There was a time when I would tune in weekly to laugh at The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The first season of the show was so amazingly awful that I assumed it would be taken off the air within the first three episodes.
Clearly, that didn’t happen. This show aired for a surprising five seasons and 121 episodes between 2008 and 2013. I stand by my opinion that this might be the worst show I’ve ever seen, even though I stopped watching shortly after that girl killed her dad by having incredible sex.
I read some critical reviews of the show to make sure this garbage didn’t go unnoticed. It didn’t. Variety called the show an “obvious, stereotype-laden teen soap” and “ham-fisted.” They also said, “based on first impressions, The Secret Life of the American Teenager should probably stay secret.”
Let’s take a look at just a couple of the many terrible scenes available online.
This scene paints a picture. Ricky says, “Half the country doesn’t have insurance. Half the country is out of work.” I’m unsure if it’s the bad acting, the bad writing, or if they are purposely trying to create a character who is an asshole and not able to empathize with the reasons why a pregnant teenager might consider adoption. It’s not great that I can’t tell if we are supposed to dislike this character or if the writers are trying to create a sympathetic character in the worst way.
Also notable is the fact that Shailene Woodley is not a bad actress . . . in other things. This show simply has the power to make everybody worse at everything.
We didn’t even get to the repetitive writing that litters the show. “Normal life? I don’t have a normal life. Whose got a normal life?”
Let’s take a look at another scene, chosen completely at random when I searched for the show on YouTube.
The main thing I want to point out is this repetitive and weird dialogue:
“Is Ashley over there?”
“Yeah, she’s over here. I got here and she was here. And I told her to go home and she’s not going. At least that’s what she says.”
“What’s she doing there?”
“Oh, I guess I know what she’s doing there.”
The repetition and the monotone voices are all over this show, which makes me think that this was a choice probably not made by the actors. What were they trying to do?
Was it supposed to be so goofy?
Why is every character the same voice in a different body?
And finally, what is this show trying to be?