TV Fanatic Works Better with Prime Instant Video
40,000 other titles are available to watch now.

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 (209 Votes)

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

Tags: ,
Avatar

This show is awful. The plot is unrealistic and the acting so terrible I have trouble watching an entire episode. I'm glad the baby was stillborn because it put some sort of interest while showing that happy endings are not always around the corner.

Avatar

I think this episode was awesome. They wanted to show that not every pregnancy goes well, there is always something that can happen during a perfect pregnancy. From the preview you can kind of assume something was going to happen to Adrien or the baby. There are many things that can happen during the birthing process and kids need to know that its not just rainbows and butterfly's having a kid at a young age. It could be them. Also, i do not know what to think about the preview for next week but since the begin of the series I've hoped Amy and Ricky would get together and if something happens where it gets messed up, i will no longer be watching anymore. There's been too much with the 4kids(Amy,Ricky Adrien and Bed). Ben and Adrien need to not mess things up for Amy and Ricky!

Avatar

I have watched the show since the beginning. Although I have found some of the dialog to be a little cheesy at times I have continued to watch because of the subject matter that is raised.I think that the concept of the show is to give parents as well as teens a idea of how to open a dialog about sex and relationships. I also don't want to see Ricky, Amy, Ben and Adrian to switch back to their former relationships in any way. As a mother who has been in Adrian's position, I feel that it was done in a tasteful manner.There are those that think they needed to see Adrian and Ben hold their still born child but I think that would have gone too far. That is a very private moment that not everyone can understand if they have not lost a child. I think that Adrian asking Amy to be with her is a natural reaction.But the writers will have to remember that Adrian and Amy's similarity in their situation stops there. In a realistic situation Adrian may come to resent how Amy's life seems to have all come together while hers is falling apart.I am getting way ahead of the script though. I think that this is a part of pregnancy that is important for viewers to see. Too many times have I seen shows where a mother has an abortion or gives the baby up for adoption (the end).The fact of the matter is that there are babies that die in-utero. And it is a very painful thing to experience.But it is a part of life. Yes this subject matter will raise the rating for a time being but I did not feel like it was a cheap ploy to get people to cry. And for the record I did bawl my eyes out to the "Dawson's Creek" soundtrack because I could totally relate.It happened to be on the radio when I went home from the hospital. Pure coincidence that struck home none the less. Bad, unexplainable things happen. The ending lesson, I hope, is that somehow we find a way to continue even when it seems that we are being knocked on our tails time and time again. I would like to see the show throw out more challenging issues as the kids mature.

Avatar

I figured it out all through the episode. I have been pregnant so it was easy to figure it out. I can't imagine the actors who play ben and adrian doing their parts any better. They made it seem real. I cried even though I didn't want to I couldn't help it. The story line was so sad and moving. I couldn't imagine what it would feel like if I had lost my child like that. The next season should be interesting to see how everyone is doing after the tragedy.

Avatar

jessica, i definitely could not believe that there was only like ten minutes left in the episode when they finally actually said what was happening. i agree that they should have spent more time on the issue.

Avatar

I agree with the writer of the review of the episode. If their main goal was to shed a light on the tragedy of stillbirth, then they should have devoted the entire episode to it. They could have shown how the baby is delivered and held after he or she is born and in future episodes show the effect that this tragedy has on different people. Instead, they were very vague about the specifics and chose to promote the tragedy of the episode with everyone crying. This was obviously a way for them to draw in viewers. My daughter is 15 and she watched the first season of this show and quit watching midway through season 2. She had not watched any of season 3, but she watched the episode last night due to the advertising of the subject matter. So, I would say that the ploy by ABC Family was successful. She isn't planning on watching it next week, so I don't know how the ploy will work in the long run. I spend a lot of time with high school girls and while there are a few that talk about sex, they are not the norm, which is how this show is depicted. Also, the parents on this show are not shown as being very bright. It is a pretty standard ABC Family show: cheap to produce and not very well written.

Avatar

If the show really wanted to show how this tragic situation can happen to make awareness it should have spent more time on the matter. Instead it took place for about 3 minutes in an hour long show & the majority of the time they were playing that depressing song. They took a sad subject & purely used it for ratings, not awareness.

Avatar

i just finished watching the ep and reading the blog and all the reviews. the first thing i absolutely need to say is that for anyone writing about how it would be more realistic for adrian to have had an abortion, have a miscarriage or give the baby up for adoption is ridiculous. more realistic?? really?? women give birth to stillborn babies every day. many people have posted statistics on their reviews. i don't think you could get any more realistic then going to the doctor one day and everything is fine to finding out the next day your life has changed forever and not the way you thought it would. any of those storylines would have of course been REALISTIC but not more or less realistic then having a stillborn child. what's so important at this point is how the writers have these kids deal with what happened. will the show lose viewers?? i'm not sure, i know i won't stop watching b/c of what happened. as a grown woman of three small children, my heart broke watching adrian and ben lose their daughter and yes, i know it's a made up show but it's a real life subject. i can't imagine the devastation and heartbreak it must cause for anyone to lose a child, in any situation. i hope amy and ricky stay together. i would be really annoyed if they start playing this quad love story again. amy and ricky have grown so much, i love how far the both of them have come and it would be really lame for adrian and ben to come between them...especially since it was apparent that it was the emotion that they felt, over their friends losing their baby, that really brought them together sexually in those last few moments of the show. wanting and needing to be so close to someone during a time of sadness especially someone that you love so much. i don't know what will become of adrian and ben's relationship, whatever it is i hope it's done tactfully. also, for mom to be.....there aren't too many explanations as to why something like that happens. which is probably why they didn't go into detail. but really what i want to tell you is not to get yourself too worried! you are almost done and your baby will be here soon, so try to enjoy your last few weeks of pregnancy!! trust me, you will have worry for the rest of your life being a parent!! i know it's easier said then done not worry...i've done it three times! but you will be just fine and so will your baby! congratulations and good luck!!!!

Avatar

While it was so sad to see Adrian give birth to a stillborn baby, sometimes this is exactly what a show needs to get more people to watch. This made for a very dramatic story that was very emotional and moving. I agree that I wished they wouldn't have waited for everyone to be informed of this tragedy within the last 15 minutes of the show. The tragedy deserved more airtime, which I'm hoping we'll see in the next episode. But if they give awards out for actors on shows such as this, I'm sure there will be some nominations because every actor on the show gave a very emotional performance that I'm sure moved more people than just myself. I NEVER NEVER cry and I had tears streaming down my face the last 15 minutes of that show. I'm sorry they lost the baby, but I think this will renew the show and the audience will now want to watch the repercussions of that loss, not turn the channel.

Avatar

The fact that people aren't willing to talk about these issues because they are trying to keep teens and kids so sheltered about sex and other hard subject matters makes this very appropriate for a kids/family show. Obviously teens don't talk about sex as openly to their parents as portrayed in this show...but that's what makes this show so interesting. Wouldn't it be more ideal if teens could be more open about sex? Unfortunately, teens end up learning about sex through other teens. As cheesy as this show can be, I'm glad that someone is trying to open up a conversation about sex, pregnancies, and the consequences. If I'm not mistaken, many of the stillbirths that do occur end up happening to younger people. It's a harsh reality that stillbirths happen at all, but it's something that people need to realize rather than turning away from it and pretending like it doesn't happen. It doesn't mean people need to be scared that it will happen to them though.

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]