'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' Gets Mixed Reviews
'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' Gets Mixed Reviews
It seems that ABC Family has hit another jackpot by slinging us the midseason series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.  The controversial new series has experienced unparalleled success, having been renewed for a sophomore season as soon as it aired for a few weeks.  The ratings that it pulled in were very impressive, especially for its season finale, which aired last week.  In fact, the last episode reaped as much as 4.5 million total viewers, setting an impressive series high in the 18 to 49 demographic.

More importantly, the ABC Family newbie performed better than comeback Gossip Girl and competitor, 90210. So what does make The Secret Life click? Read on to find out the thoughts of the most respected television critics in the nation.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager received good reviews from the Orlando Sentinel, as they state, “Secret Life feels a lot more authentic than many teen dramas.”

TV Guide, on the other hand, came out strong, citing the fact that there was something lacking in carrying out a good premise.

"A good girl’s surprise pregnancy is a strong premise, but creator Brenda Hampton (7th Heaven) undercuts it by surrounding Amy with an uninspired ensemble of precociously cardboard classmates, who range from hormonally-distracted cutups and chirpy Christian saints to wily sirens, one of whom seduces a chaste quarterback while munching on an apple," Matt Roush said in his review.

The Baltimore Sun, on the other hand, released the following statements after the show premiered the first episode.  David Zurawik wrote, "the pilot is a most impressive work of economic and focused storytelling" and that "[Brenda] Hampton offers an array of images and role models in the pilot."

Both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Daily News commended Shailene Woodley, saying that her "performance lifts a well-meaning, rather brave, but ramshackle show a notch" and that she "is terrific as the teen in question. Unfortunately, other parts of the show feel so contrived they border on soap opera parody."

While quite a number of viewers may disagree to the reviews of various TV magazines, the ratings could definitely not be wrong.  The show has pulled an impressive number of viewers for its freshman season.  Whether they watched for curiosity’s sake or because they are true fans of the show remains to be seen as The Secret Life of the American Teenager returns with its sophomore season next year.

-Valerie Anne del Castillo, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Metacritic, TV Guide
(Photo courtesy of ABC Family)