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

by at . Comments

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
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (208 Votes)

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

Tags: ,
Avatar

I am very happy to say this was the most boldest and smart move they have made. Everybody is too scared to show what happens everyday or to show kids that teen pregnancy isn't all peaches and creme. You are saying they took it too far but on every channel there are murder shows and even children die in it by the hands of a cold-hearted criminal. Yet, they show what can happen in real life and don't sugar coat anything and its wrong?! I think everyone needs to quit being scared and see what goes on around us. It is a scary world and we just live in it. I have a friend who lost a baby as a still born and she loved this episode because she was a young age and it was a huge tragedy to her. She said it shows teen pregnancy and parenthood is not glamourous. Everyone is titled to their own opinions. I just wish everyone in America would open their dang eyes and quit being so scared all the time. This does happen!!!!

Avatar

I am very pleased and into the show. I am glad that ABCFAMILY took this route. I have seen a lot of people say its mean curel and wrong. Yes they are very true, but its what can happen. I have also seen that many are upset due to the fact they are only teenagers and won't understand what it means to have a still birth or sex is bad. ABCFAMILY is just showing what is real it may not seem it but it is maybe its fake the whole little crew are friends but in almost all highschools today kids are sleeping w/ the same people as everyone else. They show Amy w/ john nd what motherhood is like as a teen but now w/ the still birth its showing teens jus because your young and pregant doesn't mean nothing bad can happen to you. This is why I think its even better this happend to a teen so other teens can take in the seriousness of having a child and that this will show them have sex young is not always you get pregant and have baby or miscarry and no baby. It also show the teens nd viewer in general the type of feelings each topic brings. Esp for the teens nd still birth tho it shows them they are not close nor will they ever b ready to handle nd accept the emotions this sitiution can cause...

Kittiwitti

I also loved the scene where Amy comforts Adrian, it really shows how deep a mothers' love can reach even to those who do not get along.

Kittiwitti

I wasn't a fan of the secret life but this finale definitely reached out to me especially Ben and Adrian. Mostly Adrian, it was truly heartbreaking to see her in that state. I cried myself. Losing a baby is the hardest thing to ever go through but the journey to recovery will always remain.

Avatar

I am glad they showed this episode. Loss of a child is something that isn't talked about nearly enough. They didn't KILL the baby every pregnancy has risks and it can happen to ANYONE at ANY age.

Avatar

First of all - to those people who complain about the cheesy dialogue and unrealistic situations - I think that is all just part of what makes this show so brilliant. Secondly, regarding the subject matter of this episode and how some people are left wishing that more time was spent on the stillborn child - I think, that if the show had to go there, that they did it perfectly and tastefully. It would have been morbid to have seen the poor baby - which some of you have indicated would have made the episode better. I am the mother of a wonderfully healthy baby girl, and could only imagine how absolutely devastating it would be to carry a baby to term and then to end up losing that baby. If the writers had decided to go any further, or to show anymore, they definitely would have been going too far. I think the episode was done well. Oh yeah - To everyone who says that they only did it as a ratings ploy because only a few minutes were dedicated at the end - it was prevalent throughout the entire episode from the very look on the doctor's face, and the fact that Adrian hadn't felt the baby move for a while. You knew the outcome then even if you hadn't read the spoilers - then you watched everyone else go on with their day and their lives, knowing the tragedy that Ben and Adrian were facing. I can't say that I loved this episode because the subject matter was very difficult to deal with, but I repeat that I really feel it was done well.

Avatar

I have to say that these people can not act. But I do love this show because it shows the hardships of life. A lot of other tv series are all junk and about stupid people. Even though this was a tragic episode, in the end what matters most is FAMILY, knowing that you have each other and people who care about you is important. It was a little harsh for the screen writer to have Adrian and Ben loose their baby girl, but i do have to be honest that it is better to learn it through the media (since most people watch tv's nowadays) of certain consequences and tragic loses than to go through it yourself. I do understand that there are many women out there who have had miscarriages or other pregnancy complications. But we all need to be strong and stay together.

Avatar

I'm glad the Secret Life did this episode. This show circles around teen pregnancy and parenthood, and the majority of the viewers are teenagers; and they need to see the reality of what could go wrong. Adrian was oblivious to the fact that something was wrong with the baby, as most teenage mothers would be if they were not properly educated. Putting it on TV puts it out there for the young viewers of this show and may get them to think twice before deciding to have children. I belive this is the goal of the show in general, but to cover something this tragic could be a real eye opener for some.

Kimberly-ann-myers

It was definitely a sad sad scene. I think the writers did a good job, ESPECIALLY for a show like 'secret life' that usually doesnt have the best writing in the world. Watching as everyone slowly began to realize what was going on, the looks of horror. It was especially touching to see Bens dad so broken over the whole thing. I agree with those who said that Ben's character will never be the same. He was always so sheltered and protected, even when dealing with everything with Amy. A situation this devastating would mess anyone up, but Ben is still so innocent and romantic, I doubt he will be able to deal with this tragedy and recover from it. At least not for a very long time. Its like the sausage king said "Ben and Adrian will never be the same." Lets hope that the Secret Life writers can commit to this next season and allow the characters to respond in a natural way, not just continue with the same pointless relationship switches and drama as if its business as usual.

Avatar

Somehow I knew this was going to happen but not in this way. I assumed that even if Adrian was pregnant, that a miscarriage or a different approach to the pregnancy was expected somewhere along the line because to have Adrian be a mom in a similar fashion to Amy would've been too redundant. It did pack an emotional punch. Expect this to be the beginning of the end for Ben/Adrian.

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.

Frank

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

Ashley [to Amy]
x Close Ad