Teenagers go through a lot. They hit puberty and a multitude of decisions at the same time. Some of them take on adult decisions way too soon such as sex, pregnancy, drugs and just figuring how to fit in. ABC Family is the home of a teenage drama called The Secret Life of the American Teenager which is made by the same people as 7th Heaven which lasted 11 seasons. The show has gained more viewers episode by episode and a copy of the 2nd season showed up in my mailbox to review. We’ll see if the show is complete cheese or hopefully it has a good dose of story telling and family values.
As Season Two opens, Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) is fifteen & very pregnant. Her boyfriend is Ben Boykewich (played by Kenny Baumann) is also fifteen and not the father of the child. The father of the prospective child is Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff), the school bad boy who had a one-night stand with Amy.
Ricky, at the opening of season two is having relations with both Grace (played by Megan Park), a devout Christian and Adrian (played by Francia Raisa), a not so devout anything. Okay she sleeps around. A lot and she’s hot. (Just for the record, she plays a 16 year old but she’s 21 in real life so don’t start).
In addition to the students, there are a few parents that need updating. Anne & George Juergens (played by Molly Ringwald & Mark Derwin) are going a very hard time due to George’s affair. George regrets the affair and has apologized to Anne. However she has filed for divorce and has told to George to move out.
Ben’s father, Leo Boykewich (played by Steve Schirripa) is also having issues with his son who thinks that Leo’s Sausage empire should help to pay for the child rather than him getting a job to pay for it on his own. This season will be full of romance, family issues, marriage, divorce and reunions on an epic scale. Can the kids grow up in time with the baby ready to pop out at any second? We’ll just have to see.
One look at the cover of Secret Life Season Two and I admit I was expecting a pillow to be my best friend. Come on, I haven’t watched a teenage show since I watched Saved by the Bell when I was a teenager. I’m not exactly an authority. However, the show isn’t bad. It deals with a ton of very sensitive issues and does so in a very professional manner.
There is some sauciness (as much as ABC Family can allow) and there are a lot of good laughter here. It also helps that among a ton of unknown teenage/young adult actors, there are some friendly faces playing the adults. Molly Ringwald is a hoot and carries much of the acting load of the show. But the true comedy award goes to Mark Derwin who is possibly the funniest guy playing a male chauvinist I have ever seen. His delivery is spot on and his timing is so accurate, I honestly wonder how Molly doesn’t crack up every time they are on camera together.
That aside, there can be some criticism here. The show as mentioned deals with a lot of sensitive issues and for the most part, it is dealt with grace. There are times where there were too many jokes or situations that while serious came across as accidentally funny. Sometimes the adults had a hand in this too and minor situations where I thought the parents would be all over their children, they kinda just swept it under the rug.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. It’s one of the few shows I’ve seen from ABC Family in high def. Of course, the majority of what I’ve watched on ABC Family is Whose Line is It Anyways re-runs. The color is very good here and I honestly have no complaints. It looks top-notch and fans of the show will be very pleased (especially if they don’t subscribe to hi-def service for their cable/satellite provider).
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 English. There isn’t any amazing effects here, it just sounds as good as you can hope a sitcom to sound in this day and age. The dialog is very clear and it resonates most of the time in the center channel. The use for surrounds is limited but we aren’t expecting boom bang pow here. Subtitles are also provided in Spanish and French.
- Automatic Trailers: Samantha Who – 2nd Season, Cheri, Confessions of a Shopaholic & Blu Ray Disc.
- Secret Life (You and Me) by the Strange Familiar 3:54: One of the songs of a show done in a little pop rock piano video by a band I can’t say I’ve heard of. It’s intermixed with clips of the show and has a cute girl doing the singing.
- Character Secrets, the Cast Tells All 10:07: There aren’t any real secrets here, it is just a creative way to use the title of the show and recap a lot of what is going on in this season in a ten minute time frame.
- Cast Close-Ups 19:33: There is a teenager here doing interviews with many of the cast members, there are 9 little segments in all. All I have to say is that Mark Derwin is hilarious. A lot like his character in the show.
- Sneak Peeks: Morning Light & ABC Family promo
The Secret Life of the American Teenager is better than I expected. Teenagers and adults with teenagers will enjoy this season immensely as for the next wave of episodes. There are a lot of characters to learn about and the relationship between Molly Ringwald & Mark Derwin is quite simply gold to watch. The video and audio are excellent and the extras aren’t too bad even if they are a little on the thin side. Of the many new viewers of this show in the second season, they might want to pick this up first and then pick up the first season as well. Recommended for the demographic and those outside the demographic, you might want to catch an episode on ABC Family first.
The Secret Wedding of the American Teenager
The Father and the Son
That’s Enough of That
Making Up is Hard to Do
Money for Nothing, Chicks for Free
Whoomp! (There It Is)
One Night At Band Camp
And Unto Us, A Child is Born