The Secret Life of the American Teen
teaches us that pizza is the universal constant, that kids are kind of stupid, that adults are even stupider, that no plot point is too outlandish, and that nothing is more humiliating than poverty. Thanks, SLAT!

This spoiler was brought to you by Local Pizza Parlor.

Liz had to flee the country for unspecified reasons — I think it had something to do with a cabal of enraged Molly Ringwald impersonators — so I’m your guest recapper for the next couple of episodes. I’ll try to make more sense than the show. (I believe in setting attainable goals).

Amy and Ashley head over to Dad’s sweet condo for some family bonding, much to Molly’s dismay. She doesn’t need to worry — Dad’s totally lying about the sweet condo! It’s actually Adrian’s mom’s, and Ashley, for one, isn’t fooled. Amy… well, she’s got pregnancy brain. It’s hard work, making placenta, and all that blood going to the belly is blood not going to the brain.

So what’s Ben’s excuse — sympathy pregnancy brain? Because for some reason, he figures it’s a great idea for him to crash the father/daughter bonding time. What’s more, he brings his depressed friend Henry, who is mopey and sad about something, but unwilling to talk about it. That’s ok — he’s got pizza! That makes everything better!

Ben’s dad feels the same way: He appears at Molly’s door unannounced, details all her recent troubles and humiliations, insults her wine/cereal pairing skills (the raisins call for a full-bodied red), and pushes the "Let’s get these two crazy kids married!" agenda. What is wrong with these people?

Ricky tries the pizza trick with every female on the face of the planet — he needs to talk about his feeeeeeeeeelings! Because Amy being pregnant is, of course, All About Him. After Adrian tells him to get lost, Grace is unavailable and Tom has a date, he settles for Lauren. Lauren talks a good game about how she’s WAY too smart to fall for him, which of course means they end up making out. Sigh.

Tom orders pizza for his date, who turns out to be Jennifer Coolidge. Playing a prostitute. With a heart of gold, of course. This is the point I started banging my head against the wall, so I can’t give you many details. There was an anti-smoking PSA in there, and a warning about the perils of being a working girl, but other than that, I can’t even begin to explain it.

The only people not seduced by the siren call of pizza are Adrian and Grace, who are staking out a seemingly random house in hopes of spying Adrian’s dad, who she’s never met. Grace chatters a bit, and Adrian glares at a door, and finally Daddy Dearest comes home. Adrian gets all excited, but Daddy Dearest tells her that he and her mom explicitly agreed this would never happened, and he doesn’t want her messing up his cozy wife-and-kids life. Oof. Adrian’s reaction — despair, tears, and finally allowing slutty Ricky to come over — was the only vaguely authentic scene in the entire show.

The other good thing? Ashley, so continues to be dark and brooding and snarky. When she hears that dad is sleeping in the store, she figures out he must be broke, and while she can live with a pregnant sister and parents who are separating, she will NOT tolerate letting people know they may be poor. She begs her Molly to take dad back, and Molly relents — but only if Ashley will extend the invitation herself. Who does that to their 13-year-old daughter? Ashley walks in on Dad comforting Adrian about her encounter with Daddy Dearest and is furious — "It’s one thing to cheat on mom, but it’s another thing to cheat on Amy and me." She vows never to speak to him again. I kind of think she’ll do it.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Seriously — this is the teen show that’s getting higher ratings than Gossip Girl? What’s wrong with this country?
  • Ashley remains the sole bright spot in the show. She sells sullen
    teen, and was believably flustered  when Henry told her she was
    beautiful. Can she get a spin-off?
  • Ben’s dad creeps me out. He shows up at Molly’s, announces he knows she’s there alone, reels off a pithy summary of all her troubles, and then makes himself comfortable. Ben apparently gets his quasi-stalker tendencies from his paternal line.
  • The Sausage King is apparently advocating some sort of Teen Pregnancy Pride movement. I’m picturing the Pregger Power salute — one hand on the belly, the other raised in a fist.
  • How can these people keep having serious discussions about how a 15-year-old girl should get married? What century is this show set in?
  • I was actually liking Lauren for a while when she called Ricky on wanting Amy to go to another school because her presence would put a damper on his social life. Of course, she ended up swapping spit with him in the end, so that went right out the window.
  • Did anyone else have to curb a violent reaction when Ben simpered that there was no cooler pair than Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli — "Unless it’s the two of us…" Dad finally does something sensible by kicking him out at this point.
  • Two points to dad for knowing about Grappelli playing on "Wish You Were Here."
  • Of course, he loses whatever credit he gained by idly musing "What do you think is going on in there?" about his 13-year-old daughter and a guy he’d never met before. You’ve already got one pregnant kid — maybe you want to pay a bit more attention to the other one, ok?
  • I cannot for the life of me figure out what the Jennifer Coolidge hooker plot was doing in there. Please explain it to me if you figure it out.

I’m here because LIz needed a favor — why are you watching this show? What keeps bringing you back?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild