Secret Life of the American Teenager: Volume Four comprises the second half of season two of the TV series. The popular ABC Family show revolves around teen mom Amy (Shailene Woodley) and her family and friends. The first season of the show dealt with Amy’s pregnancy and the reactions of everyone around her. In the second season Amy is now a new mom, dealing with school, the baby’s father, her family, and her boyfriend. While the show sets up some interesting relationships, it leans more toward teen soap opera than anything that resembles realism.
One problem with Secret Life of the American Teenager is that everyone is obsessed with sex. Of course, we know teenagers are interested sex, but this show would have the audience believe it’s the only thing they ever think about. Almost no one seems to be thinking about what they want to do after high school, or anything else for that matter. Actually, sex is treated very casually on this show, as if sleeping around is totally expected and okay. The show seems to be aimed at a pre-teen or young teen audience, so it might make for some uncomfortable viewing as a family show. Another disappointing element to the second season is that everyone is friends. The awkwardness of different groups being forced to interact with each other is gone. Geeky Ben freely talks to popular Grace, and even befriends the unapproachable and sexy Adrian. Bad boy Rickey (the father of Amy's baby) seems to be friends with everyone. The only non-friends are Adrian and Amy who are at odds over who gets to spend more time with Rickey.
The most interesting characters are Rickey, Amy’s dad, and her sister Ashley. Both characters bring a touch of common sense and humor to the show. Molly Ringwald as Amy’s mom is okay, but I think they could do more with her character. She doesn’t have much impact as a mom, and it doesn’t seem like it’s meant to be that way. Rickey provides the most emotional gravity to the show. He comes from a troubled background, lived in foster care, and is now trying to be a good father. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to make of Rickey and in a way that makes him the most realistic. Rickey at times is very sympathetic and then he will make a stupid or callous decision that is alienating. At the very least there are some dynamics to his character.