I think I’ve finally figured The Secret Life of the American Teen out. This isn’t a show about teen pregnancy; it’s a cautionary tale about a fiendish psychological experiment that robs an entire town of every last lick of sense. And it’s obviously been going on for a while — how else do you explain the romantic success of idiotic, oafish George?

These spoilers object to the use of "I Am Woman."

Amy’s going back to school — but which one? She’s all set to go to the "alternative extension school for independent women," but her dad wonders if she really wants to go to "Slut School." No, really — he calls it "Slut School," to the daughter who’s about to go there. Amy quite reasonably points out that he just called her a slut, and George denies it. He just wants what’s best for her — which, coincidentally, happens to be what’s convenient for him, as "Slut School" is across town, while her normal school is five minutes away. Somehow, Amy lets her dad convince her he really is looking out for her and goes back to her regular school.

Shockingly, everyone points and stares and whispers and basically makes Amy feel like crap. Ben says he’ll be there for her, but he’s mysteriously missing when lunch comes around, because he’s having a heated discussion over nomenclature. He ends up semiconscious, and Grace discovers him and goes for help.

Meanwhile, Lauren and Madison are debating whether they’re still even friends with Amy, a discussion that gets more fraught when Madison brings up the whole making-out-with-Ricky thing. Lauren decides to call her dad for advice. As her dad is Ricky’s shrink, things get Un! Comfort! Able! real fast — Dad comes into school to read Ricky the riot act in a display of professional misconduct that boggles the mind.

Speaking of mind-boggling… Adrian and Ricky’s post nookie morning routine is interrupted by Adrian’s dad — he’s there to tell her she’s coming to live with him, at her mom’s behest. What the hell? Last week he didn’t want to know he existed, and this week he’s setting up a room for her? Adrian has some reasonable objections, and she gets the school counselor to call mom in so they can talk — well, shriek at each other, at least. Mom tells Adrian that she got pregnant because she wanted to make a little person who would love her (because having a kid is very much like adopting a puppy), but alas! Adrian couldn’t even do that right. Adrian says she does love her, but she doesn’t want to move. Personally, I’d be suing for emancipation and moving out of this crazy town, to a place where the water supply isn’t contaminated with hallucinogens. Adrian decides to skip the legal separation step and just move out. She asks Ricky to come with her (it takes a while to flush the mind-numbing  chemicals out of the system, apparently) and is disappointed when he says he wants to stay (see above.)

Ricky teeters between talking about how Amy is having his baby and how he wants to be a father, and then trying to convince Amy to Hide Her Shame at another school for the duration so he can continue to have fun. Ricky is an idiot.

In the end, the Sausage King convinces Amy that she wants to be at school with Ben, and Grace organizes a Take Back the Halls march to escort Amy to her classes. (Note: Amy was never actually the one beaten up, so I’m not entirely sure why she needs protection.) And yes, that involves "I Am Woman" on marching band instruments. The mind reels.

Odds and ends

  • I know that traditionally, "slut" is defined as a promiscuous woman, but I really, really think the definition has been expanded by now to include men. In no way is Amy promiscuous — an idiot, perhaps, and naive, certainly, but as far as I can tell, having sex once doesn’t make you promiscuous. Having sex with any female in the tri-state area? That sounds promiscuous. If anyone’s the slut, it’s Ricky. So why isn’t he being shamed?
  • Look, I’m all for Amy staying in her regular school is that’s what she wants. But she seems to be someone who avoids confrontation, who tries to stay under the radar. She’s not an in-your-face kind of person, and she doesn’t need to be. So why is everyone else deciding what’s best for her — and why is she going along with it?
  • There was a sub-plot with Henry and Alice and Jack and Grace, where Alice and Jack tried to make Henry and Grace jealous by pretending to date. I probably should care, but I don’t. The upshot: Grace realizes she’s not interested in Jack anymore, and Henry and Alice have sex. Oy.
  • I’m confused — was that Jack beating up Ben? If so, why was he then pledging to defend Ben at the end of the episode?
  • In what possibly universe would George be able to marry two smart, funny, self-possessed, gorgeous women and date a third? What makes him a catch? He called his own daughter a slut! He’s an idiot!
  • I’m so sick of the slap/kiss thing. Once in a while, someone really needs to attempt to slap Ricky, and when he goes in for the kiss, just knee him in the groin. The kid deserves it. Even considering the inherent insanity of puberty, there’s no way that every single girl would fall for Ricky’s dubious charms. Bleh.
  • Molly spent much of the episode at a bar in Chicago because she read the script and fled had to rescue her mom, who got on the wrong plane while in the grip of dementia. She should really stay in Chicago — surely she’s got a high school reunion coming up around now.
  • Ashley had a couple of decent lines ("Technically you were only a slut for two and a half minutes… if that."), but then she broke my heart and told idiot George she loved him. Sigh. Stick to your guns, Ashley! You’re better than all of these people!

It’s the finale next week — will the horrible brainwashing plot be discovered and the townspeople saved? Or are they all really that stupid? Did anyone else foam at the mouth when they started playing "I Am Woman"? Will I ever get these hours of my life back?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild