Is 'Secret Life of the American Teenager' Really Educational?
Is 'Secret Life of the American Teenager' Really Educational?
Glenn Diaz
Glenn Diaz
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
There is no question about it that ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager is one of summer's biggest ratings successes.  After its fourth episode, it once again peaked as cable's top program in Tuesday's lead-off hour, attracting over 3 million viewers overall. Interestingly, it also set some network series records in key female demographics, its subject and apparently intended target too.

The buzz surrounding Secret Life of the American Teenager also banks on the fact that it supposedly delves on educational grounds, tackling a trend that has increasingly become alarming, making it a social commentary, in a way. Yet how educational Secret Life is, really, and is it asking the right questions?
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During its premiere, 15-year-old Amy Juergens, played by Shailene Woodley is already pregnant, notes Newsweek.  She is shocked at the positive marks at the pregnancy test.  Newsweek likewise zeroes in on this detail, as it already dismissed what happened before she found out she was pregnant.  It's important to realize that unprotected sex, which stems from lack of information, is the root cause of teenage pregnancy.  In the same vein, other media coverage of similar issues also veer away from the real issue when tackling related topics.  For instance, when Jamie Lynn Spears finally gave birth, everyone just conveniently zoomed in the ‘joys of motherhood' and forgot how and why Jamie Lynn, a 17-year-old mother, arrived at her current position.

Such criticism of glamorizing everything short of missing the entire point is not new to Hollywood, of course.  For The Secret Life of the American Teenager, issues like contraception or condoms or reproductive health or sex education may be conveniently left out, but perhaps the mere fact that it was brought into the open is already a step in the right direction.  Besides, Hollywood heavily relies on drama for material which makes Amy's case a little too irresistible.

-Glenn L. Diaz, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Newsweek, Variety
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