Television Review: The Secret Life of the American Teenager Spring Finale

3/23/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

The Secret Life of the American Teenager Spring Finale (Season 2 Finale)

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

“Secret Life” fans found that they needed a road map or a diagram to follow the several character and plot developments for the second season of the extremely popular ABC Family drama. Monday night’s season finale did little to tidy up any of the messy webs, instead leaving every option open for the season three premiere set for June 2010.

While the first season of “Secret Life” revolved around the pregnancy of teenager Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley), the second season tackles Amy’s struggles as a teenage mother, but also shifts focus onto the personal, intertwining issues affecting Amy’s friends and family. The hook-ups, break-ups and personal revelations of the last few months are too many to recalls, but this is where we are at the end of the season:

There doesn’t seem to be a romantic path for teenage parents Amy and Ricky, but they do come to an important understanding concerning their son, John. Despite Amy’s fierce reservations, she agrees to let Ricky take John during the weekends. While they stumble again over the issue of their son’s first birthday, they eventually come to a solution that suits everyone. But the united front presented by Amy and Ricky triggers an emotional outburst from Ben when he leaves a declarative message on her phone.

Ben’s hopes for a future with Amy is quickly deflated, along with Adrian’s excitement over her mom and dad getting married, when Adrian learns that she may be pregnant with Ben’s baby. This upsets Grace, who has feelings for Ben. Grace also is worried that if Adrian is pregnant,  she will terminate the pregnancy, so she turns to fellow Christian and ex-boyfriend Jack with the issues at hand. Jack has other things to worry about, however, like embarking on a sexual relationship with girlfriend Madison, who is a virgin and not very prepared for their next step.

Amy’s sister, Ashley, has spent most of her time observing and gaining perspective, but things become more complicated when she starts dating Grant. Ashley doesn’t want to engage in a sexual relationships and she doesn’t think it will get that far, but she has also learned that even the most unexpected things could happen and tells her father she wants to be on birth control. And, as Leo and Betty’s wedding approaches, George Juergens becomes more convinced that he and Anne should remarry, but Anne has different thoughts.

“Secret Life” is a mountain of nearly incestuous melodrama, enough to make you want to give up on the show. But the huge ratings show that viewers can’t get enough. Why are so many people tuning in even when the show's writers aren’t investing in clear and believable character developments? I don’t think it's because of the random but familiar faces that pop up (Blossom, Sandra Huxtable’s husband Elvin and the chick from “A Different World”), although those are fun.

I guess it's the open dialogue about sex. Its hardly believable that teens and adults would engage in conversations about sex so openly, but it is fascinating. What other television program (especially family programming) presents extended exchanges about birth control, oral sex and masturbation? And maybe what is more important is that they come at these discussions from different angles and perspectives.

The “Secret Life” season two finale beat “Gossip Girl” in the ratings. Maybe viewers are enjoying the dialogue more than the action.

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