i do appreciate Ashley’s comment to Amy after she finally meets Ricky, “Okay, now I understand how it happened.”
    The whole Ben/Amy relationship puzzles me. Their seems to be zippo chemistry b/w the actors and Ben’s love seems way out of porportion. he’s starting to creep me out.

  • tina

    MC, it’s that train-wreck aspect that’s just so alluring. We are rubberneckers, not so much to Amy’s plight, but to the writers’ hamfisted ineptitude.
    I still think this show had potential and could have been really good. For instance, last week, it would have been better all the way around if Amy’s mom had confessed that she’d gotten pregnant and had an abortion, and that while she felt it was right for her at the time, she deeply regretted it. Wouldn’t that have played better all around? Then we’d see consequences, reality, etc. without Amy having to do it herself.
    Curse you, Brenda Hampton! I wish Zwick and Herskowitz had tackled this topic.

  • Ranaye

    I am kinda like everyone else the characters confuse me. They all change from wk to wk……but for some reason I kept watching it every wk….lol

  • ashbo

    MC – ditto exactly. It’s kind of like I love to see how much worse it can get. I can’t stop, although I know it’s not all that good.

  • michelle M

    I agree that the level of ” overacting” is… well… Ughhh. But the story is that of a teenager and the unevenness of emotions and hormones and well how really the adults have never grown up themselves… all this is what makes me watch. because afterall don’t we all know the parents who are immature themselves.. the biblethumping family who thinks its their way( oh i mean Gods way) the creepy boy from highschool who knows he loves you… so forth and so on… it just all fits.

  • pop-off!

    the dialog is horrendous! the acting is so bad, i have seen a lot of these actors in other stuff and they have talent but it’s painful to watch. the show could be good if the stopped with the bad acting and dialog. maybe they need better direction. also why is that avery character is a friggin stereotype? why is the one ethnic character on the show, the school tramp, oh of course her mom is a tramp too? why is it that ricky of course was a abused as a child? not that these things aren’t true, but there are a lot of bad people or school sluts that come from normal backgrounds and families. i wish they would stop with the type casting and my gosh the blonde chick is annoying ands i can’t see her ever being popular in school, she would get on everyones nereves. and why is the younger sister always speaking like shes hooked on phonics?

  • sjames

    this show is crap. the dialogue is crap. the characters are crap. that blonde girl annoys the hell out of me with her holier than thou mentality, and i hate it how she can’t even speak for herself, her parents do that for her. ugh annoying.

  • OK

    i think the show is pretty good but its all so confusing! theres too much to say about all the stuff that confuses me!!! i like the fact it is based on true events and its OK (hense the name OK)but i also like watching it to see what will happen next and if amy will have the baby

  • i luv this show

    i luvthe show y r all of u saying its so funny. it rocks!!!

  • rh

    This show is exactly like Seventh Heaven – it’s a trainwreck, but you can’t stop watching. The acting is horrible; the dialogue is horrible, and yet, I so badly want this show to continue. What is wrong with me?!

  • S

    Lisa I don’t get why EW is fawning over the girl who plays Ashley. Yes, she’s got great lines, yes, she plays the bored, “I hate this family when can I leave” attitude well, but her line delivery is so monotone it’s distracting. Even the tiniest hint of inflection in her voice is a welcome change. I realize the actress is young yet, and I hope she improves. Meanwhile, I don’t know why TPTB want Adrian to be both the school slut and a closet brainiac. Have her back off the sexual relationships with Ricky and Jack! Give her some self-respect! Mind you, I’m amused that we all feel she’s the “ethnic” one (obviously she’s Hispanic), but her character’s last name is the possibly generic or Asian Lee.

  • lmm

    This is the craziest show ever. The blatant Christian ideals being force feed to the audience, the creepy skinny kid wanting to get married at 15, and Molly Ringwald (‘nuh said). But I think the most unbelievable thing about this show is that the Amy girl would have sex with Ricky. Has she even kissed her ‘boyfriend’? However all of its cringe-worthy moments make it so freakin awesome. Go jesus!

  • Austen

    This show is awesome! I’m a teenager myself and I find this show to be surprisingly accurate and funny. Ben and Amy’s relationship is CUTE, people, not creepy!

  • Jemmie

    It is probably ridiculous to try to understand motivation of characters that are completely unbelievable. However, why would Ben’s father encourage his son to marry a girl who is pregnant with another guys’s baby?
    And Ben, will he discover later he is gay? Because he is so obviously acting gay. And what is with his clothes? the plaid shirts, sweaters, vest and even a a suit! And what gives him the right to pressure Amy not to have an abortion? Further, on that point, no one pointed out to Amy that options as far as an abortion are time sensitive.

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