I came across this clip on youtube today….
If this doesn’t prove to you that bad acting and bad dialogue don’t mix then I don’t know how to convince you. In this clip Ricky is talking to Amy’s sister on the phone. Honestly, I have been a teenager and I have been in high school. 14 year-olds (the sister) and 16 year-olds (Ricky) just do not have these types of “mature” conversations. I mean, C’MON!
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The relationships on this show prove that it is too unrealistic to continue on this way. Brenda Hampton needs to make a change and soon before there is even more of an uproar from parents and before teens start making the mistake of having sex and thinking it is ok because the kids on Secret Life of the American Teenager do it normally and without much consequence. Yes, Amy had a kid, but she leads a normal, stress-free life in regard to her son Jon and that is very uncommon with teen mothers. The show needs to change its content by adding more information of the negative consequences of having sex, doing drugs, and being a teenager. The focus needs to be on the seriousness of these issues with youths.
Here is what an article from Suite 101 had to say about the show’s unrealistic nature:
“Negligence and Contradictions
For a show which portrays the importance of emotionally supportive parenting, it is contradicting itself by resolving the very complex difficulty of an unplanned teen pregnancy by fantasizing that a mother, who is still a child herself, is capable of providing a baby with security and guidance. There are girls in this situation who, most likely with the help of family, successfully raise the baby, but the situation written for Amy is even more extreme than usual.
While there might be a way to overcome all difficulties, the show seems to irresponsibly disregard how different the lives of Amy and her baby will be if this child is being raised by make-do means, and even more irresponsibly, through the character of Amy’s sister Ashley, the idea has been suggested that it would be poor mothering to consider adoption.
Worst of all is the fiction the show has created to resolve the immediate problems of financing and caring for the baby. It is possibly that the local church could provide Amy with an after-school job and perhaps, day care, but it is absurd that French-horn player Amy would be given a job teaching music at the church daycare center. Miracles can happen, but this is the sort of job adults would find difficult to obtain. It would be more realistic to show that Amy must sacrifice her music activities and take a skuzzy job.
Ben and Amy
It is most unrealistic to show that pregnant Amy has found true love with a boy who is unconcerned about possibly having to miss the prom due to his girlfriend having another boy’s child.
The characters of Ben and Amy make a lovable couple, but they are too devotedly intense in their relationship for two fifteen year old children.”
Read more at Suite101: Considering Secret Life of the American Teenager: Parental Guidance and Teen Motherhood http://primetimetv.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_secret_life_of_the_american_teenager#ixzz0k5EZijQv
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“She was walking across the sand, marching over the dunes of Avalon last summer, when she saw him. Them. Er, it.
It involved Ethan, her 14-year-old son — “a good-looking kid, a sexy kid,” Allison calls him proudly. Anyway, she explains, “He was lying there on his towel, and lying right on top of him was this girl.”
Allison explained that re-creating Boogie Nights here on the beach, in front of their friends and several hundred members of their income set, was perhaps not the most appropriate activity for him and his young female companion. Ethan grunted, groaned, then spun around and assumed a more PG-rated position on his towel. Crisis over. For now.
But as she tells the story, Allison’s voice mingles incredulousness and anxiety. She mentions everything else she’s found herself dealing with — the drunk kids showing up at her house, the oral-sex offers Ethan has gotten, the other parents who just seem so clueless about it all — and she sighs. ‘It’s the rodeo,’ she says. ‘It’s the Wild West out there.’ ”
This story, from PhillyMag.com- Philadelphia Magazine- describes what really goes on with teenagers of the millenial generation. Although it may be too graphic for T.V., if ABC Family is changing its image as it is to focus on being more modern, why doesn’t it focus on being honest then too? Show what really goes on in teens lives: what their parents have to deal with and the drugs and alcohol and peer pressure that also accompanies the sex. IT ISN’T ALL ABOUT SEX.
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Here is an excerpt from a World Magazine article about the show: “According to research conducted by the independent, nonprofit firm RAND, watching television programs with sexual content not only makes teens more likely to engage in sex, but also increases the likelihood of pregnancy. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics asked 2,000 12- to 17-year-olds to keep track of the television shows they watched that contained sexual content. Those who watched a high amount of such programming were twice as likely to get pregnant or to get someone else pregnant.”
Oh really? And Secret Life has sex in every piece of dialogue. How is this helpful again? Maybe, if the show actually incorporated hardship consequences in these kids sexual actions, it would send a message. However, it does the opposite.
More from the article: “Said Rebecca Collins, the psychologist who headed the 2004 study, “This is the strongest evidence yet that the sexual content of television programs encourages adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities. The impact of television viewing is so large that even a moderate shift in the sexual content of adolescent TV watching could have a substantial effect on their sexual behavior.”
Want to read more about this? Go to: http://www.worldmag.com/articles/15042
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“According to a statement from ABC Family, the show ‘deals honestly and directly with the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy in a non-exploitative manner and explores how the core character’s relationships with her mother, father, sister and friends are affected. . . . We hope the show encourages teenagers and parents to open up a dialogue about issues important to them. . . .'”
-LA Times article: “Secret Life of the American Teen explores teen pregnancy”
Reviewer Kathryn Darden would contradict that statement for sure. And I completely agree….
Let me prove to you that it isn’t just me who thinks that ABC is being hypocrytical by airing this show all about sex..
Read this excerpt from her article in 2009 called “Secret Life of the American Teenager Season One is Sex and the City for Teens”:
“The Secret Life of the American Teenager: The First Season was so focused on the sexual exploits of children aged 15 and 16, I wish I had thought to count how many times the word “sex” was mentioned in each episode. The series begins with a parental advisory stating it is not appropriate for younger viewers. So, WHY then is it on the ABC “Family” channel, and WHY did it recently win a Teen Choice award?”
The word SEX is constantly used on this show, let’s count!
The writer of this article is also proof that everyone isn’t “doing it” as expressed on the show…
She says, “Let me speak frankly: I was a virgin when I married in my 20s — a healthy, reasonably attractive virgin, just like my friends. Not everyone “does it.” As a result of not engaging in promiscuous sex, I have never had an STD, never worried about getting pregnant out of wedlock, only took birth control for a short time so I have never had to worry about side effects. I was not cheated in any form or fashion by not having numerous sexual partners or starting an active sexual life at 15; in fact, I am quite thankful I DIDN’T have numerous sexual partners. I have only had ONE sexual partner, and I resent the fact ABC “Family” titillates our youth with sleazy programming like The Secret Life of the American Teen dished out as “Family” fare which teaches young people that having sex at 15 is NORMAL.”
There are many more people who are the same way! Why encourage teens to have sex with shows such as this one?
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So this is a show about teen pregnancy and being sexually active in school. However, Secret Life of the American Teenager fails to express how hard it really is to raise a baby while you are only a high school student. For Amy Juergens, her parents are unbelievably supportive of her keeping the child at only 15 years old and her (ex) boyfriend Ben wanted to raise the child as his own and marry Amy and blah blah blah. Yet, Ben isn’t the kid’s father. Ricky (a.k.a. The Bad Boy) is the father who takes full responsibilty and recently agreed in trial to take the kid every other weekend because he wants to be such a good father so bad at that young of an age. Is it really that easy to have a kid so young? NO! And in my opinion this show is only making it look glamourous and acceptable for someone so young to have a kid with no struggle at all.
MTV’s show Teen Mom shows just how hard life can be when choosing to be sexually active while still a young teen. In my opinion, that show does what is best to really influence teens to stay abstinent or use birth control of some kind. Every person featured on this show has their life turned upside down after having a child and not in a good way.
Teen Mom is a spinoff of the hit show 16 and Pregnant on MTV which follows young girls from when they are pregnant until a month or so after they give birth. Teen Mom allows it’s audience to view the real trials and tribulations young women go through when having a child so young.
From an article in the LA Times [Forget ‘The Hills’: Audiences embrace the harsh realities of ‘Teen Mom’] about the MTV show:
“Morgan J. Freeman, the show’s executive producer, began working with the girls on [Teen Mom] during “16 and Pregnant” and said MTV sought out so-called normal girls who ended up in an abnormal situation. “The goal was to try to find a typical, middle-class teenager who should have known better,” recalled Freeman. “The mandate was ‘get the truth. Let’s see the real challenges, what pressures it puts on in high schoolers, what the sacrifices are.’ ”
In the article, teen mom Macy Bookout, featured in the show, adds, “‘This show really hits people hard. In Juno or The Secret Life of An American Teenager, things are kind of glossed over and they don’t really show the hardships,’ said Bookout.”
Now, back to Secret Life. What is the point of all this? Well, many of these girls featured in the MTV show are normal girls like Freeman states above, who had their lives turned around when they got pregnant, just like Amy Juergens. So why isn’t Brenda Hampton, Secret Life‘s creator and executive producer, showing what really goes on. If you are going to create a show about teenage sex, targeting teenagers, you should at least be honest about what goes on in high school and not just the “sweetened up” version of it. What do you think teens are getting out of the show? That it is ok to have sex? That sex is the most popular topic at a high school and that everyone seems to be doing some form of it? Do you really want more teen moms having problems as documented by MTV?
All those are questions that Brenda Hampton should take into very deep consideration. What is your audience getting out of this poorly acted and twisted show?
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If you are reading this blog and thinking, “what is all the fuss about?” then I am going to let the moms explain. One Million Moms is an online project of the American Family Association. Although I view it to be extreme, it certainly gets the point across with testimonials and facts from mothers whose only concern is for their children. One Million Moms, also known as OMM, is known for its campaigns against certain entertainment media where concerned parents can voice their concerns about television shows, etc.
Now to the good stuff! Coincedentally, OMM has a campaign AGAINST Secret Life of the American Teenager! Imagine that! These moms may be against it in a different way, however they sure do get their point across. Let’s go over what they have informed us about regarding this show:
*** The mothers went on against Dairy Queen when they threw a huge amount of advertising dollars in support of one of the episodes. The OMM site describes the episode with some of the following innapropriateness:
“S*x and oral s*x discussions among students.
• Two s*xually involved students talk about having multiple s*x partners, but better not get caught.
• Younger sister of teen mother wears an inappropriate low cut, skin tight dress to first day of high school while keeping her cell phone in cleavage.”
(Although on t.v. these days all this stuff is normal, having it aired on a familly network on a show that is supposedly showing teens that they shouldn’t have sex is innapropriate).
After creating the above fuss about Dairy Queen supporting the show, OMM ended up succeeding. Taken from their website is the following:
Dean Peters, Director of Communications and Public Relations of Dairy Queen, just contacted OMM and said they pulled their ad from “Secret Life” and no additional units have been purchased to advertise during this rotation. DQ has added “Secret Life” to their “Do Not Air List” and their “Restricted List.”
If you want to see more about what OMM has done to campaign against the promotion of Secret Life, there is another article about Hershey’s supporting the show at: http://www.onemillionmoms.com/IssueDetail.asp?id=316
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