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The Secret Life of the American Teenager - Season Two - television series DVD / family and children DVD / drama DVD review
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER (SEASON TWO) Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Shailene Woodley, Daren Kagasoff, Ken Baumann, Molly Ringwald, Mark Derwin
Creator: Brenda Hampton   Distributor: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
DVD release: 16 June 2009   Runtime: 516 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Features: Aspect ration 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English), Subtitles (French, Spanish), Character Secrets: The Cast Reveals All!, Cast Close-Ups, "Secret Life (You And Me)" music video by The Strange Familiar

ABC Family broke some ground last year with the first season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Fifteen-year-old Amy (Shailene Woodley) discovered that she was pregnant after a fumbling encounter at band camp with the lothario Ricky (Daren Kagasoff). She met and fell in love with Ben (Ken Baumann), and the first season was mostly focused on Amy dealing with the news and the drama of revealing it to everyone, particularly Ben.

Season two focuses on Amy making decisions about her future and her baby's future. Should she give the baby up for adoption or keep it to raise? Should she get a job? What about her relationship with Ben? Amy's mother and father (Molly Ringwald and Mark Derwin) are in the middle of a nasty divorce, and this takes their focus off Amy and her sister, Ashley (India Eisley).

There are 12 episodes on three discs in the second season. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first season; it seems the writers are struggling to pin down exactly where they want to go with this. It feels very back and forth about whether they are trying to say that teen sex and pregnancy are things that need to be dealt with logically or if they should be portrayed as a lesson to others of something "not" to do. It gives a very frenetic feel to the storyline. I suppose life isn't always straightforward, either, but this feels like almost too much drama.

The huge number of storylines are a chore to keep up with, taking the focus off of Amy and her issues. They would probably have a cleaner, more thought-provoking and entertaining show if they cut out a few of the side stories and focused more on three or four main stories.

Overall, The Secret Life of the American Teenager is part soap opera, part family drama. It's not recommended for young teens as it contains some very mature storylines. However, like the first season, it might be a good show for parents and teens to watch together in order to spur on some much needed discussion.
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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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