The season finale of The Secret Life of the American Teenager reportedly featured yet another unplanned pregnancy. Apparently two of the characters decided to have sex to get back at their exes. Bad idea number one. Then the writers decided to throw abortion into the conversation mix. Potential bad idea number two?
The character in question is quoted as saying, “I’m not having a baby and ruining my life like Amy.” Wow. That’s a pretty harsh statement.
Apparently coming off as another anti-Juno, hoping to de-glam the idea of teenage pregnancy, the show has tackled this topic before which I covered. Adoption was discussed before and now we’re apparently going to see the dramatics of the decision to abort or not. In a review from Entertainment Weekly online, covered the closing cliff-hanger scene well.
The cliffhanger ending, which showed Ben looking forlornly out an upstairs bedroom window at his father’s wedding reception in the yard below as Adrian took a pregnancy test, also happens to be the first time this show has choked me up. I don’t think that’s a coincidence — it reflects the enormity of such a decision, and the power of effective drama.
That particular review also begs the question: will writing an abortion for a main character into a teen show make it seem like the easy decision? Juno was chastised, heavily, by making adoption seem like an easy decision. Most shows make teen parenting seem like a day at the candy store. Why would we expect a teen show to make abortion look any harder?
The truth is that some people hate when shows tackle these issues. To be honest, they do frequently miss the mark. However, if parents are paying attention to what their teens are watching, it leaves the door open for a dialogue on these very important issues. When Brenda threw out the pregnancy test in her home bathroom garbage can on a (very old) episode of (the original) 90210, could my parents have used this as an opportunity to discuss these issues? Perhaps. Whatever the case and whatever the eventual decision, I’m still mostly glad to see issues facing today’s teens discussed in any way. As long as shows aren’t proclaiming, “Abortions are fun!” Or, “Adoption is easy-peasy!” Or, “Teen parenting is cake!” I’ll be okay with it.
What are your thoughts on how this show (and others) continue to tackle the topic of teen pregnancy and the options that surround it?