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??


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (210 Votes)

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.


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


I think the big picture here, is that this episode really made people realize they have a connection to a fictional tv show. When everyone cried simultaneously at the end, it made viewers cry as well. For me, it was more like balling as if I had just lost my baby. It was so emotional and it was played out so well and so realistically that you had no choice but to just feel pain and empathy for ben and adrian even though they are just actors in a tv show. For 2 seconds it felt so real and so traumatizing, and that's when you know that the show is absolutely amazing!


I think it was the right thing.. it's sad .. but now they don't have to stay together and adrian and ricky can get back together and ben and amy..


its a sad situation but it's about damn time that the fantasy secret life land had some type of REAL ISSUES to deal with. In real life, teen mothers don't always have support, or homes, or boyfriends that really care about them and their baby. They need some more REAL LIFE issues that REAL LIFE teen moms deal with. Stop showing these kids glorifying images of kids having kids. It's not as cracked up as these shows are showing...


I have not seen the episode as of yet but speaking as someone who actually had a stillborn baby at 17 years old the issue is very real and although it is a rare occurence it does happen. Before this happened to me I had never even heard of a still birth it boggled my mind that my baby died inside of me and i still had to give birth. I think that it is important to show all the things that can happen with teen pregnancy and because stillbirth does not occur as often perhaps this is why people are saying that they "went too far" Like I said I never had even heard of stillbirth it is a very sensitive issue it would have been MORBID for them to show the birth with the baby coming out mute, the baby DOES NOT look as you wouldd expect it too when it was time to bury my baby it was closed casket because they told me my baby basically was decomposing so i didnt even get to say goodbye, I DID NOT hold my baby and to tell the truth i barely looked at him although I regret it deeply. This is a real life sensitive situation and I'm thankful that they spared us with the little details.


I think having Ben and Adrian lose their baby, though incredibly sad, was the right thing for the show. A show like this, one that is not afraid to be controversial what with things like the teen pregnancies and Just Say Me, should show the bad/tragic with the good. And they did. These things happen and not everyone knows that, so hopefully The Secret Life informed a few more people while entertaining them. All of the actors did a tremendous job. I liked the contrast of the two major stories/couples, Adrian/Ben and Ricky/Amy, and I liked how they came together. I wasn't expecting the Amy/Adrian scenes, but it made sense and felt right. I also wasn't expecting Ricky and Amy to have sex after, but it too made sense. Tragedy either brings people closer or tears them apart, and it's also when you need people the most.


I'm a grown woman of 40 with 2 children, but I watch this show. there's not much else on in the summer. Last night's episode had me crying my eyes out. And yes, it does happen in real life unfortunately. Bravo Secret Life, for taking on such subject matter.


I cried my eyes out for this episode!
A lot of people complain about the acting, but remember that these actors are very young and for a lot of them this is their first acting job. I think that in light of that, they're doing a terrific job and that they've made really good strides since the first episode as they become more comfortable with their characters. Also remember that they're playing teenagers, who tend to be over-dramatic as a rule of thumb. :)
I think that this show set out to explore all of the consequences, good and bad, to having sex, not just for teenagers but for others as well. Look at Amy's mom and dad, for example, as well as Ben's father and Betty. Sex is an incredibly complicated issue for people of any age, and there is no one-stop answer or guide that fits everyone. I think that this show is doing a really good job of examining those issues with an unbiased mind. All of the issues - the emotional impact, the effect your choices have on the people around you, the physical risks - including STIs, the possibility of pregnancy, and the chance that something could go wrong with the pregnancy even if you do everything right. I think that educating teenagers about sex, both the pros and the cons, and fully explaining the magnitude of it, is an important thing. Teenagers are going to have sex with each other no matter how ignorant we try to keep them, so in the end it's best to educate them so that they can make the decision fully informed.
Also, not every story on here is tragic. Look at Ben's two best friends - they've been having sex and their relationship is stable and loving, and nothing bad has happened to them.


i was sad but prepared for this episode. i didn't like that Adrian's baby didn't make it because i was looking forward to see how her parenting style varied from Amy's. i understand why they did it and it's a good issue to cover since so many girls in my area get pregnant in or right out of high school. on another note, i hope they can pick a set of characters and stick with them! jack and grant and grace and Madison and Lauren and tom and Kathleen and Robbie and the boyfriends and girlfriends and AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Ricky and Amy, Ben and Adrian with friends bu not entire separate story lines. i hate that they have so many going at once that you only get five minutes devoted to each section. it's like watching robot chicken for angsty teens. what ever happened to having main characters and supporting charterers. supporting charterers support, they don't run around having 1/2 the show to themselves. it's incredibly obnoxious. I felt it overshadowed this traumatic and dramatic episode in the series to have parent's giving their kids money to not have sex, introducing new bus riding gold-diggers and cheating wives and husbands when it should have been about what happens when two young people make life changing decisions that lead to life changing events. and where's betty, the only supporting character i like anymore?

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The Secret Life of the American Teenager Season 3 Episode 26 Quotes

For two people not having sex they can't keep their hands off of each other.


You look like an idiot. You know that, right?

Ashley [to Amy]