'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' recap: A new life for a new mom

Teenager ABC Family's Secret Life of the American Teenager returned last night with the first glimpse at 15-year-old Amy's life post-baby. Instead of hearing Amy complain about being tired and having everyone remind her how much work the baby was going to be, we heard her complain about being tired and everyone reminded her how much work the baby is. I did get a little irritated at her constant snippiness until I remembered: Oh, she's 15. Of course she's bratty. (Toss in that added new mom fatigue and it actually seems to be keeping in line with the character's development.)

Amy's relationship with Ricky seems to have improved, since the teenage lothario has stepped up and truly seems to care about and take responsibility for his newborn son. This being an ABC Family show, it's not surprising that Ricky's turned out to be a good guy after all, but it's still nice to see his character mature. Ben, on the other hand, seems to have taken a step backwards: he's extremely possessive of Amy, and is threatened by Ricky's presence in her life. Sure, he has the right to be a little nervous, and I'm sure the insecurity about being a dorky virgin isn't helping, but I thought it had already been established that Amy and Ricky weren't romantically interested in each other at all. Am I wrong? Or am I still just weirded out by Ben's desire to marry Amy/raise her baby as his own (a storyline the new 90210 totally jacked, BTW).

As for the major changes: first, Grace finally decided to get it on with Jack (after maturely weighing the pros and cons in a neat little monologue and equipping herself with the appropriate birth control, of course). Though Adrian tried to talk Grace out of it and made her realize that one of the main reasons she wanted to have premarital sex was because she didn't want Jack to sleep with anyone else, the good Christian girl had made up her mind. Unfortunately, Jack ran into Grace's mom while sneaking out of the house and inexplicably told her what happened, but she was too upset to react: she had just learned that her husband died in a plane crash.

Second, costar Molly Ringwald's real-life pregnancy has been written into the show: Amy's mother, Ann, found out she was now the one dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. The baby, we've learned, is most likely her new boyfriend's, because George got a vasectomy 10 years ago. (For the record, I still despise George. For every kind moment, like offering up his empty bed so his soon-to-be-ex-wife can get some much-needed shut eye, there are a gazillion skeevy moments, like discussing his soon-to-be-ex-wife's weight with both her mother and her boyfriend.)

Last night's episode seemed a little jokier than before — Ben and Henry talked about Amy's much more endowed chest (though in that trademark Secret Life language where they clinically referred to her "breasts" instead of using slang any actual 15-year-old boys would use). Plus, Ben's dad is now dating Jennifer Coolidge's Betty, definitely unaware of the fact that she's an escort. While I hope Leo doesn't get hurt (I think he's a nice guy), I am all for seeing Coolidge on my screen as often as possible.

I'm thinking these new developments could provide interesting material to build on. Now that the whole "teen going through a pregnancy" plot has played out and the "frustrated young mother" thing is going on, we have room to explore some other topics. Hopefully the writers won't just turn these new problems into issues of the week, instead allowing time for the characters to grieve Marshall's death, deal with Ann's accidental pregnancy, and explore the more emotionally complex aspects of teenage sex (other than "If you have sex, you'll get pregnant!" or "If you have sex, you're the school slut!").

What did you think of the season premiere? Kinda the same, but different (in a good way)? Do you like the stories last night's episode set up? Which new plot point are you most excited about?

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • Kacey

    You know, I knew from spoilers that somebody was going to die, so the minute they talked about Grace’s Dad getting on a private plane, I figured it was him, but I still ended up crying over it. I think it’s set up to be a really good season.

  • sarah

    Now it’s “if you have sex, your daddy will die!”

  • Obviator

    Saw the catch-up-on-the-show marathon. Now I’ve got it down. Totally have sex with everyone whether you are a teen who wants to pretend you are a mature adult or an adult who wants to get it on like you are a teen. Make lots of babies. Mix in a few marriages and divorces. Repeat.

  • Josh

    It seems like the writers are trying to “reboot” the show. Old stories were left behind, unexplored, and many new ones began. It’s almost as if they were unprepared for the show to be this successful and last beyond Amy’s pregnancy.
    My wife and I watch this show and “Weeds” on Monday nights. After watching each one last night, we were both like “what is happening to these shows?”

  • KM

    I liked the different sides they showed to some of the characters. I like that they showed how much Ricky has matured. I bounce back and forth on George. But, I really like the way he offered Ann his bed. Nice George. And I wasn’t Adrian’s biggest fan, but I like the way she tried to stop Grace from having sex. Her arguments were smart, and right.
    But, I really hate that it had to be Grace’s dad who died. Despite her stubbornness in this episode, she truly loved her father, and she’s a good person. The best person on the show, in terms of intentions and personality. She didn’t deserve that to happen to her. And I know the reality is that sometimes bad things happen to good people, but I would have preferred a happier conclusion from a show, an escape from reality. Why couldn’t they have given the story line to any of the other a-hole characters? Grace is too good a person to have that guilt.

  • Bella

    I thought it was good, overall. I am getting tired of Amy’s attitude though. While I know she’s a teen, she’s still coming off a bit too mean. The comments she was making to her mother were just WAAAY off the wall–especially since her mom was pretty cool about the whole baby thing. I like seeing Ricky stepping up and loved him telling Ruben off. ;) I was not aware of the death, so that was a bit upsetting. Well, I knew where it was going after the whole, “I’ll talk to him after he gets home/I’ll be a week older” line and then when Grace’s mom walked in crying. And I must have missed it when they originally said Tom was adopted, because I was wondering why he wasn’t upset and had an “aha” moment when they were at the table.
    But after all is said and done, I thought it was a good first episode. And I agree–love seeing Jennifer Coolidge on the screen, no matter what role she’s in. :)

  • Beth

    I think that we’ll see some interesting scenes develop between George and Grace’s mom Since they were married before, I’m sure George will try to lend support to her. Plenty of room to explore that situation further…all we really know is that she cheated on him and they got divorced. George should be a busy man between his exes and his daughter.

  • Yolanda

    I enjoyed Secret Life last night. It’s nice seeing the growth in Ricky’s character, and I would really like to see he and Ben battle for Amy’s affections. I wish Grace had of stuck to her convictions. Not every teen has to do “it”. Will miss seeing John Schneider as Grace’s dad. I wonder why he left the show.This show is way better than Gossip Girl and the teens actually look and act like real teens. Kudos to Brenda Hampton for creating a show I enjoy immensely.

  • rita

    Did John Schneider want off the show?

    • Ridzwan

      Emily, this has always been my faotrive blog to read because I feel like we have so much in common! ( I have a Mason and my husbands name is Grant!) But I’m a huge Amy fan as well. I saw her in concert the first time when she was 16. Your blog always blesses me and I love the little insprirations from you all over my house! Thank you for all the fun things this week! I pray blessings for you and your family!

  • Kristen

    This sounds terrible but since I heard the rumor about a character dying in the premiere I assumed (and hoped) it would be Grace’s brother, Tom. I just really don’t like that character at all. Though as soon as they mentioned a plane, I knew Marshall would be the one to go. And I cried.
    As for the premiere as a whole, I thought it was good. I still don’t like Amy. Grace and Jack are adorable. And Ashley and George are a great comic duo. I’m loving seeing Jennifer Coolidge on the show as well.

  • Katy

    “If you have sex, your father will die in a plane crash and the rest of your family will resent you!”

  • Becks

    It’s beyond me why anyone watches this show. Not only is it one of the most poorly written shows on TV today, it’s totally obnoxious, just like 7th Heaven was. The situations these kids are put in, the way they talk, the actions they take – all of those things are so contrived! This show not only stereotypes(the hapless band geek, the sexually frustrated born again Christian, the resident bad-girl, the stupid jock, the manipulative “ladies man” with a tragic past) but it makes caricatures of those stereotypes! Take the case of 7th Heaven, dumb the characters down several notches, allow Brenda Whatshername to write her stupid, cheeseball scripts and hire has been adults to act in support of inexperienced child actors and you’ve got this show. It’s embarrassing and should be cancelled immediately.

  • Tina

    90210 did the teen pregnancy story better IMO. Who ever said this show is obnoxious like 7th Heaven is right, but at least the acting and scripts for that series were better.

  • Brandi

    ok, did anybody eles get annoyed with the constent use of the word “sex” i mean omg we get it!!!!!! i felt kinda embarrassed to watch it with my family!

  • Brandi

    did anybody else get annoyed with the constent use of the word “sex” i mean we get it already!!!!
    i was kinda embarassed to watch it with my family

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