Sunday, July 24, 2011

Movie Review: The Secret Life of the American Teenager

I was looking for a teenage sitcom to cheer me up a bit and make me remember my adolescence days, when I used to have no worries and life was so easy. Someone advised me to watch “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”. To my disappointment, this TV series pictures a life which is even worse than my adult life!

First of all, girls get pregnant at 15 and end their childhood in raising a baby or getting married. Not likely to happen in reality, although I agree, there might be some exceptions.
Boys of 16 take full responsibility of their own actions and never run away from the girls they got pregnant. How far is that from reality?

Of course, there are teenagers who really get into such troubles but what are the odds of this happening to two girls related by the same ex-boyfriend? Amy’s getting pregnant really seemed like a pure accident but Adrian’s, hmmmm, not so much. It happened in a car, she was on the pill and they used a condom… Dear producers, you succeeded to scare the hell out of all the boys looking for sex in high school!

But what struck me the most was that all the characters could ever talk about was sex. If you listen to their conversations, the phrase “having sex” comes up once a minute. I understand the producers’ concern to warn teenagers against the dangers of involving into early sexual relationships, but don’t you think repeating the word obsessively will only make them want it even more? You know how reverse psychology works.

In “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” relationships are built on whether to have sex or not, which doesn’t always reflect reality. Back in my days, we used to go to the movies, take long walks, kiss in the backyard before returning home after dates and fantasize about the other person in a totally naïve and dreamy way. Maybe things have changed since, but I still believe adolescence to be much more than an obsession with sex.

If the creators of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” really aim to teach teenagers a lesson by presenting Amy’s or Adrian’s fate, their way of doing that is totally lame. How can you recommend young girls to take contraceptive pills at 15? Don’t you know they are totally unhealthy at that age? Restraining early ovulation can result in not being unable to conceive later on, true fact confirmed by specialists. Unless teenagers are resolute to take this road, I plead for condoms, as the perfect way to avoid early pregnancy or transmission of sexual diseases. They work in 99% of the cases. Or else, abstinence before 18.

As to the TSLOTAT dialogues, they are commonly long, iterative and boring. Characters are usually discussing insignificant issues and it seems like all they do is talk. The most commonly used phrase after “having sex” is “we have to talk”, like there’s always something important to say, but as we listen to them we realize how futile most of their conversations are.

The series started on the right foot, and I kind of enjoyed the first season, but as I moved forward to the second one, it gradually turned into a cheap soap opera. A week in the movie lasts as a week in our real life. After the first season I thought that each season’s action would end up by the beginning of the summer vacation. They weren’t able to do that during the second season and expanded the action so much that Amy’s trip to New York lasted for several episodes, which was really annoying.

The producer focuses on teenagers’ personal lives and neglects the importance of school. A teenager’s life mainly consists of studying rather than chatting in the school halls. The characters are so busy with considerations about sex or discussing apparently important subjects that they forget about what should be their main concern at their age: getting an education. How can you promote such an unhealthy perspective?

In their high school there are no real teachers (they are never there), just a counselor, who is replaced every year and interferes with the characters’ lives. It can leave viewers with the impression that school is only important for personal matters.

Parents are so involved in their children’s “secret life” that poor teenagers have no privacy at all. It’s very annoying.

I would go on and on about it, but I guess it’s useless. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is supposed to be life-like but it isn’t.
Dear teenagers, please don’t watch it, save your time, go to school, do whatever you like, just don’t take birth control pills and enjoy life!


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