Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Secret Life: Before, During, and After Church

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

When there was a knock at Adrian's door, I was almost positive it was going to be Ben... ready to move into the condo to try subverting his father's rules about not dating Dylan while under his roof. This probably would have been a much better idea than allegedly dating Alice while Dylan pretends to date Henry... there's no way that would be believable more than twice. Ben aside, though, some other strange things took place this episode. For instance, Ethan and Kathy... what, exactly, are we supposed to believe that the BadBoyVirgin sees in the PregnantFreshman? And how many different cars can we see two teenagers "hang out" in during a single episode? At least they finally kissed once! In another case, while it was nice to see the focus on sexuality relax, how big is racism about to get?? Adrian's question to Omar, "how did you grow up with pigmentation and trust in the system?" makes me worry just a bit. What makes her say that? Growing up with an absent father and an often-away mother, it's not like the girl saw legal issues in her family. So why bring it up? So it can become an issue, I'm guessing. Secret Life, we know you've beaten the pregnancy horse, the teen sex horse, and the fragmented families horse, but please stop with the sexuality and racism before you're in too deep.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager "Holy Roller" (S05E06): Ethan is out with Kathy (just sitting in Margaret's car), telling a story about a time his dad accidentally stabbed him in the leg. [you know, so we remember that he's not just a thief in foster care, he's a troubled thief in foster care.] He also shares that his mother left one day "to get frozen peas" and never came back. [double-troubled, got it.] Kathy tells him that she doesn't want something like that for her daughter, and that she'd prefer to never see her again than be a disruption around holidays and birthday. [I can completely see that point.] We also learn that Kathy and her BabyDaddy met at the state spelling bee. [to prove that even smart kids make mistakes.] Margaret comes out and tells them that they can't be alone in her car, then invites Kathy to join Ethan, Amy, and Ricky the next morning, not explaining what the occasion is. She's reluctant but goes for it. [I would have never trusted someone's mom like that when I was in high school...] Ethan and Kathy re-establish that they're "just friends" by not kissing.

The next morning, EVERYONE is in church. Yep, we have drifted Kathleen, not-interested George, wanting-it-to-be-over Tom, excited Grace, Buddhist Alice, Catholic Henry, wanting-to-impress-everyone Ben and Adrian, guest organist Ethan (whose experience includes a hockey game), accepting Ricky, hesitant Kathy, ever-angry Amy (pissed that George and Adrian are in the sanctuary), along-for-the-ride Omar, and the tardy Jack and Madison. Grace flips upon seeing Madison, screaming "what the hell is she doing here??" while Ethan tries to play "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" but it turns into some seventh-inning-stretch music. [disaster all around. but I liked it.] Grace then storms out, with Kathleen and George following her, making Amy feel loved even less. After church, Jack's dad tells him to apologize to Grace, ask her to take him back, and to stop pressuring her to have sex. [just laying it all out there!] So, Jack goes to Kathleen to talk about proposing to Grace, but she says that they both need to grow up some more before making such a mature decision. [Kathleen is such a liberal in this moment! but man, the last thing this show needs is ANOTHER engagement!] Jack then tells Grace that he brought Madison to church because he wanted to make Grace as crazy as he is. They make up, but it's not clear whether they're back together. [I'd bet on it coming, though. and probably aiding in the Ben/Dylan/Henry/Alice shenanigans...] Across town, Ricky tells Shaker that they don't want a big wedding. Amy then tries to tell Margaret the same, but it ends up more as a "I don't want two weddings, but I can't tell you or my mom not to throw one." Problem-solving Margaret decides that she'll talk to Anne, so Amy has to explain a little more, ultimately saying that she doesn't want Anne at her wedding because she "isn't the mom she grew up with." [oooooh.... rough!] 
Later, when Ricky and Amy get home, they talk to George, who has watched the DVD of their failed elopement. [even if you borrow your daughter's laptop without asking, what would make you decide to run a DVD that was in there??] He doesn't let on that he knows, though he does question them a little more than normal. After church over at Adrian's, Omar's mother comes to the door, just "making rounds" in the neighborhood. [no.way.is.this.believable!] She invites them to attend her church in the future, or really any meal, so she can get to know Adrian. She even suggests that "Gay Grace" might be a match for Omar's sister, Janie. [hmmm. not only will that last part not fly, but I was kinda happy about Adrian and Omar not being together anymore. Something tells me they're inching back together anyway.]

Elsewhere, Leo tells Ben that he will not be allowed to date Dylan while he lives there. At the same time, Dylan relentlessly begs her father to let her see Ben again. Luckily, Dylan's mother caves when Ben phones and asks for one more chance. [while I can't promise that I won't do similar things with my kids when their father has a different perspective, I'm sick of it with this girl.] Well, the conversation goes that Dylan could pretend to date Henry and Ben could pretend to date Alice, when they'd really be together. Ben immediately buys it and clues in his pals. [no, Henry, no! stop!]
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