Is The Secret Life Of The American Teenager Too Real?
Every now and then, a media phenomenon comes along that divides generations. Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians can all be placed in this category, along with The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. The show deals with teenagers, parents, sex and high school (which most of us get to know all too well over those tumultuous four years between junior high and the real world). The main character, Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley), becomes pregnant in the first season and she and her friends end up dealing with the consequences of sex and relationships while still just trying to figure out who they are.
Amidst claims of skirting the issue and producing a show which masquerades as family television while showing and glorifying premarital sex, Secret Life has drawn ire from the likes of the Parents Television Council. However, having seen this show on a few occasions (only when I was seeing a young lady who watched it), I have to say it is the most accurate depiction of the American high school experience I have ever seen on television. The issues, dialogue, peer pressure, etc. It all brings back memories of linoleum floors, lockers and tardy bells.
However, critics still…well, criticize the show. In one show, the word sex was spoken 70 times. Don’t take our word for it, though.
Okay, so 70 times in one episode might be a bit much. However, the thing that probably really gives parents and critics pause about this show is that it was created by Brenda Hampton, who is also responsible for the popular, long-running series 7th Heaven. Because that show dealt with the wholesome family of a preacher and how family members dealt with their respective issues and mostly stayed true to their values, many probably expected the same type of show from Hampton this time around. Also, it’s on ABC Family. That’s enough to raise a few eyebrows.
However, as I said earlier, I find the show closely resembles the high school experience minus the violence and criminality. It would seem a great deal of the outraged parents and critics have not been to their children’s high schools. Remember that school in Memphis with 90 pregnant young ladies? Secret Life has the potential to bring things up for discussion so that the proper lessons can be taught and learned (assuming anyone actually watches TV with, talks to, or spends time with their kids anymore). Those who are offended by this show should deal with the issues addressed instead of changing the channel.
Secret Life airs on ABC Family on Mondays at 8 pm EST.