Last year, ABC FAMILY took a chance on a series called The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Looking at the title of the series, you could call it just another teen soap. However, those that watched the first season learned that this series was the first one to really talk openly and honestly about teenagers, sex, and more importantly, teenage pregnancy. The third season of the series premiered this month ABC FAMILY and families everywhere were tuned in for record numbers. But lets take a look back at the second season of the series to see how it matched up with the first season.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager focuses on the life of teenager Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley). Amy is your typical 15-year-old girl next door, who plays the French Horn in the band and is part of a typical dysfunctional American family. During a summer at band cap, Amy met her high school band’s player Rickey Underwood (Darren Kagasoff) and with one very quick one night stand, Amy got pregnant and through each episode we see how Amy copes with her pregnancy. Meanwhile, her mother Anne (Molly Ringwald) and her father George (Mark Derwin) who thought they have raised a smart daughter is surprised and shocked that they have to deal with a pregnant daughter along with their younger, rebellious daughter Ashley (India Eisley). Then, you have Benjamin “Ben” Boykewich (Kenny Baumann), the son of a sausage mogul, who loves Amy and is willing to be there for her, not just as a boyfriend but a father if need be. Others characters featured on the series are Grace Kathleen Bowman (Megan Park), who is dating school jock and fellow Christian Jack Pappas (Greg Finley II). Unfortunately, Jack has sex on his mind and can’t think of anything else. Ricky wants to “score” with Grace as well, even though he has an on and off girlfriend Adrian Lee (Francia Raisa).
Season One ended with Amy getting closer to her pregnancy day with Ben there to support her every day after he learns about the pregnancy. The second season of the series goes further into the lives of all of these characters. Amy learns that having a baby is her responsibility and that her expectation of her parents taking care of the baby full time while she attends school goes out the window. Ben is still in love with Amy and ready to take care of the baby. He soon learns that his father won’t share the wealth with him and he has to make money on his own but also has to realize that Rickey will need to be part of Amy’s life whether he likes it or not. Grace, who is the girl who has always practiced abstinence and wanted to wait for the right guy for marriage, is now contemplating sex. Adrian who always gets what she wants sexually now is having to deal with meeting a guy who likes her for her and not her body, and doesn’t want to have sex with her. Jack is busy exploring relationships with women of different ethnicities. Finally, bad boy Rickey has a life changing moment when his abusive father returns to his life and, of course, when the baby gets born.
If you look at all the storylines going on during this season, you could easily pass off The Secret Life of the American Teenager as just another melodramatic teen soap opera. There are times when some storylines do cross that line, but for the most part the melodrama is kept to a minimum. At least when compared to other teen soap operas. The main reason for that is because the teenagers are on this series are like regular teenagers. Teenagers can relate to these characters more, since they don’t flash their money all the time. The theme of sex is not the most important topic during the second season, but that’s mainly due to the fact that a few characters lost their virginity in the first season. But that leads the door open for some more compelling storylines and real life issues to be discussed.
The second season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager tones down the “thinking and talking about having sex” talk for more “the consequences of having sex” talk. But that doesn’t mean that the quality of the storylines goes down any, because the second season is as well-written as the first season. Sometimes there is more melodrama than you would like, but what holds this series together is likable and relatable characters. The Secret Life of the American Teenager is still one of the best teenage soap operas ever created, and it’s pretty much “must-watch” viewing for families with teenagers in them. It’s just a shame that this series is still on ABC FAMILY and not ABC.
Episode 1 – The Secret Wedding of the American Teenager
Amy is not ready for the responsibility of being a mother (and thinking her mother and father will automatically take care of the baby), so she wants Ben to consider marrying her immediately via eloping (using fake ID’s). Meanwhile, Amy’s mother Anne requests a divorce from George and that he should move out of the house.
Episode 2 – Baked Nevada
Both Amy and Ben’s father are upset that their children tried to get married. Meanwhile, Adrian’s father (who is a cop) tries to find out where the fake ID’s came from.
Episode 3 – The Father and the Son
Rickey’s father comes to town and tells Amy’s parents that his son canÃt be trusted and the bad blood between Rickey and his father is reborn. Meanwhile, Adrian’s father tries to have his daughter keep away from Rickey.
Episode 4 – That’s Enough of That
Rickey tries to cope with his father’s request to sell his and Amy’s baby for money. Meanwhile, Amy can now find out the sex of her unborn child. And Jack serves his community service and discovers something big.
Episode 5 – Chocolate Cake
Amy talks to Rickey about putting the baby up for adoption. Meanwhile, George’s co-worker (a gay couple) is interested in being adoptive parents. Meanwhile, Rickey upsets Ben and puts into his head that she wants the baby’s father in her life.
Episode 6 – Unforgiven
Amy and Ben have difficulties in their relationship and now Ben needs some time away from Amy. Meanwhile, Anne and George try to help Amy by looking for adoptive parents. Jack finds a new girl that he is interested in.
Episode 7 – Making Up Is Hard to Do
Ashley is trying to find a way to get Amy and Ben back together. Meanwhile, Rickey causes problems during the adoption interview process. Adrian meets a guy who likes her for her and not for sex.
Episode 8 – Money for Nothing, Chicks For Free
Anne tries to look for a job and Ashley meets a guy who is interested in her. Meanwhile, Jack gets himself into a little trouble.
Episode 9 – Maybe Baby
Ben’s father wants Ben to know a big lesson about money and that if he wants to marry Amy and take care of a baby, he will need to make money on his own. Meanwhile, everyone comes to visit Amy and give her advice about the baby. And Amy makes a decision about her baby and if she’s read to put the baby up for adoption or to keep it.
Episode 10 – Whoomp! (There It Is)
It’s Amy’s baby shower but the problem is that she may be going into labor. Meanwhile, Grace makes a big decision in her life.
Episode 11 – One Night at Band Camp
While Amy is in labor, she remembers the day that she and Rickey met.
Episode 12 – And Unto Us a Child Is Born
Amy gives birth to her baby and Rickey comes to the full realization that he has a child. Amy’s father moves out of the house and Ashley also makes a major decision with her life.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The transfer is great with minimal distortion. There are no issues here and the quality is better than its original broadcast version. No major major problems at all.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are also Spanish and French subtitles available as well. It’s pretty standard quality for a TV show. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear. No major problems here either.
“Character Secrets” Featurette –
This runs 10 minutes in total and it features interviews with the cast members of the series. The cast members discuss their characters and their role in the series and also talk about their favorite characters in the series.
“Cast Close-Ups” Featurette –
This runs around 22 minutes and it features a young teenager named Mikela who gets to learn about the making of the TV show. She also gets to interview cast and crew members. Here is the breakdown of the interviews:
– Shailene Woodley – Plays the character of Amy Juergens (2:59)
– Mark Derwin – Plays the character of George Juergens (3:07)
– Molly Ringwald – Plays the character of Anne Juergens (1:33)
– Megan Park – Plays the character of Grace Kathleen Bowman (2:37)
– Daren Kagasoff – Plays the character of Rickey Underwood (3:06)
– Greg Finley – Plays the character of Jack Pappas (1:29)
– Ken Baumann – Plays the character of Benjamin Ã¬BenÃ® Boykewich (1:12)
– India Eisley – Plays the character of Ashley Juergens (1:53)
– Francia Raisa – Plays the character of Adrian Lee (1:37)
Music Video –
There is a music video for a song from the series called
“Secret Life (You and Me)” by the Strange Familiar. While the song is playing there are clips from the first season of the series.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager is probably in the discussion of the top five of all the teen soaps ever created. Families with teenagers must watch this show, but it’s worth at least a rental for curious viewers. You don’t necessarily need to watch the first season to enjoy this series as well, but it helps.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Season 2. Created by Brenda Hampton. Starring Shailene Woodley, Molly Ringwold, Kenny Baumann, Francia Raisa, Megan Park, Darren Kagasoff, Greg Finley II, Renee Olstead, Camille Winbush, Jorge Pallo, Mark Derwin, India Eisley, Josie Bissett, John Schneider, Luke Zimmerman, Amy Rider, Allen Evangelista, and Ernie Hudson. Running time: 516 minutes. Rated: Not Rated. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009. Available at Amazon.com