The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Not-So Secret?
Reviewed by Kristen, age 19, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a teenage drama on ABC Family currently in the middle of its second season. The episodes are shown in hour long segments once a week during their regularly scheduled time, Mondays at 8 o'clock. The show is a huge hit and millions have watched as the drama unfolds. Secret Life centers around a group of teenagers, all in high school, who deal with similar social and personal issues teenagers in real life deal with today. Divorced parents, teen pregnancy, pre-marital sex, cheating, keeping secrets, rumors, and death are just a few topics its writers attempt to cover. Secret Life attempts to reveal a world of teenagers to viewers, young and old, in which the "secret life" is exposed. However, how realistic is the show and how "secret" are their lives?
The main teen couples on the show are Ben and Amy, Ricky and Adrian, and Grace and Jack. The love triangles here are endless: Amy birthed Ricky's baby after she lost her virginity to him at band camp one summer. Adrian had oral sex with Jack. However, Grace and Adrian are best friends. The list goes on.
Each couple tries to portray an image, but the "secret" is that they are not this way at all. Amy and Ben are allegedly in love and the "perfect" couple; however, Amy treats Ben pretty harshly in recent episodes. Ben may have also had sex in Italy over the summer, but it is ambiguous as to whether this is true or not. Grace and Jack try to be the "innocent" Christian couple, however they have had sex and want to do it again ... secretly. Ricky and Adrian are the "not-so innocent" couple, have lustful sex, do not even consider themselves a couple, and they seem to be secretly in love. However, they both have family backgrounds that prevent them from showing love in a healthy manner.
If I get into the parents' situations, this article will be a novel long. What's important to know is that all of the parents are either divorced in the past or present, deceased, or simply out of the picture. Amy's parents are divorced, but have had another baby together, Ben's mother died while he was young, Jack's father died and his mom has re-married, Grace's dad has recently died, Adrian's parents are getting back together, and Ricky has moved out of his foster home at the age of 17. The roles of all the parents in the drama are important, as most of them try to be parents in the best way they can. In an ever-changing society, the parent must deal with various issues, such as teaching children about birth control or a death in the family, and are advocates for parents in real life who go through the same thing every day.
But I have to ask, how secret can a life be when everyone's parents know what's going on? From whom are the secrets or double lives of the characters kept when everything is exposed to the other characters and millions of viewers? I believe the title, The Secret Life of the American Teenager has ironic origins. Things simply are not a secret. The show is a drama, literally. When one problem is resolved, another one takes its place. Who knew that Ben would leave Amy home while going to Italy all by himself? Who knew Grace would want to have sex in the first place? These are just a few questions that this past season has given viewers. Can the drama ever stop? But I suppose the show could not go on without this kind of action-packed drama.
Secret Life is well done overall. The acting may be a little off at times, but in the end the messages they attempt to portray are clear: sex complicates relationships and can lead to unwanted pregnancies; open and honest relationships are good for any age; one should always seek a parent if they are in a dilemma; sometimes parents have to lie; learn who your best friends are; and do not take a cry for help lightly.
This show is highly recommended for anyone seeking either entertainment or validation of their own issues. I would give this show 3.5 stars (of a possible 5).