Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ricky & Amy, Madison & Jesse, Henry & Adrian, Jack & Grace...

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The Secret Life of the American Teenager "And Circumstance" (S04E13): At this point, I really have to wonder where this show is going. On the one hand, it can get one more solid "year" of episodes out, since the bulk of the group will be seniors when the show begins again (or perhaps it will even start in the "summer," allowing for more time to make things happen). On the other hand, Adrian, Jack, Ricky, and Ashley (plus all of their associates) are now pretty much off the show, unless they end up in town (like Ricky likely will be) or are seen in "elsewhere" storylines (like they've done with Ashley almost this entire season). If they write it so at least Adrian and Ricky stay nearby, it's possible that the show could go for quite some time - undoubtedly some of the others will stay nearby, too. And, since the show is failing to keep any of the younger characters, they can't keep the focus on teens all that much longer - which would make the title problematic before long. Personally, I foresee Amy and Ricky having a second child right around the time Amy turns 20... and she'll have some line about how she's "not a teenager anymore." I wonder how that prediction will play out... Anyway, here's what happened on the mid-season finale:

Before the Graduation Ceremony
: John says "ring" in front of Amy, which causes her to freak out over possible meanings. [told you there was no way he could keep a secret!] Amy tells Lauren and Madison that John has been saying "ring," and they're both skeptical about it meaning an engagement ring. [Also, John saying ring "all the time" was a bit exaggerated - didn't he say it about three times?] Since Madison told Grant and Jack, Grant told Grace, and Jack told Alice who told Henry and Ben, word is spreading around the school that Ricky might propose to Amy. Henry and Alice, of course, are worried about what effect that this will have on Ben. He's still wearing his wedding ring, but takes it off and puts it in his pocket when Henry and Alice notice it. He's over Amy and this entire school year and just wants to look ahead to have a positive senior year. He tells Adrian to give up on Ricky, and wants to have dinner with her to celebrate that they made it through the year. Adrian hesitates, flashing back to happier times with Ricky, but agreed to go. [why go back to the place that they got engaged? And since we don't see anything of this meal, it's difficult to imagine what that conversation might have been like, since these two have been struggling to communicate for months. Oh, and the piano version of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" was strange, but I could see the fit.]

Guidance counselor Katelin finally realizes that you can't have a prayer at graduation, so Jack wasted some of Grace's time, since she pretty much wrote it for him. Plus, he wouldn't let her answer her phone when Daniel called. Speaking of Daniel, he decides that he'll go to Jesse's party, and Grace asks if Adrian (and later Omar) can ride with them. Oh, and Adrian... she tells herself that all she wants is one last kiss with Ricky. [yeah, uh huh. That's why she's been talking about how she WILL sleep with him again for a while now, but all of a sudden a kiss will do.] And Jack? Well, after asking Alice to Jesse's party, he flashes back to better times in high school. Then, the coach tells him that college will be better, and that the coach will be on the defensive staff at a college next year. [the coach is a tertiary character at best, but for some reason we're going to keep him around, and Jack too, apparently.]

After school, Amy stops by George's to get a dress, and it looks like George and Anne have been messing around. In a private moment between the two of them, it seems that they did fool around, though George makes a reference to them being friends while Anne seems to think that they're more than that. [what's the point in dealing with these two anymore? I mean, seriously. There's constant tension between them and they've all but given up parenting.] Ricky runs back to school to grab some papers (presumably his valedictory speech) from his locker, and flashes back to Amy starting school as a freshman. [apparently this is one of those shows where nobody ever appears to change, but a look at the flashbacks reveal that they have changed quite a bit in some cases.]

At the Graduation Ceremony: The guys are wearing navy caps and gowns while the girls wear yellow. Jack does give the invocation, saying that he's thankful for the prayers that have been said for him over the years. Not only is Ricky valedictorian (with a 4.2 GPA), he also receives The Governor's Award for outstanding personal achievement in the face of challenge. His speech mentions that he's had a messed up life, and he thanks both the school and some random individuals who have helped him in various years over the years. He thanks some teachers, his parents, his birth mother, and Leo. He then thanks Amy for loving him and for teaching him to love. He calls Amy up onto the stage and proposes to her in front of everyone. He fumbles a bit with getting the ring on her finger, but the crowd erupts into applause, and George and Anne look shocked. Oh, and Jack has to hold back Adrian. [why are they sitting together? We're not going by alphabet or height - is it GPA-related? Because we know Adrian is pretty smart... and I thought Jack was kinda average... and where are her parents? They didn't get much screentime at the graduation, and you know they would have reacted.... Oh, and with a scene like this, I had a personal flashback to Boy Meets World. While Topanga's proposal wasn't quite as public, it was as moving.]

Jesse's Graduation Party: Kathleen doesn't want Tom to go to Jesse's party because he has responsibilities. Tom retorts at Kathleen that she should just go to Africa and stop telling him what to do. [and it seems like she is. So... no more Kathleen? Where will Grace live next year..  George's or Jack's parents'?] There was a party next door that has merged into Jesse's. The party next door was Dylan's, a girl with red hair who Ben hits on almost immediately. She's drinking, as are most of the kids, though notably not Lauren. Alice asks Henry to dance, but he turns her down. Jack goes up to a girl who is staring at Daniel, who turns out to be Daniel's ex-girlfriend, Raven. She asks Jack to cut in and dance with Grace, making Daniel available. Daniel wants to leave the party, but Grace doesn't. Just then, Amy and Ricky show up - and Amy tells Ricky to kiss Adrian. He walks right up to her and does it, and she claims that she's now free. Omar is pissed and leaves with Daniel. Jack and Grace dance, Amy and Ricky dance, and Ben and Adrian dance. [For whatever reason, no other couples are dancing at all, and just stare at the three couples on the floor.]

The Morning After the Party: Lauren wakes up to find Jesse in bed with Madison. They both blame it on the alcohol, but Lauren just wants to leave, begging Amy and Ricky to drive her. Jack appears to be with Raven [saw that coming], and Adrian with Henry. [where did that come from??] Alice finds out about Henry and is sure that Ben won't want to be his friend now. Speaking of Ben, he's with Dylan, but they didn't have sex - Dylan is a virgin, apparently. [well, not for long... at least the way things go on this show.] The mid-season finale ends with Grace and Jack kissing. At first, they just want to see if it's over between them, but it appears to be full of passion.

And a strange, random fact that struck me as interesting: The football team talks about Grace in a huddle before every game.. and that's their lucky charm. [what?!?!?!]
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