As a Molly Ringwald fan since the '80s, I was eagerly anticipating the season premiere of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, thinking that the show would treat the teen pregnancy topic with the same degree of sensitivity and warm fuzzies as the movie For Keeps?, in which Ringwald starred as a pregnant teen and new mom. After all, the TV show's producers have had a perfect media buzz to set it up--pregnancy pacts in Gloucester, Mass., experimental parenthood in the Baby Borrowers and Juno as America's new sweetheart.
I am sad to say I was wrong.
The show was filled with stereotypical characters and over-the-top acting: the jock, the sexually frustrated Christian, the nerd who desperately wants a girlfriend, Pollyanna, the innocent-turned-bad-girl, the whore and the womanizer/jerk (whose sappy lines and moves would've thrown cold water on any young girl's desire). Amy, the 15-year-old (and recently preggers) main character showed very little variation throughout the hour, only getting a little misty-eyed when she saw the plus sign on her pregnancy test. While Molly didn't disappoint me, she was in the show for a total of 10 minutes. Sigh.
However, as it's been quite a while since I was 15, I wasn't super surprised to find a teen fan in the blogosphere, who felt that she could really relate to the show's characters and even urged parents to watch--perhaps for them to keep up with current (teen) affairs. Touché.
Experts are saying that the "Juno effect" is real--between the hoorah with Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy and the positive plight of Juno, Hollywood is making pregnancy attractive to teens. Maybe moms will be able to watch the show to get a weekly snapshot of what's going on in high schools today. However, I'd recommend a Mean Girls movie night instead. That's what my high school looked like.