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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Series examines pregnant teen’s emotions

Morning sickness on the first day of school, fear of others discovering a secret and uncertainty about the future: Welcome to 15-year-old Amy Juergens’ suddenly complicated life.

ABC Family’s summer pilot series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, portrays the life of a freshman girl in high school who endures the difficulties of teen pregnancy.

After losing her virginity to fellow student Ricky at a summer band camp, good-girl Amy returns to school and begins to experience early symptoms of pregnancy. Throughout the episodes, Amy struggles with decisions about her baby and its effects on her social life amid difficulties at home.

As the season progresses, characters reveal secrets that unravel a web of their pasts connecting them to each other. The extensive plot is thrust upon the viewer in the first eleven episodes; not enough time is allotted to fully comprehend the situations each character is faced with.

However, series creator Brenda Hampton (creator and producer of 7th Heaven) maintains the viewer’s interest with new dramatic conflicts introduced in each episode. The climatic sequences keep the viewer craving for more and wondering how the characters will handle each situation.

Although the story line can be hard to follow at times, the quality acting from all but the main star secures the plausibility of the show. The actors’ performances make it seem as though they understand their characters’ problems. The viewer can often relate to a character on the show due to its diverse cast.

However, Shailene Woodley (Amy Juergens) appears too young to be playing such a significant role. Her unconvincing emotion during her pregnancy causes viewers to question her talent, as anyone can imagine the unexpressed fear, panic and complications of her situation.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager provides a dose of reality to those living a sheltered life, as about one-third of girls in the United States get pregnant before age 20. The problems the characters face are real-life issues many teenagers experience, although some may seem foreign to private school students. The show exposes the thoughts and emotions of a pregnant teen, much like Juno (2008).

In addition to informing the viewer of a consequence of unprotected sex, the show helps girls in similar situations: The scenes with Amy and her family answer questions that some teens may hesitate to ask.

At the end of each episode, Woodley advises viewers how to talk to their parents about sex. She states that teenage pregnancy is completely preventable, and encourages viewers to visit StayTEEN.org (a resource Web site maintained by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) for more information.

Although some may question the appropriateness of the subject matter, the show does not encourage sexual activity among teenagers; it merely examines a possible effect of it. I believe it helps teens realize that their choices can have life-long consequences.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager premiered July 1, 2008; the first season will resume in January, 2009.

For more movie/TV reviews, visit the Oct. 7 article, Sisterhood sequel explores teen maturity.

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