Teenage girl gets pregnant, everyone around her suffers for it.
I have an admission to make. I volunteered to review The Secret Life of the American Teenager because my wife loves the show and would be happy that I got it for her. This, in no way, is something I would ever tune into watch on TV.
That being said, I am also willing to give anything a fair chance. Just because something is not geared towards me doesn’t mean it is something I won’t find some guilty pleasure in watching. In some aspects, there are guilty pleasures to enjoy in Secret Life, but as a whole it is not anything I want to tune in to watch on TV now that I have given it not just one, but two seasons of chances.
What originally drew me to this show was the presence of Molly Ringwald. I was really interested in seeing what the quintessential eighties teenage girl could bring to a television show about a teenage girl living in today’s society. What always interested me in Ringwald’s film career was that, even as a boy, I related to what she was going through. Whether it is Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink, she was the character that was in the right and the character I would follow.
On Secret Life of the American Teenager, I can’t find the will to stand behind any of the kids on this show. They are all self centered and, as a parent myself, I am disgusted at the decisions they make. I understand we are supposed to be seeing what it is like to be a teenage parent and this show is developed to be a tool to discourage kids from promiscuous sex. However, seeing how hard it is to be a teenage parent is one thing. To see a lead character like Amy make the decisions she makes – and the show presents her as someone who believes she is always wronged when she can’t spend time with her friends instead of caring for her own child – there is no way I can sympathize with her.
I don’t feel sorry for her. I don’t feel sympathetic towards her plight. I feel sorry for her kid. Amy is then surrounded by other kids who are even more pathetic than she is. There isn’t a teenager on this show that is worth a damn. The show is ran by the same creators who gave us 7th Heaven and that show, as preachy and presumptuous as it is, presents kids is a better light than this one ever attempts to.
What disgusts me is that this is a realistic view of how teenage parents act. There are so many shows on TV now presenting real life kids with babies and they act just as poorly as the ones on this show, making it a realistic depiction, but it is not something I care to see. The first season goes along at a nice pace, typical for a night time soap, but once the baby is born it is all downhill from there.
I mentioned in the start of this discussion that there are some guilty pleasures to like about the show. Two of these are Molly Ringwald and Mark Derwin as Anne and George, Amy’s parents. They are great characters and Derwin is especially hilarious in his role. The moments when the story gets away from the self centered brats and focuses on the lives of the adults, the show takes a dramatic upswing.
However even these moments get ridiculous when it seems to appear at times like everyone is connected to everyone else in one way or another. It never feels natural and always comes across as someone is writing it, telling us how to feel. There is a way for a television series or movie to give you its versions of life’s little lessons. This show fails and feels like nothing more than a bad after school special.
The first season only has a short On the Set with the Cast feature and a song to download from Jesse McCartney. The second season is not much better with more on set revelations as well as a stupid interview segment where the cast talks about their characters and one more song, this one by “The Strange Familiar”.