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“The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Volume 4”
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Disney
Genre:
TV-Series
Release Date:
6/15/10
Special Features:

Behind the "secret" scenes - join the cast and crew as they work, play and laugh after the how has wrapped; Cast on family - the cast and members discuss diversity and the importance of family.

Review:

Be suspicious of ANY TV show that supposedly shows you the “secret life” of any one particularly an American teen. Hollywood’s version of what teens go through may sometimes be accurate but, as often as not, their perception is colored by what Hollywood thinks is average which has as much sense of reality as BP claiming that they didn’t violate the law or that they took every conceivable precaution prior to the oil spill in the gulf. In other words, it’s much more fantasy than reality (much as the detestable “Gossip Girl” is as well). ***

“Secret Life” is like all TV shows of this type more about the soap opera elements than reality; as Hitchcock supposedly once said films are reality with the boring bits cut out but, in reality, these type of programs are an example of a teenage life on overdrive. The series follows Amy (Shailene Woodley) a teenage mom and her friends as they deal with the absurdity of high school. Featuring 80’s teen icon Molly Ringwald, “Secret Life” does have merit buried somewhere between the larger-than-life issues that confront these kids. My personal take is that this show doesn’t so much “reflect” teenage life as it does teach them to like soap operas that have elements of teenage life in it. Much could be said about the issue resolution on the show but even then for kids to learn about how to deal with issues from TV is like learning how to deal with issues by reading fortune cookie inserts. ---

Image & Sound:

Do you care? Most teens aren’t going to care about the transfer. For the record, it does look pretty good but that’s not the point here is it? ***

Audio sounds fine as this is a dialogue driven show don’t expect much from the surround speakers. ---

Special Features:

We get little in the way of special features—two featurettes that amount to little more than routine filler. Does any teen care what the cast of a TV show who have charmed lives compared to the average teen think about diversity or want to see how much fun it is to shoot a TV show like this? My guess—no but then again I’m no longer a teen. I will say as a teen I would have avoided shows like this like they carried plague. ---

Final Words:

I’m not overly impressed with this show but then again I’m not the target audience. I did show it to a group of teens to get their impression and while they thought the few episodes they had seen previously and the ones they saw on DVD were OK, the issues raised on the show are little more than a surface resemblance to their lives. ***

I’d advise parents to preview this show before watching it with their teens or letting their teens watch it on their own because they might see some objectionable issues raised. These teens seem to live charmed lives compared to the average teenager that I know and while the show isn't necessarily bad, it just doesn't communicate the values I'd often like to see instilled in teens today or the communication that needs to exist between teens and parents (for example didn't Amy's parents tell her about using condoms before becoming sexually active?). -

 

 
 
 
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