'Secret Life of the American Teenager:' Out with grandma, in with the baby

Americanteenager_lWhen Secret Life first began, we all thought that Amy losing her baby by way of abortion or adoption would mean no more show. And say what you want to about the summer hit — annoying characters: check! laughable writing and acting: check! pushy conservative Christian vibe: check! — but they’ve (at least) succeeded in developing the characters on the show to the degree that we barely need a teenage mom to keep us tuning in. Am I right, people?

And anyways, Amy’s not going anywhere. The kooky new gal on the Secret Life block is "Mimzy," Mrs. Juergens’ brightly decorated, scarf-and-bauble-adorned mother. She storms onto the show with a nonjudgmental attitude about her pending great-grandmotherdom and starts planning Amy’s future — including her wedding to Ben and where the baby will sleep. Although an odd way to introduce her Alzheimer’s, Mimzy proves to be incapable of taking care of Amy after she suggests they keep the baby in the utensil drawer in the kitchen. So the "little complication" Amy kept mentioning in all of the promos for the show was no miscarriage, just her aborted plans to escape to Grandma’s house for the rest of her pregnancy. 

While Ben’s finding out that the next step in obsession is hallucination, Amy’s BFFs Lauren and Madison are back in the show’s periphery once more. Ricky wants contact with Amy — and not the kind that got her preggers in the first place, we hope at least — so he approaches Madison for her number. Thinking that Ricky is also hitting on her, Madison and Lauren begin a silly catfight over who he’d rather do. (Answer: either/or ladies, this guy’s just horny and probably not too selective.)

addCredit(“‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’; Ron Tom”)

Ben’s friends Alice and Henry are also front and center –dating, obsessing over masturbation, and fighting. Their lover’squarrel begins when Alice reveals that she too pleasures herself. Henryequates this to her cheating on him — because she will sleep with herselfand not him, obviously. His quest to figure out who she "left-clicksthe mouse to" is adorable, but her final answer left this GenderStudies major guffawing on her couch. There’s no way Alice, our leadingfeminist lady of snark, would ever fantasize about her firstsexual experience with Henry being on their honeymoon in Paris wearing a wedding dress. She’d be all about domestic partnership — duh!

Adrian is on a quest to find her estranged father and fix all thosenasty daddy issues. Another iffy storyline is between her and hunkycounselor Marc Molina — is she really trying to seduce him, or justget what she wants? I guess the writers and producers of the show don’tthink we’ll get that she’s "sexy and spicy" unless they have hersashaying up to every male character that she speaks to. I think Adrianis a smart cookie with good intentions, and her heart really belongs toRicky. Anyone else sympathizing with her?

There is, thankfully, no camera time for the Bowman parents thisepisode, and their only mention is actually a refreshing one. Gracereveals that her wishes for Amy to have the baby are not entirelyselfish. She thinks that adoption is a great plan — because it’s herchoice, right? — and introduces Ricky to the idea by revealing thather brother was actually adopted. On the Juergens front, Mr. issleeping at his furniture warehouse and Mrs. is trying tounsuccessfully hide her failing marriage. Hopefully it’s only a matterof time before Mr. Juergens skips town. And who knows? Maybe MollyRingwald will find her acting chops in playing a single mom! 

If you guys missed the show last night, save some room in your TiVo and watch full episodes online with ABC Family viewing parties. Here, you can invite friends and other fansof the show to watch and gossip with you while you watch the show. Thisis especially perfect if your roommates cringe whenever you turn theshow on (thankfully, mine are into it now). How have your householdsresponded to your Secret Life obsessions? Is this a show thatyou guys are watching with your families or are you sitting aroundgiggling and rolling your eyes with fellow high-school grads?

Comments (29 total) Add your comment
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  • julie

    My 15 yr old daughter and her friends make this show a must watch every week. In the beginning, they too thought that if Amy lost the baby the show would be over, but now they do not want her to keep the baby and kind of want the baby storyline to be over and move on to other storylines.
    Its interesting to hear their opinion of the characters. My daughter says she is not going to have children, she is just going to adopt chinese orphans,so we shall see. We live in a city, so this is giving them a taste of what its like to live in a town where everybody knows everybody elses business. AND… they think that maybe Amys dad is Adrians dad, too.

  • Em

    Ben’s obsession with Amy is starting to really creep me out.

  • missy

    I love this show. It gives kids the side of teenage pregnacny the side that isnt so great. Plus I love the people in the show. As for the story line with amys dad thats the only part I dont like. Afterall Why would anyone cheat on Molly? She’s still beautiful even after all these years.

  • Emily

    I know this show is pretty terrible, but I can’t stop watching! My husband rolls his eyes whenever it is on…I don’t know, I don’t remember high school being this way, but it has been a while…anyway, in real life, my parents would have taken out a restraining order on Ben by now.

  • Tate

    “It gives kids the side of teenage pregnacny the side that isnt so great.”
    Outside of having sex with teenagers (which I haven’t been able to do in about twenty years, by the way), IS there a great side of teenage pregnancy?

  • Eli

    Obviously, the writers of this show have never know anyone with Alzheimer’s (one does not become delusional, but increasingly forgetful), nor school counselors (who don’t have enough time to deal with academic matters less time to chat) and especially the writers must never have me a teenager.

  • Caroline

    My mom is an elementary school counselor, and she really does talk to kids about personal issues. So do the counselors at my high school. That’s pretty much their job. But some schools also have peer listening programs where students act as counselors for other students. So the shows portrayal of school counselors isn’t inaccurate.

  • Katy

    I’m seventeen and I enjoy talking about this show with my best friends (an eighteen-year-old boy and a sixteen year old girl), as well as watching it with my parents ( Although my dad tends to complain about its “liberal overtones”.)

  • kristin

    Katy- what liberal overtones???

  • Silv

    School starts early around here, so until last week I watched this show with both my college-age daughter and HS-sophomore son. Gotta say it’s a real gigglefest between the 3 of us, but because the writers truly make us cringe. Is anyone else embarrassed for these actors? The premise is good, they just need to spend time in a high school or shadowing some kids, for goodness’ sake.

  • Silv

    Katy, I agree with Kristin below, this show’s as conservative as they come! How conservative is your dad?

  • tina

    Molly Ringwald used to be able to act. What happened? Now she just stares and glares a lot, and thinks that suffices.
    Why couldn’t dad have come home from ‘North Carolina,’ and still not have mentioned separation? You know, pretended everything was fine?
    How can a lady who wants to put a baby in a drawer and marry off her 15-year-old granddaughter figure out they’re separated?
    Who really, and so blatantly, undermines their daughter with the sentiment that ‘you’re an idiot, and your husband will agree with me’?

  • tina

    The writers have obviously never (among other things) tried to get a birth certificate in California. You walk into the County Recorder’s office, fill out a form, and pay $12. End of story. They don’t even ask for your ID — even if you’re asking for a certified copy. (This is why the notion of a national ID is a joke.)
    A real security guard would have called the cops.
    A real counselor would have suspended them.
    This show is a joke. An amusing one, but a joke.
    Again, so much wasted potential.

  • tina

    One last thing — for all the overdone, hysterical Christianity (my high school friends were PKs, and even they didn’t behave like this) and the all-or-nothing approach to sex, religion, and family life, I have to say that Hampton and Co. shocked the hell out of me (in a good way) with the inclusion of (and attitude toward) the gay store help. Kudos for surprising me, and for a positive reflection of a usually trashed and targeted subset.

  • The End Is Near

    The fact that any of you watch this show is proof of the further decline of our culture. Go outside and work out you pathetic group of fatties.

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