Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I can only take so much

I've been watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

I know some people really like it, but for me it is more like watching a train wreck.

In most entertainment one stops being aware of it as entertainment. Usually it is a bad sign if you are noticing the music or special effects, instead of just being carries along by it. It is a really bad sign if you are thinking things like, "She's really one of the better actors. If they were all this good, it wouldn't seem so fake" or "Who writes this dialogue? Have they EVER listened to teenagers?"

You may know that the story revolves around a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl. The whole thing is filled with two dimensional characters: the sardonic sister, the over-the-top dad, the ever-helpful minister, the gay couple, the fifteen-going-on-thirty boyfriend (not the babydaddy), the well-meaning but bumbling guidance counselor, and more. And just to make sure they offend as many people as possible, the only hispanic kid is an incredibly slutty girl while the committed-to-virginity-Christian girl is very, very blonde.

The plot lines are totally unrealistic too. In one episode Amy, her boyfriend and just about the whole teenage cast get fake ID's and Amy and boyfriend get married. Of course they later find out that they aren't really married because of the fake ID's. The thirteen-year-old's fake ID comes in handy when she gets a job as a cocktail waitress for about ten minutes. Oh, she is the only one who still has hers; everyone else's was confiscated by the athletic young man who falsely confessed to making them out of some confused motivation about being a better person. Or something.

But get this: the teenage foster kid who knocked up Amy? He not only has a driver's license; he has his own car!

Right. Like THAT is going to happen.

(I started off planning on writing a serious post about teenagers, sex and pregnancy, but I guess that isn't happening this time around. Maybe later.)


  1. You're making me so glad I don't watch TV. Thanks Yondalla!

  2. I have never seen that show and now I know why. :) Maybe you should write a show on the subject - I would watch that.

  3. This is exactly the reason why we disconnected our satellite dish.

  4. Sadly, I got sucked into that show. When I first saw "Ricky" driving off in his brand-new Prius, that was my exact same thought too!

    Now I watch it because it's campy.

    There's just nothing that can compare to "My So-Called Life."

  5. I've never heard of the show, but foster teens here can get a DL and own a car. Both of our foster teens had a drivers license and one of them had her own car. You take your written test and get a permit when you are 15, but you can only drive with an adult/parent/guardian. At 16 you take the driving test, pass, pay the fee and smile for the camera and voila your a driver, no parent needed.

  6. What channel is this show on?

  7. Here in WI, foster kids can get their DL with parents permission at whatever age other kids do. I doubt they'd have the money for a car and insurance, although I s'pose with a job like any other teenager they could swing it..

  8. I've been seeing the promos for that show in passing, but I've never watched it. What was most notable about it for me was Molly Ringwald in the mother role. Since I am about her age, it was a little unsolicited note to self from the media about my demographic and where it's at ... about to fall off the onbscurity cliff, I guess. LOL.

    This week I caught a new promo for the show. It was a clip of two teens sitting on a sofa talking about the protagonist. I thought, WOW. That's supposed to make me ~want~ to watch the show? The dialog was so unfathomably bad. Any curiosity that I might have had is gone.

  9. Gary could get a driver's license if one or other of his parents would be willing to show up at the driver's license place with him to sign. So technically, it could happen.

  10. I went back and watched the first few episodes on-line. It is better then, in that they seem to know that it is bad -- campy like Mary said.

    I think it works less and less well as the real drama of a fifteen-year-old who is trying to make decisions about her pregnancy increases.

    There are some powerfully good dramatic moments, interspersed with really campy ones. The disjunction becomes more jarring as the series continues.

    Although I have to confess I am getting addicted. TV is an opiate.

  11. ApriGirl8:57 AM

    Delurking again. I'm the one the braces question. Anyway, I watch the show. It really is stupid(more unrealistic that anything), but I find myself wanting to know what happens. My daughter watches with me some times and its an opportunity for me to clear any false information. I would know since I had my son at 16, I have real life experience with the subject.


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