The Secret Life of the American Teenager Review: "Or Not To Be"

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Over the past two weeks, Secret Life set up a tragic situation that is bound to send viewers into a tailspin.

In "... Or Not To Be" - the follow up of "To Be" - we experienced one of the most heartbreaking situations I have ever seen in my 25 years of watching television. And let me tell you, I've watched a lot.

This episode has been spoken about at length by the actors and the media. Going into it, I was prepared for tragedy to strike, but I'm unsure how I feel about the installment overall. Yes, I understand why it was done, and. yes, it was a bold move by the writers, but I don't really think it was appropriate or necessary.

Ben with Adrian

Everything that occurred last week was a set up for this major plot point. From Ben and Adrian jovially calling each other "Mr. and Mrs." to Ricky and Amy planning a romantic getaway, we were intended to see the calm before the storm.

Just as Alice's dream about shattered glass was an ominous premonition, things were just going eerily well in Secret Life land. The way Adrian placed her hand tentatively on her belly at the end of last week and stated that something didn't feel right was a clear indicator that life was about to move in a drastically different direction.

Even if I didn't know about the storyline beforehand, the doctor's faces gave a lot away, as did the fact that Adrian hadn't felt the baby move in awhile. Overall, the show is trying to depict different angles for what can happen in a given situation. If Ben and Adrian were to have a happy, healthy baby girl, they'd just end up like a copy of Amy and Ricky and there wouldn't be a new plot point for people to get invested in.

My question: was it necessary to kill a baby just to shake up a one hour drama on ABC Family? I'd have to say no. They could've gone the way of adoption, getting divorced, etc. The stillborn baby was a drastic move that was, honestly, so traumatizing I think the show will end up losing viewers over it. I'm all for taking chances, but this was going too far.

What is it about this show's idea that every time someone has sex, something bad or tragic has to happen? Yes, this situation was realistic. Women miscarry and have stillborn babies and it is absolutely heartbreaking. But this felt like a cheap ploy of using a truly personal, painful situation - setting it to some cheesy Dawson's Creek soundtrack - and waiting for people to cry. And yeah, for the record, I did cry.

The big event we heard so much about happened in the span of several minutes. Nothing was clearly explained, aside from Leo stating that the baby had passed. For the past two weeks, we've watched the same old same old: pointless arguing between Madison and Jack, Ashley's bitching, Lauren acting holier than though. However, this does go to show that life can literally change in an instant. It put a lot in perspective.

For the all the negativity I felt about the storyline in general, there were some aspects of this episode that deserve praise. First off, bravo to Francia Raisa and Ken Baumann for the way they handled such a difficult storyline. I can't imagine that's easy for an actor and their portrayals were genuine and moving. I tip my hat to them.

Also, as I stated before, this episode finally showed how stupid and petty drama can be. Amy and Adrian normally don't get along, but in Adrian's moment of need she called upon Amy because she knew Amy would be able to level with her as a mother. Ricky and Amy have spent months and months debating their relationship and when was the right time for them to have sex. In the face of tragedy, I think they finally realized how blessed they were to be with each other and have a healthy son. They chose to live in the moment because you never know what will happen next.

I want to know what all of you thought about Ben and Adrian losing their baby. This episode had an impact on me and I'm sure it did on a lot of you as well.

Hey, Secret Life writers, think you could let these kids be happy for once??

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (208 Votes)

Leigh Raines is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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as a woman who had a misscarriage it hard for people to watch even in a storyline. This show finally show a side of teenagers getting pregnet that is real. I think it was the best show they have done. Keep making it real and you will again more viewer instead of making it kool for teens to have babies

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To answer the question it necessary to kill a baby just to shake up a one hour drama on ABC Family well it might not have been necessary but let's remember there wasn't actually a baby in real life so talking about adoption as an option is, in my opinion, a bit silly. It made for excellent television and is sure a lot more realistic than the teenager who gets pregnant, then married and then lives happily ever after in her expensive condo with her rich boyfriend. That tragedy happens is an unfortunate fact of life and this sure made me bawl my eyes out. I think the cast did an excellent job in portraying that really difficult scene. Can't wait to see what happens next season.

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This episode was life changing for me.
I just had a baby four months ago, and I could not ever imagine that pain. You never really think about that. I respect them for doing something that is SUCH a sensitive subject, because it really did open my eyes to how blessed I truly am to have my beautiful healthy son. This episode broke my heart and filled me with joy at the same time, and I've never experienced anything like it. I never really loved Secret Life, but now my respect for the show is through the roof.

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I'm sorry, but having the baby die was just not something they should have done. This is just my look onto this. I know that they are trying to make Teen Pregnancy scary and everything, but please, they are just trying to get everyone NOT to have sex, this is just an outcome of the sex, and the stillbirth was not the right way to go. Maybe an adoption would have been better. Wait, is that the next person thats going to have a baby? She's going to have an adoption? Who knows? All I know is that seeing Ben's Dad (can't spell their last name) with those tears broke me down. Seeing all of them crying made me freaking bawl. I did NOT like this episode, not one bit.

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I had seen a few episodes of this show, but it wasn't until an unexpected pregnancy that I suddenly fell in love with it. I'm not a teen, but I feel like I was too young. I have since seen every episode and I've been blessed in giving birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and this episode completely broke my heart. I'm so impressed with the show for tackling such a controversial issue and to have handled it so well really brings the show up to another level.

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For those of you who think the episode was to much I know women who give birth and they also die themselves while giving birth and the baby dies this episode was good enough I have aunts who've given birth and had the baby but the baby dies right in there arm that's got to be the worst at least adrian knew before you know its still harsh but its life it happens

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Hi I'm a huge fan of secret life I've seen every episode truthfully this was a great episode it made me want to keep watching the show and it leaves you wondering what's happening next but as for me I think "AMY AND RICKY" should be together they're adorable they have a child and he's different because of her he changed him and Adrian don't belong together and ben also changed adrian a bit but AMY and RICKY are the best its the reason why I even record the show when I'm not home its because they belong together and I don't know he's hott and she's hot and I'm dying to know if they'll have sex they deserve it she's been so good he's been so good and it'll be super exciting for them and us as viewers if your a fan of TEAM "AMY and RICKY" email me at cruiz1105@yahoo.com so we can do something to keep them together I'd be so devastated if they don't end up together

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Wow, the ignorance on here is rather astounding. "They should have shown a miscarriage. They took it too far." Can someone explain to me how a miscarriage is any less heartbreaking than having a stillborn? For those of you that have children and respect the show - you're incredible. For those of you that it's happened to - I am so sorry for your loss. For the rest of you that think that it would have been more appropriate for Adrian to have a miscarriage - you're ridiculous. My sister just had a miscarriage and it in no way was easy for her. Losing a baby is losing a baby. It's tragic, devastating and life changing. How it happens doesn't change the outcome or how terrible that reality is. If you can't handle what happens to many women then don't watch the show...but PLEASE shut up about how they could have chosen a different way for the baby to die to make it easier for YOU to watch. Kudos ABCfamily for tackling thorny issues - Francia did incredible by the way - shes always been the best actress but this was very well done.

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I believe it was a good and informative. They tackled an issue that is Taboo to talk about, I too lost my son and stillbirthed. Even though it is a show some teenagers connect to the show and now know its not easy dealing with these issues. I am grateful to the writters and actors, amazing job....unfortunately I cried a lil longer than usual during the episode.

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To me Secret Life has always been very unrealistic. As the daughter of a teen mother the show has always kept me going though. The actors always have that monotonous ever emotion looks the same style of acting. Too many characters with equal sized story lines. Perfect lives for naughty teens. All that being said this episode was one of the most real heartbreaking the i have ever seen. I've never cried so hard from a tv show, even though i knew it was coming since i'd dvrd it and heard the new before i could watch it. Ben seemed helpless and broken. Leo seemed confused and unsure and scattered. Adrian seem heartbroken and defeated, Like she could never feel comfortable with her body again just because of what had happened. I got all that from their acting and it was marvelous. Even Amy had that feeling of it could have been me in those few minutes she knew. Maybe I'm making up the emotions i thought i saw but regardless well done Secret Life .Well Done