My wife and I decided to give ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” a try Tuesday night.
Not a wise option.
While it’s nice seeing Molly Ringwald bringing in a paycheck again (she plays the mother), this show is about as far away from being representative of a teen’s life as could be. The show centered around a high school girl who got pregnant at band camp, another guy at her school who joins band to sleep with her (he wants a more popular girl but he “has to start somewhere”), a Christian girl who takes a chastity pledge (and her boyfriend who is less bound by such morals), the loose girl who wants to be with him and the new guidance counselor who’s taken aback by so many kids asking him for “protection.”
Granted, I haven’t been a teen in 10 years, but while that’s a highly hormonal time life back then wasn’t nearly as dominated by sex as this show makes it seem. If you were to take “Secret Life” as gospel, then today’s teens don’t play sports, aren’t concerned about their grades, have no interest in college, don’t write for the school newspaper, don’t combat peer pressure to use alcohol or drugs, don’t watch movies or television, don’t read and have absolutely nothing on their minds – or coming out of their mouth – but intercourse.
Given the risque material and hyped-up marketing campaign, Tuesday’s debut did well in the ratings. With 2.1 million households (2.8 million viewers) watching, “Secret Life” was ABC Family’s highest-rated series debut ever and won its time slot amongst all cable stations, according to an ABC release.
Whether that holds up remains to be seen. As an adult, I have no interest in watching a bunch of kids (all extremely attractive, by the way) try to get in each other’s pants. And if I were a kid again, I’d be insulted that the show objectified and simplified what it thinks my life is like to such an extent.