The fourth season premiere of the “Secret Life of the American Teenager” will air tonight at 8:00pm on ABC Family. For those that have never watched this optimistically ‘family friendly’ jewel, count yourselves lucky. The show’s entire purpose for existence is to provide an accurate portrayal of the life of an average American teenager in the hopes of simultaneously entertaining and educating both teens and their parents with regard to sexual intercourse and also to facilitate open discussions about the topic between the two generations. It purports to inform oblivious parents as to the reality of what their little angels are really up to – you know, their secret lives. Guess what ABC Family…the cat is already out of the bag!
With the increase in instances of teen pregnancy, a statistic ABC Family’s big sister channel, ABC News, has reported as being on the rise since 2006, it is painstakingly obvious that teens are having sex. However, let’s suppose a large contingent of the parental population is in complete denial of the realistic and probable possibility that their child may be engaging in sexual activity. Now let’s couple that with an equally large segment of teenage population being naïve as to the ‘ABC’s’ of the birds and bees. Is a show that glamorizes and romanticizes sex and teen pregnancy by showing exceptionally attractive teenagers, or at least attractive twentysomethings pretending to be teenagers, sleeping with one another, making babies and eliciting marriage proposals from baby daddies and other admirers alike the best way to ward off any further increases in the alarmingly high teen pregnancy statistics? Probably not, but ABC Family is going to try anyways.
Through awkward dialogue and painfully bad acting, the equivalent of which is akin to pulling teeth, “Secret Life of the American Teenager” follows the lives of a group of suburban high schoolers who live, eat, sleep and breathe to talk about, and occasionally engage in, sex. With the show depicting these children rampantly hopping into the sack with one another, resulting in two out of the four main female characters getting pregnant, one might be tempted to assume the show is actually advocating sex and teen pregnancy as seems to be the case with its real life MTV counterparts, “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” This, however, is not the case as ABC Family responsibly follows each episode with a ten second public service announcement delivered by one of the cast members who sternly warns kids about the perils of sexual activity. The PSA totally cancels out the preceding hour of non-stop titillating sex fest and sets teens back on the path of righteousness. Good looking out, ABC Family! Your commitment to sending positive messages through your family friendly programming never ceases to amaze.
Tune in and watch, folks. You may just learn a thing or two. If not about your child’s secret life, then definitely about ways to rejuvenate that area of your own!